Homework Problems Are Your Child’s Cry for YOUR Help

There is no question in my mind that homework needs to be completed and turned in to the teacher. Unfortunately, this year I have heard more and more parents complaining about their children not doing their homework. And the next seriously hard thing for kids to do is to is to actually hand their homework in to the teacher. Why is homework such a huge problem? What happens to completed homework that is mysteriously lost at school or forgotten at home? We all know that there is no homework monster that steals your son or daughter’s completed work.

Both parents and teachers are very clear that homework is the child’s responsibility to be taken seriously and completed carefully. Obviously, children don’t want to bother to do their homework. Children want to do what they want to do. Homework is a bore no matter how much your children love you and want to make you happy. Even the most engaging homework from the most wonderful of schools may be an annoying and bothersome task. When a child is angry about school or his/her family life, homework can become a more serious problem to manage. A school that does not fit your child’s learning style can everyone’s life miserable.

The bottom line is that homework needs to be completed. And honestly, when I was growing up long ago there was no question that all assignments sent home were completed and returned. The culture of education has changed. There is more tolerance for wiggling out of homework. Some parents and schools no longer support the policy of letter grades. So children do get mixed messages about how important following the school and home rules actually is. Children are encouraged to have their own opinions, and they are allowed to express them openly.

Certainly an open-minded approach to parenting and education is valuable. But I believe as an intellectual community we have gone too far in trying to listen to our children’s complaints, insistent demands, and even temper tantrums about how they want their life to proceed without homework.

Clear standards and expectations need to be explained and respected by your children. A special place and time is very important to establish a routine to follow with as much predictability as is possible. Of course, life situations can take place that alter schedules, but still parents must be serious about helping their children get their homework completed.

Homework problems are a cry for help from your child. If you and your family is having problems with homework, there are two avenues to consider. First, are you as the parent helping your child to take school responsibilities seriously? Second, does your son or daughter have a learning or behavioral problem that needs to be addressed by a professional?

When the parent is the problem with homework getting back to school

There are certain parental attitudes and behaviors that definitely contribute to homework problems.

1.  Parents are too busy to take the time to set up and follow through on a homework routine.
2.  Parents are too easy going or too indifferent to their child’s learning responsibilities.
3.  Parents encourage their child to be defiant and opinionated.
4.  Parents are too preoccupied to follow through on checking homework.
5.  Parents are fighting about how to raise their children and they let the homework problems fall through the cracks.
6.  Delegation of authority to tutors, nannies, and grandparents who are not parents or the child’s primary advocate.

When the child is having learning problems and cannot manage their homework

Sometimes your son or daughter really is lost and needs help doing the school work that comes home. Here are some indicators of your child’s learning struggles:

1.  The teacher tells you your child needs help.
2.  Your child is afraid to go to school.
3.  Your child does not have any friends to play with at school.
4.  Your child is always angry and defiant.
5.  Sickness or family trauma has created emotional and behavioral problems that require attention from professionals.
6.  Your child has a learning disability or other educational problems that require specific interventions.
7.  The school you have selected is too pressured for your child, who is shutting down and not paying attention at school because he or she is so unhappy.

Decide where the homework problem starts. Is the problem related to your inattention? Is your child facing learning challenges that need tutorial help or professional intervention? Is the school setting inappropriate for how your child best learns?

You need to get behind homework challenges and show your child how to move forward in learning how to face challenges that are not necessarily interesting or fun.