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Helping Your Child Cope With School Responsibilities

You may have noticed that some children aren’t always happy to follow instructions immediately. Instead, they might say things like: “why me?” every time their parents ask them to do simple chores, like clearing the dinner table after everyone’s eaten.

Does this sound like your child? Children wired like this may sometimes push back or show quiet resistance when they receive instructions.

Other children might jump at the chance to follow through on responsibilities. In fact, they might even ask for clarification to better complete the task. Have you ever noticed your child behaving like this?

Try it out: for kids who are reluctant to accept school obligations

If your child doesn’t often agree to responsibilities, they may benefit from thinking a little further than their option to say “yes” or “no” to a duty. You can facilitate this process by talking to them about their needs and wants regularly.

Instead of focusing on whether your child fulfils their school obligations or not, consider first exploring what they want to achieve in school. These conversations may help your child to practise thinking about what they need for the outcomes they want in their school life.

Here are some questions to get you started during these conversations with your child:

  • Help your child understand it’s up to them to choose: do they want to be on par with their friends in class, or feel left behind if they refuse a school task like homework?

  • What are the future careers or lifestyles that your child is considering they want for themselves?

  • What are the steps your child needs to take in order to get these long-term wants?

  • How does your child now choose to respond to their current school obligations?

Try it out: for kids who are eager to take

on responsibilities

If you notice your child saying “yes” to duties often, they might benefit from understanding that being dutiful to themselves is important, too.

You can help by prompting your child to think regularly about whether or not they’re looking out for their own interests by asking questions like:

  • “Do you think it’s possible that you’re overstretching yourself right now?”

  • “Do you feel like you have enough time to rest?”

  • “Do you feel like you have all the energy you need to do the things you love?”

By talking through these questions together, your child may feel encouraged to draw new boundaries. Help them understand that the flip side to overcommitting could be eventual burnout or, in their case, producing schoolwork they’re not satisfied with.

Start a conversation with your child

Try to relate to your child by sharing your own experiences of coping with the demands of school.Then, use the opportunity to encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings about their current school obligations. Here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What were some of the struggles you dealt with as a child in school?

  • Which struggles stood out? Did you ever burn out or come close to it?

  • Did you ever say no to responsibilities because you didn’t want to be arm-twisted into doing them?

  • Are there any school obligations that your child has recently found challenging?


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