Excuses, excuses!

Avatar for 3EggsnAL
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2012
Excuses, excuses!
Tue, 01-29-2013 - 10:30pm

My high schooler comes up with the most ridiculous excuses about doing homework and on his Xbox talking with friends at the same time. I told him he could not do that he was done with homework.  It's 9pm, he has 20 math problems to do and he goes to bed at 10pm.  There is no way to do those, do them well and chat with friends at the same time.  I feel math needs his full attention.  I asked him if they were helping him with his math, no?  But I can chat with them, take a break and get them all done  on time.  Nope,  do not think so.  Oh, he's good, trying to reason with me and then when I say no I am being ridiculous.  Will it be like this the entire 4 yrs of high school?

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 10:07am

Yes, no, possibly. LOL!  Depends on the kid.  He's still a freshman and learning his way around things.  You can either have a blanket rule that he can't touch the electronics until his homework is done, or you can let him learn to self manage things and if that means failing homework a few times, then so be it.  I know he tends to procrastinate from what you have said other times, you may have to set up some ground rules like you won't help him figure out printer problems after 9 pm, so if he waits til the last minute and the printer is out of ink or not working, not your problem.  Now that he is in high school he needs to start learning these things on his own or he won't learn to self police himself which he'll definitely need to do for college, a job, etc.  It may take a discussion between you two and see what he thinks and suggests, try it for a bit, and if it doesn't work, sit down and reevaluate with him what other options may work better.

Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 11:49am

Oh man, I can totally relate!! I could have written this exact post except over here it's my 7th grader trying to argue why he can do his homework while talking/playing Minecraft with his friends on the computer over Skype!And yes, somehow it's always me that's being ridiculous and not him....I don't think so!


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 1:39pm

I have a slightly different take than Tracy, but I think it really depends on the kid.  I have two dds who finished HS. One sounds a bit like your son, one was incredibly organized and together. For my dd who struggled with executive functioning, the "sink or swim" approach just wouldn't have worked. For whatever reason, she didn't really have the self-discipline, organization, planning, etc.. to successfully manage things. On top of it, she was a very, very bright student taking high-level classes who was on the college path. Dh and I really felt like it was necessary *in her case, not every case*  to provide a lot more management, direction and rules. We spent a lot of time in the early years of HS talking her through how to plan, what she needed to do, how to avoid distractions...  We just knew, for example, that we needed to take away her phone at night, force her to go to bed, etc. She had lots of good intentions, but no follow through. I don't know if it was willpower, good decision-making, foresight, whatever. She just didn't self manage well. We didn't discuss, we didn't justify, we just set rules. With the other dd, there was absolutely no need. She was so on top of things. She rarely did homework with her friends because they tended to chat, stop, waste time, etc. Even in college (she's graduating in May) she knows how to get things done!  As for our other one, she went to college on full scholarship (so I'm glad we didn't let her grades tank), but her other issues have only gradually improved. Every year they got better, but in spite of all her resolutions and attempts, this will probably always be something with which she struggles.  Maybe I'm way out in left field here and this really is just a kid wanting to talk to his friends instead of do math homework, but I think that not every high-school kid is really capable of seeing the big picture and understanding what they need. We DID let dd flounder a number of times and it usually resulted in her being completely overwhelmed and paralyzed with inaction in a few weeks. So, all I'm saying is that some kids will need a lot more guidance and rule setting than others. I don't think it necessarily means that they're lazy or not too bright, but maybe just disorganized, or impulsive, or poor planners. Sometimes parents providing those boundaries (and yes, you won't exactly get a hearty "gee thanks Mom!" from your kid) is really what's needed. FWIW, our daughter has expressed many times how much she appreciates the guidelines we set and the help we gave her. She continues to be more responsible and organized every year! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 2:13pm

We had the same problem with our son last year. He's a sophomore now and it has gotten better, but we still have to have in place a no electronics until the homework is done rule. He is allowed to watch a little TV while eating his afterschool snack, but after that, he can't get on the X-Box, computer or any other gadget until everything that is due tomorrow is done. We also expect mostly As, so his homeworm must be done well.

I have seen a huge leap in maturity this year and have been told by moms of older boys that sophomore year is usually when boys start to get more serious about school. I still don't think my son realizes how what he does now affects where he goes to college, though.

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Registered: 01-24-2013
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 6:57pm
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Avatar for jamblessedthree
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Registered: 10-23-2001
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 8:11am

I was actually thinking of this yesterday b/c Weds are the busiest days for my 9th grader, She typically comes home and gets right on her school work but Weds are filled with club and horseback and sometimes she forgets homework all together!  I've started backing off and if these are excuses so be it, It's just that day, She's a good student and she's maintaining good grades. If my kid was sitting on computer games all day it would be another story though! Good luck!



Avatar for mahopac
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Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 1:31pm

What a terrific, nuanced answer.

My knee-jerk reaction to the question, "Will it always be like this?" was, "Yes, if you let it."  And to some extent I believe that's true.  But you are more correct when you say it depends on the kid, and you know exactly what works for each of yours.

My two older kids, who did not grow up on video games, are great at setting boundaries.  The older one does it because he can't stand being interrupted when he's doing something, so he simply ignores calls, texts, and chat requests if he's busy.  18yo DD is just hard-wired to do what it takes to succeed and doesn't even check her Facebook until she's ready to take a break for 10 mins before moving on to the next thing (I wish I had her self-discipline).

12yo DS OTOH has symptoms of ADD and is so easily distracted that we simply cannot allow him to be online with friends at all.  I'm sure he's the only one in his grade who has no FB account and isn't allowed to play Minecraft online with friends, but we have a hard enough time keeping him on task that to allow those things would be a disaster.  Until he learns to prioritize and do his work thoroughly, he can't risk it.

And now, his easily distracted mom needs to get back to work. ;)

Avatar for 3EggsnAL
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2012
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 11:25pm

I am not ignoring your responses.  One of my daughters shared her flu with me and i feel awful.  I will respond when I feel like hanging around here longer then to post once and then run.  See you in a few days.