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How to get lazy DSs to do their homework / assignments

(31 Posts)
OopsEEDaisyButtercup Fri 11-Dec-15 18:08:21

I have 3 DSs, aged 13, 16, 18. None of them seem able to do their homework
a. on time
b. at all
c. enough of it

This has just been going on for so long, I am bored with the whole cycle of emails from teachers/lecturers; talking to each DS individually to find out why they forget / can't be bothered. Instigating penalties [financial, loss of PC time, etc]

I am the compassionate 'gently does it' sort of Mum, which seemingly achieves nothing, but DF is the type who will wade in yelling and shouting about how "we've given them so much and this is how they repay us", etc etc, which achieves nothing either.

I try not to tell DF anything until I have a clearer picture of what's not been handed in or why the assignments aren't up to scratch, otherwise he will go off in a fury accusing them of being lazy good-for-nothing ungrateful selfish pigs. Yes - he does use those words!

I have tried over the years to get teachers/lecturers to help them with planning and how to get things done, but they either don't have the time [realistically, what teacher has enough time to spare?] or just don't seem to bother and expect the DSs to just do it all themselves with a little persuasion from their parents.

Does anyone have any suggestions please on some sort of middle ground to persuade them to just get on with it! I can't ask friends, as the ones I'd want to ask all seem to have lovely little darlings who work hard and are straight A students as a result! They have just told me to accept that my DSs are just 'like that', but I don't want them to be, as they are setting themselves up for a fall later in life.

BertrandRussell Fri 11-Dec-15 18:11:01

What sort of grades do they get? 5)3 18 year olds's GCSEs for example?

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 11-Dec-15 18:14:08

You sound a bit too involved with the process without actually getting anywhere. I figure that by age 13, my involvement is "have you got any homework? Make sure it's done", and if it's not, then it's up to the teacher/school to discipline them. Not my issue.

Wolfiefan Fri 11-Dec-15 18:15:58

Wifi or other tech off until HW done?
Ensure all staff know to contact you directly if they are unhappy!

OopsEEDaisyButtercup Fri 11-Dec-15 19:08:38

DS18 got 5Cs and an A in Japanese [yes!] at GCSE and isn't academic, so is doing BTEC; DS16 got A; 5Bs; 2Cs at GCSE and is now doing 4 A-levels; DS13 in Y8 - he's on G&T so is academic but just doesn't apply himself.

I always beat myself up as I feel that if all 3 of them are like this, then it has to be something I'm doing / not doing?

I have instigated a wifi off at bedtime rule, by changing the password so they can't connect, but can't take the wifi off all day as I use it for work and so does DH! [who is often on conference calls late at night as he's talking to people on the other side of the globe!]. DS18 has a games machine so will then stay up until 2am playing games by himself, without the wifi!

Much of their homework is done using IT and they would all end up doing their work at differing times so how could I schedule downtime to make sure each one does their work? You can't just 'make' an 18 year old come off his PC until he's done his work. I have tried that and just end up running all over the house, into each bedroom, telling them to get on with their work, go and cook dinner, run upstairs to tell them to get on with their work, run down to do ironing, run up to...well - you get the idea!

OopsEEDaisyButtercup Fri 11-Dec-15 19:10:10

Wolfiefan : the teachers / tutors do contact me - seems to be at least once a week [each subject teacher will email individually] for each DS, so I'm getting more than a little pissed with the whole thing.

Wolfiefan Fri 11-Dec-15 19:12:59

If they are not being mature enough to take control of their own deadlines and workload they need consequences.
Don't do work? No Xbox, mobile,TV or computer privileges whatever.
Want me to buy stuff? Start working!

ClancyMoped Fri 11-Dec-15 19:13:02

I didn't nag my DCs when they were older. I might have nagged the 13 year old a bit but the older ones I would leave them to it. I'd praise them for working hard and tell them to let me know if I could help them. Nagging or guilt tripping by being 'dissapointed' would not have worked with any of my 4 DC. They mostly worked well but if ever one of them forgot homework then that was their lookout.

