That’s It: Only 173 “Last Warnings” Left…

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I have always tried to emphasize good study habits to our 13-year old daughter. But no matter what we say or how many times we say it, she goes into her room, closes the door, and plays on her phone or texts her friends instead of doing her homework. There has to be something we can do to get her to take her schoolwork more seriously, right?

A: Well, yes, but before we can tackle the homework situation, we have to get a handle on the bigger issue: What can you adults do to get your child to take YOU more seriously?

The simplest approach (warning: it won’t be easy) is to shut off her phone. Most cell carriers have features that allow you to turn off individual lines on your plan or disable the Internet, either at certain times of the day or after certain usage limits have been reached. Same goes for your Internet service provider, in case your daughter is going old school and uses her computer instead of her phone to fritter away her time. If those approaches don’t work, demand that your daughter physically turn over to you every electronic device in her room until she’s done with her work. If she insists that she needs technology to do that work, you insist that she do her work at the dining room table with you right there to watch and listen. Either way, you need to take some firm steps right now. Your child is still young, but if she doesn’t change her attitude about schoolwork soon, her grades may suffer, which could impact her choice of colleges or majors, which in turn, could affect her career options.

If possible, get your daughter involved in the discussion—have her suggest ways to earn back her phone or computer time. The more the rules come from her, the greater the likelihood that she’ll follow them. But make sure she gets the order right. Schoolwork first, then games. No exceptions.

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Photo credit: Bruce Mars/Pexels

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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