How often have you heard these words when homework time rolls around? This month, we’re talking about homework and why children often try to avoid it. Check out our other blogs on homework avoidance and other reasons children dodge homework. The underlying cause for homework avoidance I want to share with you today is: lack of success at school. Spending more time facing that failure is not very motivational.
Have you ever had 'one of those days'? You wake up and realize that your alarm didn't go off. Anxiety. You get out of bed and stub your toe on the way to the washroom. Frustration. You spill the coffee beans all over the counter as you take them out of the cupboard. Fail. You drop your lunch on the way to the car. So dumb! You pull into work and realize that you forgot your office keys at home. Are you kidding me? Do I need to continue? It’s the day that everything seems to go wrong. At some point we throw our hands up in the air and ask ourselves, 'Why do I even try?' It is a horrible feeling when you think everything you put your hands to ends in failure.
Most of us have attempted at least one diet. How long do you continue this diet when you don't see results? If we are highly motivated we may continue for a period of time, but that quickly deteriorates if we’re not seeing results. What is our internal dialogue when this is happening? How are we feeling about this lack of apparent success?
It is always good to grow and learn as we travel through adulthood. How often do we set goals that really take us out of our comfort zone and into an area where we may experience failure? I would say not very often. We usually set smaller attainable goals that we know we can reach. If we go to the gym, we may aspire to do two repetitions of 20 on the weight circuit lifting, let’s say, 20 pounds. It is unwise to aspire to lift 300lbs when we have never lifted a weight in our life. Imagine sitting on a weight machine trying to move that. Do you think you would be back tomorrow to try again knowing failure was inevitable? It is important to set small, achievable and measurable goals. It fills our brain with positive feedback and encourages us to continue.
Now imagine what your child is going through. Is it any surprise they’re not excited to face their school work again? They’re likely going to come home from school avoiding or even refusing to do homework. A possible underlying cause is his or her desire to avoid experiencing more lack of success or even failure. There is a very real possibility that he or she is going, day in and day out, without ever feeling that they are capable. As adults we are able to monitor our level of hard. Children are not. As adults we get pretty good at avoiding things we’re not good at. Children, though, often feel trapped. A boy I met today was in Grade 4 and very aware he’s facing 8 more years of school with no escape. I am excited to begin working on the areas he needs developed so he can experience success in school and realize homework is achievable.
The truth is: the brain grows, develops faster and makes more pathways when it is experiencing success and positive feedback. It is inaccurate to think, the harder the work, the better the results. Leave the "No Pain No Gain" motto to the gym.
Check out our other blogs on homework avoidance to see more underlying causes that may be causing your child to avoid their homework.