- Written by John Brauer
One of the most common struggles for parents of school age children is that of homework. Generally speaking, kids do not want to do homework, and parents do not like to argue and have power struggles to get their kids to do it. The issue often lies in the idea of demonstrating family values. When families come to see us about this issue, one of the first things we discuss is the question of whether education is a family value.
The immediate response is almost always' "Of course! Education is VERY important; you can't get a decent job without an education!"
The follow up question for the parents then is, "Okay then, what are YOU studying?" (and this does not mean formal school). The parents generally have no response. While the parents SAY that education is a family value, the children believe what they see more than what they hear. If they see a family pattern which really says "Education is what you kids have to do until you are grown up, and then you can watch T.V. with the grown ups" then of course, they will want to do what the grown ups do.
The answer: DEMONSTRATE the family value.
If education is a family value, then mom and dad will be learning also. If the children are to believe that it is a family value, then they must SEE that mom and dad are learning still. This means that seminars at work aren't enough. After all the child attends the equivalent of seminars at school, and yet is still expected to practice and study further at home.
If the parents wish to see their children embrace education as a family value, then the parents must embrace the value. This means that all family members must have 'homework'.
How do you do that in your already overly busy lifestyle?
• Take an hour and go to the library with the kids.
• Study with the children by bringing something home from the workplace and sitting with them a few times a week.
• Agree to learn something together after a family outing. Example: get a book on an animal you saw at the zoo.
• Have each family member report in at dinner once a week on something they learned. Plan who will share what and hold each other accountable. Parents included!
• Sign up on and receive FREE emails on topics that interest the family. Report during 'family sharing time'.
Once your child sees your investment, the child is no longer singled out as the only one who must 'study'. The parents continue to grow and learn, and the power struggles will subside, because the parent is right there working alongside the child. Everyone wins, and the homework gets done.