The freedom to let children make their own choice in regards to homework is a tough one for parents. At what age to start and how much responsibility to let children take are questions many parents struggle with.
When do we let children and teens not do their homework and suffer the repercussions. When do we not pencil in the answer for our child because its just easier? When do we let go and allow children to relish in the rewards and become upset at the consequences? How about now?
“Now?” you ask. But, my child needs me to hound at them to get their homework done or else they don’t get a good education. But my child is going to refuse to write in the answer if I don’t do it for her. And what if she gets a detention? Won’t that reflect on me as a parent?
Parents are chalked full of reasons why something is never a good time. While they may seem valid, they don’t always have a lot of clout. Being a parent is a full time job, which includes the role of “life teacher.”
One way we help kids is to teach them about responsibility. Parents can teach responsibility with the natural consequences and rewards of the world. When you parent from this angle, you begin to take the power struggle out of the parenting. It isn’t your fault your child missed recess for not doing their homework. A child has no one to hold accountable but themselves.
I am not saying you should abandon your child all together. Help them to have a homework time. Set aside time when you or another capable person is available to help as needed. Keep in mind to help your child and not “do” for them. Children don’t learn this way.
Work on slowly exposing them to taking more responsibility for their work. If last year you sat by their side and helped them with every problem, move towards stepping away for a few minutes and then coming back to check and provide support. Small steps to change are the way to go for many children.
Empower your child in their ability to be successful. Reflect on past successes and times you saw how good they felt when they mastered a concept and got the natural reward of earning recess or raising their GPA.
If you are unsure of your child’s level of readiness for responsibility, check with their teacher. The teacher sees your child 5 days a week and should have a good idea as to where they should be performing academically and how much responsibility they can take.
Lastly, with whatever parenting strategy you implement, be clear and consistent. If you say you will be back in 5 minutes to check on them, be back in 5. When you come back in 2 minutes because they are flipping out you are not being clear and consistent. Children will learn they can get you attention and even get the answer if they flip out. Not exactly the message you want to send.
I am solid in the ways I choose to support my child.