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Help With Homework Without Crossing The Line

Parents Helping With Homework

Parents want their kids to do well in school, no doubt about it.  But sometimes parents who mean well can make mistakes about their child’s homework.  Think about how you might handle these possible scenarios.

Your child flakes off an assignment – do you take on some of the work yourself so they can meet the deadline?  Your child’s paper has some typos – do you correct them yourself because you know it will cost them points off their grade?

These situations could seem like legitimate times to just finish up some of your kid’s homework for them.  But in reality, you may be hurting your kid’s chances at success more than you would help.  The best plan is to understand how to help without crossing that line.

Great Ways To Help Without Interfering

I’ve found several resources for helping your kids with their homework.  Some ideas repeat, but each list has some unique suggestions.

Teachers Speak The Best Ways To Help Kids With Homework

Five Ways Parents Can Help With Homework

Try These Top Ten Ways To Help Kids With Homework

Each kid is different, so of course you’ll need to consider their particular needs, work styles, habits, and frustrations.  But above all, avoid doing their homework for them.  Period.

So Where’s The Line And How Does It Help?

I have read through my kids’ reports and given my opinion, and I’ve been the one to administer the dot of super glue on the planet project.  I’m pretty confident that this type of help is OK and make a conscious effort to limit my help to the bare minimum.  Rigging up an elementary school project with lighting and sound (something the child clearly wouldn’t have done on their own) or rewriting chunks of your kid’s report is on another level.

If there is a fundamental problem developing, the teacher needs to really see this by the child’s work.  Communicate what you see to the teacher and let the child’s work stand for itself.  Sometimes a low or failing grade can be a helpful signal.  And I mean this sincerely and with great caring.

If this type of situation is handled with care, everyone involved could learn a lot.  You may discover a learning disability, a hearing disorder, an unhelpful seating arrangement at school, a communication roadblock, a bullying problem, or a family issue. Everyone is forced to bring the issue out of the shadows. Once the real problem is understood, you can take action to help things really improve.

Parents, have you ever crossed this line a little bit?  How have you adjusted your helping approach to allow your kids to learn without doing too much?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lower Columbia College

Help With Homework Without Crossing The Line

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Help With Homework Without Crossing The Line. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Nov 2010
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