2 minutes reading time (354 words)

Homework Confessions of Real Parents (Or, What to Do If Your Child Is Having A Homework Meltdown)

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.

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#2 Livia McCoy 2010-10-08 02:59
This is a very difficult situation. I believe I would contact someone at the school who can facilitate a meeting with all your child's teachers (like the school psychologist or the principal). The teachers need to know what is going on at home and see if there is some way they can coordinate the amount of homework your child is given each day. The general rule of thumb is 10 minutes of homework per day for each year they have been in school. (For an 8th grader, that is 80 minutes.) Also, watch for my upcoming post (next week) on how to tell whether your child is being productive during their work time.
#1 Lisa 2010-10-07 17:31
what do you do though for a middle schooler who has multiple teachers? have your child tackle as many subjects as he can (or do the easiest first) and then send them to bed and write a note to the teacher(s) whose homework was not finished?

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

Yes - 31.6%
Sometimes - 25.4%
No - 37.4%

Total votes: 4919
The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016