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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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My 12 year old son refuses to do homework, when he does do

Customer Question

My 12 year old son refuses to do homework, when he does do it, he will not turn it in. He has ADHD but uses it as an excuse. He is unfocused even on his medication, but I am getting very frustrated with his unwillingness to do homework. I have tried rewards and restriction but neither have worked. He usually gets A's on his tests so I know he gets the concepts. How can I get him to do his work?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the frustrations that you are having with your son about not doing his homework. Have you asked him why he refuses to do his work? Has he always had such a lackadaisical attitude toward completing his work? Does he currently see a psychologist or counselor? Is he in 7th or 8th grade? Thank you in advance for the background information.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Here are some suggestions to ponder...

Write a contract for your child specifying what behavior is expected.

Have your child keep a chart or graph of the number of homework assignments turned into the teacher.

Identify a peer to act as a model for your child to imitate turning in homework assignments.

Present the homework tasks in the most attractive and interesting manner possible.

See if your child needs additional time to turn on homework assignments.

Allow your child to perform a highly desirable task when the homework is turned in.

Make sure your child has a quiet, comfortable place to complete homework.

The teacher may need to shorten assignments.

Time at school may need to be provided to complete homework.

Do not use homework as punishment.

Break up assignments into smaller tasks. Allow for fun short activities between tasks.

Set a timer when working on smaller tasks....make it a game like beat the clock.

You will need to work with your son's teacher for homework success at school. Reinforcements need to be occurring at home as well as at school.

Additionally, although I am not a physician, make sure that you discuss the issues with your son's doctor. Oftentimes, medication may need to be changed or the dosage increased.

Hope this helps. If not, let me know how I can further assist you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Almost everything here has been done or is currently being done. He really has no self-motivation and there are no rewards that are interesting enough for him to even try. We have offered our time, activities, toys, video games, freetime (esp by breaking up tasks), and money, but he really still refuses to do the work necessary or turnit in
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 4 years ago.

Hello there, may I help you?


Is your son like this when doing work at school or just with you? If it is only with you it may be worth investing in a tutor or a short term basis which comes to complete homework with him. This way you are stepping away from the battle with your son and he is more likely to complete work if it is with someone else.


Once he realises he doesn't have to have a tutor if he completes his work with you, it should allow him to make the decision himself that he will complete the work without a tutor.


Here are some useful books and articles I have found which may be of interest to you.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He has a tutor and does this with him and all his teachers too.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Hello, is there a school psychologist working with your son on a regular basis? Is he on a regular classroom for all subjects? Does he complete classwork? Has he stated why he refuses to do homework? When did this behavior first begin? Thank you in advance for your responses.
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 4 years ago.
I feel here that your son is trying to control the situation where homework is concerned. If there is a piece of work to be done for example and he refuses to do it, perhaps you have to try the stricter approach and say right we are going to do this piece of homework and get it out of the way. As soon as it is complete you can go and play your computer game or whatever he likes to do. If he refuses you simply say well we are going to sit here until it is done so it is up to you. Make the decision down to him.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Hello, is there a school psychologist working with your son on a regular basis? Is he in a regular classroom for all subjects? Does he complete classwork? Does he perform well on tests without doing homework assignments? Has he stated why he refuses to do homework? When did this behavior first begin? Is it just hard for him to settle down for homework? Thank you in advance for your responses.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He has been doing this for awhile and rewards and other incentives used to work but now no longer do. He has worked with the student psychologist but refuses to say anything to him other than what he thinks he wants to hear. He always does the goals required @ confrences an

He does do very well on tests so he is learning. But the teachers care more about the assignments he either does and doesn't turn in or the ones hedoesn't do than the fact that he actually learned the information. He even doesn't do his work in art... My son has only said he doesn't do homewok be cause he can't that it is too much, but I know he is completely capable i underrstand that he could be getting anxity about his homework but it seems like he really just wants to play video games watch tv and read. He sneaks them whenever we leave the room or go outside or move our attention to his other siblings.

