Help your child develop good study skills and end the daily battles-forever!
My kid does not do his or her homework. What can I do?
It is a complaint I hear often from frustrated parents. As a psychologist specializing in the evaluation of youngsters with academic difficulties, I know that homework can become a major source of family strife, and I have found that the most useful role a parent can play on the homework scene is that of a consultant.
Like a consultant in the business world, the parent-consultant
It is an approach that works because you, as a parent, are acknowledging something important to your child:
"Getting your homework done is your responsibility, not mine. I cannot make you do it." That is the starting point for the end of all your battles.
Here is how to go about developing a consulting relationship with your young child or teenager:
I think you can see that this approach does not convey the angry message, "You are on your own now, kid. I do not care what you do about your schoolwork." You are not "backing out"; on the contrary, becoming a parent-consultant gives you a graceful way of getting "back in" to a positive, helpful relationship with your child.
Give the plan a two or three week trial. If after that time you do not see positive results, consider seeking the help of a family therapist who is familiar with school-related problems.
And remember two things: Even the most conscientious parent has no obligation to feel anxious and miserable continually because a child does not do homework. And try to keep the problem in a reasonable perspective.
Homework may seem very important to you now, but in the long run your child's self-esteem will be the key factor for success in life. Guard against damaging it in nightly squabbles over schoolwork.
By William R. Stixrud, Ph.D. He has a private practice in neuropsychology and child clinical psychology and is director of the Washington Parenting Center in the District of Columbia.