Avoiding "Homework Wars" with Your Teen

By: admin | motherhood, teenagers, homework, parenting

Your child's teenage years can be fraught with challenges. It seems that every few months there's a new area of life that needs negotiation. Your child's emotions are running high, and it's very easy for a discussion about an issue to devolve into a full-fledged fight.

Homework can be one of the most sensitive areas between teens and their parents. Once a child reaches middle school, teachers expect students to be more responsible and require less supervision. There is less likelihood that a teacher will accept late homework, and turning in completed homework will likely be a large component of the student's grade.

If you're dealing with a student who doesn't want to do homework, can't keep his homework organized, or is struggling with his work, there are things you can do to help without every night becoming a battle.

Refuse to fight. You're the parent; you should act like it. When you allow yourself to devolve into a screaming match with your child, you lose credibility and pretty much ensure that nothing concrete will be accomplished. Above all; remain calm. Set limits, and tie performance at school to privileges. But don’t threaten unless you will follow through with your threats.

Help your child get organized. Many kids fail to turn in homework simply because they can't keep all of their papers and assignments together. My son has actually failed to turn in homework that he completed because he couldn't find it the next morning. Help your child create a system that will keep homework organized and easy to locate. At our house, we use a single pocket folder for homework and only homework. He takes that folder with him to every class, every day. New homework goes in the left pocket as he receives it. Completed homework goes in the right pocket to be turned in. It’s a very simple system, but it ensures that he knows what needs to be done and that he has his homework available when he goes to class.

Provide structure. Set a specific time for homework to be completed every day. Your teen will balk at this, but if he's struggling, he needs the structure. Be available during this time to answer questions and oversee his work. If he is responsible for filling out an agenda, read it. Communicate with teachers. Many parents become less involved with their child's education and teachers when the child hits middle school. This is a mistake. Your child can't lie to you about homework if you're talking to the teacher. Most teachers communicate regularly with parents via email or a class website.

Know when to ask for help. If your child is truly struggling with a subject, get him extra help. Talk to the teacher to see if there are study or help sessions available or find a tutor. There are even great websites that can help. If your child is struggling with severe emotional issues, those must be addressed, too.

In many cases, once you provide structure and guidance, homework problems can be solved without every night being a nightmare. Underneath all the hormones and bad attitude, your child still really wants to do well in school and in life. It's up to you to help him develop the skills that will make him successful.

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