KATRINA: I’m Katrina Szish for howdini.com, joining me is Ann Pleshette Murphy, Parenting Expert and the author of The 7 Stages of Motherhood. Nice to see you, Ann.
KATRINA: We’re talking about how to avoid homework hassles. That’s a big one. How do you stay involved with your children and their homework without being too involved?
ANN: Well, it’s really a very fine line in my house in particular, but I would start with your child’s teacher. Early in the year, find out how much homework they’re going to have, what her expectations are, his expectations are, and make sure that your child knows that the person that he or she should talk to, first and foremost, is the teacher. That said, if you are finding that you’re constantly getting into a battle about homework, first of all understand that kids have different styles and respect your child’s style. Some kids want to sit on the floor with the music blasting.
KATRINA: That was me.
ANN: Some kids want to be – Right. Some kids, that’s my son. Some kids want to be near you; so when you’re doing the cooking for dinner, they want to be at the kitchen table. And some kids will sit at a nice, tidy, little desk with their sharpened pencils and do it there. So understand what your child’s style is. The other thing is to really make homework part of your routine. So every night, and in fact it’s best if you can pay bills or read the newspaper, turn off the television: it’s time to do homework, and I’m going to be doing my bills or I’m going to be reading the newspaper. And if they say, well I don’t have any homework to do tonight, then say, well let’s use that time to review stuff. I mean just, there’s got to be something you can do, so that it’s part of what you do every night.
KATRINA: What about class projects, school projects where you get to the classroom or you get to the science fair and you can tell that someone’s parents happened to be a designer or an architect, definitely were very involved in that particular project. Isn’t that cheating?
ANN: Well it is cheating, and the person it’s cheating is their child.
ANN: And, in fact, the reason it is, is because there’s a lot of research on motivation, and what we find is that there is no substitute for that feeling of, ‘I did it, I did it myself.’ And what you’ll find is, if you’re over-involved in your child’s work and they get an A, they’re going to quickly say, ‘Yeah, but you did it.’ And that’s really going to cost them in the long-term in ways, you know, just not worth it.
KATRINA: Okay. Ann Pleshette Murphy, thanks so much for your advice.