23 answers

How Do I Get My 10 Year Old to Be More Responsible?

Hello, I am looking for some advice on 10 year old responsibility. My son is a very good student, very bright and fortunately does not struggle academically. My problem is, he forgets his homework a lot, he is in fourth grade this year and it just started this year. It's almost always the same book, his Spelling workbook. If he comes home and knows before the school closes, I take him up to get it, the school is only a minute drive away. If not, our neighbor's daughter is in the same class and we copy the page from her book. I understand that occasional forgetting is ok, we've already copied things for the neighbor as well when she forgot. He frequently forgets to write in his agenda also and the teacher has on the board first thing in the morning what the homework assignments are so they have all day to write it down. I tell him to check against his agenda and the board before he leaves each day to make sure he has everything, but he's not getting it. It's very frustrating. His dad says to let him go and take the consequences from his teacher but I want his homework to get done. I've given him consequences at home though; no playing with friends, no video games, no TV, bed early, but nothing seems to help. Any suggestions or ideas are very much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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So What Happened?™

THANK YOU to all who responded. I have so much advice to go with, I think I can incorporate a lot of it together. The majority said hubby is right, although I knew that I didn't want to admit it. Some of you said you understand how hard it is as a mom to let our children take the consequences at school, but I understand now how important this is in the long run...years down the road. We've had issues with his teacher this year (not just us) so I don't think getting the teacher involved is the right thing...very long story. I will definitely follow through the rest of the year (less than a month) and be on top of it next year; it will be his last year before going to Middle School so I'll work with the teacher next year if it happens again.

Featured Answers

Hello M.,
My name is M. and I am the mother of a 10 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old boys. My 10 year old always forgets things. I started taking things from him, like the priviledge to watch t.v. until the next day if he bought home his homework, also his WII which he would not be able to play. After a week of this he started to remember. He even got a reward for not forgetting any assignments for the month of April. Hope this helps.

M. G.

To chime in here with the let him fail. My 2nd grade daughter has always been responsible for her homework until the weather changed this spring. Since it's been nice she seems to forget lots of things because she can't wait to get home and go play. Well, the first two times I did get the assisgnments for her but after that I let it go because I have other things to take care of besides getting her homework. She was very upset because she didn't want an incomplete because she ahs never gotten one of those (she knew the consequence). She had to go in with no homework and got a green N (that's an incomplete) and she hasn't forgotten since! She hates to disappoint her teacher so it was a lesson well learned.

More Answers

As a second grade teacher for 8 years, with my Master's Degree, I have to agree with your husband. Having to face the teacher with an assignment not finished, will probably be more difficult than what you can dish out. Plus in letting him fail, you are teaching him that he is responsible for his school work and you are not. Isn't that your ultimate goal?

I grew up with a wonderful, caring, amazing, mother. But in loving me so much, she always bailed me out in situations like this. It taught me to be less responsible because I knew she would always come to the rescue. It took me a long time to be the responsible person I am today. Plus, it robbed me of taking full pride in my work and projects because they were not %100 my work.

Let him fail now while he is young and the grades really don't count in the long run (towards college or graduation) or he will be depending on you to bail him out when the grades really do count.

I would however contact the teacher and let him/her know your plan, so she/he realizes that you are giving your child the gift of being self motivated and responsible.

1 mom found this helpful

M.,

Your son sounds much like mine. Mine is very bright...high iq...is in the gifted program...BUT...has ADHD. Certainly I'm not suggesting your son has the same thing, but you may want to do some reading on it...see if any applies and have him tested if so. It manifested itself in our son in 4th grade.

So...we've been through some counseling with him (and he's had some on his own) to develop some tools to overcome his challenges.

The big thing the psychologist stressed is that he needs to suffer the consequences of failing to follow through on what's expected of him. She reminds us that the stakes are so (relatively) small when they're in elementary school. If you continue to cover for him, he will never learn. He'll be 30 - with a wife and kid and get fired from a job when he forgets something and he'll never know what hit him.

Believe me...I speak from experience. It HURTS to see your kid mess up...and do it again...and again. It feels like it would be so much easier to bail him out, and it would in the short run, BUT...if you continue to enable him, he'll continue to rely on you.

Just remember...the stakes are small now...I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis.

P.

P.S. There are still SOME times that I bail him out...but they're less freqent...and it's for extenuating circumstances only. I also take away his video game time which is very painful for him...the important thing is to be consistent. If we say we're going to take away his game time if he forgets, we do it...even IF...he has a friend coming over or whatever else...

