Almost A Bad Night Last Night

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bunny, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    When difficult child got home from school onm Friday I asked if he had any homework over the weekend and he said that he had homeowrk in every subject. On Saturday afternoon he was whining that he was bored and that there was nothing for him to do because husband and easy child were ay my in-laws house helping them with their computer and I think that difficult child was annoyed that easy child was not here for him to boss around, er... I mean... play with. I suggested that he start his homework because he told me that there was alot to do. He said that he would do it all on Sunday. I reminded him that he was going to a friend's birthday party on Sunday afternoon and that maybe he could start it now so he didn't have so much to finish on Sunday. No. He said that he would do it Sunday. Fine. I dropped the subject and played a game with him to aleviate his boredom.

    Sunday come around. I ask difficult child if he is going to start his homework before going to the birthday party. No, he says. He'll do it when he comes home. I reminded him that the party wasn't ending until 5:00 pm and then he had to have dinner. Not to worry, he sayd. He'll do it. Again I dropped the subject.

    We eat dinner and I was going to help easy child with his bath (by now it's a little after 6:00 pm) and all of a sudden difficult child is throwing this fit in his room. I go in to see what was upsetting him. Can anyone guess what the problem was? If you guessed HOMEWORK you win the prize!! He's rolling around on his floor, complaining that he has too much homework to do and it's not fair and I should just let him stay home from school tomorrow so that he doesn't have to do it all now. I quietly reminded him that I had been prodding him all weekend to start his homework so that he was not overwhelmed with it on Sunday night because there was alot of it and that he kept telling me that he would be able to get it done and not to worry about it. I told him that he was going to school on the morning, whether he chose to complete his homework or not. Then he told me that I should "help" him by doing the homework for him. Like that is ever going to happen in this lifetime.

    This goes on for an hour and husband is starting to lose his patience. I pull him aside and tell him that I'm going to give difficult child one more reminder to do his homework and that he will have to go to school whether the work is done or not, and that if he chooses not to do it then he will be the one to have to explain to the teachers why it was not completed. He's a teacher pleaser and for him to have to explain to his teachers that he chose not to do his homework would be the worst punishment in the world. I told husband to back off and let's see what happens. He agreed. I gave difficult child his last warning and husband put easy child bed.

    Sure enough, difficult child came downstairs and did half the homework and said that he would get up early on Monday morning and finish the rest, which he did.

    While I'm glad that it didn't turn into difficult child screaming for hours about he was overhwlemed with his homework and that if I did it for him he would not be so overwhelmed, I still get annoyed that it has to become this power play. He knows that he has to do the work. He knows that I'm not going to do it for him. He knows that he has to go to school. But still, he has to try to see if I will let him get away with it.

  2. ML

    ML Guest

    You have manster's twin. I am so sorry.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you handled it really well! Hopefully, next time he'll take you up on your "reminders".
  4. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Guest

    Nodding my head throughout your post. Only with Knight, it was him saying "I'll do it after supper." After my post-supper prompt: "But I didn't say after supper on WHICH NIGHT!" Um, yeah, ok.
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i'm sorry yet you did great!!

    keep on going!! :)
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Pam, he's not trying to be manipulative. Not primarily. This is pure anxiety. First - he comes home knowing he has a lot to do. But he's been at school all day, he needs to unwind. Fair enough. Next day, he CULD do homework, but the thought of it ramps up his anxiety too much and he still has time; he chooses to do something else. Telling himself he can do it later reduces his anxiety again to tolerable levels.
    Next day - the homework pressure is higher. And when it is higher, so is the anxiety. But the birthday party is a pleasant distraction and a good enough 'reason' for not doing the homework now.
    Later on - he has finally to face the inevitable - he has too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Ironically, the resultant tantrum and panic attack wastes precious time!

    He needs you to go through this sequence of events with him, AFTER the homework is done and when his stress levels are lower, so he can see what he does to himself by procrastination.

    Next step - put in place with him, a different strategy. We take the "spend half an hour" strategy. Or fifteen minutes. Even five minutes. Once these kids make a start, the associated stress is often greatly reduced, and this makes it easier for them to pick it up again later, again with less stress.

    Whenever one of my kids would say, "I have too much homework to do! I won't be able to finish it, there is too much!" I asked the child to estimate how long he thought it would take. "Five hours!" I often got. So I would say, "I want you to spend ten minutes on it. No more. I will set the timer. In ten minutes' time, after you have put in a fair effort, as judged by me, you and I will go out for a walk/to the beach/to the shops for an ice cream. But for the next ten minutes, do some work. Not all of it. Just what you can do in ten minutes."
    And often what would happen - the child would start to work properly (knowing they only had to go for ten minutes, and there was a reward of my time to follow immediately) and surprise himself by getting almost all the work completed. Far more accomplished, anyway, than he thought he could. And the later result - less to do later, and it was easier to get back to it knowing "the back was broken".

    If you focus on anxiety as your child's trigger (for avoidance, and then for the panic) then work towards reducing the anxiety load enough for the child to be able to approach the work. It might help more for the long haul, once he learns that "do it now" is the best way to reduce anxiety, long-term.

  7. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Marg, that ten minute idea seems like a good one. I will have to remember that the next time he gets stressed about the amount of homework he has.

    Tonight is more manageable. Two things to do.

  8. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    This same scenario has played out in our house a gazillion times. difficult child always manages to get his work completed. It is so frustrating for him and I know that is why he "puts it off til the last minute" husband and I have learned the hard way not to succumb to a power struggle because all heck breaks loose. :sigh:

    I am glad it all worked out in the long run Pam.
  9. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Shelly, that was exactly why I told husband to back off when I gave difficult child his last reminder. I knew that he would eventually get it done. He may not have gotten it done when I wanted him to get it done, but in the long run as long as it gets done does it really matter when he does it?

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    That sounds familiar!
    Definitely, an anxiety issue compounded by procrastination.
    Glad you didn't buy into it.

    I would have told my difficult child that if he finished just one assignment I would then play a game with-him. Usually if I have him pick just one, he will do it.
    And yes, we've done the last min. homework thing, too. Except the my difficult child does it in the car on the way to school ...

  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that you handled it very well.
  12. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    I posted something on the Home Schooling thread which is appropriate here as well.

    I'm going to cut and paste; apologies to those of you have to read it twice.

    Marg's Man