There is a point in every unresolving conflict where reasoning becomes useless and a line has to be drawn.
Countless examples exist along the lines of: girl loves boy. Boy loves girl. Girl wants to get married. Boy freaks out. Girl and boy try to keep the relationship going but it isn’t working. Finally girl tells boy that if he doesn’t propose, she’s done. No more reasoning, no more waiting – these are the parameters for a continued relationship. Either way it ends up, at least the truth of the situation is now clear.
This is my long way of saying that it is not necessarily bad to draw a line so long as it is done with compassion and not in a shockingly sudden way.
Drastic measures in parenting have to be taken only when you have managed your child poorly and things are at a point of no return.
This harsh statement is no excuse for you to feel guilty about your parenting! It is simply a starting point from which we can solve the real problem. Poor management.
In terms of homework, it is the set-up itself that will make or break this difficult, often traumatic daily endeavor. To clarify, take the example of a football team. Countless days that you never even see are spent preparing for those relatively few hours on the field and in the actual game.
Homework time is similar in that the more you prepare for this dreaded activity, the more success you are guaranteed.
- Pick a consistent time that you and your child can agree upon for school work. Be sure you work around all your other family demands.
- Be sure that you have a definite start time and you are shooting for a definite end time too. Of course if work is done sooner, then everyone is released then and there with lots of acknowledgments and fanfare.
- No “multi-tasking” for you either! Your job is to help your child learn valuable lessons not only about reading, writing and arithmetic but also about working things out together with others. Don’t end up washing dishes at the sink while Johnny is struggling with his long division. This sends the message that his education is not that important. And believe it or not, it is much more efficient to compartment off 2 hours for schoolwork vs. struggle and fight over it from the time he gets home from school until bedtime.
- Have all electronics off but have your tablet device available to spice up the study period with some games that enhance what is being taught.
- Stack the deck in favor of success by being sure that everyone is well-fed and not exhausted from sporting activities. Give everyone some time to replenish physically with non-sugary snacks and plenty of water, then dive in!
- Always start the session by complementing your son or daughter on pretty much anything… like responsibly bringing the lunchbox home or eating a good snack or remembering to have a pencil at the table. This sets a positive tone and is probably the most important ingredient to good management there is.