The child does not want to study or to do their homework: what should parents do?
The school year is now starting again and with that, the Internet is blowing up with parents’ search engine inputs: “my child doesn’t want to study”, “how to make my child do their homework?”, “what to do if the child is bored with their studies?”. Every parent is willing to see a studious child in their son or daughter, the one who is running to school with joy and carefully doing their homework. However, what needs to be done if the child is now lacking the willingness to study? Is it worth forcing them or are there any alternative options? You will find the answers to these questions in this article.
- Finding out the underlying reason
- The correct approach of the parents
- How to help your child?
- Does the homework need to be done together with parents?
Finding out the underlying reason
In order to find out why did the urge to acquire new knowledge at school disappears suddenly, the reason for such behavior needs to be found out. This may mean the following:
1. Lack of motivation
The child does not understand the importance and the need of the learning process. In the classroom, they are bored, they do not listen to the teacher, and they prefer to go about their business or chat with classmates.
Why don’t kids want to do homework? The answer is very simple. They are not interested in it.Unfortunately, the school allows only for little practical experience for life and success, together with having plenty of gadgets and “distractions”. Therefore, children at school often do not understand why. Why do they need it? How is it useful in life? It is important to talk with children and to provide answers to these questions. To show and explain things to them through the example of famous “young” people. To try to apply the knowledge gained at school, in life, together. Praise the child’s actions.
For example, you can gather your child’s friends and arrange the quest “Why do we need mathematics?” The team that finds more practical examples, gets a pizza.
2. Issues in the relationship between the teacher and the student
Even one careless word from a teacher can offend a child and affect their attitude towards learning, not to mention obvious conflicts. This is especially true for anxious and vulnerable children.
3. Conflicts with classmates, teasing, bullying
It is important for parents to pay attention to all sudden changes in the behavior of their son or daughter and to be able to help their child in time if they become the victim of bullying.
4. The unfavorable situation within the family
When parents constantly quarrel, it is difficult for the child to concentrate on educational activities. Well, how can you solve a problem in physics when dad shouts that he will leave the family, and mom replies by saying that she wasted her life on a worthless person?
5. Excessive parental control
There are parents (these are mainly mothers) who are interested in controlling everything that happens within the family, including the school life of the child. This omnipresent control stretches out even to backpacks and birthday presents for classmates. What motivation can we be demanding from a child, if in those situations, mom always knows better, and mom decides on everything?
Stop having an overly caring approach for your child and give their developing personality an opportunity for freedom. At the same time, do not worry about your child, always know where they are, which path they take to get somewhere and what is happening around them with the “Find My Kids” app that can be downloaded from AppStore and GooglePlay.
6. Low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence
It is difficult for such children to prove themselves at school. Raising a hand to answer a teacher’s question, calling a classmate and asking them about homework proves itself to be very problematic for them. If at the same time parents also have excessive expectations for the child and criticize them for the smallest mistakes, the son or daughter starts being anti-social and acts according to the principle of “choosing something with the smallest negative impact”. The child starts skipping lessons, stops doing homework and starts getting bad grades. Why bother if their efforts will still not be appreciated?
7. Excessive workload of the child after school
Swimming classes on Monday and Thursday, dance on Wednesday and Tuesday, art school on other days. Sounds familiar? Many parents strive to oversaturate the schedule of their child. As a result, the psyche turns on defense mechanisms, protecting their brain from the excessive effort. The child begins to be lazy and to postpone their homework until late at night.
8. Physiological reasons
Hyperactivity, weak self-control, somatic diseases – here is an incomplete list of what can also affect a child’s lack of desire to sit at a desk and to do their homework.
A combination of reasons
The next example is exactly about that.
As it can be seen, a child may have several reasons not to be willing to study. Most often, it is not one single reason, but rather a whole set, with which parents need to get familiar.
The correct approach of the parents
Dear mums and dads! If you would be actually forcing the child to study, it would be unlikely that something good will turn out from this. Anything that is done when being forced or under pain of punishment will not be beneficial. So let’s not force children to learn, but rather encourage them to do so. The competent stance of the parent will help them with this.
It is surely possible to force the child to study. However, this will need to be done throughout the entire 9 to 11 years.When we force children, we assume our responsibility for them. On the other hand, we also really want the children to be independent and to do their homework. Therefore, should this be possible, we need to establish the rules for learning right from primary school. There is no need to do homework with a first grader – the parent’s function is to help them not to get distracted from this activity. If the student is older, the issue needs to be solved through motivation and encouragement.
Realistic perception of the situation
What do most parents do if their child doesn’t want to learn? That’s right, they turn to drastic measures, such as physical punishment. It is very likely that your parents did this, and that you also often do this.
Let’s leave the screaming, the abuse and the punishment out of the picture. They won’t do help in any way. “Horror stories” about becoming a janitor without the willingness to do study, will not be of any help either.
Parents need to understand that a child’s reluctance to learn always stems from a specific reason.
Learn how to react correctly to the child misbehaving in the article about the 10 ways to punish your child without screaming, hitting and humiliation.
In order for the child to start dealing with their problems in autonomy, it is important for them to hear the following from their parents:
- “I believe in you”;
- “Everything will work out”;
- “We will sort out this problem together”;
- “There are no unresolvable problems”.
