How to Stop Quick and Simple Mistakes about Homework


Many parents are frustrated by the uncomfortable truth that children are averse to the idea of homework. This dislike can lead to you saying absurd things when you are persuading your child to complete the assigned tasks. We will look at four crazy statements some parents make and why they are pointless and counter-productive.

“If you don’t behave yourself, I’ll make you do your homework!”

The first problem with this absurd statement is linking homework to punishment. It boggles the mind that some parents add negative implications to an activity that was already viewed unfavourably. The association will only dishearten the child further, which is counter-productive.

The second inherent absurdity in this statement is perhaps the more noticeable one. By telling your child that he will have to do his homework if he misbehaves, would that not lead to the conclusion that he will not need to do his homework if he behaves?


“Why are you so slow? Why are you so stupid?”

Research has shown that children will often grow into labels placed upon them, regardless if these labels are positive or negative. When you keep calling your child “stupid” or “slow”, they may come to believe that they truly lack intellect in some ways. Instead of calling them “stupid”, ask them, “How can I help you complete your homework?”

This prompt allows for an in-depth understanding of your child’s difficulties, which leads to beneficial follow-up actions.


“If you do your homework, you can play your games afterwards.”

It is only natural a student should give priority to their studies before games. However, looking at the statement closely reveals its flaws. By presenting homework as a means to attain a reward, it is being regarded as a means to an end. As such, your child may begin to do his homework for the sheer purpose of gaining access to his games. Eventually, he may end up doing their homework half-heartedly, cutting corners to finish faster and to therefore, gain access to his entertainment earlier.

This lack of commitment undermines the purpose of homework and may result in long-term detrimental effects.


“Why can’t you just do your homework when I tell you to?”

This particular statement is not so much misguided as it is redundant. If your child is, for some reason, not doing their homework despite multiple reminders, they are not likely to provide a rational reason when you ask for one. This statement serves no practical purpose and may lead to heightened tensions and hostility.

Rather than questioning the child, it may be more productive to introspect. Accept that you may be using the wrong method of motivating your child, and try other approaches until you find one that can inspire your child to do his homework. Just as repeatedly hammering a screw might break its threads, continuing to employ a method which is apparently ineffective can cause more harm than good.



These are four statements about homework parents should not make, which some continue to employ. They are ineffective, counter-productive and in several instances, downright absurd. If you are guilty of using any, stop.
Research used in this articleRosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1992). Pygmalion in the classroom: Expanded Edition. New York: Irvington

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