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When Teens Say No to Homework Help

Living with a teenager is challenging in and of itself; trying to assist a student who may not want help is even more difficult. Teens desire nothing more than independence from their parents. They crave autonomy even though they still want parental feedback and approval. Teens are known for testing parental boundaries and limits. In addition, hormonal changes can wreak havoc on teens' daily moods. One moment an adolescent can seem perfectly secure and happy and the next she can snap over an innocuous comment. Homework and academic expectations add another layer of stress. If this situation sounds familiar, try any one of the following strategies.

The Ball Goes Into Their Court - To parents, teenagers often appear to have all the freedom they could want. After all, they can drive, stay out later in the evening, and have part-time jobs. Frequently, however, their anger comes from the feeling that others have all the power, and they have none. Instead of insisting that your teen accept your homework help, give him a choice. For example, if his biology grade isn't what it should be, ask him if he'd like to work with a study group, stay after school for teacher help, or work with a tutor. Allow him to make the decision of how he will accept help. Getting assistance isn't an option, but the way he obtains it is.

Become A Supporter - Be there to offer support and guidance, but resist the urge to correct or provide answers. A good rule of thumb is, "A parent's pen should never touch the paper." Any mark on a student's paper should be his alone. Help him to interpret directions and get started and, if necessary, review the assignment when he's done. Do not criticize wrong answers or he'll be turned off to your help. Teens often don't want to work with their parents because they feel judged, whether their perception is true or not. The assignment just has to meet teacher expectations and reflect the course's guidelines. Striving for perfection can inspire rebellion, especially in adolescents.