*This guest article comes from Certified Mad2Glad Coach, Suz Roemer Feely.
Have you ever spotted a critical error in your child’s homework and considered letting it go just to avoid the battle?
I had this exact situation the other day with my oldest child, a gifted 10-year-old fifth grader. As I helped type his paper I noticed the language sounded very “adult” and realized that the words were not his own.
He had copied verbatim passages from various website to write his paper.
With dread in my heart, multiple thoughts ran through my head including:
“Oh no, now I have a cheating son.”
“Ugh he has to rewrite the whole thing.”
And, I hate to admit this, “What is the chance he could get away with it?”
That last one shocked me but I knew it came from a place of wanting to avoid the fight I knew would come.
Fortunately, I have some great tools from the Mad2Glad Blueprint to help me figure out how to shift out of my own fear-state and work with him to get this done. Here are a few game-changers that helped me get him to do the right thing…
First of all, I catch my son in good behavior and affirm those to strengthen our relationship so I knew he wasn’t going to lose it when I brought up something negative.
Secondly, I ensured I was calm and could remain calm so as not to fight the oncoming fire with fire (Parenting Pillar #1). From this calm place, I asked questions about what he knew about plagiarism, which he said were not much.
He got pretty mad about correcting the paper but I stayed calm and avoided using this as a teachable moment of right vs. wrong (Parenting Pillar #6). Emotions were high so my reasoning wasn’t going to sink in so I just sat with him and his upset feelings emotions for a moment and then said “and we need to correct this.”
At first he dug in his heels and outright refused but I’ve practiced power struggle and I gave him some space. After a few hours, when I approached the topic again he still refused so I repeated the above: stayed calm, acknowledged his emotions and gave him space.
Get this… the next morning HE approached ME and agreed to rewrite the paper.
It affirmed to me that he wants to do the right thing and, as a gifted child, still needs help managing his emotions.
To show him we were in this together I spent time with him rewriting it. When he got frustrated in the process I reaffirmed his effort and his emotions, and either calmly helped him move on or suggested a break so we could reset to calm.
When the paper was finished we celebrated the effort – both his and mine!
It was not easy but I am proud to say the strategies helped me get him to a place where he did the right thing, and even strengthened our relationship because I did too.
As a busy, working mother of 3 I don’t have time to read every parenting book and that’s one reason I love the Mad2Glad Blueprint.
Try these foundational tools and reflective questions that I use when encountering any battle with my children:
- What do I need to let go of to help my child?
- How can I remain calm?
- How can I affirm the emotion my child is experiencing?
- How do I remain firm to our family rules with the above questions in mind?
- What can I do outside of homework time to strengthen our relationship so that my child feels safe?
I know we will encounter homework struggles again but with the Mad2Glad tools I don’t dread it. It’s not always easy to parent in a new way but I am confident I can handle new situations productively and peacefully.
What helps you avoid the homework battle? Share a comment below.
Check out Mad2Glad’s 10 Smart Homework Tips To Avoid The Daily Battle.
This guest article comes from Mad2Glad Expert-in-Training, Suz Roemer Feely, who is a mother of 3 children: 2 gifted sons, ages 9 and 10, and a dynamic daughter, age 6. Suz and her husband work hard to create calm in their family and have found more calm AND deeper, more robust relationships with their children over the past few years. They enjoy summers at the cabin with extended family, Spring Break road trips, reading together and lots of sports activities.