Far too many parents find themselves mired in un-winnable power-struggles over homework…battles that damage parent-child relationships result in further resistance to learning and they steal joy.
There's good news! With some practical tips, we can enjoy cooperative kids while building a life-long love of learning:
- Prevent resistance by providing choices within limits.
Of course, only give choices that will make you happy regardless of what your child decides. For example:
Do you want to work on math first or reading first?
Would you like to do the odd problems or the even ones?
Would you like to read sitting down or standing up?
- When your children get resistant, allow them to learn by refusing to.
Refusing to do a homework assignment can serve as a more important life lesson than the content of the assignment.
The next time your child gets resistant, experiment with walking away from the table and saying:
I love you too much to fight with you about homework.
I'll be happy to help when I see that you want my help.
- Let their grades be their grades.
When their grades are poor, be sad for them. Using empathy rather than anger dramatically increases the odds that they'll actually feel bad about getting bad grades. When this begins to happen, the consequence comes from inside the child…rather than us having to provide one from the outside. In my book, From Bad Grades to a Great Life (now available as an e-book) I provide a variety of additional strategies for helping kids develop this type of internal drive.
- Build them up in their strengths.
Kids who make a lot of mistakes also need to experience plenty of success. That's why it's so important to encourage them to spend time and energy on their strengths. Celebrating their successes cements our relationship and gives them the courage to tackle the tough stuff!
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay