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Do you agree with taking away video games and computer for not turning in homework assignments... - Page 2

post #21 of 42

My kids have to do things that they don't necessarily want to do. Believe me, if it were entirely up to them they would never do their mathwork, or attend certain functions, and they definitely wouldn't do any housework or cooking. Nor would my son go to bed on time. :)

 

The difference is that their attending such things and doing such work is done willingly because we discussed and negotiated. They saw that either it was important to me, or that it brought them benefits over the longer term, or some other outcome. The idea that children cannot learn these things without having them forced upon them is simply false, IMNSHO. 

 

For example, with housework, this fall when the learning year started I explained that I was feeling overwhelmed with so much to do and not having enough time to spend on Project Time (where I assist them with homeschool projects) and other things we wanted to do together. They love doing project time with me so they were willing to help out by taking on a couple of extra jobs around the house. They do not like doing housework, but they do it and I don't have to threaten to take things away if they don't because they don't feel that this was imposed upon them, but rather that they agreed to do it. If it's not happening we'll problem-solve: my kids both have sensory issues so sometimes it's a matter of choosing a different chore, or they may ask me to remind them to do it at a certain time of day because they are having trouble remembering, or they may ask me to help them break the chore down into smaller tasks so it doesn't seem overwhelming (I haven't had to do this, but these are examples of what we would look at if there were a problem). There are many reasons why something might not get done, but I never consider that they just won't do it unless I force them to by punishing or taking away privileges. The assumption is that we all want to find a solution that works, and so we don't give up until we do. 


In other examples, they recently agreed to make their own dinners on Saturday night so I could have a night off. They don't get any obvious benefit from this - I explained why I wanted this, that a day off once a week would make me really happy, so we discussed it and they agreed to do it. They'd rather I made them dinner, but they see that it makes me very happy. And actually, they did end up having fun in the end, so they learnt another valuable lesson. 

 
I think the biggest benefit of this approach is that it not only teaches problem-solving skills but it teaches self-reflection. Sometimes we just want to quit something or not do something but we don't stop and take the time to figure out what is going on for us deep inside, what the real issue is. When we do, solutions present themselves. I know many adults who struggle with this sort of inner reflection and I think it is a very important skill for emotional health and wellbeing. 

 

(I don't know why that is highlighted but I can't get rid of it!)

 

Even the most unschooled children encounter obstacles to their goals and desires. There is no way to live in the world without that happening. I do not have to impose such obstacles on my kids, they encounter them every day. Instead of being the artificial source of obstacles, I'm the coach that guides them through it. That is what I consider to be my role as a parent. 

post #22 of 42

I don't think the normal consequence of limiting access to or temporarily limiting time on the device which over use of that caused poor time management resulting in not learning is "an obstacle" nor do most children see such gentle ways of parenting as "an artificial source." If internet abuse causes an issue with learning, internet is going to be limited by the parent.

 

My children were certainly never injured by such parenting techniques, and it taught them (as it would in the real world) that improperly using time results in consequences.

 

When one has a job in the real world not completing one's work or not doing one's work well or in time may often result in not being paid, missing out on raises, missing promotions and even possibly the loss of the job. I doubt anyone would see these as "artificial" consequences, they are very real. Some parents are simply trying to recreate real life action-reward or action-consequence situations that will eventually occur in the real world.

 

I know you are doing what you see to be best for your children and I appreciate that. However, much of what you describe are simply normal chores as part of being part of a family, not natural consequences of behavior that may be the result of inappropriate time management or inappropriate behavior.

 

I'm wondering how you handle inappropriate behavior, inappropriate treatment of others, unwise uses of time, damaging others' belongings, hurting others' feelings, being disrespectful, et without using any form of consequence.

 

For some kids "talk" may be enough to have the issue never occur again, but these children are far and few between. If they were common.... kids wouldn't need parents for as long as they need them. :)  Y'know?

 

We're not talking about hitting or screaming at kids here, we're talking about natural consequences. Many don't see a problem with parenting by using these consequences...... as they would occur in the real world.

 

 

.


Edited by MaggieLC - 10/2/13 at 5:05pm
post #23 of 42

Sorry about the red, I don't know how to break the quotes down into separate phrases....

 

Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post
 

I don't think the normal consequence of limiting access to or temporarily limiting time on the device which over use of that caused poor time management resulting in not learning is "an obstacle" nor do most children see such gentle ways of parenting as "an artificial source."

 

By "obstacle" I mean something that gets in the way of what a child wants. By limiting access you are presenting an obstacle to the child getting what they want. Whether the child sees it as fair or unfair doesn't change the fact that they are encountering an obstacle to what they want to do. If it weren't an obstacle, it would hold no influence over the child's behaviour.

 

By "artificial source" I mean something that is imposed by the parent by choice, rather than something that is outside the parent or child's influence. For example, a child plays roughly with a toy and it breaks. That is a natural consequence. An artificial consequence is when the parent sees the child playing rough with a toy and takes the toy away. A child is rude to a friend and that friend doesn't want to hang out with them anymore, that is a natural consequence of social behaviour. An artificial consequence is the child is rude to a friend and the parent forbids them to go to that friend's party. It is artificial because it was imposed on the child by the parent. 

 

This may seem like pointless semantics but the distinction has implications for both the kind of relationship between parent and child, and also the way the child looks at their own mistakes and failures. Too much to go into right now, though!

 

My children were certainly never injured by such parenting techniques...

 

I am not suggesting that children are injured by the use of punishment. If that's how your family rolls and you are happy with it then I would not presume to tell you that you are doing something wrong. I respect other peoples' choices, and if people say something works for them I don't presume to know better for them. 

 

The OP specifically said that she was questioning her use of punishment and I am trying to represent another way of parenting since pretty much everybody else here said they agreed with her choice of punishment. There was a time on MDC when my position was in the majority so I am not used to being the sole representative of this approach to parenting! But I do feel strongly that parents should know their choices, and too many people dismiss this way of doing things out of ignorance and misconceptions about what it looks like and how it works. If parents are going to have true freedom to make choices, they need to fully understand what those choices are. 

 

Many parents cannot conceive of parenting without punishment and there are so many misconceptions out there about what that looks like. The stereotype is that the kids are brats who do whatever they want and care about nobody else. That this "real world" that everybody talks about will be a foreign land to them when they finally leave the nest. Everybody has that story about that one permissive family whose kids are brats, and then they paint everyone with that same brush.

 

This is the same attitude encountered by many who choose home birth, or not to vaccinate, or homeschooling, or extended breastfeeding, or any number of alternative parenting and lifestyle choices promoted here on MDC. 

 

 

When one has a job in the real world not completing one's work or not doing one's work well or in time may often result in not being paid, missing out on raises, missing promotions and even possibly the loss of the job.

 

I agree that it is important to do good work, to be able to manage time so work gets completed on schedule. But I don't think this is best taught by the parent identifying the problem and then imposing the solution upon the child. In the "real world", if they can't figure out where the roadblock is and come up with a solution, nobody else is going to do so for them. 

 

Without practice at identifying the source of a roadblock to good work or time management, how will they learn to identify problems and come up with solutions if the parents are doing so for them? What if it turns out that the child was deliberately avoiding the homework because they didn't understand the material? Or what if they were feeling overwhelmed by a demanding schedule and internet time was the only way they could unwind? Or what if the child was feeling pressured by friends to participate in online chats, etc when they should have been doing their work? So many reasons why a child might not be producing good work, or not be meeting deadlines...but without giving them ownership over the problem and teaching them how to identify and solve the problem I feel we are robbing them of the chance to practice valuable skills.

 

I'm wondering how you handle inappropriate behavior, inappropriate treatment of others, unwise uses of time, damaging others' belongings, hurting others' feelings, being disrespectful, et without using any form of consequence.

 

Well first of all there are already consequences to these things: you hurt a friend's feelings you risk damaging the friendship; you break someone else's stuff and you have caused them pain or trouble or inconvenience - even if a child is too young to understand that they can be told that it is a wrong that needs to be made right and involved in coming up with a solution. If you are disrespectful you are reflecting badly on yourself and your family and making others feel badly. I may have to point out the consequences to my kid but I don't have to make up more consequences to show them it was wrong. Most of the time they already know it was wrong and appreciate my helping them make it right.

 

If it is a recurring problem then we address it the same way: we discuss the problem and I ask them to come up with some potential solutions. I will offer some suggestions but the rule is we have to agree together on the solution. I assist them with carrying out the solution and we check in regularly to see how it is working. If it's not working we work together to find another solution. 

 

I'll give you a concrete example: My daughter used to do this thing we called "crazy time" where she would get really loud and disruptive and it annoyed everyone. No amount of yelling or crying (on her brother's part) or asking her to stop (on our part) seemed to stop it. So I sat her down and discussed it with her. She said she knew it was wrong but felt like she couldn't control it. We started thinking about what could be triggering this. With my help, she eventually figured out that it was one of two things: either she needed to get out and move her body and get that excess energy out (solution: go for a bike ride or go jump on the trampoline) or sometimes she was bored and didn't quite know how to snap out of it (solution: Mum makes suggestions from a list of things to do that we made together and she chooses one of them). This has worked really well and now what is very cool is that she sometimes recognizes that mood before it hits and takes action to prevent it. Rather than focus on the behaviour, which is really just a symptom, we went right to the source. Importantly, she got to practice looking within herself and finding the underlying motives behind her impulses. I think that is a really valuable lesson as I know adults who cannot see past their own behaviour to what drives them to act that way.

 

For some kids "talk" may be enough to have the issue never occur again, but these children are far and few between. If they were common.... kids wouldn't need parents for as long as they need them. :)  Y'know?

 

I need to stress that there is a lot more than just "talking" involved (my kids have short attention spans and can tune me out pretty quickly!) :)  It's the engaging of them in the problem solving, getting their willing agreement to the solution, that is what makes all the difference. I don't just tell them off and be done with it. The solutions generally require followup and checking in to see how it is working. They are not just passive recipients of "consequences" - they are actively engaged in solving the problem. 

 

Such problem solving skills have to be taught - they can't do it on their own, so that is why I am needed as a parent. They need my help to learn how to deal with problems: how to look inside yourself to see why you are behaving a certain way (such a valuable skill!), how to come up with solutions, how to check in and make sure those solutions are working, how to revise the solution if it is not. These are valuable life skills, because what is life if not a series of problems that need to be solved, and goals that we desire to achieve?

 

I also think that how well kids listen to their parents has a lot to do with the nature of their relationship. I am not seen by my kids as an imposer of punishments, they trust me not to force them to do things against their will, so they are willing to hear me out when I say something is a problem and they are willing to work towards a solution. I think they take pride in being part of the solution, and I never cease to be impressed by the ideas they come up with to "make things right". My kids are never on the defensive, worried that I might come impose some unpleasantness on them because they messed up. And, I might add, they can be open with me about their mistakes because they know I'm not going to punish them. 

 

I guess if I could sum it all up it is this: I trust that my children want to behave well, be respectful, not cause another person pain, take pride in their work, be part of a harmonious family, have friends, and be a productive member of society one day. Thus, if any of these things are not happening I assume there is a problem and that the only thing standing in the way is they don't know how to identify and/or solve the problem (or they may not be aware that there is a problem). Punishment assumes the child CAN solve the problem but isn't sufficiently motivated to do so unless the parent imposes some unpleasantness into their lives. Or that the child is incapable of being a willing part of the solution, thus requiring the parent to step in and impose the solution upon them. I haven't found either of those things to be true. 


Edited by Piglet68 - 10/3/13 at 10:20pm
post #24 of 42
Piglet we'll have to agree to disagree on this subject
. You and I see natural concequences as being very different things. Yes, I have seen many children (and adults) who can't always come up with their own solutions to problems, again that's one of roles of parents and one reason we usually work with and share our lives with other people. They help us regulate ourselves and we help them.

I don't see guiding children by helpong them by imposing rules when they are stuck as "punishment" certainly it is far as well from heavy punishment or whatever word you slipped in there.

For many supplying limits is part of preparing our children for how we know the real world works.

Mileage and all that.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post

Piglet we'll have to agree to disagree on this subject
Just as I was going to say "yes"...
I read this:
For many supplying limits is part of preparing our children for how we know the real world works.

...and I have to agree with you there. :lol
I do believe in setting limits for some things, especially when kids are younger. This is where I part ways with radical unschoolers and the like. But that's a topic for another thread.
Thanks for a respectful discussion! :)
post #26 of 42

I have a 12 yr old, almost 13 yr old dd in middle school. I wouldn't take away anything from her as that would feel too punitive for our family. She's very sensitive and would feel really bad about herself if I did that. She's the kind of kid who needs building up, not knocking down.

 

For our family in that situation if homework wasn't getting turned in I would view that as my child needing to learn more about how to manage her time, so what I would do is increase my monitoring of her homework. I already usu ask everyday what homework she has and when it's due and I ask her to show me her planner because she does have trouble staying organized. I don't see my role as punishing her for not being organized — it's never going to be her strong suit — but I do see my role as teaching her some better strategies for staying organized. To that end, I ask her to show me her planner so she will get in the habit of writing down her assignments so she and I both can make sure we know what's due when. Some of her teachers also have assignments posted online so we check those also. I also check in with her in the evening and ask her what assignment she's working on and how it's going. If she's doing something else (surfing YouTube, texting, drawing) I remind her of the time (it's 7:30, you might want to get started on that math) and I follow up on that. If she gets it all done and has time left over then I'm fine with her playing Minecraft or whatever, but that comes after homework. I wouldn't ground her from playing Minecraft because she forgot an assignment last week. What's past is past and we need to work on managing our time effectively now. It's my job to teach her.

post #27 of 42

Posted by Piglet:

I guess if I could sum it all up it is this: I trust that my children want to behave well, be respectful, not cause another person pain, take pride in their work, be part of a harmonious family, have friends, and be a productive member of society one day. Thus, if any of these things are not happening I assume there is a problem and that the only thing standing in the way is they don't know how to identify and/or solve the problem (or they may not be aware that there is a problem). Punishment assumes the child CAN solve the problem but isn't sufficiently motivated to do so unless the parent imposes some unpleasantness into their lives. Or that the child is incapable of being a willing part of the solution, thus requiring the parent to step in and impose the solution upon them. I haven't found either of those things to be true.

 

I agree that limiting electronics time due to homework not being finished isn't the first place I would start.  And discussion and problem solving and supplying tools are great approaches.  And if you are lucky they work most of the time (or even all of the time, if you are REALLY lucky).  But there are also times when, frankly, they don't work.  Because a 14 YO teen is capable of solving the problem and doing what is necessary, but refuses to  Or the child is truly incapable of implementing an agreed upon solution.  In which case, I strongly believe it's the parent's responsibility to provide the structure to make homework (or whatever) possible.  It might not be the only thing -- in fact, it's probably not.  Just imposing the "no electronics" consequence without anything else would be assuming that the child is willfully not doing what he needs to and could/should be forced to.  But imposing a limit to ensure that priorities are met and also working for a longer-term self-enforcing solution is the right answer here.  And only someone in the moment is going to know if that will take 24 hours or 2 weeks or whatever.  In the case of our family (not the OP), it has taken repeated removal of electronics until homework is finished AND testing for ADD and other psych issues AND therapy AND tutoring.  But it's completely clear to me that my 14 YO doesn't comprehend the importance of poor grades resulting from failing to do homework -- its too far in the future and too abstract.  I am not willing to let him experience the natural consequences -- any more than I would allow him to be hurt to experience the natural consequences of pulling the dog's tail or sticking his fingers in the sockets when he was a toddler.  So until he does understand them and can do what is necessary to avoid them, I am going to put a structure in place to ensure that things get done to avoid them.  The same way I would separate dog and toddler or move toddler away from wall socket and put a plug protector in.  Electronics too tempting to resist?  Then remove the temptation until the child is stronger. 

post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
 

By "artificial source" I mean something that is imposed by the parent by choice, rather than something that is outside the parent or child's influence. For example, a child plays roughly with a toy and it breaks. That is a natural consequence. An artificial consequence is when the parent sees the child playing rough with a toy and takes the toy away. A child is rude to a friend and that friend doesn't want to hang out with them anymore, that is a natural consequence of social behaviour. An artificial consequence is the child is rude to a friend and the parent forbids them to go to that friend's party. It is artificial because it was imposed on the child by the parent. 

 

I think you are leaving out "logical consequence."  If the computer (or TV or whatever) is directly the cause of the homework issue, then limiting access to it or denying access to it for a set period of time is directly related to the problem. It really can help teen learn to use the device in a more balanced way.

 

The OP specifically said that she was questioning her use of punishment and I am trying to represent another way of parenting since pretty much everybody else here said they agreed with her choice of punishment.

 

No, they didn't. You are reading through your own bias. Most of the thread agreed that limiting access to media that can been causing problems can help the child find better balance in using that media later, but most felt that taking it away for a semester would not be helpful or productive.

 

There was a time on MDC when my position was in the majority so I am not used to being the sole representative of this approach to parenting! But I do feel strongly that parents should know their choices, and too many people dismiss this way of doing things out of ignorance and misconceptions about what it looks like and how it works. If parents are going to have true freedom to make choices, they need to fully understand what those choices are. 

 

I think that part of it depends on the ages of the kids and the exact issues. I could have written your posts when my kids were 9 and 11 and we were still homeschooling. My kids are now 15 and 17. One is in college as an early entrant and one is attending a top high school with a very aggressive academic schedule. My perspective has shifted.

 

At 9 and 11 as homeschoolers, there really was time to do everything they wanted to as  long as they were sensible. That isn't true now, and it is because they are preparing for adulthood.

 

 What if it turns out that the child was deliberately avoiding the homework because they didn't understand the material? Or what if they were feeling overwhelmed by a demanding schedule and internet time was the only way they could unwind? Or what if the child was feeling pressured by friends to participate in online chats, etc when they should have been doing their work? So many reasons why a child might not be producing good work, or not be meeting deadlines...but without giving them ownership over the problem and teaching them how to identify and solve the problem I feel we are robbing them of the chance to practice valuable skills.

 

I think that a lot of us are assuming that those things have been sorted out, but that at the end of all that, video games are just more fun that algebra and conjugating Spanish verbs. At some point, pretty much every one has to learn to do their work first and then  play.

 

Such problem solving skills have to be taught - they can't do it on their own, so that is why I am needed as a parent. They need my help to learn how to deal with problems: how to look inside yourself to see why you are behaving a certain way (such a valuable skill!), how to come up with solutions, how to check in and make sure those solutions are working, how to revise the solution if it is not. These are valuable life skills, because what is life if not a series of problems that need to be solved, and goals that we desire to achieve?

 

I agree with all this. I agree with pretty much everything you say! I have just found that it has limits.

 

I agree with starting exactly the way you describe and talking through the problem and solutions with a teen, with checking back in, etc. However, I think that if that doesn't work, that if the natural consequences of the behavior are so far removed that the kid doesn't get it (a poor education leads to an in-ability to support yourself as an adult and no options for meaningful work) that logical consequences that help the child learn the NEEDED behavior are fine. 

 

Part of the reason that I've found this to be true is that the type of academic work needed to be done as kids get older can't be gotten through in a couple of hours a day, the way elementary school can be many homeschooled kids.

 

 

post #29 of 42

I just really don't see this as a big conundrum. If the kid is not turning in homework you just ride him until he turns in his homework. Maybe have him do it at the kitchen table while you make supper or something. He just needs more supervision. It's as simple as that.

 

If he can show he can get his homework done w/o supervision then he can do whatever he wants, but if he's not doing it he just needs more supervision. It's not about taking anything away. He could just be sitting in his room staring at the walls doing nothing and still not getting his homework done. It's not really about the video games, no matter how addictive they are. It's about what he's NOT doing — his homework. 

 

So he needs to be held accountable for the homework. He either does it in the same room as you or you check in with him frequently to see how he's doing on it. If he gets it done he can do video games, basketball, paint, play metal guitar, carve duck decoys. Homework either has to happen first or, if he needs downtime, he has to check in with you right after school and/or right when you get home and show you his assignments and when they're due. Then the two of you together have to make a reasonable estimate for the amount of time it will take to get done, so you can say, "Okay, you've got to read this chapter in science and answer the questions, you've got math due day after tomorrow, and an English paper due on Friday, but tomorrow you've got piano after school and we have to go to your sister's basketball game. I think you'd better do the science and go ahead and do the math tonight and try to get some of the English done in study hall tomorrow. The science and math should take about 2 hrs so you can have a break until supper and start on it right after supper or you can knock it out now and have free time after supper."

