Unmotivated 2Nd Grader

Updated on February 10, 2008
A.L. asks from San Jose, CA
8 answers

Okay, I have a 2nd grader who just doesn't feel the need to go beyond what is expected in his class work. My husband and I know that he can do better, but just doesn't want to. One day his lettering is very nice then the next day it's like he didn't even bother. His work varies in the way it looks and sometimes he cries when we ask him to correct something on one of his assignments. Is that just something kids his age do? Cry over something like having to erase and redo a math problem? I know he is a sensitive child, but there is no getting around doing homework the correct way. We can't just say to leave it as is so that he won't go through one of his crying tantrums because its important for him to know the importance of not giving up and trying to do a good job on his assignment. It's like a production every time he's asked to redo a few homework problems. He eventually does it. I just wish we didn't have to go through all that crying. Does anyone have any tricks to get their kid to do homework with more pride in their work?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Redding on

Keep on him. My daughter was the same way and I fight with her daily regarding her school work. I let her slide feeling that it was a phase and she would out grow it. I was very wrong. Instead I taught her that it was okay for her to be laxed with her school work. The habits that they develop early will follow them all the way thru highschool

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

My daughter had the same issue, would cry when asked to redo homework. She is now 14 and still gets upset, when I ask her why she tells me she feels she has to be perfect, she is frustrated that is why she gets so upset and why she has always gotten upset. She is now in couseling to help her. Maybe you might look to see if there is something more going on with your son that you may not be aware of, I use to think my daughter was just stubborn but found out I was way off and was very glad I took her in. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Yuba City on

Incentives are great. Make it very clear what is expected. Homework done nice and neat by a set time, no whining or crying when needs to be corrected or even starting homework. Rewards could be, pick what movie to watch next, a small sweet treat(a couple M&M’s, sugarfree sucker, a special drink like a smoothie or chocolate milk) right after homework is done, a sticker on a reward chart with a bigger reward in mind. Then move to consequences if this doesn’t work. Explain you have tried to motivate him by other means but now he is choosing to do it his way. No dessert that night, to bed 10 minutes early that night, have him do something for his brother(clean up a mess younger brother has made). Both rewards and consequences should be given close to the time of the act, that way they know what they are getting it for. I have a son that we went through the same thing in 2nd grade with correcting his writing. He didn’t like the fact that when he showed it to us it wasn’t “perfect” the first time. The whole learning to do a rough draft and so on was torture on him. Having a chat with the teacher helped him understand the process of having to go back and correct mistakes, everyone has to do it. It got down to him making a habit of this behavior of whining and crying during homework. He is now in 4th grade, he is doing much better with this homework. It’s like he realized he made the choice to have a good evening or a bummer of an evening by how he reacted to his homework. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

I taught both in the classroom and now I have homeschooled my child since the 2nd grade. My child would do the same thing. If you are certain your child knows the subject concept and what is expected of him then perhaps you can use incentives.

Perhaps you can use a point system to earn a trip to the dollar store, movie tickets a day at the park etc.

1. Have specific expectations. For example points can be earned for: doing homework done neatly the first time (big points!)no complaining or crying when asked to do work more legibly, good attitude while working AND even give him a point when he is assisting his younger sibling in some way.

2. Never take points away.

3. Help him set goals

4. When he meets those, increase goal expectations as the year progresses.

5. Work with him to decide on the incentives.

6. Eventually phase out the incentives.

I also tried to instill a prideful work ethic in my daughter by telling her God made three times. Work time, playtime and rest time. When she would complain while we work working I would say.."This is work time,when we have done our appropriately you can enjoy your playtime." I had to repeat this over and over but eventually she knew, "ok, I am here to work right now."

Homework time can be emotional. Stay calm,firm and in control. Do not engage in argument with your child.Their goal is to break you down. Once you get angry or in an argument..you've lost.

Lastly, designate a Hall of Fame in a prominent area in the house where you can display his best work. (Don't confuse correct work with neat work) You cannot penalize him for work he has a challenge with....and if your child is on a traditional school schedule then Spring time may present an issue. Students tend to get lazy because they know the last few months of school remain and they are thinking about full time play in the Summer.

Best wishes! Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

my daughter also does this. i'm hoping she outgrows it. 2nd grade has so many changes from 1st. your not alone. just keep working with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi A.,
My advice, just keep doing what you're doing. Eventually, the crying will stop, he's just trying to get out of doing his work correctly. I have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader who both do the same thing. Once they get priveleges revoked for throwing their fit, and they realize they STILL have to do it, they begin to rethink their whole idea and get with it. My 4th grader, loves to do the minimum required.. it frustrates me, but it ends up frustrating him since he won't get to do the things he wants because he's not doing the things he needs.. Work first, play later.. Keep it up, you're doing the right thing! Good luck & God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Hello There,
I have 2 boys one 16 now and one is 6. I remember having this issue with my 16 year old when he was in elementary grades, we had started him early right at 5 years old and he was not as ready as we had thought he struggled and we fought off the idea of holding him back. as he arrived in second grade we realized that there was more to it than the fact that he was a younger student. I can remember the crying over home work it was like pulling teeth. I decided that there must be more to it. I decided to talk to someone in the school about signs of ADD and soon had him evaluated by a outside source and found that he in fact had ADHD and had problems retianing the information tha shouldhave been simply for the grade level. I then was told he could qualify for extra services with a 504 educational plan and modified amounts of his assignments which helped with the stress of completing the work(not easier work just less repitition. I don't know if this is your childs issue but I hope it may have been helpful to know what to check into.
A. T



answers from Modesto on

I am a mom of two, my daughter is 7,and my son is 12 .I've just learned to make homework fun. just think of some creative ways of makeing it fun with his favorite snack or what helps to is rewarding them in some special way. these are some of the things that have best worked for me. I like to go to the dolar store and get little things that my kids like. and I put them in to a box and when they complete what they are to do they could pick out of the box. right now that works best with my daughter. My son since he is older I reward him with money or video games but I do something like a reward chart where he gets stars for things you want him to complete. after so many stars he gets to earn video game privlages and games he realy enjoys that. so you just need some that will intrest your kids and try that. it works!! and lots of praise.

Your's Truely, C.

Next question: My 1St Grader