Parents can do the following:
- explain what has not been understood on their own;
- hire a tutor;
- talk to the teacher;
- alter the position of the parent;
- go to the neurologist together;
- find a solution to problems at school collectively with your son or daughter.
Find out whether your child is being bullied at school and whether they are being treated well by their teachers, in order to solve the problem in a timely manner. Listen to the sounds around them and monitor their location in real-life conditions with the “Find my Kids” app.
Sign an agreement with the child, an actual written one. Clearly outline what they are entitled to for “voluntary” completion of the lessons and what is the “punishment” for not completing a task. Incentive schemes work well with older children, for example, if the child was doing their homework all week, on the weekend the whole family goes where the child chooses to go. Stickers with “well done” on them, work great with younger students.
How to help your child?
The tips of a psychologist
From generation to generation, we have passed on an unwillingness to learn. Children start being scared of learning right from kindergarten: “When you go to school, the teacher will not take your tantrums into consideration, they will immediately give you a bad grade”, “if you behave badly, you will be taken to the headmaster’s office”. The child is prepared for the fact that it will be difficult, uninteresting, and painful to study, in advance.
- Try to talk positively about the school and the teachers. The school is the foundation and base of the child’s entire future life.
When a child’s feelings are denied, they quickly lose interest in any activity, including studying. The child says, “This is a very difficult task. I will never complete it, and receives in response: “You are just very lazy, everything seems difficult for you”.
- Let the children share their fears and concerns with you, even if they seem like they are blown out of proportion to you.
- In a family, a child can find everything they need. Listen more and judge less, and then the children themselves will want to share their problems with you.
The desire to raise a genius out of a child with excellent grades in all subjects leads to nervous breakdowns and low self-esteem, because a son or daughter cannot always reach the standard set by their parents. The same applies to unfulfilled parental expectations, when, for instance, a mother dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer so much, that she decided that her daughter must make her dream come true.
The issue of all parents is to be comparing them with other children. “You see, Pete always gets straight As, and you only get Cs and Ds”, “you see, Lara has been doing the homework on her own for a while now, and you are still asking for my help”. The child starts silently hating Pete and other kids, thinking of themselves as the biggest loser.
- If you are comparing the child with someone, compare them only with themselves: “You see, last year it was hard for you to learn the rules of multiplication, and this year it is super easy for you!”
8 effective ways to motivate for good study
- Praise your children more often for their achievements, even for small ones.
- Explain why it is so important to go to school and what it will give your child in the future.
- Do not scold them for poor grades, the child is already upset with this. Try to figure out the reason for them in the first place.
- Don’t “reimburse” good grades with gadgets, fashionable items or other purchases.
- Talk to the child more often about their dreams and plans for the future.
- It is important to teach the child the time management skills for their time after school, so that there is enough time for both rest and homework.
- The stance that “grades are not important, however, the acquired knowledge is”, is a useful one for both parents and children.
- Do homework with your child only if they ask for help.
Does the homework need to be done together with parents?
Now let’s address the question that worries many parents. Should I help my child with homework? If you do not help, they will make a bunch of mistakes, or forget to learn the poem or will not even turn in the DIY airplane model for their arts & crafts project.
According to the “biggest-ever” study on parents and children carried out in 2018 by the Varkey Foundation on a sample of 27 000 people from 29 countries, suggests that overall, only 25% of parents spend on average 7 or more hours a week helping their children with homework. Moreover, nearly 30% of all parents feel that they need to help their children more and to be more responsive to their needs.
Here is what today’s mums and dads recall about their childhood:
1. “I always had problems with math at school. Well, I did not understand all these sin and cos, integrals and functions! In the 6th grade, my father took over my education. And since he was not a very good teacher, he explained all the topics to me in a raised voice, got angry when I did not understand something. As a result, we quarreled, he called me stupid and said that nothing good would turn out from me. Maybe some mathematical knowledge remained in my head, but my relationship with my father got fully ruined”.
2. “My mother took the matter of my homework into her own hands from my first grade. We sat down with her and did it for hours until she was happy with the result. Sometimes my mother was annoyed that I was doing it very slowly, and she did some of the tasks instead of me. When she was not at home, I never did the homework myself. What for? She wouldn’t be happy about something in it anyway, and I’ll have to redo it”.
As we can see, the parental attempts to control the process of performing the tasks may not always be beneficial for the child.
What is recommended by professionals:
- in the first grade, parents need to do their homework with their child, but only in order to organize the whole process. Teach your son or daughter some easy tricks, for example, starting off with doing written tasks followed by oral tasks, that a complex math problem is to be firstly done on a draft and that a test or an exam requires some preparation in advance;
- allocate a special time for homework with your child, for example, from 5 pm to 7 pm. Help them organize their workplace and space, ensure they have good lighting;
- do not refuse to help if the child asks you for it. However, don’t try to do it instead of them, but rather do it together with them;
- homework is the workload of a child, and only they should be responsible for it, not mom or dad, as they have completed all of their homework a long time ago.
Dear parents, remember: your goal is not to force the son or the daughter to study, but to create such an atmosphere within the family where the child would have an opportunity to share any of their problems, where they are recognized and appreciated not through their grades and where they will be able to acquire the knowledge for their future adult life.