Any advice on how to get my 15 year old daughter to stop lying about her homework?

Collette - posted on 01/05/2012 ( 29 moms have responded )

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Hi! My name is Collette. I hope someone can give me some advice on my 15 year old daughter...I ask her daily after school if she has homework, and 99 % of the time she tells me no. However during a parent teacher conference, we were told that in the majority of her subjects, she will have homework daily or every other day. Every 2 1/2 weeks we receive a progress report and find out that she is failing a class..AND it is because she is not doing her homework! I have grounded her from sleepovers, her phone, the computer. I told her that from now on there is an 1 1/2 of studying every night. Still though I receive the progress report telling me that she is failing, and because of homework. She stays after school for extra help also. I can accept and understand if she was struggling with the class, but not that she is lying to me about it. There have been a few other incidences with her lying about something big, and being caught doing it. I just hate that I can't trust her and it makes it so difficult for me to enjoy listening to her talk about things when I don't know if it is the truth or not. I want to be able to have a strong close relationship with her, it is something I didn't have with my parents, and I always wanted to make sure I had it with my kids. I'm afraid because she only has a few more years before college, and it feels like we are drifting further apart and I don't want to loose her.
Well, thanks for reading my post and I hope someone can suggest a few things that I can try.
-God Bless

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Missy - posted on 01/09/2012

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I homeschool now, but when my teens were in public school, I had the exact same problem. I devised a short form with a line for each class period. Each line asked several questions: Were they on time for class, behavior during class acceptable, all assignments turned in, or are any due or over due, and at the end was a spot for the teacher to write that night's homework, if any, and sign their signature. This sounds like a lot but really only took seconds to fill out checkmarks or whatever. I explained to the kids the importance of honesty and responsiblity of doing these basic duties on their own, but until they could get themselves back on track (their responsibility, not mine), they would have to bring a slip back from school completely filled out for every class every single day. No note, or not all filled out, no tv or fun time. Study time instead. It didn't take very long (being very consistant) to get them back on track. Hope this is in some way helpful. Blessings to you!

Carla - posted on 02/12/2012

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No good parent wants their child to struggle the way they did, but I have learned through raising our and now grandbabies, that learning things the hard way is the best. Hard lessons really stick in your mind, and you think 'boy, I don't want to EVER be in THAT situation again!' And you work with all your might NOT to. We all have to go through the fire, as God's children, we are constantly being refined and fine-tuned to become the perfect creatures God wants us to be. Putting our children in a bubble won't help them, in fact, it hinders them, in maturing themselves. If we do all the work, they won't have a clue on how to do it by themselves, and you will have a 40 y/o with his butt parked on your couch asking when's dinner ;)



We teach them the best we can, then turn them over to the Lord, for the 'continuing education'.



God bless, darling, you'll get there!

Linda - posted on 01/11/2012

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I think Missy's idea is wonderful! The only other question I have is why is the homework not posted on the internet? I can see almost all of my son's assignment's on the school's website--there is a page for each class, and the teachers send regular grade updates. It seems like your daughter's school should enter the 21st century!



The only other thing I would say is that your daughter needs to think about what she wants out of life. What kind of job? Does she need to go to college for that? A vocational school? High school is very important to her future. It is definitely not too early for her to be thinking about this. Ultimately, her success in life is up to her. I had a long talk with my son about this in 8th grade...and he really took it to heart and starting trying because HE had goals he wanted to accomplish.

Kimberly - posted on 01/08/2012

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I've raised one teenage daughter, she s now 24 and I'm currently in the middle is raising my middle child who will be 17 next month. I went through this same thing when my middle child began high school, and from my experience, it was a phase. I wanted the same things as you, because I didn't have the best relationship with my mom, it is what I wanted to have with my children. And although it gets difficult sometimes, through the thick and thin, I do. Both my girls had to make education important for them, no matter how much I wanted it, until it became important to them, all my ranting and raving was for naught. When it became important to them and I relaxed, things honestly got better. I had to remember that I've always made education an important part of all three of my children's lives, therefore, I had to trust that they would remember also ..... And they have. The trust had returned and my middle child is doing much better at turning in assignments and communicating. Remember all things are possible with Christ. Be blessed.

Angela - posted on 01/08/2012

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I think adults need to ask themselves if they’d continue their working day with more of the same type of work once they’d left their workplace and gone home. For most of us, the answer would be “no”. Some children only attend school because the Law says they must!

I would ask you daughter to bring home any homework she has completed at school so you know it actually exists! If she’s genuine in her claims, she’ll be glad to do this – if only to shut you up and “prove” herself!

The other side of the coin to kids who won’t do their homework are those who spend a long time on it and are very thorough – with the aim of outshining their classmates and earning “merit” in the eyes of parents, teachers etc … The child who does this is a hard worker in terms of schoolwork and usually does quite well, but isn’t necessarily “brainy”. I had a “friend” like this when I was at boarding school. I know for a fact that she was less able academically than myself but presented far neater work and therefore got better marks. Until the day I mastered the art of using a fountain pen correctly and produced written work that was as neat as hers but better in content …. I was suddenly a “threat”. Full of congratulation, she offered me one of her own fountain pens to use. It leaked all over my work. I could tell a great many other stories of petty sabotage from her as well. It might be worth checking that there isn’t another student like this in your daughter’s life!