 

He needs help learning how long it takes to complete his work and how he should budget his time. If he chooses to relax before doing his homework and has trouble tearing himself away from the video games consider setting a timer once the two of you have estimated together how long he needs to do his homework. When he's showing he can reasonably estimate how long it will take him to do his homework you can let him do that on  his own, but still have him check in w/ you and tell you his assignments and when they're due. And then follow-up on checking to see if he's working on them when the appointed time rolls around. You are his supervisor just like a manager at an office, "How's that report coming, Williams? I need it on my desk in the morning."

 

The problem is one of self-regulation. He's not able to regulate the amount of time he goofs off (be it w/ video games or something else) versus the time needed to complete his homework. If he has problems with the work itself (doesn't understand the math, or whatever) be available as a sounding board. I think helping him with his homework is a great thing. The point is getting him to understand the work, not having him stumble about on his own. The end goal is that he knows the material.

post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
 

I just really don't see this as a big conundrum. If the kid is not turning in homework you just ride him until he turns in his homework. Maybe have him do it at the kitchen table while you make supper or something. He just needs more supervision. It's as simple as that.

I'm going to admit to laughing out loud at this. My son is 10 so still a bit more controllable than a 14 year old and this plan wouldn't even work with him. What we would end up with is:

 

1. Lies about what's done and not done and where it is.

2. Neither of us doing anything but homework from the time he got home until such time as we both were tired and fed up and I sent him to bed.

3. If work actually got accomplished (Ha ha ha) it would be the bare minimum of quality that he thought was possible.

4. My particular child would probably spiral out of control and stop turning in any work at all. He's stubborn like that. Plus he'd have lost all his other activities such as Chinese lessons, baseball, scouts, and FLL. Because we'd still be sitting at that GD table when it was time to leave for said activity without a single bit of work complete.

5. We'd both be mad and fed up and have dug in our heals so nothing changes and nothing gets done and now his homework isn't getting done and the household is a mess while we both stew in resentment and anger. 

6. This would go on for months.

 

Yes we've actually been there and done that. 


Edited by JollyGG - 10/21/13 at 8:38am
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
 

Thank you and you're welcome. (I think your last post was supposed to be in there, and it didn't format properly.) I agree that being respectful nearly always leads to more productive discussions. :) I also agree that there is more than one way to raise children. As long as it's working for everybody, and people are getting their needs met, not being hurt and are learning, it usually works out.

post #32 of 42
Quote:

Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

 

 

 I'm going to admit to laughing out loud at this.

 

 My son is 10 so still a bit more controllable than a 14 year old and this plan wouldn't even work with him. What we would end up with is:

 

1. Lies about what's done and not done and where it is.

2. Neither of us doing anything but homework from the time he got home until such time as we both were tired and fed up and I sent him to bed.

3. If work actually got accomplished (Ha ha ha) it would be the bare minimum of quality that he thought was possible.

4. My particular child would probably spiral out of control and stop turning in any work at all. He's stubborn like that. Plus have lost all his other activities such as Chinese lessons, baseball, scouts, and FLL. Because we'd still be sitting at that GD table when it was time to leave for said activity without a single bit of work complete.

5. We'd both be mad and fed up and have dug in our heals so nothing changes and nothing gets done and now his homework isn't getting done and the household is a mess while we both stew in resentment and anger. 

6. This would go on for months.

 

Yes we've actually been there and done that. 

 

 

Did taking away the video games (or the equivalent) work for you? It would be a disaster for us and end up with my child distraught and in tears, resentful and hurt and would harm the trust between us. Authoritarian measures like that do not work for us nearly as well as helping my kids figure out how to navigate school and homework and time management. You don't say in your post what does work for you, maybe you have some tips to add to the discussion?

 

My child is 13 in Feb and in a middle/high school, so much closer to 14 than a 10 yr old, and I imagine has much more homework than most 10 yr olds (she certainly has tons more than she did when she was 10) and this works for us. Neither punishments nor rewards work for my kid. The punishments feel mean and so do the rewards. Alfie Kohn has some insightful commentary on both. I don't try to "control" my kid. I help her stay on track and help her make good choices about what she does with her time.

 

My child (well both my kids, but my 4th grader has minimal homework and usu does it first thing or on the way home) would not be able to lie (and get away with it) because I check up on what she says and ask to see the work. If she did not write down the assignments correctly I have her email her teachers or a classmate. I would have her get her planner signed daily from each of her teachers if I needed to. (A classmate does this very successfully). We don't accept bare minimum quality work. My child would not be allowed to fail to complete or fail to turn in any work. If it meant staying up past bedtime to get it done, so be it. The homework gets done and that's it. If it meant giving up outside activities we'd do that. While I definitely am not a fan of burdensome homework loads I certainly don't value baseball or scouts over schoolwork. There are many evenings and afternoons when it seems like all we do is homework (and I do think it's too much on those nights, but I don't think it's okay to just not do it) and yes sometimes the house does look like a wreck, but our priority is helping our children learn how to manage their time and helping them understand the material. Most of the stuff she's got down pretty well and doesn't need much input from me or her dad at this point, but math can trip her up sometimes (she's a B student in math, all As in the rest) and she works extra hard on it.

