It can be very tempting to “help” your child with his homework… maybe a bit more than you should. Not only does this deprive your child of the learning experience, but it can also rob him of the self-confidence that comes from conquering a challenging lesson on his own. This is not to say that you should allow your child to suffer through and struggle to the point of tears, but if your child cannot do the exercise on his own, his teacher needs to know that.
Parents often become overly focused on grades and “how it will look” if their child does not turn in their work or perform to the standards that the teacher expects. However, if your child is unable to do the schoolwork on his own, that is an indicator that he never really learned the lesson in the first place. Homework should simply be a practice exercise, not a battleground. If your child is unable to do the homework, his teacher may need to provide additional instruction so he can independently complete the assignment.
It can be draining when you child is in tears and you are pulling your hair out in frustration! You want to just do it yourself so you can make the tears stop, but if your child is truly at the point of throwing a temper tantrum, there may be something else going on that his teacher needs to know about. If don’t communicate what you’re seeing, your teacher can’t help you determine if further evaluation is required.
What I recommend is that you write a letter to the teacher and attach it to the homework. Let your child’s teacher know that the assignment was too difficult and could not be completed by your child. Request that the lesson be reviewed again with your child and then be open to allowing your child to attempt the homework again once further instruction has been received.
Since lessons often build off of each other, if a child is never required to learn fundamental concepts because you are completing the homework for him, how can you expect him to apply those concepts to high-level assignments or tests? Ultimately, doing your child’s homework for him is a disservice that will catch up with him later down the line.
We are our child’s best advocate, but we also need to teach our children the art of self-advocacy so they can speak up and ask for help on their own. Not only will that allow them to develop skills that are needed in real world, but it will help them see that they can solve problems on their own. Ultimately, we should be striving to build self-confident, independent problem-solvers. How is that even possible if we never let them take their own steps forward?