HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

Help for Adolescent Mothers

Almost 750,000 adolescents become pregnant each year in the United States. Fifty-nine percent of those pregnancies result in birth. Some adolescent mothers are often left with little support from friends, family and the dad of the youngster. Government agencies, charities and foundations have put together programs that involve housing, food resources and mentoring so that adolescent mothers and their kids can have the best start possible. Some of these are listed below:
  1. WIC, or Women, Infants and Children, is a government-sponsored program run through the Food and Nutrition Service that is operated on the state level to offer quality food to low income families. Adolescent mothers can apply for items such as formula, milk and basic food items through the state. WIC also offers breastfeeding and nutrition resources, health care and other support through their agencies. WIC conducts periodical interviews to ensure the health of the kids and the mom's ongoing need for assistance. Contact the WIC office in your area.
  2. The StartRight Teen Mothers of Mentors program is run and maintained by the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Missouri and Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City. With two locations, it services adolescent mothers from all over the country. The StartRight program focuses on goal-setting, completion of high school and post-secondary education and sexual health, including the practice of safe sex to avoid repeat pregnancies. The StartRight program aims to give an adolescent mother the tools to be successful as they grow into adulthood. 
  3. The "Scholarships 4 Moms" program does not offer any financial assistance specifically for adolescents and caters primarily to moms over 18 years old who are pursuing a college education. However, adolescent mothers who are under 18 can take full advantage of the same $10,000 college scholarships offered to adult applicants. Because Scholarships 4 Moms grants are transferable, if you have a friend or family member who qualifies and receives a college scholarship through the program, they can extend the opportunity to you, even if you are under 18 years old.
  4. Second Chance Housing, a program operated and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, offers a community atmosphere for adolescent mothers. Set up as a group home for adolescent mothers, a cluster of housing or a subdivision, Second Chance Housing offers low-income adolescents a place to live in addition to information about basic child care skills, job skills and eventual independence. To find out more about Second Chance Housing, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about available programs in your area.
  5. Insights Teen Parent Program is an adolescent program based in Oregon that serves adolescent moms and dads from all over the country. The Insights program is available to help adolescent mothers find reliable work, housing and education following the birth of their kids. Offering healthy start medical care, Insight also focuses on case management and support groups in which adolescent moms can join together to discuss their experiences and strategies for the future.
  6. If you are an adolescent mom who is in need of financial assistance due to a temporary setback, but are otherwise able to sustain a stable environment for yourself and your youngster, you may be eligible to receive assistance for a wide variety of financial difficulties through the "Modest Needs" organization. Modest Needs is a program that allows needy applicants the opportunity to post a plea for financial assistance on a public website where volunteer donors can review your proposal and offer you the financial assistance you need. All grant applications are processed and verified by Modest Needs staff members prior to posting, but the ultimate approval of your application is determined by the actual donors.
  7. If you are a pregnant adolescent or adolescent mom in need of medical, nutritional and financial assistance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers a variety of programs that can help, with agency locations nationwide. Even if you are under 18 years old, once you become pregnant you will be eligible for various financial assistance programs to ensure the well-being of you and your youngster. You may receive food stamps and medical coverage for yourself and your youngster. Adolescent moms can also receive monthly cash benefits, providing that you are willing to participate in any required work or education programs. You may also be eligible for child care assistance to enable you to work or finish school. Check with your local HHS office for eligibility requirements in your area.
  8. California adolescent mothers -- or expectant moms -- can request financial assistance from the Alameda County Social Services through its "Cal-Learn" program. The program serves pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers as an incentive to continue their education and decrease the amount of "high school drop-outs" due to teenage parenting. There are few eligibility requirements for this program outside of being under 20 years old, a mother or expectant mom and not having a high school diploma or GED. The program awards up to $400 per year -- in $100 installments -- to adolescent mothers who continue to attend school and maintain passing grades. Upon graduation, participants are eligible to receive a final grant in the amount of $500. You may also apply for a secondary grant to afford your graduation expenses.

Raising kids can be an expensive responsibility for moms and dads on a tight budget. This is particularly true for adolescent mothers who are unemployed or trying to finish school. The good news for adolescent mothers and expectant moms is that numerous private and government-funded organizations offer a considerable amount of financial help for adolescent mothers.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents with Defiant Teenagers

Should you let your poorly-performing teen drop out of high school and get a GED?