 

I just think that learning to manage a workload is a skill that needs to be taught and learned — few kids are born knowing how to do it — and I'm not comfortable just turning her loose to sink or swim on her own. If she shows me that she can swim the length of the pool then I'm fine with letting her go on her own and I'm just cheering at the finish line, but if she is not showing me that she can do it w/o some coaching then I'm there coaching her along the way.


Edited by beanma - 10/5/13 at 9:50pm
post #33 of 42

I have a 14 year old and a 10 year old. I don't have to take away computer games from my 14 year old because she seems to barely uses the computer since she has an iPhone which she does use quite a lot to read fanfic.  Oh wait, I just realized that lately she's been using her computer to watch movies on Netflix, but that's only been in the last month or so.  She is very diligent about the stuff she has to do unless the circumstances are extreme.

My 10 year old is the one who loses her electronics because she doesn't care if she does her assignments.  When we take away her iPod or computer or whatever, it's supposed to be a consequence based on the fact that the electronics are distracting her and she needs to take a break.  But I admit that her desire to be able to use them, and having this as a reward generally is the motivator.  So if I took away her stuff for a semester and she still didn't do her homework, then I'd have to find something else to work this way.

post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
 

 

Did taking away the video games (or the equivalent) work for you? It would be a disaster for us and end up with my child distraught and in tears, resentful and hurt and would harm the trust between us. Authoritarian measures like that do not work for us nearly as well as helping my kids figure out how to navigate school and homework and time management. You don't say in your post what does work for you, maybe you have some tips to add to the discussion?

 

I actually responded to the question about video game removal early in the thread. No, video game removal would not work with my child any more than "just ride him until he turns in his homework" would. Plus I don't consider "riding him" and supervising every moment of homework to be "helping my kids figure out how to navigate school and homework and time management." That would be me managing his time for him and to my mind, and my son's, be very little different from the loss of privileges for homework not being completed. These simply are not consequences that work for him. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
 

My son simply doesn't respond well to the loss of privileges for late or missing homework. It doesn't change a thing. But if it actually works for your son I don't see how it would be a problem. It sounds like a logical consequence. If games get in the way of school work completion then games have to go. However, I wouldn't ban them all semester. Now he has already lost the privilege so has no reason to keep working on getting his homework in. I'd give him a way to earn game time back. Personally I'd do a set number of days or weeks with all work turned in on time with an average grade of a B on all work during that time frame. That way earning game time continues to be an incentive. It also re-frames the issue. You didn't punish him by taking away game time. He earned game time by proving himself responsible enough to handle it.

 

Right now my son rarely has homework as he went from a rather intense full time gifted program to a middle school with advanced options that don't quite compare to what he's used to. I don't recommend the complete and utter lack of challenge as a solution, but for now we aren't having much for homework struggles because there is no homework. However, the elementary he left is rather well know for the large homework load.

 

My son has poor executive management skills. So working specifically on the development of those skills makes somewhat of a difference.  When I went back to school myself and spent time explaining the modeling I was doing it really seemed to impact his study skills and habits. I'd discuss how the reading I had to do was really boring and what strategies I was using to get through it and stuff like that. Counseling helped some when we did that. On the rare occasion that he does have homework he's alot more diligent about it now because he enjoys his classes and his teachers more than he did in elementary. But there really hasn't been one magic bullet that has fixed it. We still have issues though they are reducing with increased maturity.

 

I didn't expand on what has worked for us in my original post because, frankly, the OP has found something that works. I'd tweak the implementation if I were her so that her son can earn back privileges. But it seems to me that she has a tool and a solution that works for her son.


Edited by JollyGG - 10/21/13 at 8:40am
post #35 of 42
I don't think the OP did find something that worked. She asked if she was doing the right thing and said her son seemed miserable.

 

Maybe my use of the word "ride" was a less-than-great choice — I didn't mean nagging, but instead meant checking up on and more closely supervising. I thought I further explained in my reply that I meant the 14 yr old needed more supervision, or oversight, and less punishment and I stand by that. If homework is important, (and the OP said he was failing a class last year as a result of not doing his homework) and school work is important to this family (and it's not important to all families, some families unschool or have other priorities) then as a parent you need to follow up on your priorities and physically check up on the student to make sure the homework gets done — ask to see the assignment and the completed work. Most of our school assignments are posted online, so it's easy to check if the kids forget exactly what the homework was. If the student can't manage his time on his own to get homework done you show him how to do so. If he begins to show you that he can manage his time you give him more responsibility for doing it on his own, but still check and make sure it's done. If he backslides on getting it done you reiterate the lessons on time management. 

