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How to Deal with Homework Frustration As a Parent

Last Updated: June 22, 2022

This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS . Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011. This article has been viewed 7,532 times.

When your child struggles with their homework, they may become frustrated or upset. In turn, this may cause them to act out, and you may wind up frustrated yourself. Fortunately, there are ways you can help your child calm down when they begin to become agitated. There are also strategies you can use to help them work through challenging assignments, and to help ensure homework sessions go more smoothly moving forward.

Overcoming Homework Frustration Together

Step 1 Acknowledge your child’s frustration.

  • Instead of becoming frustrated yourself, try talking to your child calmly. Start with a brief, sympathetic statement. For instance, say “I’m sorry your homework is stressful today,” or “I know it can be frustrating when an assignment is hard to understand.”
  • Then, let your child know that there is more than just one way to accomplish a task and that you will help them to find a way that will work for them. Say something like, “There is a way for you to get this done that will be less frustrating and I will help you figure it out.”

Step 2 Recommend a break.

  • Direct them to breathe in through their nose deeply and slowly for five seconds, and then release slowly through their mouth.
  • If you do lose your temper and shout at your child, apologize to them and remind yourself they need your help.
  • Once everyone is relaxed again, say something like, “Alright let’s have a look at this homework together.”

Step 4 Try to identify the source of frustration.

  • Listen to your child's response and respond with a way they can handle a similar situation differently in the future.
  • For instance, if they say, "I got mad because it was too hard," point out that they were able to complete the assignment, and had just gotten stuck on one problem. Then say, "Next time, you know you can always ask me or your teacher about parts of your assignment that don't make sense, right?"

Step 5 Don’t demand perfection.

  • Furthermore, anticipate and accept the fact that you will likely have a verbal battle about homework at one point or another.
  • If you find yourself getting frustrated when your child struggles with homework, take a moment afterwards to reflect. In particular, remind yourself that growing up involves plenty of challenges for children, and that your patient support will help them immeasurably. It is very important to work through challenges with your child rather than expecting them to figure it out on their own.

Helping Your Child Work on Their Homework

Step 1 Ask your child if they understand the assignment.

  • If they are not clearly able to explain the assignment, look it over yourself and see if it makes sense to you.
  • If you are able to understand the assignment, help them get started - but only enough to ensure they understand what they need to do. Then allow them to finish the assignment themselves.
  • Talk with your child’s teachers about the assignments and encourage your child to talk to their teachers when they don’t understand something. Let your child know that their teachers are there to help them.

Step 2 Correct rude or panicked speaking.

  • For instance, correct your child when they something like, “You’re wrong!” by saying, “It’s okay to think that I’m wrong, but try saying it differently.”
  • Offer them examples too, such as “Mom, I don’t think that’s how I’m supposed to do it.”
  • If your child starts to berate themselves, then correct them. For example, if your child says something like, “I am so stupid! I am never going to understand this!” reframe it by saying, “You are smart and you can figure this out.”

Step 3 Have someone else help them.

  • For instance, maybe a grandparent can help more peacefully.
  • Alternatively, consider searching for an older student to help tutor your child after school. Your child’s school may be able to help facilitate this arrangement.

Step 4 Talk to your child’s teacher.

  • If you think the homework your child is bringing home may be too challenging for them or for students their age, don't hesitate to mention this to their teacher.
  • If your child's teacher is not receptive to your input or does not provide adequate responses to your questions, speak with an administrator at the school about any unresolved concerns you have.

Encouraging Good Homework Habits

Step 1 Establish a homework plan together.

  • A half an hour will often be more than enough for grade school children, while an hour may be better for middle and high school aged kids.
  • Early evening is usually ideal. Avoid asking your child to do their homework right after school, unless this works for them. Some kids do better with homework on an empty stomach, while others may need to eat a meal and wait a bit before they can focus.
  • Make sure to give your child a chance to relax and decompress after school before they get into their homework. For example, you might make your child a snack and let them play a game or play outside for about 30 minutes to an hour before starting their homework.

Step 2 Encourage younger children to work in a communal area.

  • Avoid watching television or messing around on your phone while your child is working. Not only are these potentially distracting, they may also seem unfair to your child.
  • Set up a workspace for your child that is free of distractions. For example, you could clear the kitchen or dining room table so that your child can complete their homework there.

Step 3 Allow older children to work where they prefer to do so.

  • Favor language that praises their effort, as opposed to their ability. For instance, say things like, “I can see you’re working very hard on your homework. Good job!”

Step 5 Avoid threatening language.

Expert Q&A

You might also like.

Punish a Child that Was Suspended from School

  • ↑ http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/supporting-your-learner/struggling-academically/
  • ↑ http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/deal-with-homework/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pride-and-joy/201209/battles-over-homework-advice-parents
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/help-teen-homework.html?WT.ac=en-p-homework-help-a#

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40 Top Parenting Tips for Navigating Homework Challenges

Top Parenting Tips for Navigating Homework Challenges

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

  • October 6, 2023

Navigating the intricacies of homework assignments can often feel like a maze for both parents and children alike. As someone deeply involved in child development and having worked closely with many educators, I've gathered a wealth of insights into establishing a solid homework routine. 

This article is a compilation of those tried-and-tested homework tips, aimed to ease challenges and enhance productivity. Whether you're looking to foster a deeper connection with your child's teacher or seeking effective strategies to prioritize tasks, I'm here to guide you.

Homework Tips for Parents: Break the Stress and Boost Learning Hacks from a Children’s Psychologist

Homework tip: setting up the environment.

  • Establish a Routine: Set a specific time and place for homework to create consistency and predictability.
  • Routine Consistency: Keep the routine consistent, even on weekends, so the child knows what to expect.
  • Provide a Quiet Space: Ensure your child has a quiet, well-lit, and comfortable place to work, free from distractions. 
  • Limit Distractions: Keep TVs, mobile phones, and other distracting electronics off during homework time.
  • Limit Overall Stimuli: A clutter-free workspace can reduce distractions. Try to minimize items on their workspace that they might fidget with or get distracted by.
  • Stay Organized: Use planners, calendars, or apps to keep track of assignment due dates.
  • Equip the Space: Stock the homework area with essential supplies such as pencils, paper, erasers, and rulers

Homework Tip: Instruction Support

  • Clear and Concise Instructions: Ensure instructions are short and to the point. Use visuals and watch for body language signals that show understanding.

Homework Tip - Give Clear and Concise Instructions

  • Break Tasks Into Manageable Chunks : If an assignment is extensive, break it down into smaller steps to make it more manageable.
  • Chunking Information: Divide information into smaller, more digestible chunks. This can make the work seem more manageable.
  • Set Time Limits: Use a timer to allocate specific amounts of time for each task, helping children stay on track.
  • Timers: Use a visual timer, so they can see how much time they have left to work. This can make the passage of time more tangible.
  • Teach Time Management: Help them prioritize their tasks, tackling more challenging or urgent assignments first.
  • Stay Involved: Regularly check in with your child about their assignments and progress, offering guidance when needed.
  • Interactive Tools: Consider using interactive educational tools or apps that can make learning more engaging for them.
  • Ask Them To Explain What The Task Is: Gage what your child understands before they start the task. This will help set them in the right direction and give you a sense of what they know.

Homework Tip: Brain Hacks

  • Physical Activity: Encourage short bursts of physical activity during breaks, like jumping jacks or a quick walk around the block. Physical activity can help increase attention span.
  • Encourage Breaks: For longer homework sessions, ensure kids take short breaks to rest their minds and bodies.
  • Offer Healthy Snacks : Brain-boosting snacks can help maintain energy and focus during study time. Fizzy drinks such as a seltzer-magnesium drink can stimulate and calm the brain.
  • Shorter Work Periods: Divide homework time into shorter, more frequent sessions. For instance, instead of a continuous 30-minute session, try three 10-minute sessions with short breaks in between.
  • Visual Schedules: Use visual aids like charts or diagrams to outline the tasks that need completion. This can help them understand what's expected and track their progress.
  • Tactile Tools: For some children, using tactile tools like stress balls or fidget toys can help them channel their extra energy and maintain focus.

Homework Tip - Brain Hacks

  • Background Music: Some children focus better with low-volume, non-distracting background music or white noise. But others are stressed by it , so play around and do what works best for them (not you!). 
  • Color Coding: Use colors to categorize and prioritize tasks. This can help visually differentiate and organize their work.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, visualization, or even short meditation sessions can help center their attention.

Homework Tip: Monitoring, Communication and Positive Reinforcement

  • Stay Positive : In your own mindset. Focus on the effort and improvements, not just the end result. Praise hard work and resilience.
  • Encourage Independence Over Time: While it's essential to offer support, allow kids to complete assignments on their own as they build skills before you check the work. This fosters responsibility and self-reliance.
  • Be Available for Questions: Make sure your child knows they can come to you if they have questions or need clarification on a topic.
  • Connect Learning to Real Life: Help your child see the real-world applications of what they're learning to make it more engaging.
  • Review Completed Assignments: Go over finished homework to ensure understanding and check for errors, but avoid doing the work for them.
  • Explain Consequences and Establish Rewards: Positive reinforcement can motivate your child. Consider rewards for consistent homework completion.
  • Encourage a Growth Mindset: Teach your child to see challenges as opportunities for growth. Emphasize the value of persistence and learning from mistakes. Talk to kids about how regular practice builds skills even when the learning is hard!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reinforce positive behavior immediately. If they've focused well for a short span, reward that effort to encourage repetition of the desired behavior.
  • Active Participation: Encourage them to engage actively with their work, such as reading aloud or teaching the content back to you. This can reinforce their understanding and attention.
  • Regular Check-ins: Check in more frequently during their homework sessions, offering guidance, encouraging movement to support brain alertness.
  • Immediate Feedback: Give immediate feedback on their work. This keeps them engaged and lets them know they're on the right track.
  • Open Communication: Ensure your child feels comfortable discussing their challenges with you. Sometimes, they might have insights into what might help them focus better.

Long Game Parent Homework Tips

  • Stay Informed: If your child has a diagnosed attention disorder, like ADHD, stay updated with the latest strategies and recommendations specific to their needs. You can join our CALM Brain Parenting Community for science-backed solutions to support attention and learning. 
  • Stay in Touch with Teachers: Regular communication with educators can give insights into how your child is doing and where they might need additional help. They may benefit from school accommodations or more formal IEP support .
  • Seek External Support: If focus issues persist, consider seeking help from a tutor, educational therapist, or counselor familiar with attention challenges.

Reflecting on these pivotal parent homework tips, it becomes evident that with the right strategies, we can turn potential struggles into stepping stones for success. By instilling a consistent homework routine and maintaining open communication with your child, we're setting the stage for academic achievements. 

Each child is a unique individual, and it's crucial to discover what resonates best with them during homework time. It is also important to look for root causes better and better understand why your child is struggling . 

With these tools at your disposal, I'm confident in your ability to lead your child through the myriad tasks and challenges that lie ahead. Together, let's make every homework session a journey of growth and discovery and tamp down frustration!

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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Grab your complimentary copy of 147 Therapist-Endorsed Self-Regulation Strategies for Children: A Practical Guide for Parents

You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health , Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s professional speaking page to see how we can work together.

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional (CIMHP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

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Frustrations over Homework? Practice this Coping Strategy…

parenting homework frustration

Research confirms that short breaks help a person’s brain refresh and process. Staring at the page may not produce any new thinking in your child and in fact, staying there when irritated can burn valuable fuel and decrease motivation to put in the hard work necessary to get through the learning process.

But if he walks away, gets some fresh air, or moves a bit, he might feel differently. This small change of scenery can boost thinking skills in powerful ways. He can think more clearly and become a better problem-solver when he returns. He may even gain some new ideas or solutions to his problem removed from the work setting. This functions in the same way that we experience the “shower effect.” Do you get your best ideas in the shower too? Or perhaps your most creative thoughts come when you are driving in the car with no laptop or notepad at the ready? Or maybe when you’ve laid down to go to sleep for the night, your brain starts firing off brilliant thoughts. In order to access our top thinking skills, we require a mental rest. Consider that a short brain break for your child is working with their natural thinking processes to facilitate them, not fight against them.

So although our intention to promote grit and “stick-to-attive-ness” in our children comes from a genuine hope to help them be successful, teaching and promoting brain breaks can help children learn to manage their emotions more effectively while working. And in addition, they may be able to extend their focused attention when they return to work with added motivation from the fuel they’ve gained.

Here are some simple ways to teach, practice, and promote the essential brain break.

Talk about the Brain Break during a regular (non-frustrating) homework time.