Your teenager is doing poorly – both academically and behaviorally – in high school. And he has just announced that he wants to drop out and get his GED. Given his turbulent history, you are starting to wonder if it might be the better route to go. Sound familiar?

Before discussing the specifics of a GED, you need to determine if your teen will be eligible to take the exam. The GED has certain eligibility prerequisites. The student:
  • must meet certain state requirements (varies state to state)
  • must not be currently enrolled in - or have graduated from - high school
  • needs to be age 16 or older

If your teen passes the above requirement, the next few paragraphs talk about specifics of the GED. The teen is awarded a GED after she passes every one of the five sections of the GED with a 60 % or higher score than the sample set of graduating high school seniors. The sections are: Language Arts/Reading, Language Arts/Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

Depending on your teen’s aptitude and how prepared he is, he may be able to pass the GED with relatively little studying. The total amount of time for all of the GED tests is seven hours and five minutes. Clearly, study time for the average student will require more than seven hours. It's likely that your teen will need to take some kind of preparation course (e.g., online or in-class instruction) before taking the GED. Thus, total time will be well over seven hours.

If your teenager is considering dropping out of high school and taking her GED, it is important to thoroughly think about the pros and cons of doing so before making such a serious decision.

The Pros of getting a GED: 
  1. Life circumstances often force teens to leave school early. With the GED, teens can continue their education without the restrictions and extraneous classes that often accompany attending a traditional high school.
  2. Many GED holders continue to community college before earning a four-year degree. Once these young people have proven themselves by taking college courses, admission to four-year universities becomes easier.
  3. Teens who are bored in high school can use the GED to test out of classes and use the extra time to develop a work history.
  4. Teens with a GED who are able to hold down jobs often gain a sense of responsibility and freedom that traditional students do not have.
  5. Whether your teen drops out because he didn’t like school or he left for another reason, getting a GED can be a second opportunity to taking a step in furthering his education.

The Cons of getting a GED: 
  1. Depending on the individual college, a GED holder may be required to take additional tests, such as the SAT or ACT, to determine the GED holder's specific knowledge.
  2. Even though some colleges, especially junior and community colleges, accept the GED, statistically speaking, those with a GED are less likely to attend. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 73% of high school graduates went on to complete at least some post-secondary education, but only 43% of those who had a GED did the same. Graduates are also much more likely to finish college compared to those who have their GED. Only 5% of GED-holders went on to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 33% of high school graduates.
  3. It is not possible to take a GED online. You can study and prepare for the GED online, but the actual test must be proctored at a place approved by your state. However, you can get your high school diploma online.
  4. Most entry-level jobs accept either a high school diploma or GED; however, many employers may question why an individual chose to get a GED over a high school diploma. Each employer will respond differently to a candidate with a GED instead of a high school diploma, and some employers may have a preference for one or the other. 
  5. Once you leave high school, you may not be able to go back. You may miss the school functions and the schedule, along with the experiences that you can’t get back once they pass.
  6. Some universities and colleges won’t accept the GED. More often than not, you will be able to get into a community college, but depending on the other institutions you are applying to, it may be a bit more difficult to get accepted. 
  7. The decision to get a GED, rather than graduate from high school, affects earning potential. In 2009, those with GEDs had lower earnings than students with a high school diploma. High school graduates averaged about $4,700 a month, whereas GED recipients earned about $3,100. Interestingly enough, even when GED holders do go on to college and earn a bachelor's degree, they still earn about $1,400 less a month than those who received a high school diploma.
  8. The GED is not simple, and neither is the process of getting to the point where you are ready to take it. The GED takes more than seven hours and is comprised of five tests. Unfortunately, even though some dropouts claim they will take the GED, they end up not taking the test at all.
  9. The military often prefers applicants with high school diplomas. The Air Force requires a minimum qualifying score of 65 on the ASVAB for GED holders. GED holders must wait for openings to become available in the Air Force, as less than 1% of enlisted individuals are GED holders during any one-year period. 
  10. Trade and labor job-seekers are often not negatively impacted by a GED, but those seeking professional positions may have more trouble finding jobs. In 2011, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts was about 4 percentage points higher than for graduates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pursuing a GED is a personal choice. It’s a good choice for some, and a poor choice for others, depending on individual circumstances. In any event, high school is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, and dropping out leads to missed opportunities. High school graduation is the culmination of a long educational journey, and receiving a diploma is a huge accomplishment that takes years to achieve. Teens should seriously consider whether dropping out to get a GED is worth missing out on this sense of pride and accomplishment. Obtaining a diploma versus a GED shows colleges and employers that the young person possess the drive and determination that is needed in a competitive job market.

