Have you ever had those moments where you screamed at the top of your lungs to get your child to get their homework or exam revision done?
It can be a frustrating experience when trying to discipline them around tasks such as homework and exam revision as I see my children
- always making excuses when completing their homework or studying
- being easily distracted while studying or doing homework
- not being serious with their work and getting it done in a jiffy
- giving up easily when facing difficult academic tasks
I thought I was the only parent who felt this way and I wondered to myself, where did my parenting go wrong?
Am I doing something incorrectly that “created” them this way?
I felt like this is an endless battle and at the same time guilty for not being able to spend more time helping them with studying. The more guilty I felt, the more frustration I had.
I turned to the internet for solutions and stumbled upon a recent study that showed I wasn’t the only parent who experienced this frustration and guilt.
According to the study, over 60% of parents with children aged 7-12 report struggling with the exact same issue. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, and it gave me hope that there were solutions out there to help us all.
So, I am not the only parent who was struggling!
So, my parenting didn’t go wrong! I hope!
So, if you’re one of the many parents who are struggling with this issue, don’t despair!
Whether it’s getting your child to sit down and focus on their studies, or motivating them to complete their assignments on time, disciplining your child around academic tasks can be a challenging task for any parent.
I dug deeper into this issue and tried some of the strategies other experts and parents shared that worked for them.
Mind you, not every strategy or method shared fits every family. You have to do a trial and error for a period to find the most suitable ones that fit.
Here are the strategies I have tried and worked for my family. Feel free to try this out or share it with parents who need it so that it helps another parent to turn frustration into success in disciplining their children around academic tasks.
1. Feeling overwhelmed by their child’s lack of discipline and motivation
It can be exhausting and frustrating when I have to constantly remind my children to study or do homework.
I often find myself questioning why they cannot take responsibility for their own tasks, as they are the ones who need to study and complete their assignments, not me.
Solution: Instead of reminding them again, I chose to investigate why my children consistently procrastinate with their homework. t was then that I came to the realization that they struggle with completing certain tasks because they lack understanding of how to approach them. After guiding them through the tasks, they feel more confident and proceeded with the rest of the work.
2. Feeling guilty for not being able to spend more time helping their child with their academic tasks
This has led to a sense of inadequacy as a mom. The guilt and the anxiety impacted both me and my children, which further led to tension and conflict within the family. I feel that I am not meeting the expectations of what a typical mom should be doing and compensate for this loss of time and lack of adequacy by doing other things for my children which led to burnout and exhaustion.
Solution: Every time I caught myself feeling mom guilt, I start practising self-care techniques such as taking breaks and practising mindfulness exercises. I have also made a conscious effort to reframe my negative thoughts by reminding myself of my successes and accomplishments as a mother, such as reminding myself the times I have been able to support and nurture my children.
3. Feeling frustrated with their child’s excuses and lack of effort
Many times when I go through homework with my children or even students, there will always be some questions not done or homework incomplete. Their most common excuses are they don’t understand, or the teacher has not taught these details yet, etc.
When they got back their marked assignment or assessment and they didn’t do well, they made excuses instead of taking responsibility for their lack of effort or preparation.
Solution: I try to find out what causes them not able to complete the assignments or achieve the grades they want. If it is consistently happening, I looked into learning difficulties or anxiety. If need be, talk to the teacher.
Whenever possible, I offer support and guidance when my child needs it. Even when I am busy at that time, I will tell them to wait and I’ll be back with them once my work is done.
Setting deadlines is another way to guide them to take responsibility and ownership of their work and minimises excuses.
4. Worrying that their child’s lack of discipline will impact their future success
We tend to worry about our children’s future and we strive to provide them with the best possible opportunities. However, the more we try to ensure their success, the greater our anxiety can become.
As the environment around me continued to move at a fast pace, I found myself caught up in the rat race. I started to feel anxious and unknowingly started to micromanage my children’s academic and extracurricular activities, leaving little room for them to develop autonomy and make their own choices. As a result, this strained the parent-child relationship and created a negative environment at home.
