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Topic : 03/23 Homework Hell

Number of Replies: 241
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Created on : Friday, December 01, 2006, 03:23:49 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 12/07/06) When it comes to helping kids with school assignments, some parents just don’t make the grade. Angela says her 12-year-old son, Masen, takes up to six hours to finish his homework, and she says she can’t stop nitpicking. Her mother, Gayle, says Angela acts like a drill sergeant, and has called Masen "lazy and useless." What’s behind Angela’s frustration? Then, tempers rise as Angela feels her parenting skills are being criticized. Find out the conversation Dr. Phil has with her during the break. Plus, Dr. Phil gives Angela a test of his own, and Dr. Frank Lawlis, author of The IQ Answer, weighs in. Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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December 7, 2006, 7:37 am CST

Homework Hell

Please take the time to read this.

 

 

Personally, I was disgusted by today's show "Homework Hell".  Growing up wtih a younger brother that is learning disabled really made me pay attention to this show.  If we didn't keep him on track it would definitely have taken him 6 hours to do his homework.  His not dumb, and he's not retarded, it's just hard for him.  And for a person that has that much trouble doing homework, it's not fun, and it is boring, and it's hard to stay on task because it's just such a pain.  And for everyone else around him its incomprehensive!  How in the world could seventh grade math take an hour and a half?!?  It just does, and imagine feeling dumb because you know the average person would do it in twenty minutes.  Yes, do feel sorry for him, but DON'T insult his mother.  It is NOT her fault.  It is not okay to let him waste his time sitting at the table procrastinating, that is no way to raise a child.  She knows it has to be done and honestly it's hard to motivate a person to do homework when it's just so hard for them, but it just has to be done.  And I've seen my mom get frustrated, and I've got frustrated before, and we say things that could be taken the wrong way but to my brother, he knows us well enough, that he knows we just want him to crack down.  Now I would never call him a retard, or stupid, but I would say 'Hey you need to quit being lazy." If he's being lazy, he deserves to hear it.  I think Dr. Phil misinterpreted the things that she was saying, and of course being the doctor, refused to admit that he could have been wrong.  And it's a TV show, they probably did make the clip worse than it actually is, it makes good television, but she's a person and she deserves to be looked at with respect.  I don't think he understands how hard it is to work with a child like that.  If the child honestly is trying, then no he shouldn't be nagged, but I think that if he was really trying it would take 3 hours tops.  (Yes, I saw some of you said that schools are giving too much homework, and i agree, but 6 hours is the equivalent of time spent at school [minus lunch] and I don't think it's even possible they could send that much home with him.)  I was just extremely disgusted at the way he treated her and acted like it was all her fault, when in reality, when homework gets to be that much of a hassle the child needs to be taught differently.  When he gets to college and decides not to do his homework, she can't do anything about it, but for now, it's the most important time to learn work ethic, and for her to just completely back off, why would he ever do his homework?

 
December 7, 2006, 7:41 am CST

A message to Angela

My father treated me the exact same way that you are treating your son and I needed a lot of therapy because of it.  I tried confronting him about it recently, and he denied everything.
 
