goal-setting, homework, Working with teens

Helping your teen do homework: Negotiate with respect and firmness

The power of respectful negotiation – it moves mountains… and teens.

Negotiate homework with your teen – don’t pressure and push them or bribe or reason.

You probably already know this but I’ll say it anyway. Coercion won’t work with anyone in the long run. Your teen might do their homework, but they will be reluctant participants. Bribery only works with your teen for a little while and it can cost you dearly. Appealing to their reason will only work, if it works at all, for a very short time. When you think about it, you are attempting to manipulate them ‘for their own good.’ I ask you quite frankly – did any of these manipulative strategies work on you for long when your parents tried them?

Suggestions for successfully negotiating homework with your teen.

Continue to think before you act. If you followed the advice from my first post you have been observing them closely. Now you need to talk with the school, and establish stronger communication lines so that you know when the assignment and exam deadlines are, what is expected of them (the criteria for the assignments, and how many homework hours they are expected to do each week), and how well they are currently performing. Check on line for invaluable information about their courses  too.

After you have gathered as much information as you can, sit down with those you trust, and decide how much homework time is fair to ask of your child. Homework time can also be time for revision when they say that they have no homework that night or that they completed it at lunch time or during class. It can be revision of  previous maths and science topics and reading for pleasure and information. An hour of homework a night is not an unreasonable amount of time to spend for 13-14 year olds for example.

Decide what your bottom lines are before you begin negotiations with your teen. For homework negotiations to be successful at all you must have strong and clearly defined ‘bottom lines’ about what is not negotiable.  Your ‘bottom lines’ can include when homework is to be begun and  finished, how long they work on homework, who checks they have completed all necessary work, and what activities have to wait until after homework is completed. I suggest that completion of homework to a standard acceptable to their school is also not negotiable.

Then leave them some wriggle room so that they feel they are making the best deal they can. How, when and where they complete homework may be negotiated – as long as that leads to completion of their homework to a reasonable standard.

My next post will discuss step by step one way to handle a tough negotiation.

Enjoy your teen, keep laughing, stay firm.



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