Defiant Teens and Manipulative Behaviors

Defiant teens know how to push their parents' buttons. Instinctively, they come with an arsenal of tools to get what they want, avoid getting into trouble, or cause their moms and dads to blow a fuse out of frustration. This is called manipulative behavior. There are smart ways to counteract the manipulation. Below are some important suggestions on what you can do if you have a defiant, manipulative teen.

How to Deal with Manipulative Behavior:

1. Agree on strategies to deal with your adolescent's manipulative behavior with your spouse/partner. For example, if you tell your adolescent that she can't go out on a Friday night until she finishes her homework, it will be useless unless your spouse/partner tells her the same thing. If an adolescent does not get her way with one parent, she may go to the weaker parent to get what she wants.

2. Be consistent. Learn to say “no” with some strength behind it when you mean it. If your “no” often becomes a “yes” because your teenager has been successful at wearing you down, a pattern of emotional blackmail can result. Your teenager has learned that being relentless works. So say “no,” state your reason, make it short and to the point, and walk away.

3. Be honest with your teenager about her manipulative behaviors. Have a frank and upfront discussion about how you understand what she is trying to do and how it makes you feel. Expect her to deny ever doing any of the things you say she is doing. However, continue to explain that you don't care for the way she is manipulating you and she must stop immediately.

4. Claim your bottom line. Manipulative behaviors are designed to throw you off balance and create self-doubt. Knowing your own bottom line as a mother or father will help you when your teen comes at you with her resourceful ways to make you unsure of yourself and lose your center. Hold on to your parenting principles. Be careful not to let your teen’s emotions drive you. Listen to her feelings so she knows you care, but stick to the rules you've established.

5. Display a sense of confidence. Manipulative teens mostly target those parents whom they think to be low on self-esteem and having a less amount of self-confidence. Don’t portray yourself as a parent who is naive and can’t stand up for his or her parenting principles. Walk tall with your head high and show that you feel really confident about your parenting decisions.

6. Do not allow your adolescent to bully you to get his way. Speak to him in a firm voice (e.g., "Are you trying to bully me?"). Asking him this question lets him know that his behavior is inappropriate and that you will not put up with it.

7. Don’t get drawn into lengthy discussions. If your teenager is asking you for something you have some flexibility on, go ahead and listen to her argument as long as she’s being respectful. If it seems reasonable to you, you can decide to change your “no” to a “yes.” However, if you don’t change your mind, only discuss it with her up to a certain point. Stop giving her your counterpoints and disengage. You’ll know when it’s time for you to stop when you feel like your buttons are being pushed. Pay attention to this and swiftly end the conversation and disengage. Don’t say another word. Walk into another room or out of the house. Engaging at all, in any way, will only add fuel to the fire.

8. Don’t try to explain yourself after you’ve said “no.” Once you’ve said “no,” any attempt on your part to justify it will not matter. All your teenager is listening for is whether or not your decision still stands. If you continue the conversation, all it will be about is her trying to get you to change your “no” to a “yes.” So, don’t get hooked into trying to get your teenager to “understand” and be “okay “with your decision. As far as she’s concerned, any “no” is totally unfair. You will get nowhere trying to make your “no” acceptable.

9. Understand that a defiant teen is a work in progress. She might need to learn better ways to manage herself in life, but she is not bad or malicious. Her intentions are not to “hurt you” or make your life miserable; however, if you believe that's her intention, then you will see her that way. Believing in your teen will help her see herself with all the goodness that is in her and with all her best intentions.

10. Have realistic expectations. It’s unlikely that your “no” will be followed by your teenager saying, “Okay, fine.” Manipulation will probably follow instead. So, be prepared for it. It’s what defiant teens do. And as difficult as it is to say “no” (because of what you know will follow), it’s also extremely important to learn to say it and stick with it.