December 7, 2006, 8:20 am CST

Homework Hell

I just watched the show about Homework Hell. I agree that the mother wasn't helping her son by standing over him and drilling him on his homework. The show really hit home with me. I have two sons ages 12 and 13. My oldest son is a straight A student and comes home after school and gets his homework done without any hassles. My youngest son is a totally different story. He was a straight A student until he reached the 4th grade. That's when the teachers started comparing him to his older brother. He is totally opposite. It's a constant battle with him trying to get him to do his homework. My husband and I were actually going to make him repeat the 5th grade this year. He had failed science class last year and the teachers kept telling me he was a lazy student and just plainly didn't want to do the work so he needed to be held back. I contacted the school principal just days before the start of the school year this year to have my son held back in the 5th grade. He thought I was crazy because on the Ohio testing my son's performance was well above the average not only for the school but for the state standard as well. We sent my son on to 6th grade and when he does his work he gets A's when he doesn't he gets F's. I used to be one to criticize his work. But after hearing his 5th grade teachers call him "lazy", I was furious. My son is not a good speller and he isn't the best book learner, but he is amazing when it comes to mechanical stuff or computer graphic things. So I've learned to pick my battles with him. I have learned to find the different strengths in both my boys and point them out to each of them. I've never, ever compared one to the other and I've made it a point at the beginning of each school year to tell every teacher that my youngest in NOT like my oldest. They are completely opposite. It just doesn't seem to get across to them. My oldest son is very book smart and doesn't have a lick of mechanical ability. My youngest isn' t book smart but is very mechanically inclined. And I've learned recently that he has been designing webpages for his friends at the age of 12. Pretty impressive if you ask me. My biggest concern with my kids at this age is that they know that they can come to their parents if they need someone to talk to and not be criticized or judged. There are a lot of kids out there who don't have this support and a lot of teens turn to suicide because of it. You've got to keep their self-esteem up. I know I've had to change things myself because my youngest son always felt less important because he didn't get the grades his brother got and he wasn't in the sports his brother was in and he thought we favored his brother more. I've had to adjust things at home and show my youngest that I am just as involved in his life as I am in his brother's life. And that they are each equally important. This has boosted his self-esteem and we are seeing a whole different side of my son. Just by becoming more involved. You have to make it a point to stay involved in your kids' lives even as they enter into their teens and start going out more with their friends as they enter into high school. Know what your kids are doing, who they are with, etc. And most important let them know you're there when they need you.
 
December 7, 2006, 9:17 am CST

Homework is a problem in my home too.

I want to comment on the show today.  I believe the mom was trying to acknowledge her role in the situation, but perhaps she was not as articulate as she could have been.  Too much time was spent on semantics. She and Dr. Phil were both somehat defensive at times, and that took up a large part of the show.  I don't see how a test for the mom was productive in helping her to help her son. 

 

As a mom of a 7th grader not doing well in school, I really wanted to hear solutions.  My 7th grade son is not completing or turning in classwork and refuses to do homework.  He says he has no homework most every day.  I am frustrated and need help in helping my son.  He is a wonderful, intelligent, sweet boy.  I could not ask for a better son.  I love my son beyond description and want him to succeed.  He is failing three classes, and he and I both need help.  I do acknowledge I have not handled this well most of the time.  My husband and I are working with his teachers on different strategies to no avail.  We stay in touch by email and conferences. 

 

He sees a child psychiatrist who has diagnosed him as bipolar with ADD tendencies.  He does take medication and sees her regularly for a med check.  He is well behaved in school and well liked by his teachers and peers.  He just shows no motivation for sucess in school.  We have tried using a tutor, but that was no help.  I believe he does have stress placed on him by me.  I want to know how to begin to fix this.  I have tried several different approaches concerning his school work.  I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

 

We don't have have a doctor like Dr. Lawless in my area willing to fully evaluate him.  I have inquired about diagnostic tests to rule out anything physical.  I have been told it was not necessary.  With most insurance, a referral is required.  I wouldn't know where to begin, and funding is also a problem.  I have read The ADD Answer and have just purchased The IQ Answer online.  I am truly at a loss and so hoped the show would begin to shed some light.  Thank you. 

