My husband and I both work. Our hours are about 8 to 5pm. When we get home, it’s a lot of work to get supper made and the kids fed. Then there’s ‘Jared”, our 13 year old. He’s barely making it through 8th grade. He’s smart but lazy. While his younger sister likes doing school work, he misses a lot of homework assignments. He says he’s doing his homework and turning it in, so he doesn’t understand the incompletes he gets. How do you motivate your kid to do his homework?
Eighth Grader Mom
Dear E G Mom,
You could re-phrase your question: “How do I motivate my teenage kid to do something he hates to do”? Motivate? It doesn’t seem likely. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not a way to get the work done. Years ago, when I observed a father sit with his eighth grade son and later that evening with his sophomore daughter to do homework together, I thought in my young foolish little head, “That’s really dedicated to sit and do homework with your kids. But when they’re in college and Daddy’s not doin’ the homework for them, they’ll never make it.” This is the family that produced three Masters degrees and three Bachelor’s degrees. What I didn’t know is that it wasn’t doing homework for your kid, it was working along with them. When you work side by side with your child, it tells them that this is what you have to do to learn, or at the very least, pass. Also being taught is the very important lesson that this work is not beneath the dignity of the adult to do. When the foreman of a job assists the crew, he is telling them that this is honorable work. It’s certainly not beneath his dignity to do, nor should it be for his employees. To maintain that this is your kid’s work and not yours, it may not get done consistently.
Also, maintaining good rapport with the teachers means no bs-ing your parents. Homework or no homework, you can usually know by communicating with the teachers. Finally, remember, this is important personal time for a kid with his Mom or Dad. Maintaining a positive, motivated teaching mode rather than an impatient, tired parent forcing their kid to get it done increases the chances of improved school performance and attitude.
Sorry you’ve got a lot of extra work Eighth Grade Mom, but who deserves your ability to work hard more than you own kids? Besides, remember your original question?