Solution: Started to focus on their progress rather than meeting my expectations of perfection. Every small achievement they made, I celebrate their progress with them be it a cup of ice cream or an hour of Netflix of their favourite show.
At the same time, I don’t focus so much on academics. I encourage my children to take on responsibilities and tasks outside of their academic work, such as doing household chores or volunteering in the community, which helps build discipline and responsibility in other areas of their life, which can translate to better academic habits as well.
They learn best by example, and I made sure I am doing the same as well.
5. Feeling like they don’t have enough resources or tools to help their child succeed academically
Before I started teaching my children, I have the biggest doubt: lack of knowledge or expertise to provide for my children.
With the additional factor of time limitation where most of the parents work long hours or have other commitments, leaving them with limited time to help their children with their school work. This can result in the children not getting the support they need.
Solution: I started to learn together with my children and it creates a great bonding session together with them. While gaining knowledge together with them, I am also gaining the confidence needed to support them.
At times when I am stuck, I will collaborate with their school teachers to get support for my children. Children may not know how to ask. We can guide them on how to ask questions and get the teacher to provide additional support or resources to help our children to learn better. This way, it also encourages independent learning.
If time is the main factor, hiring a tutor who has expertise in the subject will be the way to go.
6. Feeling unsupported or judged by other parents or teachers
This can be a very painful experience for parents. Every parent has different ways of parenting their children and because of these differences, we are often judged by other parents or teachers.
- Parents with strict parenting rules are being judged by parents who are more relaxed.
- Teachers may compare performances among the students
- Parents who allow more screen time being judged by parents who have strict screen time
Solution: First thing is to know how to educate ourselves and learn more about our children’s needs and education, and focus on the positive aspects of our children’s growth. If there is any kind of struggle or challenge, always look for support by talking to other parents, teachers or professionals.
7. Struggling to create a routine or system for their child to follow when it comes to academic tasks.
This is one of the most challenging tasks as a parent even now I am still improving on a system for my children to follow. At times, the school requires them to stay back for extracurricular activities and this may disrupt the routine that was set at home.
Without a proper routine or system in place, my children felt lost in what they needed to do, which can lead to procrastination and frustration. I found it difficult to monitor their progress as they keep missing the deadlines I set for them.
Solution: Instead of setting a rigid timetable or routine for my children, we worked towards flexibility. I sat together with my children and plan out the system for completing academic tasks where we decide when to get work done and where to set that “extra pocket” of time for them to complete the work if they are unable to get it done by the stated date and time.
If they struggle with prioritising, I will be there to ask some guiding questions to help them decide which is to be done first so that they do not feel overwhelmed and give up.
As they managed to get work done progressively, it keeps them motivated and encouraged them to stay on track. As for me, I don’t feel so anxious and frustrated anymore.
When all the solutions were combined, we managed to develop good study habits and discipline in my children.
It wasn’t easy at the beginning and it needs a lot of patience and consistency in order to see the results.
My intention and purpose are to make sure they take their academic tasks seriously and put in their best effort. To be successful is not about grades alone. It is about them being motivated and enthusiastic about learning because learning is lifelong. I will definitely feel proud of their accomplishments.
Disciplining children with academic tasks can be challenging for parents. It is a common struggle that many parents face, and it can be overwhelming and frustrating.
However, parents should not despair, and there are solutions that can help. Strategies such as
- guiding children through their homework,
- practising self-care techniques,
- finding the root cause of procrastination,
- offering support and guidance,
- setting deadlines, and
- celebrating progress can help parents succeed in disciplining their children.
These strategies may not work for everyone, and parents should be prepared to try different approaches and methods to find what works best for them and their families. Ultimately, with patience and perseverance, parents can help their children succeed academically while also fostering a positive and healthy relationship at home.
PS: I have put together practical strategies on how to set boundaries and expectations, set achievable goals, and much more. Whether you’re a seasoned parent or just starting out, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to help your child succeed academically.