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How do you get kids to do their homework during the pandemic and online school?


​​My daughter is having problems with her daughter (11) and son (15) who are refusing to do homework. My grandson is failing all classes. Both are doing online school. They are verbally abusive to my daughter. My daughter has a very stressful job working from home since the pandemic began. She's tried different tactics like taking away phones, Xbox, etc. She's letting her husband do the parenting but it's not working. He's an ex-Marine who is loud and not helpful at all with homework. He sleeps during the day which has its own issues. I pray daily for my daughter. I don't know how to help other than be there for her. Also, I donate to Boys Town.



Thank you for reaching out today, and thank you for supporting Boys Town with your donations. It sounds like your daughter is in a tough situation right now. It is great you are there as a support. Parenting is hard, and it is important to ask for help when you need it. 

It sounds like your daughter is utilizing appropriate consequences, which is great to hear! It may help to check with your daughter to make sure she is using behavior-based consequences and not time-based. That means when your grandchildren lose their privilege of having a phone or playing video games, it is important that they earn back those privileges ONLY when their behavior improves and not just because a certain amount of time has passed. These expectations should be realistic. Try suggesting to your daughter that the children can earn back their phones or video games after attending 5 school days in a row and completing their homework. If the children attend 3 school days in a row and complete their homework, but then refuse on the 4th day, the children should start over as a consequence. See this for more about how to use consequences effectively:

Another thing to remember is to praise! Praise is so important for children, especially during stressful times like this. Remind your daughter to tell the children “good job" often, even if it is something as small as turning on their computer for remote learning in the morning. Maybe try suggesting having your daughter talk with the children about what and why she is proud them. It could be the way they interact with friends, the way they offer to help others or even how they are handling the “new normal" with COVID-19. Children seek out that attention from parents, so it is important to remember to provide that positive feedback to them often. Here is a short video that is very helpful that discusses praise and positive feedback:

Hopefully these suggestions are able to point you and your daughter in the right direction. As mentioned earlier, parenting is difficult! Especially when kiddos are refusing to do what is expected of them, like going to school and completing homework. It is great you are there to support your daughter through these tough times. Please feel free to continue to reach out to the Hotline at any time…just call 1-800-448-3000, Crisis Counselors are available 24/7 to provide support.