 

My kid has 3 major projects currently due next week and you can bet I know what they are and when they're due and I will keep an eye on what she's up to this weekend and when she's working on them. She's already asked me if she works on her Social Studies project can she go to the Halloween store later today? This is w/o prompting from me at this point because she has learned that you need to get some work done before you can do the fun stuff and she knows what she has due. She also knows that if she has any question about her homework I will help her figure it out. We don't do our kids' homework for them, but we do re-teach the material if they didn't learn it from the teacher in class, or help them find the resources to teach themselves.

post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
 

 

Did taking away the video games (or the equivalent) work for you?

 

YES! Our DD became lost at the end of last year as a result of abusing her electronics as well as other things. We had a sign in system for the laptop and her tablet. She had to sign in when using it, (for schoolwork and only play after ALL school work was finished) and sign out when she was done. She had access for a given hour a day, and then longer if she needed it for more homework. We found out she was then using her iPod (when we weren't looking) to access the same sites she had been on her computer and still behind in some of her subjects. I then took the iPod for the remainder of the semester, which was about a month. Her grades were dropping precipitously and it was a direct result of her abuse of the electronics. She even said she felt relieved at the absence of the electronics, as she could tell pp she was "grounded" from the computer and couldn't respond, leaving her time for her Accelerated classes. YES, It worked! This new semester she is managing her time well, using her computer, her iPod and her new Smart Phone responsibly and at the Quarter report was getting a 3.7 GPA. MUCH better than last year. A 3.0 to 4.0 is what she is capable of, and last semester of last year she was nearly failing THREE classes. We caught it in time. Yes. It worked.

 

It would be a disaster for us and end up with my child distraught and in tears, resentful and hurt and would harm the trust between us. Authoritarian measures like that do not work for us nearly as well as helping my kids figure out how to navigate school and homework and time management. I agree every child is different. My children KNOW I am there to help them regulate themselves (I believe it's one of the reasons children have parents, if they were capable of complete self regulation... they wouldn't be children anymore) Far from being "resentful" or "in tears" she realized what was happening and admitted she had been not using her time wisely and was abusing the electronics. In fact, by "grounding" her from the electronics worked as a good "excuse" to NOT have to engage in Social Media for a while, decompress and concentrate on her school work (not completely, because she had an hour a day, but homework came first and she was behind, so she also had to make up some work as well as do the recently assigned work.) There is a huge difference between "Authoritarian" and "Authoritative" parenting. Some children ARE stubborn or cut corners or don't have as much self regulation as we would wish, and being an "authority" whom your children trust to do what is best is one of the reasons we are our children's parents and not their friends. When someone sees you as a benevolent "Authority" they TRUST you, and I know that with at least two of my children (and in some cases all of them) this is the type of parenting that has to be put in play, especially as they enter their teens.

 

My kids don't cry because they can't check their Facebook status or play LEGO Harry Potter or whatever, maybe teens some actually would.  Just because your kids don't "like" an Executive Decision you have made doesn't mean that that decision is bad for them or will hurt them. Part of being a balanced parent requires sometimes being the authority when things get rough and the child is clearly showing signs of not handling their time properly or well. Not ALL decisions can be made by committee. I've been a parent for 27 years, I know this for sure.

 

I never had to "take things away" when this particular child was 3 or 7 or 10 or 12, but 13 came and that is what had to be done.

 

PLUS I NEVER "ride" my kids. I think, and I've seen (being a victim of it) that nagging is very damaging. I vowed when I got married I would NEVER nag my husband or my children, and I don't. I saw my own mother destroy her relationship with my father and distance me as a daughter by "riding" us about things. You start to block people out who do this.  People become VERY resentful about being "ridden" in many cases more than the temporary loss of a few electronic toys.

 

I don't "ride" people and I never will. One reminder should be all. Seeing as my marriage has already lasted more than twice as long as my mother's did, I think it at least works for us.
 

 

And no one is talking about "turning a child loose to sink or swim" that's fairly disrespectful to other parents to assume any of us would do that to our children. The limited time (or complete taking away) of toys is coupled with many different strategies to help a child learn. NO ONE said anything about taking away the iPod and leaving the child on her own.


Edited by MaggieLC - 10/18/13 at 2:36pm
post #37 of 42

Whatever works for you, but taking something away and keeping it from my kids wouldn't work well for us and feels very icky to me as a parent (and for whatever the heck it's worth, I've been one for 13 years, and have been married for 20). 

 

I don't really believe in punishment for kids. 

 

I do believe in helping my kids learn exactly how to get it all done. I have very capable, creative, thoughtful, insightful, occasionally skeptical kids, who are willing to be involved and take responsibility even if not always eagerly. I can't take much of the credit for how great they are because I think they just are who they are, but what we do and how we do it works for them. Although my dd1 has been evaluated and found to qualify for a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, she has never come close to failing a class even though she struggles on w/o an IEP (her choice). 

 

We don't ground them, we don't punish them, we don't take things away for periods of time. We do sometimes tell them they need to put something away and do their homework now because it's getting late and they'll run out of time. We do stay involved in what their assignments are. We do check to see that they have done them. We do offer assistance.