 
December 7, 2006, 10:01 am CST

i think a lot of parents expect too much from there children!

as long as my child gives it his best effort it dosent matter to me if he makes an A or an C and i let him know this is how i feel, i love him no matter if he passes of fails, but hes not failing he infact is passing, i found out early on if i dont put pressure on him about when to do home work he gets it done, most of the time at school, his teachers help him, as i posted earler i talked to them and let them know i couldnt help him becouse i didnt understand it my self, it helps to let a teacher know if you have any problems, most people think a teacher dosent care, but i know differnt, they do, 99% of teachers love teaching and they really want the children they teach to pass, if your child is receving too much home work try going to the school and let the teacher know your concerns and problems,it may help, it did for me
 
December 7, 2006, 10:26 am CST

Homework Hell

I am floored with the way this mom is being protrayed. I was a homework sargent when my 15 yr old was younger. It was a battle from the time he came home until the time he finally went to bed. Last year as an 8th grader, he did very poorly in school. He is failing all classes this year. The corporation and i decided to place him in 9th grade due to the problems he had with suspensions in 7th and 8th grade. He told me he would quit school before going back to the middle school. He hated all adminstrators and some of his teachers.  We were in counseling for 2 1/2 years. NOthing is working.  My son was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD ODD in first grade, ADHD, ODD, PDD-nos in 7th grade, and just Depression-NOS in 8th grade. at the end of the 8th grade year he was diagnosed AGAIN thru another doctor with ADD, ODD and CD.

My son has lost his way. He is a very good manipulator. He has reported many times over the course of his school career that my husband and or i beat him. We have had many bouts with child services. He was at one point a CHINS. He looks for attention at any costs. He will say or do whatever it takes to get some kind of reaction from anyone.

This year he is once again NOT doing homework, not studying, and failing all classes. I have tried the punishments fit the crimes, but what ever he is grounded from, he dont care. I am now trying another stradegy.... he is 15, he knows what is right and what is wrong. He wants to be treated like an adult. I am advising him of what the consequences could be from his actions in his world. That is all i can do. It hurts me so much to watch him go down this road, but he needs to fall and realize that i will be there for him when he needs me. I am guiding from the background with out his knowledge.  It is a very very very hard thing to do.

My son has no idea that the adults in the small town we live in are becoming offended with his actions. He has walked up to total strangers and asked for cigarettes. Most of the people ask him his age and he doesnt lie. 

When it comes to school, He started this year at the local high school and in the first 3 weeks of school, he was failing all classes except band( he is a good trumpet player). My husband and i decided to move him to Chicago with my husband in hopes that a different school would help him realize he is smart and capable. after almost 2 months, he was still failling all classes including a very low C in band. My son was doing his homework each night. It would take him and my husband anywhere between 2 to 5 hours to complete it all.  He would turn in homework he would receive a good grade, but he would not pass the tests. He would not study for the tests.

We moved our son back to indiana and i spoke with the assistant principal and we decided to place him in the alternative"opportunity" school. This is considered the "last chance" school. He has been in this schoool for 4 weeks. He is failing all his classes. He tells me everynight he has no homework, he gets it done in school. His teachers tell me he is very articulate, very polite, and has great potential, so long has he starts applying himself. The school he is at is for the "hoodlums" of the county. These are the kids that arent going anywhere with thier lives. They know they will only work at McDonalds for ever. My son has a goal of being an electronics tech like his dad. We are trying to get him to realize that it might not happen if he doesnt start applying himself. He is not listening.....

 

I think this mom is trying the only thing she knows. I have heard that you live what you learn. Maybe that is the way she was brought up, i dont know. But, the kids now adays have it much harder than we ever did. There is a lot of stress on state testings and in this community they are trying to teach a curriculum based on testing. That is not going to work when each state has different standards. The teachers are under alot of pressure from the school boards due to funding issues with in the states and the federal governments. It is a trickle down effect and our children, thier children and their children are going to suffer for generations.

I commend her for trying what she has tried. I think she needs to reassess her goals for her children and work FOR both kids and be involved with the teachers and schools asking and demanding changes within her district and even her state.

I hope she will find help for herself to deal with the stresses of raising children in this day and age.