Or if homework is consistently frustrating, then pick a non-homework time to talk about how to take brain breaks.

Brainstorm ideas.

See if you can come up with a few ideas together. What can your child do when taking a brain break? You might ask: “ What makes you feel better or gives you comfort when you’re feeling frustrated? ” You can share some restorative ideas like walking outside and breathing in the fresh air, doing some jumping jacks or a yoga pose, getting a drink of water, or visiting a favorite stuffed friend. For young children, imitate your favorite animal. Hop like a bunny or jump from limb to limb like a squirrel. For older children, listen to your favorite song or play on a musical instrument. Have your child write or draw their ideas. Keep that paper in your homework location so that when it’s needed, you can remind your child to take a look at what ideas she’s had and pick one. Daniel Goleman’s book entitled “ Focus; The Hidden Driver of Excellence ” recommends getting outside in nature as one of the most restorative (and just stepping outside your front door counts!). He also writes that checking email, surfing the web, or playing video games are not restorative so avoid those when you are generating brain break ideas.

Discuss school brain breaks.

Yes, brain breaks are key at school too. But does your child’s teacher offer them? Even if they do, they are likely structured breaks for all students and may not serve your own child’s needs at the moment she has them. Help her learn self-management skills by figuring out what she can do in the midst of frustrating moments when she is sitting at her desk completing a worksheet or taking a test. Because mindfulness simply means becoming aware of your body and your thoughts and feelings (and holding compassion for those feelings – not judgement), it can be done anywhere. Your child could count to ten slowly while breathing deeply. Your child could tap each finger on her page individually while breathing noticing the touching sensation. She could wiggle each toe in her shoes noticing how that feels. These pauses can help her bring her focus back to her work.

Set a timer.

Brain breaks should not be long. After all, your child has work to accomplish and especially on school nights, time is limited. So allow enough time to move away and change the perspective but not so much time that your child gets involved in another activity. One to three minutes could be enough to accomplish that goal. Also, put your child in charge of the timer. You don’t want to be the one managing this break. Give your child that responsibility.

Do a dry run.

Practice is important before using it. Include deep breathing in your practice. For young children, try out hot chocolate breathing or teddy bear breathing to practice this important part of the break. For older children, you can merely count to ten while breathing or exaggerate the sound of your deep breathing together. Call “ brain break. ” Move away from work, breathe deeply, and try out your child’s idea for one restorative practice. This practice will ensure that she is well-rehearsed and can call upon that memory when she’s feeling frustrated and taken over by her flight or fight survival brain.

Notice, remind, and reinforce through reflection.

After you’ve generated ideas and practiced, then notice when you see your child getting frustrated. You might say, “ I notice you have a frustrated look on your face. Would a brain break help ?” Then after she does a brain break and her homework is complete, reflect. “ Did that help you and how did it help you? ” in order to maximize her learning.

For parents, teaching and promoting brain breaks with your child can serve as a helpful reminder to us. Yes, we also require brain breaks as we deal with a myriad of responsibilities and attempt to use focused attention with our child, as well as our work, as well as our household and social responsibilities. If you notice you are feeling overloaded with it all, how can you incorporate brain breaks into your own day to help you become more effective? I think I’ll take one…right now.

For Educators, check out this great article on Edutopia on how to incorporate brain breaks and other focusing activities into your daily classroom routines.

Brain Breaks and Focused Attention Practices

References:

Goleman, D. (2013). Focus; The hidden driven of excellence . NY: Harper Collins.

Kim et al. (2018). Daily micro-breaks and job performance: General work engagement as a cross-level moderator. Journal of Applied Psychology. 103 (7) 772-786.

Originally published on February 17, 2019.

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Category: Building a Positive Family Environment Tags: brain breaks , Coping skills , Dealing with big feelings , frustrating homework , homework frustrations , learning challenges , Self-management , upset during homework

11 Comments on “Frustrations over Homework? Practice this Coping Strategy…”

Thanks for your share. There are as many ways to learn as there are people. Since college, I found methods for learning that reduced after school study time from 20 hours to nearly none. As a teacher, I shared some of these ideas, but encouraged the kids to find what works for them. They could use what I shared, try it, but find what works for them. Here’s what I shared: As the teacher lectures, read the book/text (splitting attention for high functioning students), or read the book soon after the lecture (which I gave time). I would take notes as the teacher talked, but also summarize paragraphs as I read (like one or two phrases each). I also got into the habit of drawing pictures to explain each page (main point). Now, this sounds complex, but it isn’t, all happening at the same time. She lectures, I’m reading and listening: listening for the main points. As I’m reading, I’m summarizing paragraphs and drawing pictures so I can visualize what is happening. At home, all I do is read the notes and look at the pictures, while it’s fresh, to review. Never had to study for tests except to review the notes and think about them. The students who understood this improved in grades. I taught them to learn through understanding, not memorization. Understand and all the pieces fit. Some kids used aspects of this, borrowing, but including their own ideas. The main thing is to understand as you go.

Wow! Thank you sincerely for sharing how you study and advise others! This is so excellent. I really appreciate how you incorporate multiple ways of grappling with the material as you are learning it – summarizing, drawing pictures. These are terrific study methods. I think this is a blog article of the future since very few schools actually take the time to teach study skills. Are you a parent too? My criteria for writing an guest article is that you are a parent (of an 0-18 year old in your household) and have experience/expertise in child development or social and emotional development. If you are interested and fit that criteria, I hope you’ll email me at [email protected] . Thanks for the excellent comment! Best, Jennifer

You’re not going to beleive me when I explain. I was married once, but no children. However, as a teacher, I gathered that if I didn’t have my own children, the work of teaching would be worth the time. But, I think, my friends and family would tell you they think I’m unusual. I’m not. I simply wanted to understand learning and how best to learn, since I hated school while growing up and looked for easier ways. I’ll share something, and people can read my site for other articles (Those articles aren’t the most popular, because writing seems to block the communication that happens in person.). This was when I trained a horse. I had learned some riding in college, then helped people learn beginning riding in summer camp. But I had never trained a horse. **One day, while at work, a friend told me of another friend who was looking for someone to train his 2/3 year old thoroughbred horse. It had never been trained, never been saddled: basically, it was a pet. So, I told him I could train the horse. He didn’t ask if I had ever trained a horse, just if I could. Of course I could. Had no idea what was going to happen. I read one book on the horse whisperer and one magazine about horse training tips. I thought about horses. I knew I liked them, been around them while learning riding, so I figured all would be good. Then, I thought about what training might look like, visualized lessons, wrote down ideas, then went one step at a time. Met the horse, with the owner. Got to know the horse. Two weeks later, we could walk, trot, cantor, gallop, walk backwards, and open gates while sitting on the horse. But we were a partnership. I just listened to what the horse was telling me. This isn’t hard. It’s just all too many of us have been educated out of our common sense. We’ve lost that innate knowing that children have. When I teach, I try to support what children already have, teaching them to trust themselves, but they must do the work. Hope this helps.

Oh my goodness! I love it! I love your example of training a horse and how you learned what you could be then and then deep dove into a partnership of learning with the horse. That’s beautiful! That is how we all learn, isn’t it? It’s just that we adults seem to run into many fears and barriers as we attempt to let go of some of the control while we allow for our learning partner to try and take chances and experiment. It’s a dance for sure. I also love that you hated school but loved figuring out how learning takes place and how you could do it in a way that your students actually derived joy from the experience. Just wonderful! Thank you for writing! You have a whole lot of wisdom to share! Glad you are blogging about it! Please keep in touch. Best, Jennifer

By the way, Jennifer, you’re one of the reasons I keep trying to encourage others to see how easy learning is.

Thank for that comment! I appreciate it. I too am a student of learning and think we can gain a whole lot from learning from our children!

Good ideas. L,M >

Hi Jennifer, Brain break tricks you shared are really helpful for parents , teachers and students as well. Not every time one can go for vacation or on a trip. Many parents feel helpless when they see kids struggling with their work. I am sure if they document such tips and tricks and go through it every if and then, then it would be more helpful for them. ‘Deep breath’ technique is really wonderful for elders as well, it calms and fresh you up with in minutes. School and tuition teachers also need to learn and use such tactics to involve kids in better way. Thanks for sharing.

Zayden, I agree! Breaks and teaching coping strategies can be such empowering tools for parents as they support learning at home. Appreciate your feedback! 🙂 Jennifer

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Yes, You Can Opt Your Kids Out of Homework—Here’s How

One mom says her kids haven't been doing homework for years. Here's how she opted them out and what experts say.

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

When Juliana Porter thinks about the feeling that homework induces, one word comes to mind: dread. With afternoon and evening time constraints, the North Carolina mom of three wants her kids to have some time to relax and unwind, so homework is often pushed until during or after dinnertime.  

“The subject we’ve found to be the most challenging is math, in large part because strategies and ‘show your work’ are often required to get correct answers,” says Porter. “But as parents who are not in the class to learn new methods, we’re not able to help. Or we can help, but it’s not the correct method being taught and adds to our child’s confusion. These at-home cram sessions usually end in frustration for both child and parent.”

The Porter family’s experience isn’t unique. Research published in the Child & Youth Care Forum found more than 25% of parents and kids say homework “always or often interferes with family time and creates a power struggle,” while more than 36% of kids say homework sometimes forces them to get less sleep in grades 3 to 6. According to Stanford research , 56% of students surveyed say homework is a primary source of stress.

While many families do their best to help their children complete homework with as little frustration as possible, my family has chosen a different option: to simply skip it. And I don’t mean just skipping it on the nights it's difficult either. For four years, my family has totally opted out of homework, which I’ve learned doesn’t produce enough benefits for the stress it causes. And I want other parents to know that opting out of homework is an option for their kids, too.

Homework: How to Opt Out

If your child goes to an open admissions public school, opting out of homework can be something you consider. While it may be a particularly good choice if homework is causing major household stress, you don’t have to wait until your child is miserable to act if they (or you) would simply prefer to spend the time in other ways. There are no legal requirements that students complete work outside of school hours and, for many children, the actual determinants of homework outweigh the theoretical benefits. 

To opt out, I send a note to each of my children's teachers at the beginning of the year letting them know that my child will not be completing homework, that their overall grade should not be impacted, and that they should not be penalized in any way for not turning in homework assignments.

I also let them know that we're committed to our kids' education, that we read together most evenings, and that, if my child is struggling or needs extra support in any subject, we're happy to brainstorm solutions to help them get the practice they need. Though no teachers have pushed back yet (and several have told us they wish they were not required to assign homework and that more families knew they could opt out), we have a small folder of research on the detriments of homework that we could share with an administrator if needed. 

Opting out has worked well for our family but implicit bias might mean that other families don't receive the same neutral or positive reaction that our white family does. 

"Many minoritized and historically marginalized families never consider opting out of homework, even when they know that it's not meaningful," says Sequoya Mungo, Ph.D. , an educational equity consultant and co-founder of BrownLight Inc. , a company helping to create positive diversity and inclusion results in educational, nonprofit, and corporate environments. "When white families make these types of educational choices, they are viewed as forward-thinking and seen as advocates for their children's education. Teachers and others often think that they're being proactive and identifying other enrichment opportunities for their kids. When non-middle class and non-white families opt out, the assumption is that parents don't value education and don't want to, or are unable to, help their kids with homework.” 

According to Dr. Mungo, coming with research or policy can be helpful as even some school level administrators are unaware that opting out is within your rights as parents. “The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to not be met with pushback.” 

Why Families May Want to Opt Out of Homework

Since homework is so prevalent, many assume it's vital, or at least important, to kids' academic growth. But the reality is murkier. "There's really no good evidence that homework completion positively impacts kids' academic growth or achievement," says Samantha Cleaver, Ph.D. , a reading interventionist and author of Raising an Active Reader: The Case for Reading Aloud to Engage Elementary School Youngsters . 

A 2006 meta-analysis of homework and achievement found moderate correlation in middle school and little correlation in elementary school, while there was negative correlation (that is, more homework means less learning) in third grade and below.

While research shows homework can help high school kids improve grades, test results, and likelihood of going to college, the reality is academic pressures in the U.S. have increased over the last two decades, and so too has the amount of homework that kids are assigned. The National Education Association (NEA) recommends no more than 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level, but that's often not what's happening. According to a 2015 study, elementary school students are being assigned more than is recommended , sometimes almost triple the amount. And, often, even when educators are assigning homework they think falls in this window, it can take some students, particularly those who are “behind” already or who have learning disabilities, much more time to complete. 

