Ask the Expert: A Better Way? or Whose Work Is It?
One mom wants to know how much involvement is too much with her child's assignements.
My nine-year old child doesn’t seem to make doing his homework a
priority. Sometimes he misses deadlines on assignments. I just want to
sit there and watch that he completes his schoolwork. Is this the best
Not if you want his homework to become his priority. The
homework battle seems to plague every house in the world. This is
because we as a society put so much stock in the education process. But
the problem has very little to do with school. Homework just happens to
provide a very convenient territory on which to battle for control.
Who’s life is this? That’s the real question here. We parents are
reluctant to give over this area of life to our children because we
fear they will never take it as seriously as they need to (or we need
We then allow this fear to shape our vision of the future,
wondering if they’ll ever get an education, if they’ll ever get a job,
and so on. So, we think, we had better nip this lack of motivation
thing right in the bud, right now, by forcing them to do homework and
get good grades, even if it means hovering over them every night until
they’re eighteen! What inevitably happens, however, is that we actually
prevent them from ever adopting their education as their own.
As long as we feel responsible for them and their education
(which we equate with their whole future!), then they never feel
responsible for themselves. But when we can calm our anxiety about
their school, then we can be responsible to them in new ways. This
means offering to help but only if they request it. This means
inquiring about progress but in the same way we might ask a friend
about how their job is going. This means pursuing our own life and our
own continuing education.