I think you need to let your son experience the consequences of forgetting his homework. What you are doing is not working because he knows you will come to his rescue. As parents it is only natural to want to rescue our children, but one of our jobs as parents is to teach our children to be responsible and to be organized. If you continue to bail him out, he will never learn these lessons. You said that he is very bright and does very well in school, so I think that getting a bad grade on a test because he forgot his homework would really have an impact on him. You may even be able to talk to his teacher about the situation and what you are trying to do to teach your son about being respnsible and organized, she may be willing to work with you. However, since you have come to his rescue so far you should have a conversation with him to explain that it is his responsibilty to bring his homework home and tell him what you will do(not bail him out) if he forgets it in the future. To just spring it on him one day when he forgot his homework would be cruel, since you have bailed him out in the past. You need to let him know in advance what YOU will do and then you need to follow through. I believe that just one time would end this power struggle for you. This is your son's problem not yours, so just let the natural consequence of him forgetting his himework play out. I hope this helps
Take Care!

I started a clothespin discipline which seems to work pretty well. (You can put the clothespins on a display board or a piece of cardboard) The first offense, they get a clothespin. The second offense, they get a clothespin. Third offense, time out, fourth offense grounded. This also helps mom from yelling because discipline is all on the child's shoulders. When they reach the grounded stage, ask the child what they think their punishment should be.

To chime in here with the let him fail. My 2nd grade daughter has always been responsible for her homework until the weather changed this spring. Since it's been nice she seems to forget lots of things because she can't wait to get home and go play. Well, the first two times I did get the assisgnments for her but after that I let it go because I have other things to take care of besides getting her homework. She was very upset because she didn't want an incomplete because she ahs never gotten one of those (she knew the consequence). She had to go in with no homework and got a green N (that's an incomplete) and she hasn't forgotten since! She hates to disappoint her teacher so it was a lesson well learned.

Been there done that! My son is now 14 and in 8th grade. He really struggled with writing down assignments. It came to a head in 6th grade. He had to get his teachers' signatures every day for almost 6 months. He now knows all of his assignments and suffers the consequences if he doesn't complete them.

Back to elementary school... there is a lot more coddling in elementary school. What percentage does homework count towards the grade? My son had straight A+'s in 5th grade. There was no challenge. Homework was completed in no time.

My suggestion is to have a heart to heart with him. Let him know that he's bright, but needs to be responsible for bringing his books home so he can complete his homework. Homework will only increase, especially at the middle school level. Go ahead and have him suffer the consequences of not completing it. If the "A" is really important to him, not getting the "A" will be a wake up call.

BTW, my 10 year old daughter in 4th grade doesn't complete her agenda either. She hated it when I tried to get her to fill it out earlier in the year so I gave up trying. She completes her homework for the most part. I work with her on her homework when needed.

Hope this helps!
A. D

HAHAAA...Are you talking about my son? I can relate ENTIRELY!! My son is 10...brings home an "i forgot" slip almost every single day. Fortunately making him stay in is working for the moment. It seems we have to switch up his consequences,depending on what he is most interested in at the time (video games,out playing with friends). So punishing him from everything at once or long term..basicaly doesn't work. In my opinion these kids have a lot on there plate at school these days and have a lot more responsability at a much younger age. I have a HIGHLY intelligent 14 yr. old and I can remember his struggles at that age too like being organized.Let's not forget they are boys...not that it's there excuse!Both my boys had the same teacher and let's just say she is not a happy camper and gives lot's of homework even gave a test 2 days before school let out.So I think some kids feel a little overwhelmed on a daily basis. Some think because there grades are fine...not doing all the homework will affect them. I do believe that if you make the teacher aware that this is a problem and you can use her help in this..(i.e. ask her to peek at his agenda and remind him to bring home his books...it's not that hard for her to do..and his grades are most important..being more responsible and organized will be more of a focus next year...in preparation of middle school. Start fresh then and if you notice it starting again early on...then again bring it to the teachers attention and let them do there part too. During the summer give him a couple small chore's if he doesn't already have..just as a way of excersing his responsibilities and keeping him on his toes! Honestly you sound like me and knowing my husband and I have done all we can..the only thing I wish we did earlier was getting the teacher more involved. It has helped us and the stress we've had all year. Your not alone!! I hope this helps! Good luck!

How about instead of consequences for forgetting the workbook, rewards for remembering to bring home the workbook? Like maybe on a weekly basis if he remembers everyday that week, Friday night or over the weekend do something special that he would look forward to, like having a friend over or a day trip. "My dad and I are going fishing this weekend. I am so excited but I have to bring home my workbook everyday to be able to go. My mom said I can't go if I am not responsible and bring home my work" Obviously the consequences did not make an impact on him if he still can leave school without saying to himself, "oh let me grab my book because I want to play video games tonight". Also, call the teacher and let her know and perhaps she can keep an eye on what he is doing when its time to leave school, or she can just give a friendly reminder to all the kids in the class if he is not the only one.

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