What To Do If Your Kids Refuse To Do Their Homework

Do your children struggle to get their homework done each day? Do they outright refuse to do it sometimes? If you are in the habit of struggling with your kids over homework, it’s no fun for anyone.

The good news is you can change these dynamics! One school counselor reported that she saw many children who refused to do their homework. When she asked what they would do if their parents left homework up to them, almost all the kids replied they would do their homework. Some of the reasons they gave were not disappointing their teachers, having their recess time and avoiding embarrassment.

When your kids focus on resisting you, they can’t feel their internal motivations. How can you remove your children’s resistance and increase the likelihood of their homework getting done?

Remove yourself from the equation by saying something like, “I realize that when I try to make you do your homework both of us end up feeling bad. From now on I’m going to leave your homework up to you. I have faith that you can work out any issues around getting your homework done with your teacher. I want you to be successful in school so you are welcome to use the TV or computer after your homework is done. However, it’s up to you to decide when and if you do your homework.

Asking questions is another way to help your children think through the possible consequences for not getting their homework done.

  • How will you respond when your teacher asks you for your homework?
  • What does your teacher do when kids don’t have their homework done?
  • What effect does your homework have on your grade?

It’s critical to ask these questions with calm curiosity instead of anger. By leaving homework responsibility with your children, you increase the likelihood it will get done. 

Importance of Family in Everyone's Lives

Your childhood family has deep meaning and significance throughout your entire life. The major role family plays in shaping young adults is beautifully captured in this video of One Direction playing "Story of My Life":

Positively Transforming Your Kids’ Behavior Through Shaping

Are there any of your kids’ behaviors that you would like to change? Perhaps you feel frustrated that your child won’t practice the piano without being nagged, doesn’t listen the first time, or is super slow in getting ready for school. By the time you are really bothered by a behavior, your child is probably well entrenched in behaving this way.

You may have resorted to yelling, threatening and taking away privileges to try to improve your child’s behavior. While that may have worked one day, you probably found you needed to yell louder, come up with bigger threats or take away more privileges to get your child to behave again.

What Researchers Have Discovered About Punishment

By the time frustrated parents turn to Dr. Alan Kazdin at the Yale Parenting Center they are at their wits end! He tells them what he’s learned from the research:

"Punishment - mild, severe, abusive - changes behavior only at the moment it is delivered. It doesn't change the overall level or rate of the behavior. So if you have a child who's doing something horrible and you smack them, it'll stop it for the moment but it won't decrease the number of times they do the horrible thing.

So there's an alternative. Decide what behavior you want, sometimes called the positive opposite, and praise or encourage that. That makes the negative behavior drop out. You can actually eliminate a behavior by rewarding or praising the opposite behavior. Punishment won't do it."

Shaping the Behavior You Want

What does it mean to shape your child’s behavior? It involves five steps:

(Finish reading this article on the Priceless Parenting site)

Sugared Cereal Is Not Healthy For Kids

Did you know that  sugared cereals have more sugar per serving than frosted cakes or donuts? Yikes! Dr. Michael Greger's article, &qu...