I can still remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday. My son, frustrated at my hovering over his homework, looked up and said, “Mom, you are on me like a shirt!”
I was shocked! I thought I was being helpful. In retrospect, I was doing the opposite. I wasn’t allowing him to learn on his own, to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, to become responsible and accountable to his teacher (rather than to me), or to learn self discipline. I was preventing him from learning all the skills I thought I was “teaching” him.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to be supportive of your child if they are having difficulty with their homework. Helping them problem solve without giving them the answers by getting them to “think aloud” through the process they went through can get them to figure out the next steps on their own.
The problems arise when we let our emotions get in the way of our relationship with our child. If your child has ADD/ADHD or executive function challenges then you face the added challenges of getting them to start their homework or to stick with it long enough to finish. This often leads to tension and frustration for both of you and ends up being worse than the homework itself.
Whether your child is in elementary, middle or high school, you want them to succeed and often that means trying to support them without nagging or helping them too much. As parents we get caught up in the “getting it done” mode and not the” how can we make this easier so it doesn’t happen again” mode. For example, by not teaching your child how to plan out a project but instead making his attempt to redeem himself at the last moment rather unpleasant. Then it should be no surprise that he will associate anger, frustration, and aggravation with a long term project that given the right circumstances, he might have actually enjoyed. End result: nothing learned.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could teach them how to plan out that project and get it done ahead of time or learn how to study for a test so that a good grade was practically guaranteed? I don’t think it can be a parent because we are too close and too emotionally involved to be neutral. But a program that systematically teaches skills that are needed to be successful in school directly to your tween or teen through daily email lessons, now that is…..brilliant!
Watch for the launch of our new E-Learning Homework Course coming soon at: www.endhomeworkhassle.com