How much should parents help with homework? - GulfToday

How much should parents help with homework?


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Are you a parent who helps the kids with their homework? Do you sometimes go overboard and do the homework instead of them?


No doubt, it is a good thing to be a hands-on parent, but if you have been giving in when they start whining, is there a way to get them to work on the homework all by themselves?


Yes, your kids should be thankful that you’re so supportive of their education.


But, let’s be honest: You’re doing their homework for them, which has zero upside (except, possibly to earn them higher grades, which they won’t deserve anyway, so it doesn’t really count as “upside”).


And the downside is that you’re undermining their ability to learn good study habits and to master the material they’re supposed to be learning.


Plus, you’re sending a very clear message that you don’t think they’re smart enough to do their own work.


Instead of asking how to get the children to start doing their work by themselves, you should ask how (and when) you’re going to stop “helping” them (“helping” in quotes because giving them answers isn’t actually helping).


The answer is simple:


You need to stop cold turkey and you need to do it now. If it makes you feel any better, you’re far from alone.


Various studies have found that somewhere between a quarter and half of parents do their children’s homework for them.


Instead of answers, what your children need when they have trouble grasping something is understanding and support.


Ask them questions. What’s the actual assignment? What, exactly, don’t they understand?




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For some children, the problem is a kind of overload. They can do one problem at a time, but the prospect of having to do 20 is paralysing.


In cases like that, divide the assignment into smaller, more manageable chunks. Take a short break after each chunk and then get back to it.


If one of the children truly doesn’t understand something or simply isn’t able to keep up with the work, talk to the teacher.


He or she may be able to give the child some extra attention and/or some remedial work to get up to speed.


Now that you’re no longer in the business of doing homework for your children, you’re going to have to get tough.


That means cancelling playdates and weekend fun until the children start doing what they’re supposed to do.


But your biggest challenge is going to be to let your children fail.


Sounds harsh, but if you’re confident that they can do the work, a bad grade can be a real wake-up call. It won’t be easy — you’ll be screamed at and accused of being a horrible parent (“if you really loved me you would haves helped…”). But don’t ever give in.


Minor failures will help your children rebuild their confidence in themselves. And that’s the best thing you can possibly do for them.


Tribune News Service

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