GoParents Q & A – How to get my kids to do his homework
“I am having severe difficulty with my 15 yr old son’s behaviour with his study and not sure how can I help him to increase motivation without affecting our relationship . Can’t see falling out when has too much potential in him. This doesn’t mean I have too much expectation from him– minimum of minimum . “ Jafrin M
Thank you Jafrin for the question. This is a common question among many parents. It is great to share ideas with the GoParents community.
What I have come to understand is that, in order to influence your children or other people in your life, it all starts with you – your energy, your inner guidance, i.e. your thoughts, feelings and actions.
You have all the answers to your questions within you, whether they relate to your children, your work etc… and trust yourself to find the best solutions for your family.
So for instance, if we want our children to study hard, learn more things, be more self sufficient, have better life skills, good time management etc., normally we focus on the external process. The external processes are. getting your child to take extra coaching, nagging, bribing, comparing… I have done most of the above actions and realised they were not the most efficient way to go about the problem.
Because there were power struggles, and forcing your child to do something “you” think is important for his or her- based on your opinion and not your children’s.
For your child to WANT to do something, it has to come from them. They are the one that can find the motivation; they are the one that has to find the energy to drive what they want to do.
Through this blog, I am sharing two points, which I am pretty sure will help to instill some motivation and inspiration in your child.
Be their inspiration
Your child learns from WHO you are rather than what you say or tell.
Be the example you want to see in your child. For instance, instead of “telling” your children that they have to study, they should do this and that, … inspire them instead.
Be the example, i.e. get yourself into reading, writing, finding ways to improve yourself, visiting the library, reading and expanding your knowledge through newspapers, current affairs… make it fun and truly enjoy the process.
By doing this, you are inspiring your child to be better and better each day. You are an example for your child, telling him that learning is not just about passing examinations, but it is a means by which to improve his knowledge and be confident to use the new found knowledge.
You can also make some time to take an interest in the subject he is doing – work out whether both of you can brain storm the topic of his homework. Researching and brainstorming together can be fun for both of you as well.
At the same time, emphasise the importance of application of knowledge learned and the discipline that comes with home work. Share with them the importance of discipline for day to day work and play, the responsibility of a student etc. In fact, sometimes in life there are things that we like to do as well as things we dislike, but it is all part of learning and growing, and we have to persevere.
Be the inspiration and positive example for your child.
Sometimes when your child procrastinates, most of the time, it is not because he is lazy; it can be because there lies a “fear” in him. The fear can be whether your child fully understood the topic and he may not know how to apply what he has learned? If he does not understand, there is a fear of feeling inadequate and stupid or not sure where to search for answers and so feeling inadequate about it. Communicate with him about his work, and ask whether he needs help.
Use questions to prompt about how he feels about his work:
- How did you go with your work?
- Are you able to understand?
- What is the topic about?
- How would you rate your homework? Hard? Easy?
- What is most challenging about the work?
It is from these conversations that you are going to truly understand what your child is feeling and thinking, and what the issues he is experiencing right now are. This is how you are able to offer your advice or help.
Remember, you can’t force someone to do something that he is reluctant to do; even if he does it, it will come at a cost. The motivation has to come from your son or your daughter. They need to find the energy and drive to push forward and get the homework done on their own – but knowing that you are there to inspire and support them.
Further, through questioning, you are able to know what is bothering your child. He or she may be at that age where setting limits may not be as effective.
Another piece of advice I can offer is … if he/she is still “unmotivated” with their work, consider making an appointment with their teacher. Maybe that may shed some light, and further actions can be taken.
Hope the above solutions have helped. I look forward to further comments from other parents who may want to share similar experiences. There is always a way….