Homework and Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: Seven Tips for the Tougher Days

To keep your child feeling calm and capable at homework time, it is important to think about who they are as an individual. A child who feels capable and successful is at his best as a student and a person. Emotionally intelligent parenting at homework time involves nurturing feelings of strong self worth when the work is frustrating and just plain ‘too hard!” These seven tips will help you create an approach that will support your child through the tougher work loads.

1. Help your child remember his strengths at the times he is challenged by his weaknesses. Remind him of some recent progress. “I am so proud of how far you have come in Math.” Encourage him to do better in the tough subjects but understand where the limitations are. If your child is just ‘not a good student’ remember that is what is happening now, in the present. It may take until college or a post high school program for your child to really thrive in a learning setting, that just right place that gives him opportunity to create using his natural talents. In the meantime, be sure to keep your child involved in extracurricular activity that helps him feel happy and competent at something he enjoys.

2. Did you know you were lecturing? Although your child may need homework help, she knows everything there is to know about the importance of academic performance. You will get a lot more insight about what works to get your child working, if you are doing the listening. Sometimes you are lecturing and you do not see it as such. Instead of struggling to come up with the magic words that get your child inspired to do homework, try something different: give her an opportunity to reveal her feelings about school work. See next tip…

3. Polish up your listening skills. Ask questions that lead your child to talk about what it feels like for him to be frustrated with homework. You may be amazed at how your child will open up to you when you give messages, through your words and body language that you are there to listen, listen, listen. It may not change the difficulty of the homework but your child will have had an opportunity to vent and feel understood.

4. Be OK with a mediocre grade. Sometimes helping them get to the finish line is the best thing you can give them with a difficult assignment.

5.Understand your child’s moods and thinking patterns. If your child goes to negative thinking – “I’ll never get this” replace the defeatist looping thoughts with other words that help your child keep perspective. Find a replacement phrase that works for him such as “I will do this the best I can and that is that!”

6.Be sensitive to your child’s sensitivities. Explore for hidden annoyances that keep your child from fully focusing. Sounds, odors, lighting or prickly clothing can be distractions, and sources of discomfort for some children who are very sensitive to their environment. This is commonly found with children, teens as well as adults who have ADHD, Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. Observe for when, where and how their best work is done.

7. Remember: Kids do not like homework! (Well, very few look forward to it.) And what every child knows, and is not likely to admit, is that homework is one of those non-negotiables that you just plain do. And they do it best when they know you are behind them with clear and consistent support and guidelines. So, instead of getting entangled in irritating debate about doing homework, be sure to use that time and energy to work together