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Homework Hounding
       "Hi, Honey!  What did you do today?"
       "Worked.  I'm kind of tired.  I'd really like something cold to drink."
       "No wonder you don't want to talk about it!  Look at these papers!  You could have done better than this.  Don't you put any effort in at all?  We need to sit down right now and straighten all of this out.  Don't you even know how to use a dictionary?  Your spelling is atrocious!  How do you expect to get promoted if you turn in proposals like this?"
       If you were greeted this way when you came in after a long day, you'd perhaps decide to find a more comfortable place to unwind after work.  
       Many students are faced with this same situation daily.  After school they are greeted with, "What did you do today?  Where's your homework?  Let's get these problems corrected right now!"  Young children don't have a choice about going home after school, but as kids get older their choices about where to go after school broaden.
       Hounding our children with questions and criticism as soon as they walk through the door will either send them somewhere else after school, or teach them to leave their papers at school and to say as little as possible about what's going on.  
       Thus, the typical response to the question, "What did you do at school today?" is "Nothing."  Kids start leaving papers at school; they forget to write down assignments.  They may blame it on the teacher, saying, "She never gives me any papers to take home!"  
       Next, the parent goes to the school and demands that the teachers write down assignments and come up with a reporting method for assignments and papers.  It may work for a short while, but it is not addressing the problem, so it doesn't work for long.  What to do?  Read on to find out how to halt the hounding!

Halting the Hounding

       As parents, we want to help our children and know what is going on at
school.  It is their best interest we have in mind, so we ask questions and correct errors and try to make sure everything is right.  But hounding our children actually halts communication.  How can we halt our hounding and actually stay up with what our kids are doing at school?   Jim Fay and Foster Cline outline four steps in the Love and Logic Journal (Vol. 1 #4). 

Step One - Sit down with your child two to three times per week.  Have him point out the best things he did on his papers.

Step Two - Make sure your child describes the reasons for her success.  As she puts these into words, they become imprinted on her brain, never to be erased.  She will start to believe that she is in control of her own success or failure.

Step Three - Work with your child on mistakes only when you're asked to help.  Practice in areas that your child needs improvement is great as long as it doesn't lead to  hounding.

Step Four - Be patient.  This is a real change in operation.  It will take the child a period of time to believe that it is not just a new phase you are going through.

       Look for the results and benefits to show up in several months or maybe the next few years, depending on the child's past history.  One thing we do know for sure is how the old way works.  It hurts relationships and halts communication.   If you notice the old hound coming back, resolve to start back with step one and focus on the positive!  Halt the hounding!  Your relationship with your child is worth it! 

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