 

FWIW, I don't like just "one reminder" for myself or my kids. I like to be reminded more than once about upcoming events. I don't expect to get one notice of a PTA meeting and never hear any more about it. I expect to hear about it several times. (And I will tell you from experience it works much better. I've been at schools with an "it's on the calendar, so we don't need to send reminders" policy and schools that send an initial announcement and several follow-ups, and the schools with more communication involvement had much better participation rates and much higher parent satisfaction.) To me, it's the same way with homework and many other situations. A few friendly check-ins throughout the afternoon and evening really keep us on track: "What kind of homework do you have tonight?" and "What do you want to start on first?" and "How's that homework going? Anything I can do to help?" and "Sounds like you're almost done. Just your English vocab left!" I can't say that our way would work for every kid, but my kids don't lie, they don't sneak (my dd1 is horrible at sneaking, even for things like April Fool's Day) and they want to do well in school and they are doing well in school. If this kind of helping didn't work to keep them on track then I would try helping more, not punishing. 

 

Different things work for different families. I see the OP hasn't come back to post again on this thread, but she specifically said, "I do see how he's miserable everyday after school for not being able to play his games. After reading articles about not punishing your kids, it's made me wonder if i'm doing the right thing here." For our family the take it away strategy wouldn't work very well and it doesn't sound like it's working particularly well for the OP's family either if she's left wondering if she's doing the right thing and her child is miserable. For another family where the child is grateful to not have the distraction and the parent feels comfortable with the decision this strategy might work well.

 

To me, having a mutually agreeable solution between the parent and child is an important goal. I got some good bits out of Ross Greene's collaborative problem solving approach in "The Explosive Child" and his other works. If it works for both parent and child to take away the electronics, that's great. My kids like to know why they're being asked to do something. If they understand that they need to put away their iPods because they'll run out of time to do their math, they put away the iPod. They won't sneak or lie about it. If I just say "put that away" and don't give an explanation I get much less cooperation. 

 

If something is working well for a family, no need to fix what ain't broke, but I don't think offering up a helping, non-punitive strategy to someone who questioned whether punishment is the way to go is laughable. If it doesn't work for you then skip it, but no need to denigrate. Like they say in LLL, take what works and leave the rest. 

post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
 

I'm going to admit to laughing out loud at this. My son is 10 so still a bit more controllable than a 14 year old and this plan wouldn't even work with him. What we would end up with is:

 

1. Lies about what's done and not done and where it is.

2. Neither of us doing anything but homework from the time he got home until such time as we both were tired and fed up and I sent him to bed.

3. If work actually got accomplished (Ha ha ha) it would be the bare minimum of quality that he thought was possible.

4. My particular child would probably spiral out of control and stop turning in any work at all. He's stubborn like that. Plus he'd have lost all his other activities such as Chinese lessons, baseball, scouts, and FLL. Because we'd still be sitting at that GD table when it was time to leave for said activity without a single bit of work complete.

5. We'd both be mad and fed up and have dug in our heals so nothing changes and nothing gets done and now his homework isn't getting done and the household is a mess while we both stew in resentment and anger. 

6. This would go on for months.

 

Yes we've actually been there and done that. 

Wow!  Is my 12 yr old and your 10 yr old talking and planning these things out?  LOL!  It is exhausting at times.  That's for sure.  One thing that has really helped is that my son stays after school on the days that the teachers stay after for extra support.  That way he gets the help he needs in a more structured environment and it takes our power struggles out of the mix.  This doesn't work all the time, but it takes some of the pressure off.  The other thing that cut down on the lying about school work was when he told us that he eventually wants to attend the Coast Guard Academy.  Well, they've got some great core values, starting with integrity that I showed him.  He asked me to print them out for him.  I went a step beyond that and made a page with the core values, a picture of one of their boats and helicopters, and the definition of integrity at the bottom.  Then...I laminated it.  He reads it every single day before homework.  I know it won't work always, but it was a way to get through to him and make him see how those qualities are qualities that he really respects in others and wants to develop himself.  All that being said, there is no minecraft until homework is finished!

post #39 of 42

I'd have no problems taking away electronics in that situation.  I'd let the kid earn them back if they started regularly turning the assignments in, and I'd make the initial suspension much shorter than the semester.  We make it clear that electronics aren't a right, they  are a privilege, and school comes first.

 

I don't have a problem with punishment, either, but I think "consequences" or "punishment"  is semantics.

 

I have two very different teens and what works with one does not work with the other.  My older is an attorney in training, and discussing issues beyond a certain point is counterproductive.  She needs "consequences," not hours of arguing about everything under the sun. The other one would simply need to be reminded and it would all be good.

post #40 of 42

My 21-year-old only really learned to do this himself when he was around 17-18. If we hadn't done what you did, he wouldn't be at College now, doing the course he always wanted to do and thoroughly enjoying himself. 

 

We had to check his school stuff daily, really learn some stuff with him to help him understand (especially advanced maths) and not allow electronics before it was all done. Easy in our house though, because we just changed the password daily and he was only allowed it when everything was finished. 

 

Ideally, at 14, a boy should be responsible enough to not need so much help and to organise his day himself, but that just doesn't work out for everyone. 

 

Anyway, our actions didn't take away his ability to learn to do this himself, he is very good at this now. Even though I disagree with the fact that a paper for College needs to be written at 4am, but that is his business now. 

 

And don't we all need a little force from outside to get our backside moving sometimes? I do. 

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