I don't get how their DF's approach would work. confused Although it will presumably encourage them to leave home as soon as possible confused

I've had more influence over my DCs school work by being supportive and treating them as 'sort of' adults. My DC are at Uni now and have told me that they appreciated the fact that my DH and I left them to it.

I did nag them about other things such as not cleaning up after themselves but generally we all got on well. A levels are stressful enough without having to deal with shouting matches.

I'd might put some wifi/ gaming restrictions in place for the younger two.

ClancyMoped Fri 11-Dec-15 19:16:14

Most wifi parental controls let you set up different access times for different devices.

jellyhead Fri 11-Dec-15 19:16:33

God I wish I knew.
I swing between laid back mum to screaming crazy woman.
Neither works.
Ds1 has missed some assignments and gets on with them in his own sweet time despite me or dh getting involved.
His tutor emails me sometimes which always makes me feel a failure.
Dd age 14 does all her work without a mutter.
Ds2 11 is the same as ds1 so here we go again

IguanaTail Fri 11-Dec-15 19:23:01

Change the password for the wifi. Then you can use it but not them.

Ask them to get a sheet signed to indicate homework for the week is done. If they have all the signatures then give them the code / the allowance. If not = no code / money. Let them do the stressing. You just sit back and relax and let the consequences do the talking.

BathtimeFunkster Fri 11-Dec-15 19:26:05

Maybe they'd respect their Dad.

They don't seem to have much respect for you.

YeOldeTrout Fri 11-Dec-15 19:30:11

OP listed consequences (financial, loss of PC, WiFi turned off). What else is she supposed to do? Remove every object from their rooms? Burn all their clothes? Beat them with a stick? The Dad is doing the screaming & shouting bit.

You can't control them. Your mental stability & sanity is what needs taking care of.

I'm intrigued by this recurring topic on MN: how much to push unmotivated DC. Some move heaven & earth and say nasty things to those of who don't , while others sit back with a glass of wine. Most in-between.

Pushing lazy DC hard is not compatible with keeping my sanity. I give the DC reasons why they should want to achieve. I will always support & encourage. But for me, their life is their life to live & make own choices and I'll be useless in every other capacity if I waste my limited energy trying to make DC be people they aren't.

FreeWorker1 Fri 11-Dec-15 19:30:43

Right this is the way we do it.

You give them a set time during which homework has to be done. 7.30 - 9.00 in our house for 16 yr old DS.

No excuses. No phone or computer allowed. Has to be done in bedroom. In silence.

Revision for mocks is now timetabled by subject and topic by DS1 and agreed with me up until after Xmas.

If there are no excuses and a set time then there is no battle.

OopsEEDaisyButtercup Fri 11-Dec-15 19:42:40

IguanaTail : I already do that when it's bedtime [change the pwd], so maybe I need to get stricter and change it so that they can't get to it until 9pm.

I think I tried that before, with me running in every so often to remind them to do their work and them saying they'd done it, or were doing it, and then at 9pm I'd find out they hadn't done it and end up getting cross with them for lying to me!! I wish they'd apply that sort of creativity to their work as they always seem to be one step ahead of me!

IguanaTail Fri 11-Dec-15 20:58:26

Stop getting angry with them - you're taking on all the responsibility yourself. Make it nice and simple and let the consequences do the talking. Get them rushing around proving they've done it.

IguanaTail Fri 11-Dec-15 21:00:21

It's a game to them.

Tell them you want proof their homework is done in order to release the password. Don't leave it on and then change it at 9.

GasLIghtShining Sat 12-Dec-15 00:08:07

At 16 & 18 you should not be supervising them. Are they enjoying the courses? Harder to be motivated if you are not interested

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 12-Dec-15 00:18:43

Apart from the youngest you need to butt out and let them deal with the mess they create. If they work or go into HE you won't be their safety valve.

Baconyum Sat 12-Dec-15 00:51:12

Trying not to be judgy but by 16/18 its kinda too late!

My way:
Dd has to do homework on the day she gets it as soon as she's in from school. That's been the rule ever since she started high school.

If its not done grounded 1 weekend day per assignment, 1/4 pocket money gone per subject and if she really pushes it no phone for a week. There were no histrionics just that's how it works in this house.

