Homework: An ADHD Parent Relationship Buster

 Can Homework Create Havoc in an ADHD Parent Relationship?

How Can This be Reversed Using School Support?

Homework: An ADHD Parent Relationship BusterI’m not sure that there is any word quite as devastating as HOMEWORK among the ADHD parent population. There are a multitude of reasons surrounding this phenomena. Exhaustion from the day, the waning of medications, as well as executive functioning deficits that impact academic success. They would include the forgetting of necessary homework material, forgetting assignments, not writing down assignments, not planning projects, procrastination, inattention, low working memory, lack of comprehension, and disorganization.

In an attempt to be a safety net after school, well meaning parents are there for school support. Unfortunately, they many times become more enabling to insure the completion of HOMEWORK. Because the child is at the end of his rope, many times the parent feels that he has to take the role of authoritarian as he demands when homework will take place as well as participates in the actual work. This just reinforces a vicious circle where mom functions as the CEO of HOMEWORK and the child becomes dependent on this behavior, although angry and oppositional. So we have two areas of concern: a lack of independence and ownership of the homework process and a damaging of the very important parent:child relationship.

What is the fix for this disaster? It is a process but an important one.School Support for Kids

  • Be sure you know the district policy of homework. It generally is 10 minutes per grade level. So a fourth grader should have 40 minutes of homework.
  • Insure structure: an environment, needed materials
  • A plan with an agreement: Duration of work plus break, parent allowing this without interference, a timer with a work goal
  • An end to homework once the time frame of district policy is completed.  The child then will take what he has completed to school  review and support.

Of course all of the above can be tweeked as the process moves forward to insure as much success as possible. The important point is that there is not a parent/child struggle. The child “owns” his work, does what he can independently, and does it within the specified policy time frame. What is left is sent back to school as unfinished. Why is this unfinished? This may be the evidence needed for further evaluation and needed school support, a 504/IEP.  Is this process simple and effective?  No, it does take time as the child and parent adjusts to the shift of responsibility and the parents’ changing role as one of support only.  Again, it is important that the school and teachers are aware of struggling to stay within policy and the needed understanding of assignments.

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