Is your child struggling in school? Is s/he always complaining and whining about not wanting to do homework? Do you hear “I don’t have any homework today” on a daily basis from your teen? Then when the report card comes home s/he is failing most classes? There just has to be a better way than arguing and fighting with our children everyday to get them to take responsibility for their school work.
Here are some basic ideas and suggestions that may be helpful in getting your child/teen do take responsibility and get their assignments completed every day without completely wearing you out:
- Create a parent contract. Have a set time and place for your child to do homework. This may be the first hour after they get home from school or the last hour before they go to bed. Find a time that there will be the least distractions and when you will most likely be available in case s/he has questions or needs help. Make sure the contract is specific as to what happens in they fail to complete assignments. Generally these contracts don’t have to be too complex, just something simple that makes sure each parent and child understands what is expected.
- Stay in contact with each child’s teacher. If you just send a quick weekly email at the first or end of each week to each teacher to find out if your child is missing any assignments or did particularly bad (or well) on any assignments, you wont be surprised when you see his/her report card. For older children that have several teachers you may want to find out if your child’s school has some kind of online program that the teachers update daily or weekly with assignment information. If not you may be able to talk to each teacher at the first of the year and ask them to email or call you periodically if they are noticing that your child is missing more than 2 or 3 assignments.
- Show interest in what your child is learning. If they can see that you really care about what they are learning and doing in school they will be more likely to take an interest in the topic and have a desire to learn more about each assignment.
The more involved you are in your child’s life, the more responsible and better off your child will be. Children love their parents and for the most part they want you to be proud of them and pleased with what they are doing. When they see that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing they will take pride in their own accomplishments and work harder to do better in all that they do. Responsible, happy teens are also much less likely to have problems with drugs, depression, stress, and anxiety. A few minutes everyday could save you years of problems in the long run.