12 Year Old Son =Not Turning in Homework

Updated on October 20, 2011
M.T. asks from San Jose, CA
22 answers

How do I deal with him? He has not been turning in homework. Lies about doing it.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

He does play football~ and he loves it. He doesnt have ADHD or anything- He is just lazy I think! I did speak to him last night and he said that he absoultley does not understand the teacher. ( Which I totally get it, because back to school night, I couldnt wait to get out of there) I couldnt imagine sitting through that class everyday, But I thought she was just nervous.... but it appears EVERYONE is having trouble in her class. He told me she got him mixed up with someone else... seems to be sticking to his story, but I didnt believe him because he has a PAST of not turning in homework.
Thanks for all the answers! They are really helpful!

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answers from La Crosse on

8kidsdad said what I was going say also.

Also can you talk to the school/ teachers and see if he can stay after school to finish all of his work and giving it to the supervising teacher before even leaving the school? I have had to do that with one of my kids. We let him try it at home after a week and the same thing happened so he went back to staying after... after that he realized we weren't going to give up and he hated staying at school longer than he had to and shaped up!

He sat in either the counselor's / dean of students/ Principal's office ( who ever had the free time to sit with him)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Tell him "Do want to repeat 7th grade, again?" (if that is the grade he is in).
Tell him, if he does not do his assignments and grade level requirements, he WILL be repeating his grade and flunking.

Meet with the Teacher.

Or, does he have learning problems? Or is just lazy?
Take away privileges or reward him with someone as an incentive.
Teach him time management. Kids don't automatically know that.
Make HIM, responsible.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had a son that I would make sure he did the homework and make sure he would put it in his backpack. He would take it out of his back pack and not take it with him or not turn it in.

I finally told him I would go to his classes and sit next to him or sit in the back of the class. And I did. (I took a week's vacation.) He didn't believe me. I really embarassed him unintentionally and he told me that if he would do all his home work and turn it in, would I PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE not go and sit in his classes any more. So he did and I didn't sit in his classes any more.

A couple of my other kids would not do their homework on occasion and all I had to do was ask them if they wanted me to sit in on their classes with them and my son would always pipe up and tell them what I did accidently and my other kids got their homework done and turned in.

BTW, my son with the homework problem ended up graduating salutitorian (#2). He Graduated USC Medical School and is now a Dr. of Pharmacy. Do I think it was worth it? You betcha ! ! !

Good luck to you and yours.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When my daughter kept coming home telling me she had no homework I decided to set "Study time"at night. that was 45 minutes that she had to spend doing school work. If she had no "homework" then I made up work for her to do. She didn't like the work I made for her - she would rather do the assigned homework so that cured that!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with 8kidsdad. My cousin was one of those who was becoming rebellious, and ended up being suspended from school because of his bad decisions. His mother had tried everything, and finally when he was suspended, she made the decision to go everywhere with him. She walked to school with him, sat in class with him, sat in the cafeteria with him during lunch time, walked home with him, did his homework with him. When he wanted to go to friends' houses, she went with him there, too! For 6 MONTHS! (She was a SAHM, so she could do that.) Anyway, he straightened up. Had no choice! He ended up graduating on time from high school (despite having been suspended for a semester). Now, my cousin is an upstanding guy. He is 40 years old and has 2 fantastic kids and a beautiful wife. And even though at the time he was soooo embarrassed by his mom going everywhere with him, he really loved and respected her for it. And actually, all of his friends loved my aunt, too. (She was a really fantastic lady.) She passed away recently, and you would have been surprised by the number of my cousin's high school friends who not only came, but tearfully got up and spoke about how they had admired her dedication to helping her son, and how they wished they had a mom like that. Just goes to show you, sometimes it takes extreme measures, and the kid will not hate you for life! :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

our school has the whole gradebook system computerized. I check my son's grades regularly & address situations as they arise.

No electronics, no phone privileges if he does not cooperate. Hit him (not physically, of course!) where it hurts the most! For my son that would be not being able to participate in his extra-curricular activities....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son went through the same thing last yr. I had to keep on him and check his back pack every day and I also sent to school with him, kinda like a homework check list for the teacher. Who would mark yes or no to the homework being turned in and done. It seems like he's finally getting on track this year,thank goodness :)

Good Luck !!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I actually read about a mom who did just that, when to school/extracurricular activities with him for a few weeks until the kid starting getting his act together.

He needs to come home from school, have a snack and time to unwind, then go and sit at the table and do his homework. Gets a 5 min break every half hour or so to free his brain and stretch.

