Whose Homework Is It?
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – Counselor's Corner
In my private counseling practice I have had parents who do their children’s homework. The first time I heard of this I was frankly shocked. My parents would never have even considered doing my homework—and probably yours wouldn’t either!
So how did this come about? I truly don’t know, but I predict it was a “helicopter” parent attempting to make his or her child brilliant. And being the parent who can put that bumper sticker on the car: “I’m the proud parent of an honor student.” Some parents tell me that the Science Fairs are so competitive and high level that it’s obvious that a parent with rocket science knowledge built it! So other parents—feeling the need to make things fair for their child—decide to also do homework and projects for their little darling.
Parents pleeeese, stop this. What does your child learn? That by delaying, holding out or playing dumb, that you will come to the rescue. And when a person is rescued, he will expect it again… and again. Not only does she not learn her work, but she is also not learning responsibility (nor even how to parent some day). I would rather the child learn the consequences of not doing work such as low grades, reprimand by teacher or loss of school privileges.
If you need to motivate your child to complete homework, then give them a positively worded rule sentence such as:
“If you complete all homework and show me your completed work beginning no later than __ p.m. Sunday – Thursday, then you earn xyz such as video games, talking/texting, playing on the computer, playing outside, etc.”
I guarantee that your child will do the work IF you are consistent at letting the child have a favorite fun activity ONLY AFTER homework is completed. And, if you have the child who will lie and say there was no homework, then you need good communication with the teacher as to what the assignments are.
So, parent, relax—you’ve already completed school—you graduated! Now it’s your child’s turn.
Copyright © 2012, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please read my other column SmileNotes Helping Your Child Make Friends.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.