“For younger children, five to six, who say they don’t want to do their homework, I would just put the homework away,” says Sara Bennett, author of The Case Against Homework. “It’s not worth fighting over. Then I would say something simple to the teacher about why the child isn’t doing the homework along the lines of, ‘My child was really tired. I understand there’s no real reason for giving homework to young children. So I just told him/her to put it away.’ For a child in mid-elementary, if the homework is causing any kind of stress in the family, I would do the exact same thing.”

“For an older child, say a middle schooler, it becomes a little trickier. On the one hand, you want to teach your children to be respectful. On the other hand, you don’t want your children to go through life blindly following orders, nor do you want to have a lot of unnecessary stress. So you have to figure out how to walk that fine line between advocating on your child’s behalf and being decorous.”

“By high school, hopefully your teen is advocating for herself. Also by then, most students have sorted themselves out into those who find a reason to do a lot of homework and those who are comfortable doing less. Never worry about whether homework will affect grades when your child is young. Instead, try to preserve your child’s childhood and family harmony. Even when your child is a teen, try not to be overly concerned about grades. And remember, there is still no proven correlation between homework and academic achievement at the elementary school level; even after that, the correlation is negligible.”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…


Deborah Tillman
The star of America’s Supernanny tells parents to use this firm-but-creative approach to make sure your kids do their homework. Format: Article

Madeline Levine
When it comes to homework troubles, the famed psychologist and The Price of Privilege author cautions parents against coming to your child’s rescue. Format: Video (1:20)

Christine Carter
The Raising Happiness author and child development expert explains two surprising things kids need to focus on their homework. Format: Video (2:09)

Adele Faber
The famed How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk author offers her expert advice on exactly what to say to a homework-hating child. Format: Article

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