Excessive homework can negatively impact sleep, mental health, and stress levels. It’s also important to note homework is an issue of equity, since not every child has the same opportunities at home. "When kids are doing work in school, the classroom environment serves as somewhat of an equalizer,'' says Dr. Mungo. "Kids have access to the same teacher and generally the same resources within the classroom setting. At home, kids have different environments, different access to resources, and different levels of support." This means kids with less support and more challenges often end up getting lower grades or being penalized for not turning in work for reasons totally outside their control.

Making Change on Homework

Parents who don't want to be the only ones opting out can work to change the homework culture at their school. Consider reaching out to your principal about your homework concerns or connecting with other parents or the PTA to help build support for your cause.

And if you do opt out, don't be shy about letting other parents know that's what you've chosen to do. Sometimes just knowing there is an option and that others have opted out successfully can help families decide what's right for them.

What to Do With the Extra Time

When Porter thinks about what a life without homework would be like, she envisions a much more relaxed evening routine. “I imagine a scenario where my kids can do their after-school activities, read more, get outside, and generally just decompress from the daily eight-hour grind that is school with no more dread and no more crying,” she says.

If you opt out of homework and find your family with more time for other sorts of learning, leisure, or adventure, be thoughtful how you’ll structure your new routine and talk with your kids about the value of doing nothing, the importance of family time, or how to spend their time in ways that matter to them.

And if you want to be sure they're getting in some valuable post-school learning, consider repurposing your previous homework time to reading with your kids. "Reading aloud has benefits long after your kids can read on their own," says Dr. Cleaver. "Encourage them to choose books about subjects they're interested in, snuggle up together, and enjoy watching them learn through active reading."

But reading isn’t the only way to reap benefits. "There are lots of things that kids can do after school that will positively impact their growth and development that don't involve sitting down to do more of the work they've done at school,'' says Dr. Cleaver. "Time to decompress through play or relaxation isn't just fun, it actually helps kids' brains and bodies relax, making them more open to learning."

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Homework Battles: When Parent Help Negatively Affects Students

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parenting homework frustration

Homework has become as much work for parents as it is for kids in many families when parents slog through assignments together with their kids every night. They see it as part of their parental duty to help their children. But when it comes to assisting kids with challenging subjects or an unfamiliar way of learning -- like the new Common Core math standards and homework that requires approaches very different from those learned in previous generations -- frustration that builds from struggling over the homework can foster anxiety.

A study conducted by researchers at the Human Performance Lab at the University of Chicago has found that if parents have high levels of math anxiety and give a lot of homework help (more than two to three times a week), they can have a negative impact on their child’s math achievement and increase their child’s math anxiety.

“This is one of the first studies to look at how math anxiety is produced,” said Erin Maloney, lead author on the study. Researchers have already established that a teacher’s math anxiety negatively affects student performance over the course of the year and leads female students to endorse negative stereotypes about girls’ math abilities. For this study, Maloney and her co-authors Gerardo Ramirez, Elizabeth A. Gunderson, Susan C. Levine and Sian L. Beilock statistically controlled for teachers' math anxiety and content knowledge, along with the socioeconomic status of the children.

“Kids as young as first grade really do report high anxiety about math and that anxiety is linked to their math achievement,” Maloney said. The study found a caregiver’s math anxiety negatively impacted both male and female children equally. And, the effects were bigger the more anxious a parent was and the more often they helped with homework. While not a study of female caregivers in particular, 89 percent of primary caregivers in this study were women.

The study was done with a large sample size of children in first and second grade that was designed to be representative of the Illinois state population. Students in the study completed tests measuring math, reading and math anxiety in the first 12 weeks of school. They were tested again in the last 8 weeks of school. Parents were given a 25-question survey that asked questions about how they feel in various real-world situations requiring math, like tipping at a restaurant.

“When parents are really high in math anxiety, their children, both boys and girls, learn less math over the school year and become more anxious over the school year,” Maloney said, but only in cases where the primary care provider helped with homework frequently.

The effects of math anxiety on achievement are well documented. Stanford researchers did brain scans of children solving math problems. In math-anxious children, the part of the brain tasked with handling negative emotions was overactive, whereas the math problem solving parts of the brain were diminished. The children’s fear was interfering with their ability to use problem solving skills.

Sian Beilock and her colleagues at the Human Performance Lab posited that math anxiety was taking up students’ working memory, impeding their ability to succeed on tests. They asked students to write about their math anxiety before a test . By offloading those negative emotions first, the intervention has produced encouraging results in the classroom.

But what are parents to do with this new information?

“It’s really not enough for us as educators to just say ‘get involved,’” Maloney said. She believes researchers and educators need to develop better tools for parents to understand the math their children are working on so they can help appropriately. Unfamiliar teaching methods heighten the math anxiety that’s already found in many American adults.

When parents feel frustrated by homework

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Kathryn Lee from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence offers ideas on how to handle homework stress.

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Think you’re frustrated? Watch this child explain how homework makes him feel .

Try any or all of these tips 7 helpful tips to get homework done with a minimum of tears .

Or maybe these 7 tips will work better for you and your child.

Deborah Tillman, known as “America’s Supernanny,” shares her homework strategies .

Here’s how Raising Happiness  author and child development expert Christine Carter responds when her kids say, “I hate homework!”

What does research say?  Does homework really help?

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parenting homework frustration

How to Reduce Homework Stress

If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

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Author Katie Wickliff

parenting homework frustration

Published March 2024

parenting homework frustration

 If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

  • Key takeaways
  • Homework stress can be a significant problem for children and their families
  • An appropriate amount of quality homework can be beneficial for students
  • Parents can help reduce homework stress in several key ways

Table of contents

  • Homework stress effects
  • How to reduce homework stress

As a parent who has felt the frustration of watching my child be reduced to tears because of her homework each night, I’ve often wondered: do these math worksheets and reading trackers really make a difference to a child’s academic success? Or does homework cause stress without having a positive impact on learning? 

If your child experiences a significant amount of homework stress, you may feel at a loss to help. However, there are several things you can do at home to minimize the negative effects of this stress on your child–and you! We’ve put together a list of research-based practices that can help your child better handle their homework load.

The Effects of Homework Stress on Students

Does homework cause stress? Short answer: Yes. It’s been well documented that too much homework can cause stress and anxiety for students–and their parents. However, do the benefits of homework outweigh the costs? Is homework “worth” the frustration and exhaustion that our children experience? 

Findings on the benefits of homework at the elementary school level are mixed, with studies showing that homework appears to have more positive effects under certain conditions for certain groups of students.

After examining decades of studies on the relationship between homework and academic achievement, leading homework researcher Harris M. Cooper has proposed the “10-minute rule,” suggesting that homework be limited to 10 minutes per grade level. For example, children in 3rd grade should do no more than 30 minutes of homework daily, while a 1st grader should do no more than 10 minutes of homework. The National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association both endorse this guideline as a general rule of thumb. 

Because of these research findings, Doodle believes that an appropriate amount of quality homework can help students feel more positive about learning and can provide parents with a critical connection to their child’s school experience . But to keep learning positive, we need to reduce the amount of stress both students and parents feel about homework.

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

Creating an after-school routine and sticking to it helps children feel organized, but with sports, tutoring, or music lessons, many children have varying weekday schedules. As a former classroom teacher and private tutor, I suggest that families post a weekly schedule somewhere visible and communicate that schedule with their child. 

At our house, we have a dry-erase calendar posted on the wall. Every Sunday evening, I write both of my children’s schedules for the following week–including homework time. We go through the calendar together, and they reference it often throughout the week. I can tell both my son and daughter feel better when they know when they’ll get their homework done.

2. Create a Homework Space

Ideally, your child should have a dedicated homework space. It doesn’t matter if that space is a desk, a dining room table, or a kitchen countertop. What does matter is that the homework area is tidy, because an unorganized homework area is very distracting.

3. Start Homework Early

Encourage your child to start their homework as early as possible. Help them review their assignments, make a plan for what needs to be completed, and then dive in. Naturally, children are more tired later in the evening which can lead to more stress.

4. Encourage Breaks

If you can see your child becoming frustrated or overwhelmed by their homework, encourage them to take a breather and come back to it later. As a teacher and tutor, I called this a “brain break” and believe these breaks are essential. Taking a short break will give your child a chance to step away from a frustrating problem or assignment.

5. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes, homework can become just too stressful and overwhelming. In that case, it really is okay to stop. Children can learn to advocate for themselves by making a list of questions for their teacher and asking for help the next day. Depending on their age, you might need to help role-play how to approach their teacher with their frustrations. 

Additionally, parents should never feel afraid to contact their child’s teacher to talk about homework issues. When I was teaching elementary school, I always wanted parents to feel comfortable reaching out about any issues, including homework stress.

6. Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is critical to a child’s overall wellbeing , which includes their academic performance. Tired kids can’t concentrate as well, which can lead to feeling more overwhelmed about homework assignments. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, kids aged 6-12 should get at least 9 hours of sleep each night.

7. Consider a Homework Group

Organizing a homework group a few times a week is another way for your child to view homework more positively. Working as a group encourages collaboration, while discussions can solidify concepts learned in class.

8. Encourage Positivity

No matter what your school experience was like, it’s important to model a growth mindset for your child. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can develop and improve over time. So if your child says something like “ I can’t do this! ” first acknowledge their frustration. Then, encourage them to say, “ I may not understand this yet, but I will figure it out. ” Speaking positively about tough experiences takes practice, but it will go a long way in reducing homework stress for your child.

9. Develop Skills With Fun Games

Feeling stressed about homework is no fun. Completing worksheets and memorizing facts is necessary, but playing games is a great way to inject some excitement into learning. Doodle’s interactive math app is filled with interactive exercises, engaging math games, and unique rewards that help kids develop their skills while having fun.

Lower Math Anxiety with DoodleMath

Does your child struggle with math anxiety? DoodleMath is an award-winning math app f illed with fun, interactive math questions aligned to state standards. Doodle creates a unique work program tailored to each child’s skill level to boost confidence and reduce math anxiety. Try it free  today!

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FAQs About Homework Stress

parenting homework frustration

Many studies have shown that homework and stress often go hand-in-hand, often because many children feel pressure to perform perfectly or they have trouble managing their emotions–they get overwhelmed or flooded easily.

You can help your child reduce homework stress in several ways, including by establishing a routine, creating a homework space, encouraging breaks, and making homework fun with online games or math apps.

parenting homework frustration

Lesson credits

Katie Wickliff headshot

Katie Wickliff

Katie holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in both Journalism and English from The University of Iowa. She has over 15 years of education experience as a K-12 classroom teacher and Orton-Gillingham certified tutor. Most importantly, Katie is the mother of two elementary students, ages 8 and 11. She is passionate about math education and firmly believes that the right tools and support will help every student reach their full potential.

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Homework Help! Seven Tips to Ease Frustration & Boost Focus

by Christa Melnyk Hines

July 27, 2021

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By the time Meira Mednick’s daughter was in third grade, homework time had morphed into lengthy, embattled evenings fraught with angry tears as frustrated daughter and frazzled mom squared off.

“My daughter began showing signs of difficulty in focus on homework in kindergarten. By second grade we were drowning,” Mednick says.

Mednick tried tactics like feeding her first grader an early dinner as soon as she got home from school and giving her time to relax before starting homework. Instead, Mednick says, “We ended up spending the next two years in a tug-of-war of time, and many tears were shed.”

Many parents can relate and dread the contentious homework hour, which can plunder an otherwise peaceful evening. For kiddos who struggle to tune out distractions and concentrate on the task at hand, sitting down to do homework doesn’t rank high on their list of priorities.

Thanks to the distractions of technology, the inability to focus is a growing problem in our culture. The number of children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that ADHD is “one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood.” 

Experts agree: The ability to focus is crucial to achieving goals. How can we create a more calming homework atmosphere that will enhance our child’s ability to concentrate and get the job done quickly––without the draining drama?

Work in short bursts. Kids get overwhelmed with long worksheets and multiple assignments. Break homework into timed chunks. After a busy day at school, parents can typically expect their youngsters to focus on a task for one minute for each year of their age. That means a 6-year-old should be given a two- or three-minute break every six minutes. 

“Expecting 30 minutes of homework out of a first grader isn’t realistic without breaks,” says Rachel Rudman, a pediatric occupational therapist.

The timed approach made a big difference for Mednick’s daughter.

“Previously, she would be discouraged even before picking up a pencil. By having a timed environment, she knew that she could tackle one interval at a time,” says Mednick, whose daughter is now an eighth grade honors student. 

