Ask the Experts

Helping With Homework

“My 12-year-old routinely says he doesn’t know how to do his homework, but won’t accept my help. How can I make homework time less of a struggle?”

Consistency helps, so make sure your son tackles his assignments in the same location at the same time every day. If he gets frustrated, offer encouragement. If necessary, “de-escalate” the situation by walking away for a brief time-out or offering him a snack. To get him going again, say, “Now that we’ve had a break, how do you think I can be most helpful to you?” or “What’s the next step you need to do?”

Be sure to ask his teacher for suggestions. Some teachers pair students as “homework buddies,” who help each other complete difficult assignments. Remember, 12-year-olds want to be independent and less reliant on their parents. If you can afford one, your son may be more willing to accept help from a tutor.

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