Your teen struggles to get homework done. Maybe it’s a battle. Maybe it’s a tear fest. Maybe it’s unproductive. However it manifests itself in your home, I’m sure it’s frustrating.
You want to help them. You want them to develop good strategies and habits.
Teens can be prickly pears and as a middle school teacher, I know how important it is to proceed with caution.
What does this look like in practice? How can a parent not seem like they’re hovering when implementing strategies like this to help their kid?
Keep it Light and Neutral
Phrasing, tone, and approach are all essential to consider when working with teens on something they struggle with.
Have a conversation.
What do have to do tonight?
Make the conversation light and neutral.
What do you think is going to take you the longest? Anything you think might be tricky or difficult? Anything you’re dreading?
Let’s look at the agenda and see if we can make a plan together or I can help you create a plan so you can get through it quicker.
Support them in their independence by modeling it.
Take the pressure off them and seeing this as about them and a struggle they have on their own. Do the process with them for something that you struggle with. Motivating yourself to work out? Paperwork or project you keep putting off? A list of chores a mile long you want to complete?
You can talk to them about what gets in your way, prioritize your tasks, set a small manageable goal to start, and reward yourself when you’re finished on a job well done.
By them seeing you work through the same process it can be something you connect on instead of something you argue about.
You could even make it a contest and see who gets done first and gets the reward first. Or you can do or share in a special treat or activity if you both get the task done.
What if they don’t want to?
You can’t force them to practice strategies to instill better work habits.
You model it.
You could encourage and reward it.
And you can let them see what happens when they don’t and face the consequences, being ready to help and support when they’re ready.