Make sure he is completing it and it's going into his backpack every night. Get his assignments from teachers so you know he isn't leaving something out.

Be sure he has a rewards system and plenty of positive reinforcement as well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Maybe you need to sit with him every day after school at the kitchen table and make sure he does it. He cant get down until he is finished. And if you find out that he hasnt been turning it in, then you might have to call the teacher to check up and see if he has been.

Need to find out the reason behind it. Is he not understanding what they are teaching at school so he just doesnt try?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I teach 7th grade and this is super common. One thing that is very effective is a tracking sheet. He picks one up every day from his 1st hour teacher. After that he gives it to all of his teachers at the end of class and they indicate his behavior for that day (on a scale of 1-5); whether he was on time; did he finish his classwork; and did he turn in his homework. On the back, there is space for each subject to write down homework or special notes. It goes home every night for the parent to see and sign. The student then turns it into his 1st hr teacher the next day and the process repeats itself. Let me be clear, this is ONLY effective if teachers and parents hold the child accountable EVERYDAY. You have to ask for it every night and the 1st hr teacher has to be diligent about asking to see it. It takes some time for this to become routine, but once it does, it can really transform behavior. It's also great when you offer a reward at the end of the week for having the tracking sheet done everyday. It's something to look forward to.

If that doesn't work, definitely accompany him. I have a few parents do that every year and it works like a charm!

Also, just remember that he is 12 and that he's in the throes of adolescence. This too shall pass! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Something to keep in mind: kids often respond better to incentives like parental admiration and appreciation than to punishments and deprivations. It sounds a bit like you've worn out the punishment route. I suspect you'd get a great deal of help from the brilliant little book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish, which will help you get to the bottom of why your son isn't doing the work, and make him part of the problem-solving team.

The encouragement or techniques you employ to effectively get him doing the homework will partly depend on his reasons for not doing it. Is he struggling with it, or failing to understand what he needs to do? Then he needs additional help.

Does he find it pointlessly repetitive because he already "gets" the concepts? Then you may be able to get him to race against the clock to get it out of the way. Or something even more daring: asking his teacher to suspend the requirement if he keeps his test scores up. Perhaps the teacher would agree to let your son do an independent study project instead, focusing on an area of his own interest, and turn in a paper on this topic.

A great deal of homework is little more than busywork, and teachers, students and parents all hate it but don't see how to change the system. Read what nationally-recognized educator Alfie Kohn has to say, and find out whether you want to be an advocate for better policies. There are many worthwhile titles in this list of articles, but start with the one titled "Rethinking Homework." http://www.alfiekohn.org/articles.htm

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answers from Washington DC on

I like what 8kidsdad said about this! I agree... and will TOTALLY do that if need be in the future.

Good Luck, M., and to your son.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Are you positive he is not ADD or ADHD? This sounds just like my husband in middle and high school. When he did do his homework, he still would not, could not turn it in.. Drove everyone around the bend. He found out years later he had ADHD.. His parents knew but "did not believe in that type of thing.". Boy, it sure would have helped to know

Start off by first giving him a safe way to be honest with you. Let him know as long as he does not lie to you , you will not be mad.
Sit him down and tell him. "I am not mad, I just want to know, what is going on with you?" "We want to help you solve this."

Tell his teacher to give him his REAL grades for this 6 weeks period.
Let him fail.

This is middle school it is a safe place to still fail.. Remind him about summer school and make him go if he has to to make up these classes.

I do agree that going for a few days to his school and sitting with him and walking with him and joining him for lunch.. will really get his attention.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

If you are positive it's not a learning issue, and you have tried the route of taking away things and met with the teacher, then (and I know some mom's won't want to hear this).... let him fail..... Yep, I said it, let him fail.

I used to teach middle school. We had so many students, especially at the start of the year, that didn't understand that the homework was practice of what we taught that day. It wasn't just busy work or without purpose. So many times the parents would try to do the work for them to save them, or not hold them accountable. I can't tell you the number of times that I saw things that just made me shake my head. The ones who were "saved" either by parents or coaches, or teachers, that decided to "excuse the work, just this one time, because they know they learned a lesson" are the students who will contine to do it every year through their middle school and high school education, and then will go on to college and fail. Some students (especially in middle school, it seems) don't understand that if you don't do the work there are consequences to that. That they could wind up failing and repeating a subject, or have to take summer school, and NO one wants to do that. It may sound harsh, but it (often times) will work.

