Parents have often confessed to me that when it comes to their children's homework, they have done some things of which they are not so proud:
- figured out every math problem
- written the vocabulary sentences
- composed the essay
- colored the picture
- completed the project
- read the book and written the book report
- signed the reading journal—even though their child did not read
- answered the end-of-chapter questions
Parents feel guilty and worry about the lesson they are teaching their children. Why, then do so many parents do these things? They claim that they have no choice. After hours (or days or weeks or months) of listening to their children cry over homework- parents throw their hands up in defeat. They tell themselves that "cheating" is the only way that they can get some peace and their child can get some sleep.
Believe me, I understand wanting to protect your child and stop the whining. However, giving your child the answers or doing their homework is not a long-term solution to your homework problem. You are setting a precedent that will be difficult to reverse. You don’t want your child to think, “If I don’t want to do something distasteful, I’ll throw a fit and Mom or Dad will do it for me.” Not to mention, do you really want to do their homework? I certainly don't!
So, what should a parent do if their child is having a homework meltdown?
Write a note explaining that your child was exhausted and/or unable to complete an assignment. Tell the teacher that this was your decision and you do not want your child punished. This should not happen often. If your child is having problems completing her homework on a regular basis, contact the teacher to schedule a time to meet. The two of you can discuss what is happening and what can be done to fix the situation. Most teachers are very reasonable and want to work with parents to help their students succeed, but they can only do that if they know that there is a problem.
Trust me, your child is not the only one having trouble completing their homework. (Click here for more information about homework meltdowns.