 

 
December 7, 2006, 11:37 am CST

homework prison

Quote From: jamkat0821

I am floored with the way this mom is being protrayed. I was a homework sargent when my 15 yr old was younger. It was a battle from the time he came home until the time he finally went to bed. Last year as an 8th grader, he did very poorly in school. He is failing all classes this year. The corporation and i decided to place him in 9th grade due to the problems he had with suspensions in 7th and 8th grade. He told me he would quit school before going back to the middle school. He hated all adminstrators and some of his teachers.  We were in counseling for 2 1/2 years. NOthing is working.  My son was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD ODD in first grade, ADHD, ODD, PDD-nos in 7th grade, and just Depression-NOS in 8th grade. at the end of the 8th grade year he was diagnosed AGAIN thru another doctor with ADD, ODD and CD.

My son has lost his way. He is a very good manipulator. He has reported many times over the course of his school career that my husband and or i beat him. We have had many bouts with child services. He was at one point a CHINS. He looks for attention at any costs. He will say or do whatever it takes to get some kind of reaction from anyone.

This year he is once again NOT doing homework, not studying, and failing all classes. I have tried the punishments fit the crimes, but what ever he is grounded from, he dont care. I am now trying another stradegy.... he is 15, he knows what is right and what is wrong. He wants to be treated like an adult. I am advising him of what the consequences could be from his actions in his world. That is all i can do. It hurts me so much to watch him go down this road, but he needs to fall and realize that i will be there for him when he needs me. I am guiding from the background with out his knowledge.  It is a very very very hard thing to do.

My son has no idea that the adults in the small town we live in are becoming offended with his actions. He has walked up to total strangers and asked for cigarettes. Most of the people ask him his age and he doesnt lie. 

When it comes to school, He started this year at the local high school and in the first 3 weeks of school, he was failing all classes except band( he is a good trumpet player). My husband and i decided to move him to Chicago with my husband in hopes that a different school would help him realize he is smart and capable. after almost 2 months, he was still failling all classes including a very low C in band. My son was doing his homework each night. It would take him and my husband anywhere between 2 to 5 hours to complete it all.  He would turn in homework he would receive a good grade, but he would not pass the tests. He would not study for the tests.

We moved our son back to indiana and i spoke with the assistant principal and we decided to place him in the alternative"opportunity" school. This is considered the "last chance" school. He has been in this schoool for 4 weeks. He is failing all his classes. He tells me everynight he has no homework, he gets it done in school. His teachers tell me he is very articulate, very polite, and has great potential, so long has he starts applying himself. The school he is at is for the "hoodlums" of the county. These are the kids that arent going anywhere with thier lives. They know they will only work at McDonalds for ever. My son has a goal of being an electronics tech like his dad. We are trying to get him to realize that it might not happen if he doesnt start applying himself. He is not listening.....

 

I think this mom is trying the only thing she knows. I have heard that you live what you learn. Maybe that is the way she was brought up, i dont know. But, the kids now adays have it much harder than we ever did. There is a lot of stress on state testings and in this community they are trying to teach a curriculum based on testing. That is not going to work when each state has different standards. The teachers are under alot of pressure from the school boards due to funding issues with in the states and the federal governments. It is a trickle down effect and our children, thier children and their children are going to suffer for generations.

I commend her for trying what she has tried. I think she needs to reassess her goals for her children and work FOR both kids and be involved with the teachers and schools asking and demanding changes within her district and even her state.

I hope she will find help for herself to deal with the stresses of raising children in this day and age.

 

I am the homework police at our house.

 

Have you had a sleep study done on your son?  You can ask your family doc for a referral to a qualified sleep specialist.  I have Narcolepsy, and my husband has Restless Leg Syndrome, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, for which he uses a CPAP.

 

We had our kids go through sleep studies.  The oldest one has Narcolepsy, like me.  Since going off of the Adderall and onto Provigil, his grades have soared...he used to be a C and D student.  After the med change, he is now getting nearly straight A's.  At age 18, he finally cares about his grades, is responsible about completing his assignments, and much less irritable.

