Parents contribute to homework stress

By Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor on August 22, 2016

The things that can’t be seen may be the most harmful to the development and health of a child. In this case, we’re talking about stress. Whether it’s in the classroom, on the playing field or at home, stress affects young people everywhere.

As much as parents try to help kids manage stress, especially around homework, a new study concludes that parents are a major source of stress.

Picture this: your child comes home from an eight-hour day of school while you and your spouse return from a long day of work. You’re tired and your sons or daughters are certainly not going to be focused on homework right after leaving school. But your natural instinct is to help your children with their homework. Coach them to stay on task, turn off the devices, get it done and out of the way. What happens next is mom and dad lose patience in their disinterested kids. Extreme frustration and anger are prevalent on both sides of the equation, creating stress and sadness for the child.

The study, compiled by Tutor Doctor, found that among 1,758 homes across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, 95 percent reported that this well-meaning assistance increases students’ stress levels. Nearly 93 percent of families that reported this stress increase said they felt it contributed greatly to the overall stress levels of their home. More than half of the respondents reported math as the most difficult subject area for kids.

Coupled with the increase in academic, athletic and physical standards, it’s no wonder some writers have already dubbed this generation as “Generation Stressed.”

There is good news, however. You can significantly reduce this stress, and there are no technological or classroom programs required. It has more to do with human interaction and face-to-face communication. To help ease your children’s minds, eliminate pressure at home because kids are already seeing enough of it from their peers. If your child is struggling with a homework problem or with a subject in school:

  • Give him or her a second to figure it out independently instead of jumping in to correct.
  • Let them understand that it’s okay to make mistakes, that no one is perfect.
  • Let them know that getting help through a tutor or teacher is allowed. Remove yourself from the equation.
  • Give them real-life examples of things you did when you were younger that weren’t quite right and tell them how you fixed it.
  • Lastly, don’t let stressful jobs and life events affect how you help and communicate with your kids. Leave it at the door, as the old saying goes.

Stress from schoolwork can become a household epidemic but only if you let it. Take a step back, let kids resolve their issues on their own at first and step in only when necessary. They’ve got enough going on beyond pressure from parents that they need to worry about.

Frank Milner is President of Tutor Doctor.


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