I hear this all the time from parents. You sit down to help your child with their reading homework, and almost immediately it’s an argument.
…Whether it’s “you’re not explaining it how the teacher would explain it!” or they insist “just tell me how to spell it!”
…Or you ask them to write their spelling words, and there are misspellings but they don’t want to go back and erase the word to try again.
…Or you check off the box that tells them to read for 15 minutes and they’re already negotiating if they can read for less time.
Your child is getting frustrated, and you are too. I get it!
You might be thinking that your kid is lazy.
And doesn’t haven’t enough grit or perseverance.
And where did you go wrong as a parent that this is how your kid is behaving/operating?
It’s totally normal to feel that way, and it’s ok. Feelings are always ok. It never makes you a bad parent to think your own thoughts! But then we need to move beyond the feelings and frustrations and understand what is actually going on, so that we can help our kid.
Often when we dig deeper into understanding why our kids are operating this way, we’re able to see what’s going on in a new light and help them get out of these patterns that don’t help them succeed.
So let’s look into the deeper reasons for kids putting off their homework. What we see on the surface is never the full story. When our kids avoid homework, what they are telling us is that
- They don’t feel confident in their ability to get the homework right, and don’t want to make mistakes in front of you
- They are so tired from concentrating in school that they can’t focus anymore
- They keep being asked to write/read/compute in a certain way that just doesn’t yet make sense to them
- They’re confused about what to do, and don’t want to show it
Often the underlying reason for all of these issues is shame.
Children are wired to impress their parents and seek their approval. It’s a survival mechanism.
If they think they’re going to make mistakes, or aren’t sure what to do, or know they’re drained and won’t get it all right, they’re inclined to resist instead of asking for help. This is unconscious programming, of course.
The good news is that you can support your kid and shift these behaviors, and one important way to do that is to increase their positive self-perception and sense of confidence.
In fact, this will help your child more academically than drilling that week’s spelling words ever could.