 

I've already told the story of our middle son, age 13...he had a diagnosis of ADHD, but we are now questioning whether that is right.  His sleep study reavealed Restless Leg Syndrome, which will cause symptoms of ADHD...not getting enough sleep, struggling to stay awake, plus legs that want to move all the time...mimicks ADHD.  He is also on watch for Bipolar Disorder, since I have it.  He has a real anger management problem, especially toward his younger brother.  Younger brother also has Restless Leg Syndrome.  They both take Requip for that.

 

Both of my younger boys have a heart arrhythmia, which limits which drugs they are allowed to take.  All of the stimulants and SSRIs are on the list of meds NOT to take.

 

Also, both of my younger boys were diagnosed with vision problems that affect the ability of the eyes to work together...it causes very bad, disjointed handwriting, inability to see the whole word at once...only seeing partial words, so reading out loud is halting and slow.  This vision disorder also causes refusal to do homework, due to the frustrations of not being able to see properly. Both the boys are doing home vision therapy with a computer program plus some other devices sent home from the eye doctor's office.  There has been significant improvement.

 

Both of our older boys play trumpet, and so do I...It is great that your son has found something that he loves to do, and that he is good at...encourage this gift.

 

If you look back about 17 messages ago, you will see our story of our middle son, and my suggestions for school success...our middle son has gone, just this year, from failing to getting A's and B's...we are very diligent about our contact with the teachers, plus, for missed homework, I will show up at school in my most embarrassing outfit ever...leopard-print spandex exercise pants...really, though, I do show up frequently to check up on him, and I went to school with him for the first week, to observe the teachers' teaching styles, and to know what to expect as far as homework goes.  He must SHOW me his completed assignments...he has to EARN our trust.  Our middle son is in 8th grade.

 

There is hope for your son...for the vision testing, ask for an eye doctor who specializes in vision therapy...they're out there.

 

I assume, with his multiple problems, that he is already seeing a psychiatrist...is he in counseling as well?

 

Good luck, and remember, there is always hope...keep after him.

 
December 7, 2006, 11:45 am CST

problems

Quote From: bonnie314

I want to comment on the show today.  I believe the mom was trying to acknowledge her role in the situation, but perhaps she was not as articulate as she could have been.  Too much time was spent on semantics. She and Dr. Phil were both somehat defensive at times, and that took up a large part of the show.  I don't see how a test for the mom was productive in helping her to help her son. 

 

As a mom of a 7th grader not doing well in school, I really wanted to hear solutions.  My 7th grade son is not completing or turning in classwork and refuses to do homework.  He says he has no homework most every day.  I am frustrated and need help in helping my son.  He is a wonderful, intelligent, sweet boy.  I could not ask for a better son.  I love my son beyond description and want him to succeed.  He is failing three classes, and he and I both need help.  I do acknowledge I have not handled this well most of the time.  My husband and I are working with his teachers on different strategies to no avail.  We stay in touch by email and conferences. 

 

He sees a child psychiatrist who has diagnosed him as bipolar with ADD tendencies.  He does take medication and sees her regularly for a med check.  He is well behaved in school and well liked by his teachers and peers.  He just shows no motivation for sucess in school.  We have tried using a tutor, but that was no help.  I believe he does have stress placed on him by me.  I want to know how to begin to fix this.  I have tried several different approaches concerning his school work.  I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

 

We don't have have a doctor like Dr. Lawless in my area willing to fully evaluate him.  I have inquired about diagnostic tests to rule out anything physical.  I have been told it was not necessary.  With most insurance, a referral is required.  I wouldn't know where to begin, and funding is also a problem.  I have read The ADD Answer and have just purchased The IQ Answer online.  I am truly at a loss and so hoped the show would begin to shed some light.  Thank you. 

Testing IS necessary...read my previous post, plus my posts about 17 messages ago, then I won't have to repeat myself.  In addition to the sleep study and vision testing, we also had neurophycholigical testing done.  Our son is VERY intelligent, but the vision problem causes a slow processing speed in the brain.

