May I ask a question as a parent?

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Registered: 08-23-1997
May I ask a question as a parent?
4
Wed, 09-27-2006 - 4:01pm

My ds is 11. He just started middle school. For a little background on him...He has never liked school. He has a lot of ADD tendencies but and has been evaluated but he does not qualify for any services. He is easily distractable, extremely disorganized and has horrible handwriting. Now that he has more HW it seems to take hours.

He does his homework in the family room and gets distracted by every little thing. If he gets up, he loses his pencil. Then he takes 10 minutes to look for it. He's always been like this but now with more work it has more of an impact.

So here's my question, should I make him work alone in his room where he won't be distracted but yet I can't help him, nor can I see if he's daydreaming (another of his favorite activities) or should I let him work in the family room and just continue to tell him to get back to work whenever I see him off task?

He is my 3rd kid and only boy. His sisters are nothing like this so I've just been winging it with him all along and hoping he'd get by. I'm just afraid the implications will get more serious the older he gets.

Thanks for any advice you might give.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 09-27-2006 - 6:17pm

You CAN turn this ship around, but it takes reorganization beyond what you have outlined. It is highly likely that the setting of WHERE he does his homework is far less the culprit here than you imagine. You MUST sit down and organize yourself first before you attempt a plan with him. Some of the major issues you need to contemplate would include your role (teacher, mom, mentor, advocate), the time you are willing to spend on a daily or weekly basis with "the problem", outside help you are willing to consider, and the sort of progress you wish to see.

My advise is to cast yourself in the role of advocate, set some goals for grade improvement for NEXT year or possibly the last marking period of this year, and 1) find a good tutor to who you help direct content/goals 2) have your son contribute in small way to the cost of the tutor 3) have you and your son develop some goals together (what class matters to him most? How would he prioritize his goals? A good goal would be to improve his stamina for sitting in very small increments. He may not be able to participate much at this point, but it would probably be good to try to include him in some way, and 4)possibly a "reward system" - but there is a lot of grey area there about when/how.

I would let him study in the kitchen with you if you happen to be in there making dinner, but give him rest intervals when he can wander out.

HTH,

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Wed, 09-27-2006 - 8:04pm

I was going to mention the rest intervals as well.......

A timer would be good also. 15 minutes of work, 5 minutes rest......

I would also agree that you take any other distractions away from the area....

Is it noisy in the family room?? Can it just be you and him alone in the family room while he does his homework....

Just asking, not sure what else is going on. Every child is different and little boys are often more mobile that girls, *with some exceptions* So to compare him to his sisters is like comparing apples and oranges.....

Have you examined his diet?? What is he eating for dinner. Is he filling up on sweet drinks or snacks and then trying to sit down and do homework.....

Or is it the homework. Sometimes when a child is struggling, it can be overwhelming for them to try to do too much at once....

I have a couple of students in my class who just shut down when it gets too hard, but are super angry when they are not rewarded.....

Is he playing the "attention game" Kids are masters at this game. They will raise the stakes on you everytime. Whatever to get your attention, they don't care, they will do it.....

Have you had him examined or tested for ADD or ADHD?? Just exploring all the options. Is he getting enough rest, sleep deprivation works the opposite way in children......

For us, if we are sleep deprived we are obviously tired and unfocused, but for kids it can cause all types of overactive behavior......

Have you examined the temperature in the room where he is doing his homework?? If it's too warm or too cold that could be affecting him......

Also, could he be learning disabled?? Or dyslexic?? The overactive behavior can be a by-product of something else.....

Again, just giving you a list of scenarios. In no way am I prescribing, just thinking of the many factors that can contribute.....

Have you also allowed him to "suffer the consequence" I know as mothers you don't want your child to be penalized for things, but have you tried allowing him time to do his homework and if he goofs off and doesn't finish, let the chips fall where they may??

Maybe allowing him to be solely responsible for his actions may help, or it may not.

Again, it could be the homework. If the teacher is giving massive amounts of homework every night and your son is already showing difficulties in school, then maybe you could talk to his teacher.....

As a teacher, I am more open to a parent coming to me and discussing the issue with me and finding an alternative together.....

Have you talked to your son and asked him what he thinks the issue is?? I know he can't put it in fancy terms, but he can say if it's too hard or I am sleepy or I don't understand it.....

Again, you must be ready for the fact that it could be just "the attention game" and if it is, backing up off of him and letting him suffer the consequence maybe the only solution....

What ever you decide to try, you must be consistent with it. Kids love routine. It makes them feel safe.....

Thanks for asking us. We appreciate it. Again, not prescribing or diagnosing just giving you a number of things to think about.....

GT35

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 09-27-2006 - 9:13pm

I'm answering this without reading the other responses. I'm interested to see later if we agree. Anyway, I'd put him in his room and let him know that you'll answer questions if necessary, but you expect him to work consistently, use his time wisely, and complete the work accurately. Let him know how long you feel he should take to complete it and that you want to see it when he's done. Monitor from afar. Don't have a TV or other distractions in his room. Make sure he has all the tools and materials before he begins.


At the MS level students have to learn to become independent and responsible. If he relies too much on you for help and reminders, it will seriously affect his ability to work with self-discipline in HS and the working world. Even if he doesn't like school, he still has a responsibility and

Sherry

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2004
Fri, 09-29-2006 - 11:18pm

Just an idea -

is he getting enough exercise? A lot of parents expect kids to come in right after school and work on homework, but some kids really need to burn off energy. My daughter swims on swim team every afternoon and does homework later - it works better for her.

Other than that I think you got some great ideas from the other posters.

Tina