Parenting tips: what to do when your kid refuses to do his homework

Watch Ross W. Greene, PhD's video on Parenting tips: what to do when your kid refuses to do his homework...
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Parenting tips: what to do when your kid refuses to do his homework

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If you ask me what is the single unsolved problems causing the most challenging episodes in North American households on a nightly basis, September through May, the answer is homework. Here's the tricky part about homework. That's not even something that the parents have anything to do with. That's something that the folks at school are assigning, and that the parents are on the hook for dealing with. But the approach for dealing with that is exactly the same. We've got to figure out what specific homework assignments the child is having difficulty doing, what's getting in the child's way, and solve those problems collaboratively. We can't treat homework as if it is this global thing, because if the kid is having difficulty working on the term paper for English, writing the definitions for the spelling words, and completing the word problems on the math worksheet, while it would be tempting to talk with the kid about difficulty completing homework, if you go at it globally you're actually going to solve nothing. We have to treat them as separate unsolved problems. Difficulty working on the term paper for English is its own unsolved problem. Difficulty completing the definitions on the spelling words, its own unsolved problems. Difficulty completing the word problems in math, its own unsolved problem. Those are completely different things that are getting in the kid's way. What's the answer to solving the unsolved problem of homework? Make sure that you are talking about each specific homework problem the child is having difficult, figure out what's getting in the kid's way, and figuring out collaboratively how you are going to solve it. Homework, though it is a very common problem, is really no different in terms of how you approach it, than teeth brushing, bed making, coming in from playing outside, you name it. The approach is exactly the same. Three steps. Solving the problem collaboratively.

Watch Ross W. Greene, PhD's video on Parenting tips: what to do when your kid refuses to do his homework...

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Ross W. Greene, PhD

Psychologist, Author & Researcher

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is the author of the well-known books The Explosive Child and Lost at School, and the originator of a model of care (now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions) emphasizing collaboration between kids and adults in resolving the problems contributing to children’s behavioral challenges.  He is also associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, on the professional staff at the Cambridge Hospital, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, and senior lecturer in the graduate program in school psychology in the Department of Education at Tufts University.  Dr. Greene founded the non-profit Lives in the Balance to provide free, web-based resources on his model and to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.  He lectures widely throughout the world and lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and two kids.

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