How to Get the Defiant Child to do Homework

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If you struggle with a defiant child at homework time it can be extremely frustrating. You know very well that it is in your child’s best interest to do their homework so that their learning experience can be more complete and so that they can do well in school. Unfortunately, the defiant child typically isn’t open to this clearly reasoned line of explanation. Fortunately, there may be some things you can do in order to help your defiant child to do their homework.

Start with a comfortable work space. You want to make sure that your child’s workspace is comfortable and free of distractions. You want to make sure that there is not a reason within reach or within sight for the child to refuse to do their homework. You want to make sure that there is not a television, that there is no music and there are not computers or video games being used at homework time. All these things are much more appealing to a defiant child than homework.

Make sure you get into a homework routine. Having a homework routine will help every child, not just the defiant child, when to comes to doing homework. If you spend exactly one hour every day immediately after school doing homework your child knows exactly what to expect when he or she walks through the door. You might chose instead to allow the child an hour or so to have a snack and some free time after getting home. You might prefer that they do homework after your evening meal. Whatever the specific time you chose, having that regular time and sticking to it helps your child to be less defiant when it comes to do homework.

If it is clear that your child is just not going to do her homework, there is no point in making the child sit in her seat for the entire evening. Instead offer specific and immediate consequences if the homework isn’t done in a specified amount of time. At the same time, you can offer rewards if the homework is done in the specified amount of time. For example, allowing a child an extra half an hour of time on the television or offering the child an extra snack if his homework is done on time are reasonable rewards. Even a bonus to the child’s allowance may be a nice positive reward for the defiant child who doesn’t want to do homework. Conversely, you can also deduct money from the child’s allowance if they continually refuse to do homework. Just remember that any system which includes rewards must also include sanctions or the system won’t be effective.

Ultimately, homework can’t be ignored. At the same time, you can’t force a child who is being defiant to do homework. You have to work out between you and your child what works best. Figure out a system that works best for both of you and then stick to it.


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