Create smart brain breaks. During the timed breaks, engage your child in short activities that help reorganize and refocus the brain, like jumping jacks, playing with Legos or play dough, or snacking on crunchy carrots or pretzel rods or something chewy such as fruit leather.

Blowing up a balloon can also help ease frustrations. “Blowing forces the child to take deep breaths, which increases relaxation and focus,” Rudman says.

Avoid electronics, which can be harder to pull a child away from.

Strike a pose. Yoga stretches and breathing exercises can calm and re-energize a tired body. Balancing poses, like bird or airplane, and a full body twist combine breathing and concentrated stretching movements.

“Balancing poses require a level of concentration that are a great way to strengthen those ‘focus muscles’ and create a body and mind that is strong and relaxed,” says Mariam Gates, the author of the new children’s book Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story .

Integrate natural elements. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that including ornamental plants in a learning area can further enhance a child’s ability to concentrate and learn.

“And weirdly, the more involved the child is in the plant’s life or maintenance, the more learning goes on,” says Magalie Rene, a classroom design consultant, who works with parents and schools to create study spaces that foster learning.

Place a plant in your home’s study area and have your child water it as a transitionary cue before beginning homework, Rene suggests.

Chew gum. Although the “no gum allowed” rule was grilled into our psyches when we were students, more schools now allow kids to chew gum during state assessments. The chewing movement has an organizing effect on the brain and can help kids focus.

Energize with aromatherapy. Scent can have a powerful effect on our emotional well-being. Fill a spray bottle with water and two or three drops of peppermint, rosemary or citrus essential oil. Spray the scent around the study area to enhance concentration, focus and creativity.

Get organized. Make a homework box either out of a large shoe box or plastic container. Have your child decorate it and store homework supplies, like pens, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, paper, a glue stick and anything else he might need. “Having everything together creates an atmosphere of organization and success,” Rudman says.

If your youngster continues to struggle with focus and concentration, consult with your family’s pediatrician or a child psychologist.

As the mom of two active sons, freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines knows all too well the stress homework time can create in a family.

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“My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork

By janet lehman, msw.

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For many parents, getting their kids to do their homework is a nightly struggle. Some kids refuse to do their homework. Others claim that they don’t have homework, but then the report card comes out, and you realize that their work was not being done.

So why is homework time so difficult? In my opinion, one of the major reasons is that it’s hard for kids to focus at home. Look at it this way: when your child is in school, they’re in a classroom where there aren’t a lot of distractions. The learning is structured and organized, and all the students are focusing on the same thing.

But when your child comes home, their brain clicks over to “free time” mode. In their mind, home is a place to relax, have a snack, listen to music, and play video games. Kids simply don’t view the home as the place to do schoolwork.

If the homework struggles you experience are part of a larger pattern of acting out behavior, then the child is resisting to get power over you. They intend to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and homework just becomes another battlefield. And, as on any other battlefield, parents can use tactics that succeed or tactics that fail.

Regardless of why your child won’t do their homework, know that fighting over it is a losing proposition for both of you. You will end up frustrated, angry, and exhausted, and your child will have found yet another way to push your buttons. And, even worse, they will wind up hating school and hating learning.

A major part of getting your child to do their homework lies in establishing a system so that your child comes to see that homework is just a regular part of home life. Once they accept that, you’ve already won half the battle. Accordingly, my first few tips are around setting up this system. If you get the system right, things tend to fall into place.

Put this system in place with your child at a time when things are calm and going well rather than during the heat of an argument. Tell your child that you’re going to try something different starting next week with homework that will make it go better for everyone. Then explain the system.

You’ll find that this system will make your life easier as a parent, will make you more effective as a parent, and will help your child to get the work done. And when your child gets their work done, they’re more likely to succeed, and nothing drives motivation more than success.

Structure the Evening for Homework

When your kids come home, there should be a structure and a schedule set up each night. I recommend that you write this up and post it on the refrigerator or in some central location in the house. Kids need to know that there is a time to eat, a time to do homework, and also that there is free time. And remember, free time starts after homework is done.

Homework time should be a quiet time in your whole house. Siblings shouldn’t be in the next room watching TV or playing video games. The whole idea is to eliminate distractions. The message to your child is, “You’re not going to do anything anyway, so you might as well do your homework.”

Even if your child doesn’t have homework some nights, homework time should still mean no phone and no electronics. Instead, your child can read a book or a magazine in their room or work on longer-term assignments. Consistently adhering to the homework time structure is important to instill the homework habit.

Start the Evening Homework Habit When Your Kids are Young

If your children are younger and they don’t get homework yet, set aside quiet time each evening where your child can read or do some type of learning. Doing so will help children understand that evening quiet and study time is a part of everyday home life, just like chores. This habit will pay off when the real homework begins.

Use a Public Place for Homework

For a lot of kids, sending them to their rooms to do their homework is a mistake. Many children need your presence to stay focused and disciplined. And they need to be away from the stuff in their rooms that can distract them.

You know your child best. If you think they’re not being productive in their room, then insist they work at the kitchen table or in some other room where you can monitor them and where there will be fewer distractions.

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If they do homework in their room, the door to the room should be open, and you should check in from time to time. No text messaging, no fooling around. Take the phone and laptop away and eliminate electronics from the room during study time. In short, you want to get rid of all the temptations and distractions.

Give Breaks During Homework Time

Many kids get tired halfway through homework time, and that’s when they start acting up. If your child is doing an hour of homework, have them take a 5-minute break every half-hour so that they can get up, have a snack, and stretch their legs. But don’t allow electronics during the break—electronics are just too distracting.

Monitor the break and ensure that your child gets back to work promptly.

Be sure to encourage your child when they’re discouraged. It’s okay to say things like:

“I know it’s a drag, but think of this—when you get your work done, the rest of the night is yours.”

“Look, if you do your work all week, you’ll have the whole weekend to do what you want.”

Show your child empathy—how many of us truly enjoyed homework every night? It’s work, pure and simple. But your child will be encouraged when they begin to have success with their work.

Help Your Child Get Started With Their Homework

Some kids have a hard time getting assignments started. They may be overwhelmed or unsure where to begin. Or the work may seem too difficult.

There’s a concept I explain in The Total Transformation® child behavior program called hurdle help . If you have a child who has a hard time getting started, spend the first five minutes with them to get them over the first couple of hurdles. Perhaps help them with the first math problem or make sure they understand the assignment.

For many kids who are slow starters, hurdle help is very effective. This doesn’t mean you are doing their homework for them—this is simply extra help designed to get them going on their own.

Help Your Child Manage Long-Term Assignments

If your child has a big, long-term project, then you want to work with them to estimate how much time it’s going to take. Then your child has to work within that time frame. So if your child has a science project, help them manage and structure their time. For instance, if the project is due in 30 days, ask them:

“How much time are you going to spend on it each night?”

They might say, “15 minutes a night,” and you hold them to that.

Don’t assume that your child knows how to manage their time effectively. As adults, we sometimes take for granted the habits we have spent a lifetime developing and forget that our kids are not there yet.

Make Sunday Night a School Night

The way that I structure the weekend is that Sunday night is a school night, not Friday. So if your child has homework for the weekend, and as long as they’re done all their work for the past week, they get Friday and Saturday night off and can do their homework on Sunday night.

If there’s a project or something big to do over the weekend, then work with your child to budget their time. They may have to put some time in on Saturday or Sunday during the day. But other than that, your child should have the weekend off too, just like adults do.

The Weekend Doesn’t Begin Until Overdue Work Is Done

If your child has overdue homework, their weekend shouldn’t begin until those assignments are done. In other words, Friday night is a homework night if their week’s work is not complete.

Believe me, this is a highly effective consequence for kids because it creates a great incentive to get their work done. Indeed, each minute they’re doing homework is a minute they could be hanging out with friends or playing video games.

If you can hold to this rule once and deal with the complaining, then next week the homework will be done.

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By the way, if they say they can’t do their homework because they didn’t bring their school books home, they should be grounded for the weekend. You can say:

“I don’t want to hear that you can’t do it because you don’t have your books. You’d better call around and find a friend who you can borrow them from. Otherwise, you’ll be staying in this weekend.”

Make Homework a Higher Priority Than Activities

Kids are involved in a lot of after school activities these days. I understand that. But my priority has always been “homework comes first.”

In my opinion, if the homework isn’t done on Monday, then your child shouldn’t go to football on Tuesday. It’s fine if he misses a practice or two. You can say:

“Here’s the deal. We’re not going to football today. You need to get your work done first.”

If your child says, “Well, if I miss a practice, I’m going to get thrown off the team,” You can say:

“Well, then make sure your work is complete. Otherwise, you’re not going to practice. That’s all there is to it.”

I personally don’t put football, soccer, or any other extracurricular activities above homework and home responsibilities. I don’t believe parents should be going from soccer to karate to basketball with their kids while homework and school responsibilities are being neglected.

Use Rewards for Schoolwork, Not Bribes

Most kids get personal satisfaction out of getting good grades and completing their work, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Nevertheless, it’s important to reinforce positive behavior, and that may mean offering an incentive for getting good grades. For instance, my son knew that he would get a certain reward for his performance if he got all B’s or above. The reward was an incentive to do well.

One of the shortcuts we take as parents is to bribe our kids rather than rewarding them for performance. It can be a subtle difference. A reward is something that is given after an achievement. A bribe is something you give your child after negotiating with them over something that is already a responsibility.

If you bribe your child to do their homework or to do anything else that is an expected responsibility, then your child will come to expect something extra just for behaving appropriately. Bribes undermine your parental authority as kids learn that they can get things from you by threatening bad behavior. Bribes put your child in charge of you.

The appropriate parental response to not meeting a responsibility is a consequence, not a bribe. A bribe says, “If you do your homework, I will extend your curfew by an hour.” In contrast, a consequence says, “If you don’t do your homework, you’re grounded until it’s finished.” Never bribe your kids to do what they’re expected to do.

Use Effective Consequences

When giving consequences, be sure they’re effective consequences. What makes an effective consequence? An effective consequence motivates your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be successful.

An effective consequence looks like this:

“If you fall below a B average, then you can no longer study in your room and must study at the kitchen table until you get your average back to a B.”

For the child who prefers to study in their room, this is an effective consequence.

Another effective consequence would be the following:

“If you choose not to study during the scheduled time, you will lose your electronics for the night. Tomorrow, you’ll get another chance to use them.”

And the next day, your child gets to try again to earn the privilege of electronics. Short-term consequences like this are very effective. Just don’t take away this privilege for more than a day as your child will have no incentive to do better the next time.

For more on consequences, read the article on how to give effective consequences to your child .

Be Prepared to Let Your Child Fail

Failure should be an option, and sometimes you just have to let your child fail . Parents often do their kids a disservice when they shield them from the consequences of their actions. If your child chooses not to study enough and they get a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for their behavior. And they should experience the discomfort that results from their behavior.

Let me be clear. If you interfere and try to get your child’s teacher to change their grade, your child will learn the wrong lesson. Your child will learn that if they screw up enough, Mom and Dad will take care of them. And they don’t learn their math or science or whatever it is they failed.

To be sure, failing is a hard lesson, but it’s the right lesson when your child fails. And it’s not the end of the world. In fact, for many kids, it’s what turns them around.

Don’t Fight with Your Child Over Homework

Don’t get sucked into arguments with your child about homework. Make it very clear that if they don’t do their homework, then the next part of their night does not begin. Keep discussions simple. Say to your child:

“Right now is homework time. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can have free time.”

Say this in a supportive way with a smile on your face. Again, it’s important not to get sucked into fights with your child. Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. If your child refuses to do his or her work, then calmly give the consequence that you established for not doing homework.

Also, trying to convince your child that grades are important is a losing battle. You can’t make your child take school as seriously as you do. The truth is, they don’t typically think that way. To get your child to do homework, focus on their behavior, not their motivation. Rather than giving a lecture, just maintain the system that enables them to get their work done. Often, the motivation comes after the child has had a taste of success, and this system sets them up for that success.

Stay Calm When Helping Your Child With Their Homework

It’s important to be calm when helping your child with their homework. Don’t argue about the right answer for the math problem or the right way to do the geography quiz. If you get frustrated and start yelling and screaming at your child, this sets a negative tone and won’t help them get the work done. It’s better to walk away than it is to engage in an argument, even when you’re just trying to be helpful.

For couples, it may be that one of you is more patient and acceptable to your child. Let that person take on the homework monitoring responsibilities. And don’t take it personally if it isn’t you.

Remember, if you can’t stay calm when helping your child, or if you find that your help is making the situation worse, then it’s better not to help at all. Find someone else or talk to the teacher about how your child can get the help they need. And try not to blame your child for the frustration that you feel.

