Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making Them Do It, Part 2

On Tuesday we looked at four possible causes when our children struggle with completing the work: discipline, curriculum, boredom, and concentration. Let’s take a look at some suggestions for each one.


If it's mostly discipline, then you have to move swift and without remorse. Take away what he likes most until that work is done. It's gotta be something that will hurt. Let him know the consequence (for my sons it was no school work, no basketball practice). Carry out the consequence immediately if it's not done. I had a rule about complaining with my kids. I tried to be reasonable with how much I gave them, but if they said even once that it was "too much" that meant they automatically got another problem added or another chapter to read or something. They got more, not less. Sometimes following through even once with this was enough. If you soften the consequences, the little rascal will probably master techniques to wiggle out.  


If it's a curriculum problem, then consider his learning style and try to find things for him to do that fit in with that. Some kids are so "hands on" that they will not learn well with workbooks. If he likes to read, consider using a curriculum that focuses on reading real books in all subject areas. If he learns best by doing, then forget the science textbooks and do science experiments.


Or think about whether he's bored with it being too easy or too hard. However, no one needs to fall into the trap of making all schoolwork as fun as a trip to the circus. Remember the ditty: "school work doesn't have to be fun; It just has to be done."


If it's a concentration problem, then either a lot of running before he starts or frequent breaks where he does a lot of physical exercise helps. One occupational therapist I know recommends a large therapy ball instead of a chair. It allows movement, and a bouncy kid can focus for a longer period of time. Some kids actually have the opposite of this problem, and their "engines" run too low, and they're lethargic.

For sure, if you put him in public school, he won't have a teacher who cares one-tenth as much as you do. One book I read years ago said that kids need to make a progress from parent control, to self-control, to God control. 

I often think that we can be thankful that the Lord brings these issues to light while the kids are still young and under our roof. We can still deal with them. If it slips by (as it might in public school), the problem may get a great deal worse as he gets older.

Again, don't feel alone in this. I think most any mother with a son could identify, and many mothers with daughters will too.

Please share with us things that have worked for your family.

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