"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

Use John's ABC or DRC Method for Issues at School?

Question

My son is currently in the 4th grade. At the beginning of the school year, we implemented the "ABC's of Effective Homework Management" and as expected, our son has been slacking on his homework as well as classwork. His teacher has also pulled me aside to tell me that he will have meltdowns in class if something doesn't go his way (he can't find something, his teacher tells him that he needs to redo a problem, etc). This has been an ongoing problem at home and school for many years.

So, I am now wondering how to go about implementing the ideas discussed in Rosemond's book the Fail-Safe Formula for Helping Your Child Succeed in School. I was thinking about using the Daily Report Card for both the meltdown problem and the incomplete work problem or should I tackle one of these problems first.

Answer

I appreciate your question:

First, school has just started in most areas less than five weeks ago. Have you been allowed enough time for the ABC's of Effective Homework Management to work?

Next, the fact that he has had this ongoing problem for years makes me wonder if the teacher and/or you are failing in following through with Memorable Consequences. Is your son the one agonizing over his misbehavior as regards to homework slacking and meltdowns? Or are you shouldering the agony of the burden? HE should be the one agonizing. And the only way to move the burden to his shoulders is to make the consequences something he will not soon forget.

I like your idea of the Daily Report Card. Tackle both issues. Send him to school with a folder full of daily report cards -- half-sheets of paper on which you’ve printed “(your son's name) turned in all of his homework today completed effectively, finished all of his classwork on time, and had no meltdowns or tantrums today.” Underneath this goal statement are printed “Yes” and “No” and the teacher’s name beside a place for her signature. At the end of every school day, Bobby takes a card to his teacher, upon which she circles either “Yes” or “No” (Make sure you emphasize that it’s all or nothing) and signs her name.

Your son brings the card home. On a daily basis, at-home privileges -- television, video games, outside play, having friends over, and regular bedtime -- require a YES. If he loses privileges more than once throughout the week, they are lost on the weekend as well. Obviously, you should arrange all of this with his teacher in advance. If he fails to get the required signature(s) on any given day, it is the same as a NO.

But remember, YOU are the leader, and you will not cave to his whining or complaining about the loss of privileges that you most definitely will enforce.

Mike Smart, CLPC
smartmike59@gmail.com

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