It’s Your Child’s Homework, Not Yours

Remember that your child is doing the homework as a school assignment. The teacher will ultimately be the judge of how good or bad, correct or incorrect the work is. You’re not responsible for the work itself; your job is to guide your child. You can always make suggestions, but ultimately it’s your child’s job to do their assignments. And it’s the teacher’s job to grade them.

Know the Teachers and the Assignments

Build good relationships with your child’s teachers. Meet with the teachers at the beginning of the school year and stay in touch as the year progresses. Your relationships with your child’s teachers will pay off if your child begins to have problems.

And if your child does have problems, then communicate with their teachers weekly. If they’re not handing in their work on time, ask the teachers to send you any assignments that they didn’t get done each week. Many schools have assignments available online, which is a big help for parents. Just don’t rely on your child to give you accurate information. Find out for yourself.

The bottom line is that you want to hold your child accountable for doing their work, and you can only do that if you know what the work is. If you keep yourself informed, then you won’t be surprised when report cards come out.

Work with your child on a system to keep track of assignments. I recommend an old-fashioned paper calendar simply because we already have too many distracting electronics in our lives—experiment and use what works best for your child.

Finally, try to see your child’s teachers as your allies. In my experience, most teachers are dedicated and caring, but I realize that this isn’t always the case. So, for your child’s sake, do your best to find a way to work with their teachers.

If You Think Your Child Might Have a Learning Disability

Kids are expected to do some difficult work, and your child may struggle. If your child is having an especially hard time, talk with their teacher. Ask if it’s typical for your child to be struggling in this area.

In some cases, the teacher may recommend testing to see if your child has a learning disability. While this can be hard to hear as a parent, it’s important to find out so that you can make the necessary adjustments.

If it turns out that your child does have a learning disability, then you want to get an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) set up with the school.

Most kids don’t enjoy homework, and for some, it will always be a struggle. Our children all have different strengths and abilities, and while some may never be excellent students, they might be great workers, talented artists, or thoughtful builders.

I have to admit that dealing with my son’s homework was one of my least favorite experiences as a parent. It was overwhelming at times. Often, I just wasn’t equipped to offer the help he needed.

Our son struggled with a learning disability, which made the work feel unending at times. My husband James was much better at helping him, so he took on this responsibility. But even with this division of labor, we had to make adjustments to our schedules, our lives, and our expectations to make sure our son did his homework as expected.

Life would be easier if all children were self-motivated students who came home, sat down, and dug into their homework without being asked. This is hardly the case, though. Therefore, you need to set up a system that is right for your child, and it’s going to be easier for some kids than for others.

We’re trying to raise our kids to be responsible and accountable for their homework. And we’re trying to avoid fighting with them over it every night. When I had parents in my office, I would take these concepts and show them how they could make it work for their families in their own homes. The families I worked with were able to turn the nightly homework struggle around successfully time and time again.

Related content: The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework

Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify

About Janet Lehman, MSW

Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program , The Complete Guide To Consequences™ , Getting Through To Your Child™ , and Two Parents One Plan™ .

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Hello, my grandson recently moved with me from another state. He is currently in 8th grade (but should be in 9th). He basically failed the last 2 years and was promoted. I would say he is at a 6th grade level. It's a daily fight with him to do his homework. He won't even try. I know a lot of this is because no one has ever made him do his homework before. I thought he would just have to get in a routine of doing it. He's been in school for a month now and its a fight every single day after school. I have lost all the patience I had. I am tired of being a broken record and being the "bad guy". I don't want to give up on him and send him back to his mom, where I know he will never graduate. I have made so many sacrifices to get him here, but I am literally at my wits end with this. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I didn't think it was going to be this hard.

My rule is homework after school. If he comes home and does his homework after school, it was easier for him to complete. That lasted a week and a half. Now, he just sits there and does nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions? I couldn't live with myself if I sent him back and he became nothing but a drop out. I know I am not one to have patience, and I am trying but at the same time, I am almost over it. I don't like going to bed crying and knowing that he is crying too. I am open to all suggestions. Please and thank you.

parenting homework frustration

I'm so sorry you are facing these struggles with your grandson. We here from many caregivers in similar situations, so you're not alone in your frustration. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing these homework struggles, which can be found here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/school-homework/

We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.

Jessicar Thank you for this article and strategies. I echo many of the frustrations expressed by other parents here, including my opinion (as an educator) that homework should not exist. I agree that teachers and parents are in a struggle about which adult is responsible for supporting the child in getting More homework done. The best thing for my son was a free "homework club" in fourth and fifth grade where a teacher monitored completion of homework. He has nothing like this in middle school so far. Where I really disagree with the article is about extracurricular activities. Kids need physical activity through sports! They need enrichment beyond academics through the arts, theater, music. Many families send their children to religious, language, and/or cultural programs after school. If I sat in school all day, I'd want to move my body and interact with others too. The solution is not removing extracurricular activities that are healthy or motivating or valued. The solution is for schools to limit homework. Given that there is still homework as a reality--I'd like advice on when to have child do homework AFTER sports or extracurricular activity. When is the best time for homework if the goal is to go to bed on time (in my house in bed around 9 pm)? Between extracurricular and dinner--when the kid is tired? After dinner? My child is in 7th grade and I still can't figure it out. What do others do/think?

I found school to be extremely boring, as a teen. Looking back I realize that I hadn't found the work challenging enough. Personally, I struggled with this all through high school. I was completely disinterested in school, as a result.

I noticed that there wasn't a section addressing situations where children, who are motivated by challenges, do poorly as a result of boredom.

I enjoy reading many of the articles; even those which don't necessarily apply to my current situations with my child. One never knows what obstacles or challenges one may come across. Thank you

Here's what I know. Correcting our children when their behavior is displeasing is what most parents focus on. Without a lot of explanation I'm going to try to get you to change your focus. All children have 4 emotional needs:

1. A sense of belonging

2. A sense of personal power

3. To be heard and understood

4. Limits and boundaries

Rather than focus on your child's behavior, focus on meeting these needs. Meet the needs, change the behavior. There a 25 ways to meet these needs. One of the most effective is to spend regular one-on-one time with your child doing what your child wants to do. How do you spell love? T-I-M-E. It seems counter-intuitive, but just try it for a week. Do this for 1/2 hour every day for a week. See what happens.

Frustrated Confused Parent, I went through similar challenges with my son when he was in high school. As a grade school student his grades were always B and higher. The changes began when his mother and I separated; my son was 12yo. Prior to our separation I was the one who maintained, and enforced the habit of completing his assignments before extracurricular activities could be enjoyed. His mother never felt she had the patience or intelligence to assist him with his homework assignments and upon our separation she completely ignored his school work. Although he continued to follow the structure I had established through grade school, he soon began to realize that no one was showing interest any longer and, thus, began shirking school related responsibilities. My son and I were, and still are, close. I am certain that the separation likely had some affect on him, but it was more than that. He was reaching his teens and becoming more self-aware. Friends began to play a more integral and influential part in his life. Unfortunately my son's grades began slipping as he reached his early teens. For me, this was extremely frustrating since I was aware of how intelligent he was and of what he was capable. After many aggravating, lengthy, heated, and unyielding conversations with his mother about maintaining the structure established through grade school, it became clear she was incapable or simply unwilling. Essentially, he was on his own. Of course I would do whatever I could to help. For starters, I facilitated a transfer to a Charter School, realizing that he needed more individualized attention than that which a public school could provide. It seemed as though he was getting 'lost in the shuffle'.

Unfortunately the damage had already been done. After two years under his mother's lack of tutelage my son had developed some poor habits.

He struggled with maintaining good grades throughout his high school career. By 'maintaining good grades' I mean that he would take a grading of 45 in math and bring it to a 70 within three weeks of the end of a marking period. He ALWAYS passed, though. He would somehow get his grades to or even above passing by the end of the period. As I began to see this, I began to have more faith knowing that when the going got tough he would step up and take charge. It also indicated that he did well with what might perceive as an impossible goal. So, I started to have faith that he'd find his way.

He has since graduated, he has a good-paying job, and he is beginning school to become an electrician within the next month or so. In two weeks he moves into his own apartment, also. He's never done drugs, never drank alcohol, and never started smoking cigarettes. All of which I have done as a teen and well into my adult years. I am in recovery. My son is aware of my own struggles. Most importantly, I believe, is that he has a complete understanding that we all struggle in our own ways. Working through the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles are what makes us stronger and it's our compassion for others, and ourselves, which help us grow into decent adults.

I came to realize that the 'grades' he received in school had nothing to do with the amazing adult he's become; it was literally everything else.

NanaRound2 My 6 year old grandson has just taken 2 hours to write a list and write 3 sentences. He thinks if the words were shorter it wouldn't take so long. Already went through this with his dad. I celebrated more than he did when he graduated. Can't drag More another kid through school. Losing my mind and like the previous comment have tried EVERYTHING.

Yeah -been there, done that. Doesn't work. At least not for my child. I've read every *actual* parenting book out there ( You know, the books publishes by Harvard & Stanford professors who've been studying parenting and child psychology for the past 30 years?) ... and you're all missing something - because I've tried it all.

My kid DGAF. This was almost painful to read. "oh, yup - tried that one. That one too. Oh, hey - I've tried that as well."

This is so frustrating; tell me something I haven't already tried 50 times.

Psych Fan I'm with you my sophomore son DGAF . I tried so much stuff even set time stuff and he just doesn't go get his work out. He's 5'9 so I am 5'1 and I can't move him to do stuff . All he does is debate with me that More Grades really don't matter that he's like I'm just going to get D's because I'm not going to care to do better because I do not like school. He doesn't understand why I don't approve of D grades because I know he has better potential but he's like D grades I will pass and get my diploma .

The first thing on the list is to try and stay calm. While doing homework with my children I'm usually very calm. When I do get frustrated I'll leave the room for a moment, wash my face, and take a few deep breaths until I calm down. Or I'll make hot chocolate to help calm my nerves. It's not a perfect system, but what is?

Number two is to set clear expectations around homework time and responsibilities. We have a standard homework time at our house, with a timer and everything. If our kids meet the homework time goal they'll be rewarded later in the evening with family time. Each of our kids know their roles and responsibilities in the house whether the work gets done before dinner or not.

Number three is a relationship with the teachers, each of whom e-mail us, some two or three times a day. Contact with them has never been better. They're teachers are all pretty awesome too.

Number Four, play the parental role most useful to your child...I have three kids. One needs no help at all, one needs minor help and advisement, while the third requires constant supervision or their e-mail might 'accidentally' open up. This we've provided through double teaming. One parent works with them until the other gets home, then they switch while the other goes to make dinner.

Five, keep activities similar with all your kids. We all live on the same schedule, if one of them finishes homework early they get the reward of extra quiet reading time-my kids are ALL book worms.

Six, Set up a structured time and place for homework. Done. Homework table with a supplies basket right in the middle of the room. Big enough for all of them to work at and then some, it's an octagonal table which my husband built. I also always have their 'homework snacks' waiting for them when they get home, and I usually try to make it healthy-even if they don't realize it.

Seven, start early. My kids have been doing 'homework' with me since they were babies, and (as I pointed out to them yesterday) they loved it. We'd learn about cooking, dinosaurs, amphibians, insects, math, English, chemistry, even the periodic table came up. We'd do work pages every day and they'd love it.

Eight, hurdle help, works in area's like math, but not so much with history or English when the problems aren't as straight forward. But we do use this method where it applies.

Nine, choose the best person for the job. I'm best at English and my husband at math. When I get stuck on math I know who to go to, and I'll even study in my spare time to get better at it so I can be more useful in case he has to work late. That being said, we both devote a lot of our time to helping our kids with their homework.

Ten, show empathy and support. Done, not only can I relate to my kids, but I've pointed out that not getting their work done will make them feel bad bad enough, and that that's why we should work on getting it done together, so they have something to be proud of.

Use positive reinforcement and incentives. :) There was this one time I sat my son down at a table with a work book about 400 pages long. He was young, not even in school yet. Next to the book I placed a giant bag of M&Ms. I told him for every page he got done, he could have one m&m. About ten minutes later he finished the workbook and grinned up at me. When I found out he'd finished the book, I quickly checked it to see if it was done well, and then pushed the bag of M&M's towards him and told him he could just have it...Now they get rewarded in video games and computer time...

