Friday, April 5, 2013

Parenting Style -- Does it Matter with Homework?

In today's New York Times, there is a debate over whether or not to include children in determining their punishments (Should Kids Pick Their Own Punishments?) Frankly, I would rather see kids pick their own punishments than to have teachers pick the punishments for in-the-home behaviors over the judgments of the parents. Here's the comment I submitted to the paper:

This discussion is entirely academic when we consider that the primary cause of child, behavioral problems is homework. As a psychologist of 35 years and a parent of 3 children, I can say, with confidence, that there is no issue that makes parents feel so helpless or impacts the family, more severely, than our practice of vesting in 30 or more homework-giving teachers (over 12 years of public education), the power to exert severe, life-impacting penalties on our children. Children who have trouble absorbing and retaining verbal instructions and who read or write slowly cannot do their work in a reasonable period of time. Yet, unlike the time-bound school day, the homework session is endless. This basic fact (individual differences between children and the parents’ lack of say in their own homes) drives behavioral problems to the point that the differences in parenting styles and beliefs discussed here are irrelevant to resolving problems. Without the behavioral engine being driven by homework demands, either of these approaches is equally good.

For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. 


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