So now that your kid is back in school, you expected him to approach homework the way you used
to before Quarantine, but not so much. Well, we're going to talk about that today on tips on teens.
My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in
helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, teen Therapy
Center and the nonprofit 501 organization child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland
Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting
questions. Let's jump into today's. During quarantine, my 13 year old son really struggled
with homework and motivation for school in general, which I totally understand. But now that
he's back at school, he's still resisting doing homework. He's not getting all his work done,
and he's complaining a lot about it. Before quarantine, we never really had a problem with this.
So now that he's back, I just don't know understand why he's
not doing better. How should I deal with this problem? Thank you so much for your question. There
could be a lot of different possibilities why this problem is happening. Let's jump into a few
possibles. Number one, quarantine had no impact on it. He was going to do this anyway. He was
entering adolescence and Quarantine hit right with it. And even if Quarantine didn't hit,
he'd still be having the same problems. That is a possibility. Could just be with what's going
on up here. Secondly, let's say he's 13, so I'm guessing he's 7th grade. So he probably started
6th grade in quarantine, started middle school in quarantine. Maybe he's had a new school.
He's also having a hard time adjusting to six classes and six teachers. The intensity of the
homework has gotten harder and has harder for him. And maybe in elementary school it was a lot
easier. So there could be a lot of infectors with those as well. Maybe he's not really connecting
well with kids at school. He's feeling like an outsider.
Could be. Also some family relationship issues going on. They're not being addressed satisfactorily
for his emotional needs. Oftentimes homework could just be a window, like a warning sign of
something else going on. So we want to explore all these different aspects, not just about getting
him doing homework, because the homework could be the canary in the coal mine as a metaphor to
understand that there may be something deeper going on emotionally for him. So in one word,
how do you approach this? Approach it calmly. Make sure he feels safe. Make sure he's not feeling
attacked. If he feels attacked, then homework is going to even become a worse scenario. It's
going to be a scarier, more unpalatable scenario. It's going to push, push, push farther away.
As in one, it's scary, it's uncomfortable, and it's a great way to control you. So you want to
make sure you're approaching it with compassion. Also during quarantine. He could have really
jumped into screens. His iPad, his PlayStation,
his phone, YouTube, social media, all those things could have really absorbed him for the last
year and a half. And he may need some more clear, fair, and reasonable boundaries on screens
so he can focus on homework. I think it's important that he has also extracurricular activities.
If he hasn't really found anything yet, he probably needs to find something because that helps
keep kids be motivated and happy and helps them do homework. If your kids doing soccer, I would
not pull him out of soccer because he's not doing homework. I would try to find a way to incorporate
them together. As you take away his love, then he's going to even be less motivated. So it's really
talking to him about what's going with him, what are his concerns. If you feel he's not being
open and he may need someone else to talk to, you may want to think about having talk to a therapist.
There are plenty of teen therapists out there, teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen counseling.
But we're not the only places in town.
Yes, you want to really make sure that he's feeling supported. Make sure you're staying calm,
make sure you're not yelling nagging. That never works for anyone, even though as parents,
we all fall into that from some time to another. Anyways, again, I'm approaching with a very
broad base. If you can find out what's causing the problem, maybe you can help with that. It could
also be one thing I forgot is he may be having a hard time learning how to prioritize and organize
for middle school, which he didn't really have to do so much in elementary. Middle school is
more complex. He may need help with that, which may be beyond his scope, which means he may need
help. And if he won't accept your help, maybe hiring a tutor to help him with that, or an educational
therapist. If you think he has some cognitive delays or developmental delays or processing
delays, that could help as well. Anyways, thank you very much for your question. We love your
questions. If you have a question you'd like me
to answer, please email us at tipson firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message us right
here on Facebook. We love your questions. Thank you very much. My name is Kent Toussaint with
Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, and I'll see you guys next Wednesday at noon
with next question for tips on teens. Bye.
If your teen is struggling with homework there are a lot of possible causes and solutions to the problem. The first rule for getting through homework difficulties is to approach your kid calmly. Make sure they feel safe. The problem is only going to get worse if your kid feels like you’re attacking them. And if your kid isn’t opening up, you may need to look into getting them someone to talk to like a therapist.
Sometimes when teens struggle with homework it can be a sign of something deeper going on. Is there some kind of underlying family issue that you might need to address? Or perhaps if your kid just entered middle school, they may just need some help learning to prioritize. Regardless, when teens struggle with homework, there are solutions, and we talk about it on this Tips on Teens.
“During quarantine my 13 year old son really struggled with homework and motivation for school in general, which I totally understand. But now that he’s back at school, he’s still resisting doing homework. He’s not getting all his work done and he’s complaining a lot about it. Before quarantine we never really had a problem with this, so now that he’s back I just don’t understand why he’s not doing better. How should I deal with this problem?”
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.