As kids grow, the struggles between them and their parents change. One year olds want to throw their food on the floor and their parents insist it stays on the table. Three year olds want to go naked to school and parent just won’t budge on the “clothing required” rule they’ve put in place. Twelve year olds want to move out and live on their own with the friends and cell phone and no bedtime and parents have come to the annoying conclusion that they aren’t “old enough.” Parents and kids are always going to struggle, but here are a few ways they can work together when it comes to homework
Check Your Attitude: This is not a rule just for kids. Imagine having a boss who sighed, rolled their eyes, made you feel rushed or stupid or seemed annoyed every time you asked them for help with a project. You’d probably A) develop a negative attitude towards the project AND your boss and B) hesitate to bring any future questions to your boss. Don’t be that boss. If you’re complaining about how much homework your child has or how ridiculous it is, you will be creating “that child” for the teacher who spends more time complaining about their responsibilities than doing them. Approach homework time with patience and a positive attitude, and you’ll be amazed at how your child follows your lead.
Help Set Goals: Remember that annoying boss from Rule #1? Imagine if the same boss never gave you anything to strive for, never encouraged you to push through the hard stuff to come out on the other side a stronger, smarter, more competent employee. How long would you give 100%? Probably not long. Don’t be THAT boss either. Set goals WITH your child and have them come up with what they are working for and what their rewards are. When it is there idea, they will be more likely to work for it. Set small goals about each assignment (do 4 problems and then watch one funny video on YouTube) and weekly goals (complete all homework in a week and get an ice cream after school.)
Be The Right Kind Of Coach: Let’s bring Boss of the Year back again. This time, imagine your boss gives you all of the encouragement in the world, is patient and calm and makes you feel like you can do anything, but doesn’t tell you what is expected or show you how to do it. They are 100% on your side and there when you need them, but they haven’t told you what your job is. This is not helpful. Or vise versa, they give you every tool and resource you could possibly need to do the job, but walk away and let you do it alone without guidance or help or support. ALSO not helpful. Figure out if homework struggles are based on a lack of knowledge or a lack of motivation and coach them accordingly.
Teach Them To Be Accountable: Babies don’t come out of the womb blaming others for their new situation. They don’t blame others for this new, foreign, uncomfortable bright, cold world they are thrust into. Over time, the see and hear the people around them blame others for their surroundings and experiences and adopt this mindset. Don’t raise those kids. Don’t raise excuse makers, finger pointers and complainers. How? Don’t be a excuse maker, finger pointer and complainer. Teach kids that even if the homework is “too hard” or if the “teacher didn’t explain it” that they are fully capable of taking charge of the situation and don’t need to be the victim. Teaching them to focus on the things they can control is a valuable life skill that will get them through much harder struggles than homework.
Parents will have thousands of battles to fight with their kids as they grow and develop into their own people. Charge into the “Homework Battle” with these few skills and everyone will come out a winner.