Stop nagging and start listening to your child's homework-related frustrations. Nagging your child to do homework is often like walking on quicksand-—the only place you're going is down! As Sylvia and Don (names changed to protect confidentiality) learned when consulting with me about their 10-year-old son a few weeks ago, you need to stop nagging your child to get the homework done. This tends to be a very big problem for some parents.

Nagging likely comes from your own anxiety about your child underachieving, or even worse, failing. This understandable and I truly empathize with your angst. Stay mindful, however, that nagging, more often than not, will only make your child's avoidance worse, not better. Think about the titles of all the parenting self-help books out there. I have yet to see one entilted, How to Nag Your Child to a More Successful Life!

Instead of nagging, start listening to your child's concerns and frustrations. In the words of one high school freshman I recently worked with, "Dude my parents are all over me to get my homework done. They just don't get how that makes me nuts and I seriously cannot even deal with it all!"

Fortunately, this young man's parents listened to me and used my Calm, Firm, Noncontrolling approach (for more on this, check out my book, 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child) to be supportive while backing down from nagging. While this did not bring forth homework miracles, it did spur more homework manageability. So do your best to stop nagging and instead stay calm, work with your child's school (see my recent blog, Advocating for Your Child at School), and be supportive. 


Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over twenty years experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared on the The Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS eyewitness news Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006) and 10 Days to Less Distracted Child(Perseus Books 2007). 

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