It seems that according to this article I'm doing everything right...So why is my child still struggling with homework/classwork? They've literally just refused to do it. Have seriously just sat in their chair without saying a word and stared at the table, or desk, or screen- as the majority of work is now done on computers...I'll sit with them, ask them if they need help, try to help them with problems. They will tell me the right answer to the questions being asked and then refuse to write it down. I feel like I've done everything I can as a parent to help them, but despite all my efforts, it isn't working. So...when all of these things fail, when a parent has done everything right, and there is nothing more they can do short of taking the pen or pencil into their own hands and doing it themselves, (but that would be cheating their child out of an education) what then should the parents do?

When our kids don't get their homework done before dinner, they're sent down the hall where it's quiet so they can finish it at the desk there, while the other kids have family time. They are told to come and get us if they really need help after that. But at this point it's like ostracizing our child for not doing homework.

I agree with most of what's on this page, and our family lifestyle reflects that, but I will disagree with one thing it said. It is our job to help our kids and be supportive of them yes, to nurture them and help them get the skills they need to take care of themselves and their home when they're older...but it is not our job to do the teachers work for them, they get paid for that. Some days it seems like that's what's expected of parents. Some even send home classwork if the kids don't finish it in class. Which means the child now has even more work to do on top of their homework. Though I understand that the teachers want the child to finish the lesson, and were the homework not a factor I probably wouldn't mind it as much. I don't even mind them sending home study guides to help kids before tests (Which is what homework was originally) but to send home overwhelming piles of work each night for parents to help kids with, (Each child with different homework so that parents need to bounce from history, to math to English) it's unreasonable. When teachers send home homework, they're dictating what the parents can do with the little time they have with their child. Which is wrong. We once had to cancel a trip to a science museum because our child had too much homework to finish and there was no way to make it in time and get their homework done. They could have had an amazing educational experience which would overall help them get excited about learning with new and fun tactile experiences, but their schedule (and therefore our schedule) was being dictated by the teacher while they weren't even in class. Of course I try not to talk bad about homework in front of my children, because that would make it even more difficult to get them to do it. But children NEED family time, they NEED to be kids. To be allowed to get away from their work and be themselves, to go outside and play with their friends, or even go out to dinner once in a while with their parents. Homework has made it difficult to grow a relationship with our children beyond the confines of what the teachers are dictating. It's violating in some ways and frustrating in others. It's grown into this monstrous thing which it was never meant to become, and the funny part about it is that most studies done on it show that schools who don't have homework have higher test scores and graduation rates. Not to mention better mental health rates. Studies also show, that after a child is taught something, they'll only really learn it after a good nights sleep, and that no amount of homework will change that. Sleep is what our bodies need to absorb important information we learn throughout the day, so staying up late with homework might even be harmful to a child's education...

Sorry I guess that turned into a bit of a rant...In the end I was hoping to find something useful in this article, something I hadn't tried that might work, but I've done it all, and will probably continue to do all of it in hopes that consistency might be the key...It's just that even after years of already doing All of this consistently, it's still not working. It's as if my child has made a conscious decision Not to work. He's not unintelligent, he understands it, he's even been tested and found to have an above average ability to learn. He just not doing it..So what now? What more can I do to actually inspire him to do the work?

AshumSmashum Out of all of this, most of which I've read and tried a billion times, your comment hit deeper. My son scores in the 99% on tests but cannot sit down and do the simplest homework. He does have autism and adhd so when he freezes up on homework, despite More knowing it, I'm lost at how to help him get it done. He knows the work so why does he need to show it with 20 math problems after school that take forever to complete one? (whatever honors algebra stuff he's in, I was lucky to learn division lol) He has a high IQ and excels in all subjects and yet is being tutored, so far, in English just to get the work done. I'm so done with the emotional toll it takes on me and him at home. Nobody wants to go to work for 8 hours and come home and do the same for another 5 so why do we think our kids want to come home and do more classwork? I'm so appreciative of your comment!

JC Hi Barb, thank you for bringing this up! My son sounds a lot like you...and he really wants to get good grades and go to an Ivy League school. What could someone do to help an 8th grader in the moment of struggle, while making sure they don't get more More anxious from falling behind for the rest of the year?

Tb Hi Barb, I'm the parent of an 8th grader and I want to thank you for the comment you left here. You helped me look at the deeper issues and I really appreciate that. I'm going to approach the conversation with my son differently, thanks to you. Thank More you!

My 11 year old daughter, Alice, has always helped her 7 year old sister, Chole, with homework. But just recently Alice has been giving Chole the wrong answers. We have been trying to get her to give Chole the correct answers

but she always yells at us. She has a baby sister 2 months named Ray and ever since Ray was born she has been giving Chole wrong answers. I once overheard her and Kevin, my husband, talking about how she felt left out. She came and talked to me and said exactly what she had told Kevin. She also told me she has been getting bad grades and doesn't get her homework. Me and Alice talked and she said "All the cool New York girls get straight A's and ever since I started getting D's and F's they said I wasn't cool anymore." We started having her grandparents come over and she would yell, hit, scream, and talk back to them. She is a great student but she spends all of her time on her phone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even at school she is on her phone. All I'm asking is that 1. How do I make her stop screaming, yelling, hitting, and back talking? 2. How do I make her feel cool and get A's again?and 3. How do I get her off her phone?

sounds like you have a number of concerns around your daughter’s behavior, and

it certainly can feel overwhelming. We would suggest https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/ and focusing on just one or two of the most serious, to get

started. Behaviors like verbal or physical abuse would be of top priority,

while behaviors like https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-walk-away-from-a-fight-with-your-child-why-its-harder-than-you-think/ we would recommend ignoring, and not giving it any power or control.

Empowering Parents author Sara Bean offers some great insight into the reason

for poor child behavior in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.It sounds like your daughter is struggling to

find more effective ways to solve the problems she is facing, and the result is

the acting out behavior. Keep in mind, you can’t make your daughter do anything, but what you can do is help her to

learn better tools to solve whatever problems may come her way. Best of luck to

you and your family as you continue to work on this.

Emma Reed Alice also swears at school and she swears to teachers. Please we have tried everything, even her sister at age 18. What have we done wrong?

Being away from loved ones when they are struggling can be

distressing. It may help to know that it’s not unusual to see changes in

behavior as kids move from the tweens into adolescence, as Janet Lehman

explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adolescent-behavior-changes-is-your-child-embarrassed-by-you/. Normally responsible

kids can start to push back against meeting expectations and disrespect towards

parents and other authority figures can become quite common. The behavior you

describe isn’t OK; it is normal though. I can hear how much you want to help

your daughter and granddaughter

work through these challenges. If your daughter is open to it, you could share

some Empowering Parents articles with her, such as the one above and this one, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.

We appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving

forward. Take care.

mphyvr Thanks for all these "strategies", they might work for some parents, but quite simplistic and just plain old common sense for more defiant kids... Thanks anyways and hope this article helps many.

Psych Fan I'm a mom of a sophomore he's also a swearing boy and will have quite a tantrum even with consequences of take away all he does is sleep. He doesn't like school says school is a waste of time and that grades won't matter in his adulthood . He says More it over n over about how schooling won't help him in the future as I go it will help you do good on a ACT and SAT he is like getting good scores on those are only good if your going to college. He also is like jobs won't look at my grades . I tell him homework teaches him responsibility once a job sees your amount of effort in school your going to have a heck of time getting hired. I even ask him how is he going to succeed to work real well at a job when he doesn't work hard at school he goes I don't need to work hard at school but I will need to work hard at a job.

dcastillo68 If it was only this simple, but, in reality it is not.  Middle school syndrome is the worst.  Kids don't want to be labeled as nerds so they do everything to try to fail.  I went through that with my first born, and now again with my youngest.  It is More very frustrating when I was the total opposite when I was growing up.  I cared about my grades an I took it for granted thinking they will feel the same way.  Now seeing how they are happy with just getting by is really frustrating to me because I am such an over achiever.  They didn't even get an ounce of this.  Very very frustrating.  And I wish I have never invited video games to this household.  That is all they want to do.  I keep using this an incentive to bring them back on track, but as soon as I give them their games back, they are back to their old habits.  Sorry, but I can't wait until they are finished with school and hopefully moving out of state to hopefully a college career.  I may change my mind later, but at the moment, this is just how I feel.  It is very hard too when you don't get any help.  I find today's teacher to be lazy and pushing on more responsibility to the parents.  Who has time to do a full day's of work, only to do additional work at home?  okay, enough venting.

@frustrated single dad Diane Lewis Hi there - I have a son adopted out of foster care.  He is 6 1/2 and has been in 5 homes.  He is totally the same!  They learn this behavior and are incredibly manipulative.  They are so insanely smart.  I worry about exactly the same thing.  They turn on and off the behavior depending on who they are with and what they want.

We did Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) at the Mailman Center (Jackson Hospital Miami).  It made a huge difference in the short-term.  They basically taught us to be full-time behavioral therapists with my son.  The effects wore off after a few months as my son adapted and found ways to circumvent the consequences techniques taught to us.  He is like the Borg!  I am going back to get more ideas on how to adapt and change and stay one step ahead of my son.  The gals there are really smart!

So, that being said - we have to be Jean Luc Picard and constantly change and adapt and outsmart them - just like changing the phasers on a laser gun!  It is bloody hard work.  And, harder the older they get -

eg.  He drops like a dead weight - throws his book bag and will not get in the car to go to school - response - next morning I headed it off by calling out to the kids "LAST ONE IN THE CAR IS A ROTTEN EGG!"  This has worked for 2 days now.  

Wont do homework 2 nights ago - response - "ooh I like doing word puzzles - Im going to do them and win" - this worked one night but not the next - he just then just left me to do his work - so I have told his teacher that there will be no school party for Alex next week unless he gets his homework finished - we will see if this works.....

It is totally exhausting and you have to be on your A game all the time.  Im telling you this but - I have to tell myself this too.  We have to stay really fit (like cross fit) and work out like a marine.  We have to be very disciplined with ourselves - a healthy body is a healthy mind - we cannot let up at all.  We have to stay calm at all times (again self discipline).  

Im always looking for concrete reactions to situations with my son.  Like I said - the entire day goes on like this with everything except what he wants to do.  Wont get dressed in the morning - put out his clothes in dining room where there are no distractions or toys - tell him that if he gets dressed and ready for school quickly - he can spend the left over time on the trampoline.  That worked this morning.

STAY STRONG MY BROTHER IN ARMS!!!  If you can get into a PCIT program - do it.

Love to you - R

My child comes home and says he doesn't have homework, does something easy to make it look like he's doing his homework, or says he did it during free time in class.  How do you combat this without going to the school everyday?  Neither my husband nor I can do More this because of work, and the we asked the teacher's if it was possible to send us the assignments via email or let us come pick them up once a week with no cooperation.  He is a very smart kid and gets "A's' on the work he does, but he is failing all of his core classes because he won't do homework.

@atmywitsend  , my child is the same way.  I'm at my wits end.  I feel like I'm a failure as a parent because I thought I taught my smart kid to succeed - and instead she's lying to me.

Psych Fan NinaMays I'm with the same feelings as my son can be above a C student but he choose to go oh I rather just get F's on this work than to actually get at least a B or A on these many assignments.. I ask him why he chooses F's More in many assignments when he could get a grade to bring his grades up and me telling me he's not being his full potential as by making him not do his work how can I truly believe he's going to be successful and he's like I have big brains . Then I'm like why not show me by doing your school work he goes I don't need do that and I show you of my big brains by telling you school isn't important. Telling me I am brainwashed. He is a sophomore in high school.

FRUSTRATED PARENT NinaMays This is my reality too - "relationship" with teachers is difficult when they won't co-operate with homework expectations, or follow up email - the schools complain that kids are on the internet - yet its them providing wifi passwords - so kids are playing in class - lying about More homework - and since I'm not in the class, I have no idea until report cards surface.

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5 Ways To Deal With Frustrations As a Parent

  • By Rebecca Louick

All parents get frustrated at times. And some of us lose patience more often than we’d like. With the pressures of daily life and the demands of parenting, such as fatigue, sibling fights, homework time, it’s no mystery we get overwhelmed .

In a recent study, parents agreed raising children today is more difficult than in past generations. One major reason is the sheer number of parenting philosophies and choices available to us. Another is the pressure WE put on ourselves to get it all right.  

If modern parents face more stress than ever, we also have a greater opportunity to learn and grow from it. Each challenging experience and parents have PLENTY, is a chance to accept and manage our emotions in a positive way (and model those skills for our kids).

The next time frustration occurs, try one of the ideas below to regain your calm and build up your emotional toolbox. With a little practice, you’ll quickly recall why you adore those kiddos so much!  

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our FREE Your Words Matter Volume 2 Kit. With these 10 one-page parenting guides, you will know exactly how to speak to your child to help them stand up for themselves, be more confident, and develop a growth mindset.

