When a child has a tantrum, it’s because they have a need that needs addressing and they don’t know how to communicate that need. A tantrum is a child’s way of communicating as they cannot articulate their feelings maturely and clearly – because they are children.

Understanding Why

The crying, screaming, and anger that a child feels when they have been wronged can make parenting difficult. As adults, we know how to control our emotions, and we can identify the feelings that are coursing through us. A child can’t do that. When they are overwhelmed, scared, upset, confused, and worried, this can emerge as screaming, crying, and kicking tantrum. It’s this reaction that makes parents feel like their children are being defiant and digging in, refusing to comply. In reality, a child is feeling scared and doesn’t know how to communicate to a grown-up what this big and unfamiliar emotion is, or how to handle it.

Big Feelings

When it comes to homework, parents often expect there to be a battle with getting their children to sit and concentrate. Two things are going on here that should be addressed:

  • Firstly, parents should put themselves in the position of the child. Your child has spent all day long working at school only to come home and be told there’s more to do. They’re already exhausted; putting up a battle is normal.
  • Secondly, imagine if you spent all day long at work only to be told you had to take some home? You’d be pretty disgruntled, too!

Homework is a contentious issue and a child who has been concentrating for hours at school is likely to feel some big feelings about the fact that they have more to do, and they’re going to make those feelings known. The problem for parents is that they want their child to respect their schoolwork and do the homework as directed, but children just don’t always respond that way.

Finding A Solution

The key for parents is not to make doing homework a fight. Children who don’t want to do homework are not lazy children; they’re tired, anxious, confused, worried. They don’t always understand the work, and that frustration comes out in tears and yelling. They’re not lazy; they’re finding it hard. If your child is approaching homework with tears and upset, then you need to find a balance with them and the school. Set aside 30 minutes in the evening together at the table for homework. Wait until after dinner and set a clear routine so that your child knows what to expect ahead. Give them time to play and embrace things that they enjoy doing first and stay with them while they work. 

Providing a comforting presence, you can support and encourage all questions, helping them to figure out the answers, and praising their efforts. When they get the answer wrong, talk through how they’re feeling and comfort them with as many words and hugs as it takes. Homework needn’t be a battle, and tantrums can be eradicated with a little time and understanding.