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KJP04
KJP04 asks:
Q:

My son refuses to answer or just shrugs and says "I don't know" when I am trying to help him with his homework.

We continue to keep going back over the same ground. I know he has the answer but he refuses and says he doesn't know. I don't want to give in and tell him the answer. I coach him through the concepts, ask questions,  give clues but he just looks at me and shrugs.
In Topics: School and Academics, Helping my child with school work and home work, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Sep 2, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like your son is really having trouble finding the motivation to do the work.  Has this always been a problem?  There could be a number of reasons for this behavior.  

One possibility could be depression.  If he is experiencing emotional pain, it may be interfering with his everyday life.  Have you noticed this apathy or inactivity in other parts of his life?  If you doo see that he is generally down and out, than it may be worth asking him about it and seeing if there is more to it.  

It also may be that he simply doesn't understand why this is important.  Have a frank discussion about him and see if he just simply dislikes the work and doesn't understand why it is important for him to do.  And maybe in the grand scope, the things he is working on with homework aren't important, but his grades are.  And the faster he gets the homework done, the faster he can move onto other things, but the homework needs to be done first.  in life and in school, it is necessary to jump through hoops to succeed.  Get it over and out of the way.  

Maybe the environment circumstances aren't working for him. Some kids do their best work immediately after school.  Some work better before dinner.  Some work best after dinner.  Some kids are tired after dinner and can't focus.  Some locations are better than others.  Try the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, or any other place that may be more conducive to his productivity and effort.  

In the end, asking questions and having an open, nonjudgemental communication with him will give you the most information.  Ask him what he thinks may help and see if you can come up with a plan together that you think will work for you and him.  

Good luck and feel free to call our hotline if you ever need additional help!

Counselor, Dominic
Boys Town National Hotline-A hotline for parents and teens
1-800-448-3000
www.parenting.org

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Additional Answers (4)

tinyloveincash
tinyloveinc... writes:
if he was my son i will put him on punishment for 2 whole months
> 60 days ago

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JeanneBrockmyer
JeanneBrock... writes:
It would be useful to know your son's age, but I am going to assume he is in elementary school.  It is wonderful that you are taking an interest in your son's school success.  However, it sounds like it's just not working for you to help him with his homework, at least to the extent you are now doing.  You could try changing the homework time; maybe he needs a break right after school.  You could try limiting the amount of time you work with him, regardless of what you feel you are able to accomplish.  You could try making fun time (for example, tv or video games) contingent on some completed homework.  You could try letting the other parent help out.  Or, you could see if a neighborhood teen would be available at a small cost.  Often taking the homework responsibilities off a parent's shoulders is the best option when a child resists help.  
The bottom line is that most children do want to do well in school. If you try some different ways of handling homework and there are still problems, talk with his teacher and see if a formal evaluation of his learning strengths and weaknesses is needed.

Jeanne H. Brockmyer, Ph. D.
education.com expert clinical child psychologist
> 60 days ago

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periwinkle
periwinkle writes:
Talk to his teacher and see if he does that in the classroom when she ask him a question. Let him do his homework scene you feellike he knows the answer maybe he just doesn't want any help. After he gets finish doing the homework you go over the homework and if they are right then okay if they are wrong then ask him is this the paper he is going to turn in and let him know which are wrong and if he doesn't want to correct them let him know if the homework he turns in isn't good then the next time he will get help and he can't answer you then he can't do the things he likes to do . Tough love will pay off.
> 60 days ago

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danmax
danmax writes:
try more with time he will understand u are doing for him
> 60 days ago

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