 

KEEP AFTER THE DOCTORS UNTIL YOU GET YOUR WAY...INSIST ON HAVING THE TESTING DONE.  Our son's doctor thought the testing was unneccessary too, but at our insistence, we got it done.  We also had to fight to get the genetic testing done, which revealed the heart arrhythmia, which about half of my siblings and their offspring have...it is rare, about 1 in 7000 people have it, so doctors are not well informed.  DOCTORS ARE ALSO NOT ALWAYS WELL-INFORMED on what testing should be done for students who are failing in school...usually it is NOT because they are lazy...there can be underlying problems, which must be addressed.

 

AGAIN, CHECK OUT MY PREVIOUS POSTINGS FOR MORE SUGGESTIONS...I AM NOT AN EXPERT, BUT OUR METHODS ARE PAYING OFF.

 
December 7, 2006, 11:57 am CST

reiterating the importance of parental involvement

Quote From: mustbecrazy

It's an age thing...We have a 13 year old...very intelligent...has the attitude that homework is for those who didn't learn the concepts in class.  He has ADHD, and is on watch for bipolar disorder, but the homework issues are the same.

 

We have an agreement with the teachers that my son has to call me from class immediately if he doesn't have his homework assignment.  Since instituting this policy, his grades have gone from Ds and Fs to As and Bs.  I also went to school with him for a week, to get a feel for his teachers' teaching styles and to find out what to expect in the homework department.  Our schools have a policy that a dayplanner must be filled out every day for every class, listing the homework assignments.  I check it every day.  His must be initialed by the teachers every day, to make sure that he is writing down the whole assignment.  Our focus this year is on being truthful about what assignments he has, and getting them done, no matter how late they are, and whether or not he will get credit for them.  My son knows that after a certain number of missed assignments, I will show up in his classes wearing my leopard pants...spandex exercise pants!! LOL  (I really do have them, and I am not above carrying out my threat...the fear of embarassment is another thing that keeps him honest.)

 

I have internet access to the school's website and can see the current grades in our kids' classes, and any missing assignments...it is updated once a week.  I also frequently email the teachers to check up on him and get informed of any large projects coming up.

 

It is a big task being the homework police, but I take my job seriously...most of the time, I have had to practically sit on my son to get him to do his homework in a timely manner...he will play and fidget if I am not watching...not just an ADHD problem...a universal problem for adolecents.

 

If it's any consolation, they do eventually outgrow it and become responsible, with the right parental supervision over the years.  Our 18 year old became responsible in his junior year of high school...he is completely independant on doing his work, and he suffers his own consequences if an assignment is missed.  It is his responsibility to ask for more time to make up the assignment.  For years, he had a diagnosis of ADHD, now we come to find, through a sleep study, that he has Narcolepsy...the right meds made all the difference in the world.

 

Parents, make sure you are making the grade.  Make every effort to make sure that your child develops good homework habits...bad habits will follow them throughout life.  Don't just talk...take action...be proactive...even if you have to take time off work to do it.  I stay at home with my kids...a financial sacrifice that is well worth it.

just putting my suggestions here again, so you won't have to search for them...I hope it helps.  I don't "nag", I just sit next to my son and read a book, keeping an eye to make sure that he stays on task, otherwise, he will spend a lot of time in the doorways, jumping up and down to touch the top of the doorway!!
 
December 7, 2006, 12:18 pm CST

Homework Hell

I completely agree with you.  I had ADD and struggled through every year of school.  I took ritalin and was on the honor roll all three years of jr high but I still had problems remembering things and concentrating.  I went off of the ritalin in high school because I didn't want to be labeled and that was a huge mistake.  I almost flunked algebra, chemistry, and biology because I didn't understand it.  When I went to college, I had a tutor 3 days a week and still couldn't understand basic algebra.  I am appalled that this woman is treating her son this way and saying that he isn't a "book learner" and constantly nagging and belittling him.  People with ADD are far from stupid or lazy, they just learn differently.  This woman should be ashamed at herself.

 
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