Whatever you choose - Good Luck!!!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Let him fail and have to repeat.

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answers from San Francisco on

My now 13 yo started lying about homework when he was in the 4th grade. He made up all kinds of fabulous stories that he told both me and his teacher. I was quite amazed at how creative he got with them.
Both of my boys are over the top smart but middle school was and is a struggle for them both. My oldest who got A's on everything he turned in failed or barely passed most of his academic classes only because he did not turn everything in. We tried withholding EVERYTHING from his life. We tried rewarding him. We tried to outright bribe him. Absolutely nothing worked!
So he hits HS and his freshman year was only okay-he passed everything. In the spring of his freshman year he discovered Track. He loves track and he currently runs both track & field and cross-country. He's maintaining a B average while taking an honors and two AP classes. What happened? He found something he loves. What are we doing with it? Using it to our advantage. We require him to maintain that 3.0 or better GPA and be passing ALL of his classes (last year he failed one class(semester) but still maintained a 3.0 average)-we had to clarify the passing ALL classes part. If he didn't he would get pulled at least temporarily from the thing he loved the most. Well, he got an F one more time in that particular class and we pulled him [from track] for two weeks....coach didn't like it (son is a "star" runner on the team) but he supported our decision. Our son hasn't failed a class since and though he still isn't 100% with turning homework in he has about a 95% success rate.
My younger son is ADD but meds don't help him. It's an almost daily struggle to get him to finish all of his homework. He should have been held back last year- he didn't pass 3 of his subjects, but he wasn't. I was fearful of getting his first report card this year. I was so pleasantly surprised that he is passing all but one subject! And he's passing them well. Not sure if it's the teachers that are making the difference or if he is just maturing. Whatever it is, I like it and I hope he continues on this path.
I think often middle school is just overwhelming and here in San Jose it starts in the 6th grade not 7th like every other place we have lived in.

Definitely talk to your child's teachers and see if they are willing to set up a "signature" program. We sign his agenda so the teachers know we saw his assignments and that he completed them. They each sign his agenda so we know that he turned in his homework. It definitely improved his accountability.

Something else that I tell my 13yo is that homework/schoolwork is only going to get harder as the years go by and if he doesn't do it now he'll struggle more later. He seems to be getting that message and is trying harder to do what he needs to do to be "successful".

Whatever you do just remember to be an encourager and to show your love to him and praise him when he does accomplish what needs to be done. It will take some time but he'll come around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Have you tried having him do nothing and have nothing? It gets pretty boring sitting in an empty room doing nothing. Then turing in homework would suddenly look like something he'll want to do, gladly!

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd just go to school with him. I'd sit in class. I'd make him turn in his homework. I'd even go to lunch with him and sit with his friends. It will only take a few days for him to get sick of it and start doing what he should be doing.



answers from San Francisco on

When my son was in 1st grade, he was placed in an "open" classroom. Children could move to a "fun" activity when their work was finished; any unfinished work went home as homework. But there was no consequence for not turning IN the homework. And, if the child tested out well at the end of the semester, nothing was communicated to parents. My son discovered he could come home, say "no homework" and play without getting into any trouble. One day, his teacher mentioned how bright he must be because he hadn't handed in homework in 6 weeks, yet had tested out at well above average. I went home, asked him about the homework, and, because he hadn't learned yet to be devious, found that he had put every sheet in the bottom drawer of his desk. There we discovered every piece of undone homework for the past 6 weeks. I figured since he was so bright, he could complete 6 weeks of homework in 4 weeks, divided up the sheets, and for the next 4 weeks every day after school he completed a homework packet PLUS any homework he brought home. He soon learned that finishing his current work at school was better than adding it to the past packet he had to complete. We delivered the 6 weeks of work to school after a month, and he learned a valuable lesson. Thankfully, the lesson he learned wasn't "next time I'll throw the homework away". He is a 5th grade teacher today and has told this story to his class each year.



answers from San Francisco on

You are going to have to be the homework Nazi (Just a figure of speech, not to offend.) Ask the teachers to copy you or send an email to you on homework assignments and when they are due and then you are going to have to check his everyday. Tell him that he will not be able to visit friends, play video games, play an other outside activies or sports etc. until he gets the homework situation back on track. Let him and the teachers know you mean business. Good luck



answers from San Francisco on

1) Make him show you his schoolwork and completed homework.

2) Set up some kind of daily or weekly communication system with his teachers.

And I 100% agree with 8kidsdad's idea. Middle school is a good time to put a stop to bad habits.

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