Reply To: High School Freshman Refusing to do Schoolwork

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Teens & Young Adults High School Freshman Refusing to do Schoolwork Reply To: High School Freshman Refusing to do Schoolwork


My daughter (11th grade) had the same attitude & is also in advanced classes. If she didn’t turn something in & her grade dropped, she seemed to give up on the class entirely and the missing assignments just snowballed from there. This happened in just about all of her classes in 9th & 10th grade. This year, several times over the summer, I told both my kids that once school started, we were going to have 1hr a day of phone-free time at the dining room table for homework, studying or reading. Nothing else can be done in this 1hr, even if they don’t have homework. Thankfully, I have a job that allows me to be home after school. So when they get home, they get an hour to have a snack & do whatever they want. Then from 4-5pm is study time. My 11th grader pushed the boundaries (of course) by refusing to sit at the table, wanting her phone to listen to music, asking for 15 more minutes to finish a show, etc. I am trying to not be so rigid so I’ve allowed her these things and she usually gets down to business. She is doing SO much better this year (mostly A’s! In previous years, she was mostly C’s & D’s by the end of the 1st quarter). I asked her what the difference was between this year & last, and she said “I don’t know, I guess I’m trying.” When I asked her why she was trying, she said it was because she didn’t like how it felt to have bad grades. So I think the improvement has actually come from a combination of providing a specific time each day where all she can do is study, and me backing off on pressing her/asking her to get homework done. This put the worrying about grades more on her shoulders. When I remember to show empathy about how it must feel to have a missing assignment, that also puts the responsibility on her shoulders. Backing off & remembering to show empathy rather than anger about missing assignments was a REALLY hard step for me to take (it only took me 2yrs of pulling my hair out to get there). I basically grew to accept the fact that she may very well have to repeat a grade. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t the end of the world if she had to repeat a grade, or if she missed out on a scholarship & had to pay more for college. By the time she’s 30, none of what we’re going through right now will matter. What will have a lasting effect is how I interact with her – I need to show her that I believe she’s capable of doing well (without getting angry with her), and trust her to take care of what she needs to take care of, and that even when she fails, I show her I have empathy for how she must feel about that, and no matter what, I still love her. She will eventually grow up and be ok.