Anger and Punishment Won’t work to solve Homework Problems

I got a message from a mom tonight who is angry at her kid with ADHD and is punishing him by taking away his Nintendo.

Here is what she wrote:

“how can i control his anger problems tonight as a family were trying to help him do his homework and because he didn’t want to do it and we all explain to him that he has to write more and that if he didn’t start doing it right then i would take his Playstation away so he would write a word and stop again i said ok fine I’m taking it away for good he yelled and said i hate u all so i have told him before that him saying that is not ok so i took it out of his room and started crying and yelling I’m so lost on how to control him my poor son is only 9 what do i do to help him and give him his way so he don’t act like this”

It made the back of my hair stand up remembering the days before my mom realized I had a disability and actually COULD NOT do homework.

Yup, you heard me, I could not, no matter how hard I tried, do my homework.

Like every other mom, my own mom,  who didn’t know better at the time, tried everything she could to get me to do my homework.  I had to sit in the kitchen for hours.

She bribed me.

She threatened me.

She yelled at me.

She begged me.

When things got really bad she jumped in and did it for me.

Sound familiar?

Hang on moms and dads, you probably are going to not like this or even agree, but there is a HUGE possibility that your kid with ADHD is not able to do homework.

There I said it.

But they HAVE to do homework!!! … or do they?

The best years of high school were when I had a tutor and a scribe. I was able to stand in our kitchen while answering the questions (sometimes on my head). Maybe this angry mom above could be her kids scribe?  Instead of yelling and threatening about unfinished  homework how else can a parent make the homework more engaging? Something, anything except anger and punishment!

2 cups plus 1/2 cup becomes math!

Bribery works sometimes when it is not excessive and is something that means something to the student.  e.g. Do 2 questions, get 2 minutes on your phone, do 5 questions get 5 minutes on Nintendo.  It does not have to be sit and get it done, that almost never worked for me anyway.

With my parents we first worked with the school to get me an IEP (Individual Education Plan) Then we had to work with individual teaches to specifically reduce homework and create alternate ways I could use to show I knew the learning outcomes.   Thinking back to grade school I would make a deal with teachers to NEVER HUMILIATE YOUR KID IN IN FRONT OF OTHERS BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T DO THEIR HOMEWORK!

If we had any other kind of disability this would not be an issue, but because you can’t see what is happening in our brains you ASSUME we can do everything you can do.

So what about the slackers who just don’t want to do homework? Chances are that’s not your kid.  Kids with ADHD try harder than anyone on the planet to do good, to fit in and to do their homework.

Are you having homework issues?  Write me to share your ideas that positively help your kid.  To the mom who wrote me, take a chill pill and love your kid. The only thing he is going to learn is how to be angry , just like you.

till next time,


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