by Katherine Reilly
One of the most controversial questions which has generated a great deal of heated debate, is the one which ponders every parent’s mind. Is it a good idea to help your kids with their homework? If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure their children have a bright future, assisting them by any means necessary. However, does this mean that you should also undertake the role of a teacher?
I have been teaching students of all levels and ages for the past fifteen years and based on my own personal experience, the answer is ‘no‘. You heard me correctly. I said it! Now, before I get bombarded by messages, let’s examine the reasons why you shouldn’t assist your children with their studies.
They don’t develop critical thinking. Your child needs to do his exercises and assuming you ‘guide’ him in doing them, the chances are more than likely, that they’ll be correctly completed. By assisting him, you deprive him of the chance to think for himself – even if he makes mistakes.
If left unguided, while attending next lesson, many factors will contribute to his improvement when he comes to the realization that he didn’t do his homework correctly or didn’t devote enough time to it; be it the feeling of inferiority and embarrassment, the need to prove his abilities to himself, or most importantly the desire to become better. Only through our mistakes could we improve ourselves not only as students, but as individuals.
They don’t gain self-confidence. This is a major issue students face in life. Everyone has to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. You can’t depend on them your whole life. Perhaps the worst issue students face, who are used to their parents’ guidance, is taking tests. When that time comes, they’re all alone. They feel abandoned, alone and quite frankly ‘black-out’ in the end. Admittedly, some tests are based on rote-learning, but the memorization of facts can only get you so far, eventually putting you up against a brick wall. How can a child believe in himself when the parent ‘reinforces’ the notion that he can’t do it on his own? Just by sitting next to the child, the student in turn believes that he is incompetent, thus in need of assistance.
You deprive both yourself and your child valuable time from other essential things. Parents tend to ‘perfect’ their children. They usually devote more time needed than necessary to the child’s assignments, in turn depriving him of play time, rest, or any other activity which might interest him. This also applies to the parent who must attempt to dedicate some time to himself after a tiring day at work. In many cases housework or cooking are mandatory responsibilities. Adding more ‘obligations’ to the list will consume the parent even further, resulting to frustration and exhaustion.
A word of advice to all parents. Show a little trust to your children. Assume the role of a parent and reprimand your child if he doesn’t study. Don’t assume the role of a teacher as this will usually lead to disaster.
Things in life are much more simpler than we tend to believe. Try not to over-complicate every situation. Happy parenting everyone!