Helping Your Children With Their Homework

parent helping with homework

It's common for parents to want to help their children with their homework, but there is a fine line between helping your child and doing their homework for them. If you are doing even a small amount of their homework instead of guiding them, you are doing a disservice to your child.

Website Ask.com released results of a national survey of 778 parents with kids younger than age 18 about homework. The survey showed that 43 percent of parents admitted to doing their child's homework for them. And in the South, 87 percent of parents admitted to doing their children's homework. The big question is why?

Here are the key findings from the Ask.com survey:

  • 87 percent of parents in the South admitted to doing their child's homework.
  • 43 percent of parents nationwide admitted to doing their kid's homework.
  • 47 percent of dads nationwide did their children's homework.
  • 39 percent of moms nationwide did their children's homework.
  • 38 percent of the homework done by parents is math.
  • 28 percent of the homework done by parents is English.

Why Parents Do Their Child's Homework

Teachers indicate that parents may do their child's homework for many reasons, with better grades topping the list. Parents are often quick to "take over" projects that involve research, creativity and model construction. While teachers can almost always spot a parent product vs. a child-produced one, it's often difficult to prove. But, better grade or not, the child suffers in the end because he hasn't actually learned what he was supposed to be doing the project in the first place.

Another reason cited for doing a child's homework is the lack of time to do the work. Many parents have kids in daycare or after-school care until 6:00 or 6:30 p.m., and then tow the kid to an extracurricular activity after that. Dinner is often something fast and on the run.

By the time a child gets home, he's too exhausted to do his homework. Rather than changing the family schedule to provide ample time for homework and relaxation, well-meaning but misguided parents will actually do the homework for the child to turn in the next day. Not only does that demonstrate unethical cheating to a child, but it also denies him a chance to master the content being taught.

Drawbacks of Doing Your Child's Homework

At test time, a child's knowledge (or lack) of the material will certainly come to light. While helping a child with homework is to be encouraged, especially one who is struggling with the assignment, actually doing a child's homework is parent involvement gone bad.

Next time you think doing your child's homework is saving them time and stress, think again. Sit with your kids and provide them with guidance. Your child will thank you for it later.

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