Homework and Fighting

Updated on September 22, 2006
B.A. asks from Mobile, AL
8 answers

Well my thing is for one my boys are constantly fighting. My 11 year old is ADHD and seems to pester my oldest more than he should. BUt when he does my 13 year old just makes sure he fights back instead of getting us. We have tried everything there is to possibly try. I'm on my last leg and not sure what to try and my hubby just isn't sure either besides threating to send them to military school. I'm out of options....My other thing is lately I have heard this from them after school..."I don't have any homework". Well the other day I find out that they have been lying to us. We go through their bookbags and any papers we find they tell us that is something they are doing in class. I even talked to the assistant principal. I mean its not like I can hold their hand, do it for them, tie them to a chair and a pencil in their hand and make them do it. I know that there is a website so that I can check their homework, so I am now starting that I am just hoping that it works. I hope that they won't fight me and give me fits about doing their homework. I do all of mine for school and they see that, I just don't know what to do to encourage them anymore. ANy suggestions would be appreciated.

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answers from Chattanooga on

Hi B.,

Sounds like it is time for a little 'tough love'. I raised 2 of my husbands 3 girls, (plus several neices and nephews). When they came to live with us, the oldest was lazy and all she wanted to do was smoke and read romance novels, the youngest kept getting herself arrested and in fights about drugs. I put my foot down, took away what they liked to do, contacted their school and made sure I knew what they had to do everyday and basically sat with them every single night at the dinner table while they did their homework. I did not relent. It was hard but if you want them to grow up right, you have to take the responsibility. They just want to see how far they can push you and it sounds like you are letting it happen. If you can't sit with them every night then your husband will have to. It is a joint effort. It will take a long time, but eventually when they see that thier efforts are paying off and thier grades are getting better, they will realize what they have been doing. It's called starting to grow up. Children that age are at the start of the most difficult time of thier lives for the parents. Yes for the parents. You sometimes don't know which way to turn. I would also suggest, if you belong to a church, talk to your pastor and see if counciling with him/her will help or if there are any organizations that could help with counciling. Just keep in mind, you and your husband are the ones in charge, not the kids. You will have to be stronger than you have ever been before. Good luck.


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answers from Memphis on

B. I feel your pain. I too have an 11 year old with ADHD. I went through the same struggle. It was weird because just all of sudden he started doin it at school before he came home. He would do it in his free time. As you know most ADHD children are highly intelligent. Mine is in Spotlight, that is a class for the advanced. Does that sight tell you everyday if he turned it in? Find out if it can be posted if he turned it in, ask the teacher to email you if it doesn't. I always made sure to make the comment to them that "I know they have to work with parents and children with a disability and they have to accomodate them AND/BUT I know they can't have a student that disrupts the class so we have to work together to make this work."

I know at my sons school they kept him in on recess or study hall to do it if he didn't turn it in. That may have gotten him to start doin it. He wanted that extra time with his friends.

I have no problems now. I don't even ask him about it anymore. I get in touch with the teachers every year by email and let them know to email me about anything. I let my son know this too that if he messes up I will know. He is so afraid of doing anything wrong. He always says, "they will send me to the office." He also knows that when he gets home he will get a but whipping for doing something wrong he knew was wrong.

Hope you find the calmness you are looking for. I know I have been there.

Have a nice day.



answers from Jackson on

As far as the homework thing goes, my husband and I are going through the same exact thing with my 11-year-old stepdaughter. Except that she's ALOT worse. She does the same thing about telling us she has no homework and really does. She really just does not care about school at all. She started back to school in August, and she's failing in everything already. It is very frustrating for me and my husband. We have tried EVERY possible thing we can to get her to care more about school and homework. It's become such a problem that now we are carrying her to see a counselor. We are hoping that maybe she can dig into stepdaughter's brain and figure out why this is happening.....among other things. So, needless to say, I do not have any advice for you. I do, however, understand your problem and feel your pain. You can force a child to do things physically that they might not want to do, but there is no way to force a child to use his or her mind.



answers from Nashville on

Hey B.,
I am a teacher and a counselor. This is such a common issue. I would have to agree with some of the other mom's. I know that ADHD kids don't always respond to punishment, but do respond to rewards. I would think that taking everything away all privileges and fun until they can show you that they can handle them. If they can't handle their basic school work/responsibilities they can't handle privileges (or at least that is the message I would give). As you see them improve on handling their responsibilities you can reward them with privileges. I think it is important for them to see it as their responsibility and that you believe they can do it and if they choose not to then they know what the consequences will be. If we don't take care of our responsibilities we wouldn't have any privileges cause we wouldn't have money etc. It is a life lesson. Be sure that you are getting all the privileges or as many as it takes to get them going. That can include any activities, phone, tv, computer, toys etc. Maybe you reward them with very little to start and give them more and more as they become responsible for their homework.

