Dr. Selznick covers his technique for dealing with child meltdowns over homework.

Lately, I’ve had a run on “meltdowny” kids.

I know “meltdowny” is not a word, but I bet you get it. These are the ones who without a lot of provocation have a wild storm of a fit. Often it’s tied in to something like homework or anything related to the demands of school.

I’m not sure why, but there seem to be a lot more of them these days.

When I asked a child about it recently, he explained to me about his homework reactions, “It’s just not fun,” he plaintively told me.
“It’s so boring – It’ just not fun.”

I joked with him (sort of), “Hey, it was never fun. It’s school!”

I’m not sure he was buying it.

“Homework is boring…”

Somewhere along the line kids seem to have gotten the idea that school and homework are supposed to be fun, enjoyable activities that will ignite motivation for learning. Most of the homework that I’ve seen consist of packets to complete, with worksheet after worksheet in the packets.

The worksheets never look like much fun to me. But, then, again they never were.

Perhaps it was the “Boomer” generation in their post-hippie period era of raising children who may started the notion that homework could be more of an “experience” for the children, something more than the usual.

The current generation of parents has just taken that “homework-should-be-a-positive-experience” to an art form, in terms of their hopes as to how homework should go each night.

Inherent in homework is the value of teaching kids to manage their stuff, organize themselves, meet deadlines, and, oh yeah, to reinforce a few skills along the way. Keeping these in mind, it seems there is a value to homework. You can try and help your child as best you can, but sometimes the information can go beyond your knowledge, especially as they progress into secondary school and college. There are resources out there to help deal with specific subjects, like psychology, medical science, and computer science. For example, if your child struggles with coding in their computer science course, you can use professional companies like Do My Coding to give you both a helping hand.

Probably since the Colonial times, kids have detested homework. They always have. Think about it. Has there ever been a child in the history of American education who raised his/her had at the end of the day to ask the teacher if she could, “Please give an extra hour or two of homework tonight or more on the weekend.”

Why have Saturdays always been beloved? Easy. No one is bugging you to get stuff done. No homework.

Dealing with child meltdowns over homework

So, the next time your child starts heading toward a meltdown about homework that’s, “no fun and so boring,” while engaging in every possible maneuver to get out of doing it, shrug your shoulders, stay calm, and have a ready response such as, “That’s right, honey, it’s called ‘homework.’ They don’t call it ‘homefun.'”

If your child persists with raising his meltdown to another level of intensity, just go about your business. You know, take out the trash; do the dishes – anything to disengage and the storm will pass.

After the meltdown (storm) is over and the child resets, come back to your child without the usual parental add-ons such as yelling and punishing and say, “Are you ready to start now?”

It’s a meltdown – a form of a storm and they pass.


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