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Posted by on Oct 10, 2017 in Boys at School, Parenting Tips, Saving Our Sons, The Quest Project, Tips for Moms | 0 comments

Homework Versus Video Games

Do you get excuses from your son on why his homework and/or his chores didn’t get done?  I have some suggestions that may help.

“Just a Minute!”

My guess is you hear “I will, just a minute” a lot!  Based on my experience with the boys I see, homework and chores are not his priority, video games and texting with friends are. Parent’s repeatedly say, “I’ve tried everything” and are at their wits end.  We know doing homework is not an option; and having chores teaches responsibility so here’s my suggestions. 

Natural consequences!  Yes, I’m saying it again, establish natural consequences! 

If he doesn’t follow the rules you have established, then his choice leads to a natural consequence you have determined in advance.  It also means you have talked about it and been very clear “if you don’t do this, you’re choosing not to get what you want.” Remember, you’re encouraging good behavior and discouraging bad behavior.  This method can be, and should be, used for any challenging behavior you are trying to change.

The Discipline

Basically both of you want something. You need him to get his homework done and the dog fed before he plays on his X-Box.  Your son on the other hand, wants to play games first and get to the dog and homework later!  Let me give you an example here of how a conversation should go. 

“Son, I know you can’t wait to play your game, but the rule is, homework gets done and Rover gets fed first.  So as soon as you’re finished, you are free to play videos, watch T.V. or talk on the phone.” 

Homework is given at every level of school, K-12 these days in order to establish a consistent homework environment in the home.  Be consistent with the same times Sunday-Thursday before dinner for 1-1½ hours at the kitchen table (preferably) or an area without TV or any other distractions.  Do this even if he says he doesn’t have homework.  The time can still be used to catch up on reading or projects.  The key is to establish a routine and habit!

Rest assured he’ll test you to be sure you mean what you say.  Once he realizes he can’t break the rules, your son’s behavior will begin to change.  Be prepared to be tested more than once.

A Final Thought

Video games aren’t bad.  They can become addictive. When your son stays up too late and can’t get out of bed for school, that’s bad. 

When homework doesn’t get done and the dog is hungry because time got away from him, that’s when they’re bad.  Boys love gaming, it offers them a sense of competition, winning (getting to the next level), adventure and being social (part of a group).  All things boys love!  

One of the most important things a parent can teach is healthy boundaries and limits using moderation.

Have you, or are you struggling to get your son to do his homework and chores?  I’d like to hear from you, post your questions on my Facebook page or in the comments below. I’d like to help!

Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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