11. Identify what kind of manipulative behavior your teen is trying to use. Manipulative behavior is all about control. Most teenage “manipulators” try to make the parent do things for them by getting the parent to feel a sense of guilt or sympathy. So, learn to identify this. Instinctively, defiant teens develop tactics to get what they want -- and avoid what they don’t want. These tactics work when they trigger a reaction in the parent. So, pay attention to your triggers. For example, your teenager might try to emotionally blackmail you by acting depressed until she gets what she wants. This will be a trigger for you if you believe your job is to keep your teenager happy. Start by asking yourself if your job is to make her happy, or to help her prepare for adulthood. If it's the latter, then you can answer with, “I'm sorry you're upset, but you're still grounded this evening.” Another common manipulation involves anger (e.g., "That’s not fair!!!"). Don’t take statements like this to heart (e.g., “I know you think this isn’t fair, but you do need to shut the computer down now."). Some teens will play the victim-role and say things such as, “All my friends can stay out past 11:00." Don’t take the bait. Separate out the emotional content from what your teenager is trying to get. Hear her feelings about being the “only one” who can't stay out late, but stand strong on your curfew time.

12. Know what triggers your negative reactions. Your teen may display a certain tone of voice, a certain look, an attitude or certain actions that may upset you and get you to react. Manipulative behaviors therefore might set you off. If you prepare for them by knowing your buttons, they will be less likely to get pushed. (Here’s an example: You have a strong need for approval from your teenager, so hearing her say “I hate you” is a trigger for you. You want to “keep the peace,” so instinctively, you let her off the hook so she won’t be unhappy with you.) Recognizing your triggers will help you plan and prepare for how not to let your teenager push your buttons.

13. Listen before you speak. When your teenager asks for what he wants, listen. Give his requests the consideration they deserve. That does not mean always saying yes, but it does mean giving them some honest thought. If your teenager knows he can come to you directly, he will be less likely to try to get what he wants indirectly.

14. Realize that manipulative behavior is normal behavior in defiant teens. It’s important to realize that your teenager’s attempt to get you to change your mind and say “yes” is normal.  When you realize he’s not doing it because of some terrible pathology inside of him, it will help you relax and deal with the behavior. Rather than reacting with panic or worry, if you’ve thought things through and are comfortable with your decision, just stick to your guns. Caving in to your teenager’s demands in order to steer clear of his tirades will only teach him that manipulation works.

15. Some teens use lying to get what they want from parents. These lies can be either blatant, or subtle "white lies." But no matter the form, lying can be an effective way to manipulate you if you’re not careful. It's really hard to deal with children who lie. You may get burned a time or two before you see that you are being misled big time. Once you have caught your child in a lie, refuse to accept anything she says as true. Withhold your trust and explain to her that the lies must stop now, and she will have to prove herself to earn your trust again.

16. Take care of yourself. Be in charge of your own emotional health. Don’t give in to your teen’s manipulations so that you can feel calmer. If you need him to be happy or to validate you, then you might inadvertently give in to your teen so that you can feel good. But each time you justify his behavior and let him off the hook so that you feel better, he learns that these behaviors are effective and he grows to depend on them. Instead, learn to tolerate him being upset, which will in turn help him to tolerate his uncomfortable emotions. Managing your own calm will free your teen up to learn how to manage his life and get his needs met without resorting to manipulative behaviors.

Defiant Children Who Refuse To Do Homework: 30 Tips For Parents

How many times have you said something like, “My child can focus on TV, movies or video games for hours, but getting her to complete homework is like pulling teeth”?

Kids, even defiant ones, usually don’t consciously choose to fail. Yet, your child refuses to do her homework, which causes her to fail. Neither you nor your child know why she is sabotaging herself.

Most moms and dads struggle with getting their youngster to complete homework after school.  Rarely is a kid ever eager to get back to work when she returns home from a long day in the classroom. To minimize “homework battles” (i.e., parent-child conflict over homework), you need to understand why your child is resistant to doing homework in the first place. 

Here are just a few possibilities:
  • Your child doesn’t understand the work and needs some extra help. It’s possible that your youngster doesn’t want to do his homework because he really needs help.  Also, it can be challenging for moms and dads to accept that their youngster might need help with homework, because there is often a stigma attached to kids who need tutoring. 
  • Your child is addicted to TV and video games. Moms and dads often find it very difficult to limit these activities. But, understand that playing video games and watching TV doesn’t relax a youngster’s brain.  In fact, it actually over-stimulates the brain and makes it harder for him to learn and retain information.  Too much of watching TV and playing video games contributes to your youngster struggling with school and homework in more ways than one.
  • Your child is exhausted from a long day at school. In the last 10 to 20 years, the needs of kids have not changed, however the pace of life has.  Most moms and dads are busy and have very little down time, which inevitably means that the youngster ends up with less down time too.  He is going to be less likely to be motivated to work when there is chaos all around him.  
  • Your child is not sleeping enough. Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated needs in our society today. When a child doesn’t get enough sleep, it can cause him to be sick more often, lose focus, and have more emotional issues. Kids often need a great deal more sleep than they usually get.  
  • Your child is over-booked with other activities. Moms and dads want their youngster to develop skills other than academics. Because of this, they often sign-up their youngster for extracurricular activities (e.g., sports or arts).  
  • Your child is overwhelmed by your expectations. Moms and dads want their youngster to be well-rounded and to get ahead in life.  Along with this comes getting good grades.  All these expectations can put a lot of pressure on your youngster and may cause him to become burned-out and want to find an escape.

