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Friday, April 05, 2013 11:36 AM

It’s that time of year again. Baseball season has started, the weather is warming up (off and on anyway), days are longer and kids have decided that it is time for school to be over. Now that the kids can play outside for longer periods before it gets dark, getting them to come inside to do their homework has become a major battle. I feel like I am becoming more of a drill sergeant than a mother. Although, to be honest, I tend to be a fairly wimpy drill sergeant. I’m pretty sure that a real drill sergeant wouldn’t put up with “I will do it in a minute,” “Can I just wait until this show is over?” “My arm is sore, I need to ice it first before I start writing.”
I spend more time arguing with him to get his homework done than it actually takes him to do homework. I have tried to explain the logic of this to him, that if he would just sit down and do his homework he would have the remainder of the evening without me nagging him. This only sinks in after the fact and he agrees that tomorrow it will be different.

It is like the movie Groundhog’s Day though. The next day we are back to the same old thing.

I have tried all sorts of things: making him do the homework as soon as he gets home, giving him a few hours break and starting later, letting him set the time to do his homework and letting him deal with the consequences of not doing his homework. All of these things can be successful for certain kids.

Of course, some kids will actually do their own homework without being told to do it at all. I do not have that child, however. I have the child who thinks that school is a devious plot that I devised just to ruin his life. Apparently, he feels that it is his destiny to fight our attempts to fill his head with knowledge. It is much more important for him to have room in his head for memorizing the theme song to Spongebob Squarepants or keeping track of his penalty minutes in hockey.

Obviously it is ridiculous for me to want him to learn something as useless as figuring out the length of a rectangle when he has so many girls whose phone numbers he needs to memorize.

My current homework strategy is to use a timer. If he focuses on homework for 20 minutes, he can have 20 minutes of break where I won’t nag him at all. We repeat this until homework is done. In reality he usually just finishes up after the first break because he realizes he is almost done anyway and if he finishes he doesn’t have to be bothered about it anymore.

This logic sounds strangely familiar to me (this just reinforces my belief that everything I say to him just goes in one ear and out the other). It is working for the time being, however, and that is all that matters to me.

That’s all we can do, just keep trying until something works. Eventually he will become more mature and become more responsible. From what I hear, that may happen…sometime in his 30s.

Dr. Celeste Lopez graduated cum laude from The University of Utah College of Medicine. She completed her Pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She is certified with The American Board of Pediatrics since 1992. In 2003 she moved her practice, Wishing Well Pediatrics, to Delphos and is located at 154 W. Third Street. Dr. Lopez can be reached at (419) 692-WELL (9355). She is the proud mother of a 13-year-old son.


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