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How to Discipline a Child That Will Not Do Homework

by Tiffany Raiford

Even though your kids possibly view homework as a punishment in and of itself, they still have to complete it prior to its due date. It’s not usually an enjoyable task for your child, but it is vital to your child’s grades and school performance. Completing his homework not only ensures good grades, it also teaches him to set aside time to work on school even when he may not want to, which is a positive habit to have when it comes to high school and college. However, you might find that sometimes your child simply will not do his homework, making discipline necessary.

Let your child suffer the natural consequences of not doing her homework, advises Debbie Pincus, licensed mental health counselor. Natural consequences are the ones that occur as a direct result of a behavior, such as not having any clean clothes to wear if you don’t help with laundry. For example, if your child refuses to do her homework, let her suffer the consequence of receiving a bad grade, which might result in her teacher requiring her to attend after-school study sessions and cause her to miss basketball practice or time with her friends. If her incomplete homework brings her grade point average down far enough, she might not meet the minimum requirements for playing sports or participating in school activities. Children learn more from natural consequences than they do lectures or threats.

Withhold privileges from your child when he doesn’t do his homework, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, when he refuses to sit down and do the work that is required of him, tell him he cannot watch television the rest of the day. When you take away things your child enjoys, he is more likely to learn that his behavior is not worth the price. Other privileges you can remove from your child’s life include Internet usage, having friends over or the upcoming school dance.

Think about your words before you speak them, advises the AAP. When you are frustrated that your child won’t do her homework, you might be tempted to tell her that if she doesn’t do it right this second she is never going on another field trip or having another friend over to visit ever again. Since these are punishments with which you cannot follow through, you are not teaching her anything but that she won’t get in trouble if she doesn’t do her homework. Frustrated as you might be, take a few seconds to calm down and think about what you are saying to your child, and do not speak until you are certain what you say is realistic.

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