The Number One Reason for Homework Meltdown

Boy doing homework ADHD

Managing emotions is tough. For those with ADHD, self-regulation is a tremendous challenge.

Emotions, yours and your child’s, are the biggest obstacles to getting homework done.

When your kid is fired-up crying, screaming, throwing and crumpling homework, how do you react? Do you yell and threaten punishment?

Is your kid being rude, angry, hostile and disrespectful on purpose?

Ask yourself if the behavior is naughty or neurological.

-Answer naughty and the reactive, punishing parent shows up.
-Answer neurological and the curious detective shows up.

Come from a place of curiosity and you’ll activate your “pause button. You’ve conditioned yourself for the “pause” from the last post. Use the “pause” to notice and manage emotions….both yours and your child’s.

Pause and do these 3 things to reign in emotions.

1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings.

Say, “Wow, you are really angry right now! What could you do that would help you calm down?”This makes your child feel understood. It deflates the intensity of the emotion. It shows you care more about his feelings than the homework.

Teach your child to name the emotion. Saying it out loud diminishes the intensity.

Try it yourself, in front of the kids. “Mom is really anxious right now. I need to get a glass of water and calm down.”

2. Show Compassion

Recognize that what seems simple for you, his siblings, or his peers is a huge struggle for your child.

Kids with ADHD are 3-5 years behind same-age peers in some, not all, developmental areas. Subtract 4 years from your child’s grade. If he’s in 9th grade, he still functions in some ways as a 5th grader.

Start wherever you child is at….not where you think he should be.

3. Work it out with them, not for them.

Don’t give your child advice. Put him in the drivers seat. Kids with ADHD often feel they have no control in their lives. They struggle to control emotions, paying attention, remembering things, pleasing others.

Help your child evaluate his options based on his feelings. Say, “I can see how confusing this assignment is. I hear you want to do a great job on this. How would you like to go about getting this done?”

If your child can’t come up with anything, lay out a couple options. Say, “How would it feel if you did this…..? Would this other option make you feel better or worse?”

Noticing and managing our emotions and helping our kids do the same must happen before we can take the next steps of shifting to realistic expectations and setting our kids up for self-management.

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