5 Ways to Deal with Frustrations as a Parent

1. Accept Your Child As They Are

So many issues arise from wanting our kids to be different than they are. If only they behaved the way we wanted, followed the paths we so carefully set for them, parenting would be a cinch!

It comes as a surprise to many parents that their children are separate individuals, with needs and temperaments often vastly different from our own.

Psychologist and author Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., suggests we “accept the ‘as is’ nature of our children”. We need to see and know them for who they are rather than who we expect them to be.

“Tell them from the start that you will love them...and repeat it all the time. Be awake to who they are; feeling seen is an essential part of feeling loved. And try to empathize with their differences, and to experience those differences on their terms rather than your own.” - Andrew Solomon, author

Once we embrace our children and accept them “as is”, a new and powerful kind of connection emerges.

A great way to connect with your child is via their love language . By honing in on their primary love language, you can make them feel seen and appreciated.

Leaving affirming and positive notes for your child is a simple way to connect with them. You can use the lunch box notes found in our Resilience Kit . Tuck a note into their lunch box, backpack, under a pillow or leave on their desk.

2. Allow Your Emotions

All feelings are okay. As a guidance counselor and mom of two young girls, I repeat this phrase quite often. While parenting affords us an incredible range of experiences and emotions on any given day, we know they aren’t all pleasant. And that (really) is okay.

The solution to facing intense emotions and letting them go? Simply allow them .

When a strong feeling arises, observe it. Pause and take a breath . Know that as long as you accept the emotion, it has the room and space it needs to pass.

A helpful practice for accepting emotions is known as the mindfulness acronym S.T.O.P. When frustration arises, try the following four steps:  

S -Stop what you are doing

T -Take a few deep breaths

O -Observe your thoughts and feelings as they are

P -Proceed with whatever you were doing before

Research shows simply naming our emotions has a peaceful effect. Each time you notice and acknowledge frustration, you return to the present moment and accept yourself and your experience just as it is.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn

3. Know the “90-Second Rule”

Sometimes, it seems like negative feelings stick around while pleasant ones, like joy and happiness, are fleeting. But is that true? In her study of the brain, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor discovered the “90-second rule of emotions” and how impermanent feelings really are.

According to Bolte Taylor, “ When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. ”

When we resist a feeling, we inadvertently remain stuck in the same feeling. When we accept the feeling, it’s gone in under 2 minutes! So let’s use the time wisely.

In the critical 90 seconds of an emotional reaction, be sure to communicate your strong feelings to your child and how you plan to cope with them. “Mommy is feeling very tired and grumpy right now. I’m going to take a few deep breaths and then let’s go for a walk.”

You are modeling how to behave in stressful moments, and they will take notice.

If you need some tips on how to encourage a growth mindset in your child, don't forget to download our FREE Your Words Matter Kit Vol. 2.

parenting homework frustration

4. Parent From a Place of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude improves mental and physical health, increases empathy, and improves sleep. It even changes the brain. In a study of adults who wrote gratitude letters to another person, participants showed lasting effects in the brain region associated with learning and decision-making.

So how do we parent with gratitude and reap the benefits of this important practice for ourselves and our kids?

One way is to tweak our words. Each time you’re about to say, “I have to ” to, replace it with “I get to ”. Notice the profound difference.  

“I have to take my daughter to ballet” versus “ I get to take my daughter to ballet”.

“I have to put him to bed” versus “I get to put him to bed”

This easy change makes a huge difference in how we think about our time together.

Another powerful strategy is being aware of the wonderful and likable aspects of your child.

“Parenting gratefully means you often draw to mind your child’s good qualities, and as a result, these become more cognitively salient and they work as memory clues to what you find important.” - Anne Dunlea, psychologist

In difficult and frustrating moments with your kids, recall these qualities to maintain perspective and gratitude for who they truly are.

5. Apply Growth Mindset to Your Parenting

We’re good at teaching our kids how to be gentle with themselves as they learn new and difficult things. Don’t we deserve the same approach for ourselves ? Growth mindset isn’t just for academic or athletic pursuits: it’s for parenting too.

No one is born knowing how to parent. Just like our kids, we are always learning and changing and making mistakes . When frustration overtakes you, use it as an opportunity to grow from the experience, and decide what you’d do differently next time.

And when it all seems too difficult, remember the feeling of things being hard is the feeling of your brain growing .

When we recognize the opportunity in our parenting missteps and struggles, we shift into a growth mindset where anything is possible.

Parenting is full of challenges and dealing with the inevitable frustrations that arise takes practice. We can learn to “ride the waves” of challenging feelings simply by accepting and acknowledging them.

The next time you experience frustration, acknowledge the feeling (and remember it will pass).

In the meantime, get busy sharing your feeling and modeling how you’ll handle it for your child. In under two minutes, you will be calmer.

And you will both have learned opportunities to grow and learn often come in our most frustrating moments.

Ready to take your own growth mindset journey? Our guided, science-based journal for adults helps you manage your self-sabotaging inner voice and start living fully and joyfully. This motivational, gender-neutral journal is packed with short, practical lessons and easy, thoughtful writing prompts that will help you transform your mindset and become a positive example for your kids.

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6 thoughts on “ 5 Ways To Deal With Frustrations As a Parent ”

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You. Are. Amazing!!! What wonderful tools…inspiration, illumination and joy creating connection with our most important resource…Our Children!

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What a helpful article! I’m going to practice these. I truly appreciate the help!

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Always such fun and motivating reads. Still practicing on modeling and teaching growth mindset at home💜

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Thank you, for my weekly reminders. so valuable, thank you.

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Thank u for these 5 tips. I found it very helpfull and i will be visiting your blog all the time.

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LIBRARY OF ARTICLES: : Anger and Violence :

Parents anger: turning down the heat in your home, getting angry is normal and understandable.

While there are many reasons for this saying, one is the way your children know how to push your buttons. Despite the unimaginable depths of your love for them, or perhaps because of it, you may be unprepared for the intensity of anger you may also experience.

Although upsetting and often surprising, it is normal to find yourself at your wit’s end. Frustration can build as you parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year in and year out.

Nobody cares about your children more than you do and that means that the stakes are high, as are emotions.

Everyone has moments when they just blow up. But by learning more about anger and healthier ways to express it, you can reduce the frequency with which you “lose it.” It may take time, but you can practice ways of expressing your anger that actually preserve and, in some cases, strengthen your relationship with your children.

Understanding Anger

Anger is a strong emotion that many people try to avoid. In the course of your life, you may have been given many negative messages about your anger .

Perhaps you were told that it was inappropriate to be mad or that you shouldn’t expect better treatment from those around you.

Or that anger only serves to damage relationships and leaves you feeling alone or abandoned.

Maybe you have been on the receiving end of someone else’s anger and it has been unpleasant or even frightening.

Through experience, you may have seen that your anger only adds fuel to the fire with your children. Expressing anger may have had only served to hurt you and others around you.

However, by understanding anger you can develop a more positive view of this emotion. When anger is expressed properly, it can actually improve a situation and a relationship.  

Anger is a feeling like joy, boredom, or excitement. It gives you a clue to your emotional state and tells you what you are experiencing.  

N ot good or bad

In and of itself, anger is not good or bad. It just is. What makes the difference is what you do with the feeling and how you handle it.  

G ain insight

Often people say, “I am angry.” And they can feel quite justified in their anger. But it is more useful if you scratch beneath the surface. Many times what passes for anger is actually another emotion such as sadness, jealousy, hopelessness, the sense of being ignored, overworked, overlooked, disappointed, or exhausted.  

E xpression

As mentioned earlier, it is how you express your anger that makes it good or bad, constructive or destructive. You need to be sure to communicate your feelings to the correct person in an accurate manner, not discounting your own feelings or blowing up out of control. The next section will discuss healthier ways to express anger.  

It is important that you find ways to release your anger or it can build up. Then you may explode, often in unhealthy ways that hurts your relationship with those around you.

If not done effectively, people have a tendency to retell the story (venting) and become angry all over again and sometimes with greater intensity. In this case, you are rehearsing your anger and not releasing it.

To move on, you need to practice skills that will enable you to discharge your anger in ways that relieve the pressure in you and to communicate effectively to the people with whom you are angry.

The Anger Tree: How Anger Grows

Like a tree, anger has:

roots (the underlying causes),

a trunk (your expression of anger),

fruit (the results of your anger which can begin a new anger tree).

The roots are all of the actions that cause you to react negatively. And raising children gives you plenty of cause. Even under the best of circumstances, parenting is hard and difficult work. Some of your children’s behavior that may make you angry may in fact be quite normal parts of child development, but challenging to deal with nevertheless.

Examples include:

A toddler who says “no!” to every question – even “Do you want a treat?” A 10-year old who is loud – he talks loudly, sings loudly, and especially complains loudly. A once talkative teenager, who now barely answers your questions with a grunt before retreating in his bedroom behind a closed door. An 18-month old who clings to you when you have dinner to cook and company coming over in 10 minutes. A two-year old throwing a temper tantrum just as you are getting to the front of the checkout line. A child who won’t stay in her bed because she is sure that there are “monsters” hiding under it. A middle-schooler who remembers to check his email but continually forgets to bring in the mail on his way into the house.

  Sometimes you may have more patience for your children than other times. When your needs are not being met, you may be more impatient, frustrated, and angry. As parents, you often go on autopilot and do not take the time to stop and check how you are feeling.

When your resources are low, your children do not need to do much to trigger you. At these times, or ideally before, you can ask yourself, “What do I need?”

are tired, you may need sleep.

feel isolated, you may need to connect with a friend.

are bored, you may need time to recharge by doing your favorite activities.

When you are running on empty, when your needs are not being met, or when your children are going through a particularly trying time, the roots may be in place for your anger to grow.

The trunk in this case represents all the ways you can express your anger. The fight or flight response is typically triggered.

Flooded with strong emotions, you may:

  • slam doors,
  • handle possessions or your children roughly,
  • give sarcastic answers,
  • blame or shame your children.

Equally damaging, you can distance yourself, stop interacting with your children and pull away from the relationship. Although you may need to give yourself a time-out to cool down, anything beyond a few minutes for a younger child to an hour or so for an older child is not helpful to the situation.

As you express your anger, those around you get the fruit of your discontent.  

For your Children

Faced with your anger, your children may:

  • become ornery,
  • become aggressive toward others such as a younger sibling or a pet,
  • act out at school,
  • become depressed and withdrawn.

These actions may once again trigger your anger, which in turn, continues the cycle of anger. So your anger spawns reactions which create more misbehavior, which results in more anger……

In addition, your words and your body language may not match. If, while talking through clenched teeth, you tell your children, “It is fine; I’m not angry,” children won’t know if it is really fine or not. Can they trust your words or their own reaction to you? They will begin to doubt their own instincts and feelings and ability to ‘read’ other peoples’ emotions.  

Often parents report feeling just awful about how they handle their anger.

If you explode, you can worry about the damage you may do to your children’s self-esteem. At the end of the day, you may lie down in bed feeling guilty and wondering why you lost it over something that in retrospect seems so minor.

When you don’t speak up, you can also feel badly, questioning if you are acting like a doormat or if you are creating spoiled children who aren’t being taught how to have a give-and-take relationship with others.

But your anger, when acknowledged and dealt with in constructive ways, can prevent the occurrence of these outcomes or “fruits of our anger” by informing you when something is bothering you. Sharing these insights can actually strengthen your relationship with others as you reveal what is important to you. The trick is to do so without blaming and shaming others.

Anger Management for Parents

As mentioned earlier, it is not anger itself that is bad, but your expression of it that can be harmful. You do not have to be caught in the fight or flight response. There are ways to deal constructively with your anger that leaves everyone’s self-respect intact.  

Notice when you are getting angry

The first thing is to become aware of how your body reacts when you are getting angry. Often thoughts register in your body before you are even aware of your corresponding feelings.

  • clench your teeth?
  • talk quickly?
  • feel your heart beat faster?
  • get flushed?
  • feel hot or cold?

Take note where in your body you show your anger. With practice, you will be able to notice as your irritation is rising, before you burst. If you catch your anger while it is still small and easier to manage, you will have greater success in following the rest of the recommendations without exploding.  

This concept, similar to counting to 10, will give you time to bring oxygen back into your brain and to reactivate the thinking part of your brain so you can do more than “see red.”

By regaining your composure, you can select how you want to act, rather than automatically reacting in familiar, but possibly not so helpful, ways to the situation.