So, what is a parent to do? Below are some tips that will help your child be less neglectful of his homework assignments – BUT – these ideas will take some hard work on your part too:

1. Be a cheerleader. Some children need a little extra boost of confidence. Let’s say your youngster has a big test to study for, but can’t seem to get started. You can help out by running through the first few problems until she gets the hang of it. Or you might brainstorm with your youngster to help her choose a topic for the big paper she has to write. You're not doing the work for her, rather you're helping her to get going so the task doesn't seem so daunting.

2. Be clear and firm, but don’t argue with your kids about homework. Make eye contact and tell them calmly that they are responsible for the work.

3. Choose a powerful incentive that your youngster will recognize as meaningful. This might be extra time on the computer, a special meal, or attending an activity that she is looking forward to. Incentives can be phased out when kids attend to the homework responsibly.

4. Communicate regularly with your youngster's educators so that you can deal with any behavior patterns before they become a major problem.

5. Consider adding in break times (e.g., your child might work on her math homework for 15 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break).

6. Contact the teacher as soon as you suspect that your youngster has a homework problem. Schools have a responsibility to keep moms and dads informed, and you have a right to be upset if you don't find out until report-card time that your youngster is having difficulties. On the other hand, sometimes moms and dads figure out that a problem exists before the teacher does. By alerting the teacher, you can work together to solve a problem in its early stages.

7. Don't do the assignments yourself. It's not your homework – it's your youngster's. Doing assignments for your youngster won't help him understand and use information. And it won't help him become confident in his own abilities. It can be hard for moms and dads to let kids work through problems alone and learn from their mistakes. It's also hard to know where to draw the line between supporting and doing.

8. Engage your youngster in constructive, mind-building activities – any activity that supports learning (e.g., reading, puzzles, educational games, library visits, walks in the neighborhood, trips to the zoo or museums, chores that teach a sense of responsibility, etc.). Join in these activities yourself.

9. Help your youngster get organized. It's a good idea to set a regular time and place for kids to do homework. Also, stick to a routine as much as possible. Put up a calendar in a place where you'll see it often and record assignments on it. Writing out assignments will get him used to the idea of keeping track of what's due and when. You may want to use an assignment book instead of a calendar.

10. If you understand something about the style of learning that suits your youngster, it will be easier for you to help her. If you've never thought about this style, observe your youngster. See if she works better alone or with someone else. If your youngster gets more done when working with someone else, she may want to complete some assignments with a brother or sister or a classmate. (Some homework, however, is meant to be done alone. Check with the teacher if you aren't sure.) Does your youngster learn things best when she can see them? If so, drawing a picture or a chart may help with some assignments. Does your youngster learn things best when she can hear them? She may need to listen to a story or have directions read to her. Too much written material or too many pictures or charts may confuse her. Does your youngster understand some things best when she can handle or move them? An apple cut four or six or eight ways can help kids learn fractions.

11. Involve your child. As your youngster matures, you should involve her in setting expectations, rewards, and consequences. This empowers her, which may improve her self-esteem and reinforce the concept that she is in charge of her own behavior.

12. Keep the house generally quiet during homework time.

13. Kids are more likely to complete assignments successfully when moms and dads monitor homework. How closely you need to monitor depends upon the age of your youngster, how independent she is, and how well she does in school. Whatever the age of your youngster, if assignments are not getting done satisfactorily, more supervision is needed.

14. Look over completed assignments when possible. It's usually a good idea to check to see that your youngster has finished her assignments. If you're not there when an assignment is finished, look it over when you get home. After the teacher returns completed homework, read the comments to see if your youngster has done the assignments satisfactorily.