She's only done that once.

In addition she's also in trouble at school. Her school works it that if homework is not handed in on time parents get a text so she knows she can't get away with claiming no homework or its been done when it hasn't beyond when it's due.

I have to say though I'm lucky to have a kid that generally enjoys school and hates getting into trouble.

Grounded means - no tech, no phone, no friends. Dd hates it.

You say you've tried sanctions but are they consistent, predictable and sufficiently disliked by the kids?

As for the gaming, I'm an old fart but in my day the equivalent was being able to watch TV I wanted in my room. If I was in bother plug was cut off - can't be used then eh?

As its a continuing issue I'd be removing the games consoles full stop until grades are much improved on what they are now and homework being done consistently.

cosytoaster Sat 12-Dec-15 01:17:23

No advice but sympathy OP - I am in exactly the same boat, my two are ridiculously homework averse. I can't just let them take the consequences at school as their teachers will email me directly and any sanctions I apply they accept but it does not alter their behaviour. At the moment I'm insisting that they sit at the kitchen table for a set period every evening for two hours (DS17) and one hour (DS14) and do homework, if they complete it I find them a chore, but it's an uphill battle and after a day at work the last thing I feel like doing. People whose kids just get on with it have no idea what this is like.

Moonax Sat 12-Dec-15 22:48:59

Sympathy here too OP. DS went through his entire school career including GCSEs, AS and A levels to a constant chorus of "he's really bright but he doesn't do the homework". This was depressing especially as he'd set his sights super-high. Emails from teachers pretty much every week.

We tried everything. Talking, offering to help with timetables, asking what we could do to help him (including financial incentives and grouding - oh so consistent - not). He told us fair and square that it was his problem, his life and he wasn't aiming to fail - he just wasn't that invested in homework.

It boiled down to drive myself and DH crazy or drop it. We dropped it. It became DS problem. He royally stuffed up one piece of coursework by failing to hit a deadline and doing it in a hurry. Suddenly he got better at deadlines. He never did complete all homework, but he did fine. Got the grades he needed to do the course he wanted.

OopsEEDaisyButtercup Tue 15-Dec-15 16:17:39

Moonax: "It boiled down to drive myself and DH crazy or drop it. We dropped it. It became DS problem."

Agree - I emailed the tutors to ask for some advice. The tutors have let me know that all their coursework is being written down in their planners. They do know what is expected of them over the Xmas hols, so as many MNers have said - I have to give the problem over to the DSs and not stress about it.

I now need to ensure DF doesn't either - he rants about the amount of ££ we've spent on their education. They have spent a bit of time in private school along the way but by no means all their school 'careers'. My take on that is that is wasn't their choice to pay for education and that they are better off than they would have been otherwise. It was our decision to pay for education and it's debatable whether it had much effect but you can't tell in hindsight. You make the decisions that are right at the time.

Homework now has to be their problem.

Moonax Tue 15-Dec-15 18:31:25

OopsEEDaisyButtercup - give it a try if you can. It took us a lot of gritted teeth to stand back but it was worth it. DS still isn't the most organised in the world, but he does now remember and do important stuff. I doubt that would have happened if we'd carried on hand-holding/wringing, nagging, bribing and so on and so forth (you'll know the list!).

He just survived his first term at uni absolutely fine and even came home with his budget kept to and a little money to spend on Christmas presents.

Yes, as far as the ££ go, I can see his point, but as you say, that was your choice, not theirs. Irritating and galling though it is, you can't really use it as a stick to beat your DSs with. Good luck!

SheGotAllDaMoves Wed 16-Dec-15 08:20:01

This comes up all the time on MN and I recently had dinner with a friend who actually cried over her pasta about her DD's lack of engagement at school.

It makes my heart hurt for the parents who so obviously care. And also the teens who have no idea about the harsh old world they're about to enter! And rarely have a plan B ( the parents would be only too pleased to back off and support Plan B if there actually was one).

I can't speak from experience ( have a pair of goody two shoes ) but I know I would be on here too asking for advice!

Can I ask, OP, were the GCSE grades in line with ability? Or did your DC underachieve?

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