Although easier said than done, with time you can learn to:

  • slow down your breathing,
  • unclench your jaw,
  • speak more slowly and quietly,
  • or relax your hand.

You may need to:

  • engage in physical activity,
  • visualize a calm image such as a cloud or rainbow,
  • or repeat a mantra such as “I can handle this, “or “This too shall pass,” or “ I can be angry and still think.”

As a result, you will be calmer and in a better position to respond.  

Consider what is making you angry

In the heat of the moment, you may not even be aware of what is annoying you. Getting to those underlying feelings and the reasons behind them can make a huge difference.  

Your unmet needs

If you discover that it is one of your unmet needs causing the trouble, you can work to find ways to get what you need , such a break or time with a friend.  

Your children’s behavior

If it is your children’s behavior that is the issue, you can learn about typical child development so you will know if your expectations of them are realistic. Much of parents’ anger comes from thinking that their children are deliberately trying to “drive them crazy.”

When you learn to take the behavior less personally , you may be able to let go of some of the anger and react with less irritation and with more compassion. Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with more effective and creative solutions to change the interaction.

For example, knowing that a typical 9-year-old is restless, you may realize that having this child sit through a long family dinner is difficult for him. You may notice that after 30 minutes he tends to pick a fight with his younger brother. Rather than criticizing him and starting a fight at the table, you can understand that this behavior is part of being 9 and plan to have him get up and refill water glasses or clear the table.

Underlying emotions

As you think about your experience, check if “angry” is truly the best word to describe your emotion . Is there an underlying feeling that needs to be addressed that more accurately defines your reaction?

The clearer you are about your emotions, the better you will be able to share your feelings and find solutions to the problems. It is also helpful to place your emotions on a continuum.

miffed?–> annoyed?–> frustrated?–> irritated?–>exasperated?–> furious?–> enraged?

Again, the better you can describe your experience, the easier it is to manage your reactions.  

Use an “I” Message to share your feelings

Once you are clear about what bothers you, you can use an “I” message to communicate your displeasure. The goal of an “I” Message is to reveal your experience without blaming or shaming others.

You take responsibility for your reaction, which avoids those end-of-day regrets.  

The Three Parts of an “I” Message

I feel… (you will have determined this in the previous step) sad

When I see/hear… (be descriptive) you call your sister mean names,

Because… it is important to me that you two are kind to one another.

Ideally, after using an “I” Message, you can let your children know what they need to do to remedy the situation.

Many children are uncomfortable when confronted with their parents’ displeasure. By showing them how to correct the situation, you are leaving their self-esteem intact.  

Examples of effective “I” Messages

“I feel sad when I hear you call your sister mean names because it is important to me that you two are kind to one another. You can apologize to her and we can talk about what else you can say to her when you don’t like what she does.” “I am furious when I see your new bicycle left out in the rain because we just bought it and I don’t want it to rust. Now go put your bicycle in the shed.”

  Remember: You want to stick to the current issue and not bring up past misdeeds.  

Ideas to Think About:

A parting thought.

Just because you get angry does not mean you do not love your children. The fact that you are reading this article means that you care and want to make changes for the better.

You can model for your children how to express anger in a constructive manner and, at the same time, how to make a commitment to grow and improve yourself. It is not an easy task.

As parenting experts Faber and Mazlish note, “ Finding a way to handle anger is the work of a lifetime. ” We wish you much patience along your journey.

  ____________________________________________________________

For more information about managing anger, check out the following books. Purchasing from Amazon.com through our website supports the work we do to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children.

You Can Control Your Anger: 21 Ways to do It by Borchardt

<recommended books about anger

<all our recommended parenting books

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Parenting Frustration in Children: Aarrgghh!

How do your children deal with frustration.

Posted September 27, 2010 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

Frustration may be your children's most significant obstacle to achieving their goals. We all have experienced the feeling of frustration when we're not able to do something as we pursue our goals; we feel stuck, we get uptight, and we have difficulty focusing. The best way I can describe the feeling is: Aaaarrgghh! It is a truly infuriating feeling, even more so for children because they are less equipped to deal with frustration constructively.

But what is frustration precisely and what causes it? Simply put, frustration arises when the path toward a goal is blocked. Most people think of frustration as a bad emotion , but it is actually more complex than that.

The fact is that frustration is hard-wired into us and has tremendous adaptive value. Frustration starts as a good emotion because it motivates us to remove the obstacle that is blocking our path toward our goals. We try harder and that extra effort frequently results in clearing that path, enabling us to continue pursuit of our goals.

Negative Emotional Chain

Unfortunately, if, despite our best efforts, we can't overcome those roadblocks, frustration can become a destructive emotion. In fact, if frustration isn't dealt with effectively and quickly, it can trigger what I can the "negative emotional chain" in which frustration leads to a descent into a series of truly unhealthy emotions.

If frustration isn't dealt in a productive way, it can morph into anger . Most people also believe that anger is a bad emotion, but, like frustration, it too has both positive and negative sides.

Anger starts out as being helpful because it too is motivating. When children are angry, they want to go after the thing that is causing their anger. Unfortunately, for most tasks that your children are involved in, for example, school, games, sports, or the performing arts, anger swiftly becomes a harmful emotion.

The feelings of anger are like those of frustration, but with the volume turned up considerably. Children's bodies become tense, so if they are involved in a physical activity, they lose their coordination and the quality of their efforts decline. Their focus narrows so much that they miss important cues necessary to perform their best. And children's thinking becomes clouded by the anger, so they aren't able to think clearly or make good decisions.

If your children aren't able to clear the obstacles from their path at this point, their emotions shift to the final stage of the negative emotional chain; they experience despair. They have tried and tried and tried and still can't remove the barriers, so the natural thing to do is quit. What's the point of continuing to try if nothing they do works? The unfortunate outcome of the conclusion of the negative emotional chain is immediate failure to achieve their goals.

It has been my experience that if children move from frustration to anger, continued efforts that day usually fail. And if children experience the negative emotional chain on a regular basis—sinking repeatedly into despair—they will likely lose their motivation and be unwilling to make a sustained effort in the future. With each descent down the negative emotional chain, children come to believe that their actions have little effect and they will progressively lose confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.

How your children deal with frustration is influenced by how you react to it. If you model an unhealthy response to the frustration you experience in your life, for example, with impatience or anger, they may learn that this is an appropriate way to deal with frustration. If you are calm, positive, and look for solutions when you get frustrated, your children will likely adopt this approach to frustration.

How you respond to your children's frustration will also affect how they learn to deal with their frustration. If you become impatient and angry with them, their frustration may escalate and more quickly turn into anger and despair, further preventing your children from resolving the source of their frustration. If you respond to your children's frustration by asking them in a soothing voice what they are frustrated about and discuss how you want to help them deal with it, then they will likely calm down and follow your lead in looking for a solution to their frustration.

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Teaching Frustration Mastery

Despite the fundamental role that frustration plays in their efforts to be their best, children are rarely shown how to deal with their frustration in a constructive way. Your goal as parents is to teach your children to stop the negative emotional chain at frustration by responding positively to the frustration when it first arises.

The first mistake that many children make—and that parents often encourage—when faced with frustration is to just increase their effort, in other words, do whatever they are doing more and harder. But then they are violating the Law of Insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.

When frustration first arises, rather than plowing ahead, your children should do just the opposite, in other words, step back from the situation that is causing the frustration. For example, if your child can't solve a math problem or learn a new sports skill that she is practicing, she should set it aside and take a break. Stopping the activity creates emotional distance from the frustration, thus easing its grip on them.

Next, your children should do something that is fun and relaxing during the break, for example, getting a snack (hunger is a significant cause of frustration, particularly among young children), listening to music, or getting some physical activity.

This step lessens the uncomfortable physical symptoms that come with frustration and generates emotions, such as happiness or excitement, that can counteract the feelings of frustration. A powerful way to counter the feelings of frustration when they have stepped back from the activity is to have your children do something at which they can succeed, thus feeding their feelings of confidence and generating positive emotions such as pride and inspiration.

Once the negative emotional chain has been broken, your children should return to the activity with a focus on finding a solution that will relieve the frustration. This process starts with understanding the problem. If they know what the specific problem is, then they have a better chance at finding a solution.

Though you want to give your children plenty of opportunity to identify the problem and find the solution themselves, I encourage you to engage in "emotional coaching " when needed by providing guidance and direction to help them find the answers they need. Here's a helpful hint: sometimes it's useful to break down the bigger problem into smaller, more manageable problems.

The reality is that children can't always immediately clear the obstacles to their goals, so continued efforts in pursuit of those goals would be futile. The barriers may be just too great to surmount on that day. Your children have two options here. First, they can change their goals to ones that can be achieved in the short term.

For example, let's say your tennis-playing son is getting frustrated because he's losing a match and nothing he can do will turn the match around. In this case, continuing to pursue the goal of winning will likely take him quickly along the negative emotional chain. But if he shifts his goals, for instance, improving a technical or tactical part of his game, he can still experience some success and get something out of the match.

Second, there are going to be days when your children just aren't going to make any progress toward their goals and continuing to try without success will just discourage them and actually hurt their efforts in the long run. In this case, it may be wise to deliberately "give up" and choose to fight another day.

Jim Taylor Ph.D.

Jim Taylor, Ph.D. , teaches at the University of San Francisco.

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Elektrostal

City in moscow oblast, russia / from wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, dear wikiwand ai, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:.

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Restaurants in elektrostal, establishment type, traveler rating, dietary restrictions, restaurant features.

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Out of the Centre

Savvino-storozhevsky monastery and museum.

Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

Zvenigorod's most famous sight is the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, which was founded in 1398 by the monk Savva from the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, at the invitation and with the support of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod. Savva was later canonised as St Sabbas (Savva) of Storozhev. The monastery late flourished under the reign of Tsar Alexis, who chose the monastery as his family church and often went on pilgrimage there and made lots of donations to it. Most of the monastery’s buildings date from this time. The monastery is heavily fortified with thick walls and six towers, the most impressive of which is the Krasny Tower which also serves as the eastern entrance. The monastery was closed in 1918 and only reopened in 1995. In 1998 Patriarch Alexius II took part in a service to return the relics of St Sabbas to the monastery. Today the monastery has the status of a stauropegic monastery, which is second in status to a lavra. In addition to being a working monastery, it also holds the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum.

Belfry and Neighbouring Churches

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Located near the main entrance is the monastery's belfry which is perhaps the calling card of the monastery due to its uniqueness. It was built in the 1650s and the St Sergius of Radonezh’s Church was opened on the middle tier in the mid-17th century, although it was originally dedicated to the Trinity. The belfry's 35-tonne Great Bladgovestny Bell fell in 1941 and was only restored and returned in 2003. Attached to the belfry is a large refectory and the Transfiguration Church, both of which were built on the orders of Tsar Alexis in the 1650s.  

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To the left of the belfry is another, smaller, refectory which is attached to the Trinity Gate-Church, which was also constructed in the 1650s on the orders of Tsar Alexis who made it his own family church. The church is elaborately decorated with colourful trims and underneath the archway is a beautiful 19th century fresco.

Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral

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The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is the oldest building in the monastery and among the oldest buildings in the Moscow Region. It was built between 1404 and 1405 during the lifetime of St Sabbas and using the funds of Prince Yury of Zvenigorod. The white-stone cathedral is a standard four-pillar design with a single golden dome. After the death of St Sabbas he was interred in the cathedral and a new altar dedicated to him was added.

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Under the reign of Tsar Alexis the cathedral was decorated with frescoes by Stepan Ryazanets, some of which remain today. Tsar Alexis also presented the cathedral with a five-tier iconostasis, the top row of icons have been preserved.

Tsaritsa's Chambers

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The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is located between the Tsaritsa's Chambers of the left and the Palace of Tsar Alexis on the right. The Tsaritsa's Chambers were built in the mid-17th century for the wife of Tsar Alexey - Tsaritsa Maria Ilinichna Miloskavskaya. The design of the building is influenced by the ancient Russian architectural style. Is prettier than the Tsar's chambers opposite, being red in colour with elaborately decorated window frames and entrance.

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At present the Tsaritsa's Chambers houses the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum. Among its displays is an accurate recreation of the interior of a noble lady's chambers including furniture, decorations and a decorated tiled oven, and an exhibition on the history of Zvenigorod and the monastery.

Palace of Tsar Alexis

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The Palace of Tsar Alexis was built in the 1650s and is now one of the best surviving examples of non-religious architecture of that era. It was built especially for Tsar Alexis who often visited the monastery on religious pilgrimages. Its most striking feature is its pretty row of nine chimney spouts which resemble towers.

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  23. Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

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