I realize that alot of the tasks thatschools require ( planners etc) for kids his age, are not psycologially or phisiologically capable of and my son seems to struggle with it more than others
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
So your son is required to keep a detailed planner? Can he just remember assignments in his head? Have the teachers thought about online/computer based homework since he likes video games? What kinds of things does he enjoy reading? Have there been any recent major life changes for your son or family? What grade is he in? Is he under a lot of pressure at school to succeed? Just trying to get some more background information. I do have a few ideas of what may be occurring but I need a little more input. Take your time in answering the rush.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The school highly encourages using the planner but they don't require it. He could probably benefit from it, but doesn't get how to utilize it and says he doesn't have time.

I have been considering switching him to an online school for the following year where almost all of his work will be on the computer. It will require him to actually pursue his own learning but he can get most of his school day done in a fraction of the time and that could be appealing to him. He is definately becomming less verbal with me and we have always had a very good relationship and communication lines.
He enjoys fantasy reading (dragons etc..) and also likes animal encyclopedias.

As changes go, I have returned to college (after being a stay at home mom with him and his half siblings for 9 of his 12 years, and I am not as readily available to everyone as I was. His biological father is getting married and having another child, they have a strained relationship due to distance, and the lack of effort his dad puts in to their relationship. I know that as my son gets older this is becoming more obvious to him and he could be testing me to see if I love him even if he doesn't do his homework, which of course I do. Although it can be tough to show at times.

But I wonder if he isn't emotionally less mature than his peers ( he is a late summer birthday so young for his grade) and may not have any real idea how important an education is. He also really has no idea about what he wants to do because he already says he doesn't want to go to college(because he hates school). I know he doesn't have to, but I want him to have the opportunity to go if he changes his mind. The state has changed the requirement for getting college grants and loans by increasing certain knowlege levels in various areas and puts pressure on kids at younger ages especially ones that are slightly behind grade level as he is in math ( we have a tutor for that which he likes). The main reason he is in the remedial math class is becuse he needs more individual attention and takes a little more time for him to understand a concept. So I know that both the school and us arte putting pressure on him to succeed, but in some ways we don't have any choice with the changes that have happened. I have also thought aboput changing shools ( or going to an online schoool format) and holding him back a year to allow him to mature.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your detailed response. There are several issues that you and your son must deal with. First of all, your son may be manifesting teen age rebellion which is caused by the strained relationship with his dad. He wants to feel a sense of power and reducing to do homework gives him that power. Furthermore, a traditional classroom environment may not be conducive for your son and online/distance learning may be a viable option especially because your son enjoys computers. Some school districts have been provided with grants and an online education can be completely free. Holding him back a year would only be a wise idea if he was performing below grade level. Your son sounds rather intelligent. Oftentimes holding students back emotionally scars a child so think about the decision carefully. Let me know your thoughts.

proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience: Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thaks for your guidance on this I am wondering what I can do to get through the teen rebellion and deal with the issues he has with his dad, I can get him to talk about that but he has gotten to the point where he doesnt want to go to his dad's (when his dad want him to he only ggoes every other summer at best.) His dad wanted him to come this year but he doesn't want to. Would it be a good idea for me persuade him to go? I have tried this a few times with some success but Sometimes I feel like he resaents that I am standing up for his dad and not what he wants, but I also know his relationship with his father is important. Should I just stay out of it completely?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Because so much is going on with your son and school, just ease off with forcing your son to see his dad. With his dad soon to be getting married and having a new child, it is overwhelming to your son and difficult to process. However, maybe you and your son can seek family therapy together especially so that your son can learn proper and healthy coping strategies in dealing with life's situations. Currently, your son seems to be keeping all of his feelings inside. Hang in there. Keep encouraging your son whenever possible. This storm will pass. Never give up on your son! Let me know how things are going in the future. I am always available to assist you anytime. Request me Jordan1314. Have a great day!

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