Why gifted kids don’t want to do their homework

For over thirty years I have worked with gifted children and their parents on problems with starting, completing, and handing in homework. Unfortunately, homework is a huge problem for many many families with gifted children. Parents cannot understand why their super-smart child is being so difficult, rude, and irresponsible. I have come up with eight reasons that are contributing factors to consider, to talk about, and to work on with your son or daughter.
1.  Homework is not important to smart kids.
Maybe the homework is too easy or too boring, and they are not interested in doing it. Kids don’t understand that homework is their personal responsibility. One way to help children learn how to do things that are boring is to give them  responsibilities at home that they are not interested in completing. They need practice at doing boring things.

2.  They can get away with it.
This is a parental problem with not setting limits and consequences. Smart children are always very compelled to outsmart their parents, even if their behavior is inappropriate or self-destructive. Parents need to establish rules that their child can manage to follow. Being too strict or too permissive gives your child permission to not listen to you.

3.  Gifted children have fun when they aggravate their parents.
No matter how wonderful of a you are, gifted kids love to argue. They are “know-it-alls” to the core. Challenging mom and dad and teachers can be a sport for them. Try and communicate with them that you are not interested in every argument they start. Teach them to respect your authority.

4.  They get used to negative attention and thrive on it.
Gifted kids are challenging and stressful to raise. Parents normally and naturally get frustrated and angry. Kids pick up on their parents’ anger and learn how to react in the most annoying ways. Parents need to get better at understanding and diffusing their frustrations.

5.  Some smart children are not confident in themselves and think they can’t do their homework.
This is a truly perplexing problem for parents and usually something that is resolved with the help of tutors or psychotherapists.

6.  Perfectionistic behavior can lead to homework not being completed.
This a very different problem than lack of confidence, but tutoring help outside of the family for the child can break this cycle.

7.  Gifted children can have learning problems that require special educational interventions.
The way to handle this issue is to have an educational therapist evaluate your child and create an intervention that will help your child develop his or her potential.    

8.  When smart kids are angry at you they may try to get back at you by not completing their homework.
If you believe that your child is doing poorly at school as a revenge tactic, it is time to seek out the help of a mental health professional who has experience working with children and their families.

Symptoms of homework problems that need to be addressed

1.  Complaining about homework being boring, which is often an excuse for not doing homework, especially in younger children.

2.  Losing homework on the way home from school.

3.  Forgetting to hand in homework after it is completed.

4.  Refusing to do homework through directly avoiding, ignoring, or procrastinating.

5.  Lying about homework or pretending it is done.

What parents can do to solve the homework problem

Ignoring or making light of the problem with homework will only make the problem worse. Parents who put their heads in the sand and pray for a miracle are not helping themselves or their child. Being afraid to confront your child’s homework problem won’t help either. Parents need a practical strategy to begin to solve the stress in their houses over homework. Being negative or overly dramatic about the problem is counterproductive. A simple plan that you can evaluate and build on is essential. The following steps will be helpful.

1.  Make a plan to speak with your child’s teacher and establish a reliable feedback loop for completion. Using online technology is very effective.

2.  If homework continues to be a problem, request a student success conference or an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Both procedures are offered at public and private schools.

3.  If your child remains noncompliant with homework, get an evaluation from an educational therapist or a clinical psychologist who works with children and teenagers.

4.  Continue to communicate with the support team that you are working with.

5.  Evaluate progress and the areas that need more attention.