Having a tough time getting your child to step up and get their homework done? This might be a different tactic to try when your child won’t do homework. It could be hugely successful.
When Your Child Won’t Do Homework
My son has just started fourth grade and, while the homework is not exactly tough, it is definitely more intense and complex than it was in third grade. It seems that this is the year that school “gets serious” and the students start to really step up into the bigger picture of academia. My boy is smart and he is fully capable of doing the work. However, he isn’t doing the work!
After numerous emails and talks with his teachers, as well as numerous attempts at getting him to step up, the final straw (and wake up call) for me came yesterday when I received an email from school asking if I could come in for a conference to discuss his progress. We are only four weeks into fourth grade and already I have the dreaded “parent/teacher conference!” This is not a good thing.
I thought about this a lot yesterday and realized that the typical methods of motivating him are not working and will not work in the future – even though I just gave you four great homework tips a couple of weeks ago! Those tips still apply and are fantastic, but I realized I needed to take it to the next parenting level!
Respect And Homework
Taking away the Xbox or the iPad has had no effect. Canceling sleepovers and hang outs with friends has barely made an impact. Getting upset and frustrated at his lack of effort is useless and not really my style. No, there had to be a new approach. An approach that would speak to his smart, caring, “do the right thing” brain. And that is when it hit me.
When he got home from school yesterday, I told him about the upcoming conference. Told him about my talks with his mom and his teachers. And told him that there had to be some changes – and they had to start now. Then I told him that I was really troubled and upset that he had been disrespectful to his teachers.
Say what dad!?
He had a look on his face that said “I don’t know what you mean dad!” He had a look that screamed he was perplexed,confused, and upset. You see, I know that he likes his main teacher very much. He thinks she is cool – and she is. She has done mission work in Africa, has a great attitude with children, and treats them with kindness, humor, AND respect. I know that he wants her to think highly of him and that he respects her. That was my “secret weapon!”
As you know from reading of my previous work here on Family Focus Blog, respect is one of the the three cornerstones of my household. My son is taught to be respectful above everything else. So when I told him that he was being disrespectful to someone he liked, I got his attention.
I told him that by not doing his part at school, and with his homework, that he was being disrespectful. I explained that his teachers show up everyday, they work hard to make a positive impact and difference in his life, they prepare his work, and then teach that work to the entire class for eight hours each and every day. They use their time, their money, their brain, and their heart to help him get better in school, and in life, and if he doesn’t do his part then he is basically telling (and showing) his teachers that he doesn’t like them and doesn’t appreciate their efforts. They make the effort so why does he think that he doesn’t need to do the same!?
That was a wake up call. At that moment, I could almost see the light bulb go off in his head. Thomas Edison would have been proud!
My son is sweet and caring above all else and he never wants to let anyone down or do the wrong thing when it comes to the people in his world. I remained calm and left the ball fully in his court to do the right thing. We proceeded to come up with a new weekly plan and then he proceeded to sit down at his desk and do THREE hours of homework! He caught up most of his back-logged agenda and made an effort to focus hard and be better.
He knows that I don’t expect perfection but I do expect an honest, sincere, daily effort to learn. That is all any parent can truly ask of their child.
He is working to earn back some daily “privileges” and we have a new after school routine that is not really what he would like but – he knows that if he does his part, he will be back to his normal routine in no time. He knows that if he approaches his work, and his teacher relationships, with respect above all else – life and school will be much, much easier!
It’s a new day today in fourth grade for the youngest Youngblood man, and I can proudly say that I think he will be just fine!
Rob Youngblood is a Single Dad, Keynote Speaker, Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Communication Expert, Life and Reality Coach. Learn more about him at youngbloodonthecoast.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.