Teenagers don’t like homework, and can you blame them? Just like you don’t like working after hours on your job, your teen doesn’t like to work all day at school and then come home and do more.
However, like it or not, homework is something that your child has to do.
Unfortunately, you can’t force your teen to do homework. If you try to, a power struggle is likely to ensue. If you know anything about teenagers, it’s that they want to be independent and do things their way.
So what’s a parent to do?
Many parents consider the consequences for not doing homework, and reasonably so. You want your child to put their best foot forward and maximize their potential in the classroom.
However, it is important to remember that it is your teenager’s responsibility to do their homework, not yours.
What Causes Parents To Give Consequences For Not Doing Homework
Many parents operate in a state of fear. Fear that a lousy test will lead to a bad grade means their child will drop out of high school, won’t get a job, and will still live at home when they are 30. The connection between these events may be dubious, but many parents still fall victim to this thinking.
As a result, parents fall into a trap. I call it the illusion of a win, which is very tempting. When your teenager isn’t doing your homework, you get on their case and won’t let them leave the house until they turn it in. Or if they have missing assignments, you ground them until they get caught up.
Getting your child to turn in their homework might make you feel like you are teaching them a valuable lesson, but what are they learning?
Your teen is learning they are incapable and need someone else to help them with their responsibilities. They realize they can’t do their homework without your oversight and help. They are learning to be dependent on you.
The fear of their teenager’s failure often leads parents to embark on a path that makes the worst-case scenario more likely. A teen dependent on their parents is far more likely to live at home at 30 than a strong and independent one.
Instead of considering punishment for not doing schoolwork, a better approach is to let them experience the natural consequences. Their teachers will give them bad grades, and they might get in trouble.
After they experience the natural consequences of missing that assignment, they can learn from the experience and, more importantly, recognize that they are responsible for their school work and that there is no power struggle.
Without a power struggle, teens are likelier to take responsibility for their work and own their responsibilities.
Instead of focusing on what they are doing (homework), spend more time showing them HOW to do it. Here are some tips to avoid getting consequences for not doing homework.
1. Establish a Routine To Avoid Consequences for Not Doing Homework
A routine will set you free.
One of the best skills you can teach your teenager is a routine. Carving out specific time for them each day dedicated to homework is a great way to empower your teen to take care of their responsibilities.
Make sure that the routine works for both of you. Set specific times and places to do homework, such as after school in their bedroom or dining table.
Creating a routine will give your teen the structure they need to act independently while still getting the support they need.
2. Give them space When Doing Homework
It may be tempting to hover over your teen’s shoulder while doing homework and ensure they do each problem correctly. However, this does not teach them independence. In fact, they may learn to depend on you to get their homework done.
Your job is to be there when they need help or guidance, not to take over their homework. Instead, give them space and let them learn how to navigate their assignments.
You might be surprised your child is willing to ask for your help when you give them space to try independently.
3. Teach them Organizational and Time Management Skills To Avoid Consequences
One of the best ways to help your teen get their homework done and avoid consequences for not doing homework is to teach them the skills they need to do their homework instead of focusing on the assignment itself.
Organizational and time management skills are crucial for completing schoolwork and staying on top of assignments. Teaching your teen how to manage their time will help them become more independent and responsible.
Show your teenager how to organize their backpack, use folders, and take notes. But leave it up to your teen to use these skills when completing homework.
Additionally, you can show your child how to estimate how long it will take to complete their homework. Estimating how long it will take will help your teen learn how to manage time and prioritize tasks to get their work done promptly.
4. Give behavior-based praise Instead of Consequences for Not Doing Homework
Many parents make the mistake of praising the outcome rather than the effort. Studies have shown that this is counterproductive and can make students less likely to do the work in the future.
Instead of praising your child for their score on a test or homework, praise the effort they are putting in. If you see your child hard at work, praise them for it. Tell them you are proud of their dedication if they stay late to finish an assignment.
Behavior-based praise will help your teen develop a healthy work ethic and make them more motivated.
5. Model the behavior you want to see
They may not act like it, but you are your teenager’s number one role model. They closely watch you to see how you do your work and responsibilities.
If you want them to take their school work seriously, ensure you show this behavior through your actions. Show that you take the time to do all your tasks thoroughly and with dedication, which will help encourage your child to do the same.
You can also show them how to organize your work materials or use math daily. Seeing how you apply the same skills and content they are learning in school will demonstrate to your child that education is essential and that they should take it seriously.
6. Work With an Academic Coach Instead of using Punishment For Not Doing Homework
Getting your teenager the correct type of academic support is a great way to avoid getting consequences for not doing homework.
An academic coach can help your teen develop the essential skills to complete their work independently. An academic coach can also provide support and guidance, so your teen does not feel overwhelmed.
Additionally, the presence of an academic coach can make it much easier for you to take a step back because a coach can keep you in the loop and let you know what steps are being taken. This type of communication can alleviate the pressure you might feel to jump in and intercede.
If you think this type of support would benefit you and your teenager, let’s talk. I’ve helped hundreds of students handle their homework independently and build the skills they need for long-term success. Your teen could be next.
About the Author: John Hyde
I am an educational coach specializing in teaching students academic fundamentals and a growth mindset.
After graduating from Duke University in 2015, I taught at a public middle school from 2016 to 2019. Although I loved working with students in the classroom, the public education system was not teaching students the skills essential to academic success.
I left the classroom in 2019 to start Academic Empowerment Academy. Since then, my coaching program has helped hundreds of students realize their academic potential by assisting them in building confidence and empowering them with the skills and mindset to meet their goals in school and life.
If you’d like to discuss how I can help your teen be more motivated, foster good habits, and improve academic organization/performance, Book a Complimentary Discovery Call Here.
Hi I’m John, author of this blog, academic coach, and founder of AE Academy.
I help teens reach their academic potential by empowering them with academic fundamentals, a growth mindset, and critical thinking.
If your teen is struggling to reach their academic potential, or isn’t learning the skills they need to succeed in school, we should connect.
It’s on me – Book Your Free Call Here