Homework Problems… And Solutions
In my many years of experience helping children and parents with academic and behavioral problems, one of the most common issues is difficulty with homework. The purpose of homework is to allow the child further opportunities to independently master their coursework, and perhaps allow the parent to become involved in what is happening for their child at school.
If homework is often a problem for a child, several confounding factors may have developed which add significantly to the problem, in a cumulative fashion. Past assignments that need to be made up (undone or never turned in) and uncompleted class work that is sent home can add much to the burden. Additionally, with homework being a recurring problem, your child may have developed the behaviors of “hiding” homework or being deceptive about what or when something is due.
A typical “problem homework” scenario may include some or all of these patterns. After much cajoling and struggling, the parent gets the child to begin their homework. Then ensues in long battles that last multiple hours, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand the material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger occur from both parties. The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger. Does this sound familiar…?
What’s very important to understand , and to correct this scenario, is that the child may have Attention Deficit Disorder. With the ADHD child, they cannot stop this from happening; it’s part of the uncorrected disorder. However, often teachers, other students, and parents lose site of this, and blame the child. The result is a child who feels very badly about themselves, and gives up, or rebels, or both.
These daily episodes are very damaging to family dynamics. In addition to the harm done to the parent-child relationship, there are other significant consequences. Other childrens’ needs go unattended (not to mention the parent’s), important tasks around the house go undone (dinner anyone?), and last, but definitely not least, the parent’s own relationship suffers as blaming, overwork, and loss of quality time together are also casualties.
Remember what we said homework was for and was supposed to be like in the first paragraph? The homework experience with the ADHD child is not any kind of “Building Up”… it is a “Tearing Down” experience.
Fortunately, this can be changed, without the side-effects and rigors of medication. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.