15. Make sure your child has enough “space” for doing her work. For some children, this will mean a large work space like a kitchen table to spread out their papers and books.

16. Make your youngster responsible for her choices. All privileges are suspended until the work is done, even if it takes all evening.

17. Model good study habits. Kids are more likely to study if they see you reading, writing, and doing things that require thought and effort on your part. Talk with your youngster about what you're reading and writing, even if it's something as simple as making the grocery list. Also, tell them about what you do at work.

18. Offer snacks to keep your youngster “fueled-up” for the work.

19. Pre-teach. It’s easier to prevent negative behaviors in defiant children than to deal with them after they occur. A very effective tool is to pre-teach behavior prior to an event (in this case, doing homework) or potentially vulnerable situation. This involves talking with the child in detail about what will be happening, why, and what her role and expected behaviors will be. Pre-teaching reduces anxiety, clarifies expectations, and builds confidence.

20. Reward the youngster appropriately for good behavior and tasks completed. Set up a clear system of rewards so that your youngster knows what to expect when she completes a task or improves behavior.

21. Seek outside assistance. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by “homework battles,” speak to a professional. It's only natural that you have needs and questions in this process, so seek help when needed.

22. Separate the youngster's behavior from the youngster, using thought rather than feelings. Another way to say this is "disengage" from the defiant behavior. (This doesn’t mean ignore it.) Consistency and follow through on consequences still apply, especially when it comes to “homework refusal.”

23. Set a good example. Children don't always show it, but their parents are very important. They are watching YOUR behavior. Thus, if you are a “follow through” person (i.e., someone who always starts what he finishes), then you will be modeling “task completion” skills for your child, and she will likely follow your lead.

24. Share concerns with the teacher. You may want to contact the teacher if:
  • instructions are unclear
  • neither you nor your youngster can understand the purpose of assignments
  • the assignments are often too hard or too easy
  • the homework is assigned in uneven amounts
  • you can't provide needed supplies or materials 
  • you can't seem to help your youngster get organized to finish the assignments
  • your youngster has missed school and needs to make up assignments
  • your youngster refuses to do her assignments, even though you've tried hard to get her to do them

25. Show an interest. Make time to take your youngster to the library to check out materials needed for homework (and for fun too), and read with your youngster as often as you can. Talk about school and learning activities in family conversations. Ask your youngster what was discussed in class that day. If he doesn't have much to say, try another approach. For example, ask your youngster to read aloud a story he wrote, or discuss the results of a science experiment. Another good way to show your interest is to attend school activities, such as parent-teacher meetings, shows, and sports events. If you can, volunteer to help in the classroom or at special events. Getting to know some classmates and other moms and dads not only shows you're interested, but helps build a network of support for you and your youngster.

26. Talk about the assignments. Ask your youngster questions. Talking can help him think through an assignment and break it down into small, workable parts. Here are some sample questions:
  • Do you understand what you're supposed to do?
  • What do you need to do to finish the assignment?
  • Do you need help in understanding how to do your work?
  • Have you ever done any problems like the ones you're supposed to do right now?
  • Do you have everything you need to do the assignment?
  • Does your answer make sense to you? 

If your youngster is still confused, ask:
  • Are you still having problems? Maybe it would help to take a break or have a snack.
  • Do you need to review your notes (or reread a chapter in your textbook) before you do the assignment? 
  • How far have you gotten on the assignment? Let's try to figure out where you're having a problem.

27. Talk with educators early in the school year. Get acquainted before problems arise, and let educators know that you want to be kept informed. Most schools invite moms and dads to come to parent-teacher conferences or open houses. If your youngster's school doesn't provide such opportunities, call the teacher to set up a meeting.

28. Tie responsibilities to privileges. When your youngster chooses to do her work reliably, she may then expect to participate in activities that interest her.

29. Use a broken record technique to respond to any rebuttal your youngster may offer (e.g., "I hear you, but I want you to start your homework now").

30. Use a timer. Some moms and dads find that using a timer for “homework time” is a good way to build and reinforce structure. Setting a reasonable time limit for completing homework helps train your youngster to expect limitations, even on unpleasant activities like homework. Giving your youngster a time limit for completing his work is useful, especially if you reward finishing on time.

Homework is a major struggle in many homes, but it doesn’t have to be.  Recognizing why your youngster might be fighting it is key to establishing healthy homework habits.  By doing this, you may find you have fewer battles to fight on that front.

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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