Hope this helps????



answers from Mobile on

I have been a teacher for the last five years and I know how frustrating homework can be for both the child and the parent. I would suggest finding out the reason why your children do not want to complete their homework....is it to difficult, or do they just want to do something else? If is it to difficult then I would talk to the teacher and see if you can get him into a tutoring program or other supplemental help.
Now, if your child just wants to do something else then you need to put your foot down and not allow them to do anything at all until all of the homework is completed. Try doing the homework at the table together and reward him when he finishes with a snack.
I would also ask the teacher to notify you daily if your son doesn't turn his homework in. I always had my cell phone in class and called parents when their child did not complete homework two days in a row, and most parents really appreciated it. Once your child sees that you and the teacher mean business and will NOT let him get away with not doing his homework he will comply, some just take longer to give in than others.
Also, thanks for being a parent that is concerned about homework, believe it or not teachers really appreciate it!



answers from Mobile on

I have two kids too. The oldest, a girl, is almost 13 and the youngest, a boy, is 9. My son has ADHD and bother his sister tremendously, especially when he's not on his medicine (the evenings and the weekends). It changes the entire family dynamic. My preteen daughter is hormonal and emotional most of the time trying to find her place in the middle school world (which apparently is a miserable hostile place to be). Geez....if they only knew what the real world was all about!!! Sorry...didn't mean to get off on a rant there.

Anyway... I've done several different things when my kids' fighting gets bad. Most of them work, some of them don't. One thing that has been helpful is to put them in a neutral room (the living room, kitchen, etc...) make them face each other (nose to nose) then hold hands and kneel. They are not allowed to move until they feel they can without fighting. Of course, they are completely supervised by you or your husband or both .... just to make sure they don't hurt each other. This takes the steam out of their situation because they know they can't move or get comfortable until they are calm.

At other times, when things aren't violent, I let them work through it themselves.... in other words, my son won't realize that his behavior can get him in trouble if I always jump in a rescue him or referee his fights for him. He has to learn self control and restraint even though it's especially difficult for him due to his ADHD. He has to learn to make his own way as I'm not always going to be there to rescue him from himself. Of course, we've had many many talks with our daughter on self-control and tolerance explaining that she'll have to utilize these tools in life as she grows up.

The homework issue used to be a problem in our house too. My daughter, in 6th grade, decided to ignore projects and homework for a short while. She flunked a quarter in one class and had Ds in her other classes. She's always been an A/B student so this was especially disturbing for us. The only thing that brought her around was absolute restriction...like our parents used to do to us. We took away all privileges (telephone, TV, radio, activities, computer...everything but necessities). This seemed to bring her back into a "homework is necessary" frame of mind.

I certainly don't have all the answers. It seems that most days I play the referee too. That's okay I guess...as long as I know that they have each others' backs when they are out in the world.

Good luck!



answers from Athens on

Hi I am a 34 year old single mother of two boys ages 11 and 15.
I have these same problems with my boys. On the homework issue I have been able to communicate with the teachers and online with the school website where the teachers post all homework and grade information. I have also set rules that if i find out homework is not completed and turned in they will lose phone, t.v., computer and all weekend game rights. There is no playing video games at all during the week when they are in school. This seems to be working. If your children have chorse that they do everyday, when they lie to me about something I will make them do their own chorse plus his brothers for the week. I how this helps on the on issue, I am also haveing the problem of them fighting all the time and just talking very nasty to each other. I know that sibling rivalry is normal having 2 sisters myself. When they fight and are ugly to each other I make them shakehands and say something nice about what they like about the other. This helps to defuse the situation and make us laugh if funny likes about the other is made. I also have made comment jars that they can put in any ideas, problems, and conserns on and once every 2 weeks we sit down as family to discuss these issues to come up with solutions. I do not know if these thinks will help you but maybe they will. Let me know what you think and if they seem to be helping.
CC :o)



answers from Memphis on


First of all...step back and just breathe. My husband went through this exact same thing with homework issues just last school year. Our son turned 13 in May. He has always been a good student, until 7th grade. He started lying to us about not having homework. Once we caught on to that by looking online everyday and checking his assignments, he began doing MOST of his homework...but then neglected to turn it in!! he also began getting detention often and conduct slips. he seemed to want to be the class clown or simply just talked all the time in class and didn't pay attention. Needless to say, he had no idea how to do his school work because he wasn't listening do he began tanking all of his tests and classwork. he didn't finish class work and so made terrible grades. We had no idea how really bad it was until the first semester was nearly over. My husband and I both are home everyday when he gets home from school, so we were very supportive and helpful. We were just shocked when his grades were so terrible. We grounded him and took all of his electronics away, etc. Did not work. He pretended to be trying the second half of school but his first progress report verified that he wasn't really. Same habbits. The last 2 six weeks he did manage to pull up most of his grades but he ended up failing Science, and thus failing the 7th grade. Fortunately for us, his school had a summer school program for kids that failed only one course. He went to summer school for almost 4 weeks...every day. He hated it...but made an A. So he was then promoted to 8th grade. Summer school is what we feel taught him the lesson. He swore he would never have to go to summer school again! This year so far, he has all As and Bs and is really trying hard. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Some times they just have to fail to succeed I guess. Every article and book i read just kept saying, "Hang in there. It's NORMAL. All kids this age go through this. It's call the tween years and these years are apparently very difficulty for kids to adjust to and find themselves." But we were thinking that if he failed a grade, it was the end of the world. It wasn't. But it did make him straighten up quite nicely. Some times we just have to trust our kids to find themselves, no matter how frustrating it is for us, as parents.

Another thing you may want to think about is if there have been any major changes in your loves lately. We'll never know for sure, but I had a baby girl the same month he started 7th grade. This could have been the cause of his rebellion. he says no...but we can't always expect them to tell the truth or to even be able to decipher their feelings and emotions at 11 and 13.

Just my story. I know I didn't give you any immediate solutions but thought it might help to know that I went through the same thing with school work.


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