I often hear parents expressing aggravation with a constant struggle over their child’s homework hassle. If you can relate to this frustration, take heart. You’re not alone.
Half of all parents report having intense arguments with their children over homework.
This comes from a survey conducted by Public Agenda. These reported arguments even included yelling and/or crying.
None of this is helpful. It’s actually detrimental to their health, and plain stressful.
The study also found that 22% of parents admit that they have done the child’s homework for them. Just out of sheer exasperation.
A battle for control
While it may seem like a solution at the time, doing your child’s homework for them only hurts you both. This is because the battle over homework is actually a battle for control.
When you do the homework for them, you’re just surrendering.
You want to help your child to be successful in school and teach them responsibility.
Your child, however, would much rather be doing something else. Kids definitely don’t want to be doing homework.
For many students, the struggle over homework comes from a desire to show independence. Now while they may desire independence, they lack the skills and habits that are necessary for success.
Finding a solution to the homework hassle
So what can a parent do to help their child learn these skills? Without engaging in what might amount to World War III of course.
While each child is different, many parents experience similar struggles with their child over homework. The most common concern I hear from parents is that their child avoids and resists doing their homework.
When this happens, there are several steps you can take to put an end to the arguing and complaining:
1. Approach the discussion at a calm moment.
If an argument has already escalated, take a break and step away. He or she will be more open to your ideas if you are both calm and relaxed.
Once the situation is calm, explain your motivation.
Clarify that your goal is to help them feel successful in school and support them as much as possible.
2. To allow your child a sense of control, offer them choices.
This could include when, where, or in which order they will do their assignments.
Have them create their own Personal Study Plan (with some guidance from you).
As a useful tool, you will find the Study Blueprint from Unit 3 in our Learning Techniques Course below.
Unit 3 is all about creating and implementing a study plan. You will also want to set up a weekly schedule.
This schedule is for when your child will be studying and completing their homework.
3. Offer incentives for keeping up with the study plan.
Confidence from success in school can be enough to reward some students. This will help getting them to follow through with their homework plan.
Though many students enjoy external rewards as well.
These incentives can be anything from verbal praise to a points system. This would include the child earning points towards a desired activity or item.
Some students say having their parents “off their back” is an extra incentive on its own.
It doesn’t hurt to explain to you’re a huge benefit of success with the study plan is less nagging from you!
Whether you choose to use an extra incentive is up to you.
We’ve found that it can sometimes be that extra push that gets the student “on-board” with the plan.
4. For many parents, success ultimately lies in what education specialists refer to as scaffolding.
This means offering your child just enough support for them to be successful.
The last step towards ending your homework battles is to scaffold your child as they follow through with their plan.
Each child needs a different amount of support.
Scaffolding can mean sitting with your child as he or she does their nightly homework.
It can also mean simply asking them to check in with you when they have finished their assignments for the day.
Generally, start with more supervision and fade it as you see that your child is succeeding.
Continue offering verbal praise and encouragement. Especially as they make any positive changes to their study habit.
These four steps will help you end the homework hassle in your household.
You can find a lot more guidance to support your child’s academic success in our Study Skills and Strategies course.