The recent surge in the popularity of boarding schools, according to one UK journalist, is down to the popularity of Harry Potter books and movies. Hogwarts where Harry and his “gang” are educated is a boarding school! I’m pleased to hear your niece is enjoying her boarding school. I never had any trouble with homesickness – the biggest attraction of boarding school was the respite from my family, LOL!! Unfortunately though, in many boarding school cultures, it’s a case of sink or swim for some kids. And there are petty school politics as well to contend with (well, you get that in ALL schools, but in an enclosed atmosphere like a boarding school it’s far less easy for true justice and authority to prevail when someone’s not getting a fair hearing. This applies to disciplines and schemes from the staff as well as from the other kids).

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Collette - posted on 02/11/2012

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lol Angela that would be great! Ella, you are right, it does drive me crazy seeing kids in their 20's that still have their mothers wash their clothes, and go to their apartments and clean it for them! I new a couple of kids like that and when I saw it i was floored! Gosh, when I moved out, my mother maybe stopped by 20 times, and it has been 17 years since i've been on my own.( not that, that is good that she doesn't come over to visit) but, anyways.....I admit, I have gotten to certain points with my daughter, where I told her I can't control what decisions she makes, because I am not her, and i've told her how difficult it was for my husband and I because we were foolish when we were younger, and didn't take school seriously. I said a bunch of other things, in hopes that she would see that she can still have fun, but still be responsible. I hoped that would sink in a little bit. She is planning on going to college, which is alot more than what I planned on when I was her age.

We are doing the signature thing with the one class that she was failing in. we actually started it this past week, the teacher asked if we could wait until after midterms. I was shocked at how little homework she gets from this class, maybe 6 questions a night at most.

I know i can't force her to do anything, I just don't want her to struggle the way I had to.

Lisa - posted on 02/11/2012

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I would by-pass that question to your daughter and connect directly with her teachers. Many teachers have their agendas online these days and if they don't, they are often happy to work with an "involved" parent. Get them to email you their daily assignments and upcoming tests, quizzes, etc...

This way, when your daughter comes home, you can ask her about specific assignments, as opposed to a general question, and you will know what to look for when checking on those assignments because you will have all the requirements.

Teachers can be a great help...get connected to them. (my suggestion, anyway) :)

Carla - posted on 02/11/2012

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@Angela-lol! @Ella, excellent answer. Our society has taken every responsibility away from our teenagers and have made them as helpless as a 4 y/o. Read up on some of the founding fathers of the United States. When they are teenagers they were studying law, could communicate in writing with beautiful penmanship, could add without a calculator, and could hold their own in an intelligent conversation. Up until 50 years or so ago, it was normal to be married in your teen years, so teens were having babies, running households and contributing to the community.



Somewhere along the line we have GOT to hold these kids accountable for their actions! We can't go to school with them, we can't do their homework for them (well, I guess a lot of people do ;)), and we can't go to work with them to make sure they are conducting themselves as a contributing employee. Part of raising children is preparing them for becoming good responsible adults.



Pray for wisdom for all your children, whether teens or babies. Teach them the very best you can about what life is really all about. Teach the girls AND boys how to cook something other than Kraft macaroni and cheese and tomato soup. While my husband was in the military, they lived off base and their diet consisted of macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. He brought me (once we met) two duffel bags full of sport coats, wool slacks, ties, etc. that he had put in the washer and dryer! He asked me if I could do anything with them. I said sure, and threw them in the trash. His mama taught her boys NOTHING about how to cope with domestic duties, expecting them to get wives to do it for them.



I have made my apologies to my children and to the Lord for not adequately preparing my kids for the 'real world'. I am trying to redeem myself by teaching my grandchildren. It's nice when you get a second chance to fix some of your mistakes ;)



The OT says to teach your children while you are walking, while you are at home relaxing, from morning til night. We have them a very short time before they are expected to go out into the big world and support themselves. We owe it to them to make this transition as smooth as possible.



God bless, all!

Ella - posted on 02/10/2012

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this child will be in college in 2 or 3 years, right?

Stop checking up on her homework, she has to work

independently now.....the true indicator is going to be

whats on her report card.....if her grades are low on her

report card, then you restrict the use of a phone, car, etc

for a few weeks....is she working?.....at some point you have to stop hovering, you know, helicopter mom, and start letting her make her mistakes which she will learn from.....what happens in college with these kids is they they have a really hard time with the freedom because your were always there in high school hand holding.....let her feel some independence now and see how she handles it.....I learned a long time ago to quit asking teens why, dont ask, they wont lie....just be point blank, hey i know u didnt do your homework and now you have a C on your progress report ..lets talk about how you are going to handle this differently .....good luck.....ella

Trisha - posted on 01/17/2012

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Each teacher should have email, so I suggest asking them to send you daily messages with what homework he/she assigns. This way you hear it directly from the teachers and you can check to see if she is completing each. Also, tell your daughter about a reward for bringing up her grades. Like for each letter grade improvement, she will earn someting, for example special time with just her and you (i have 13 and 15 yr old daughters, they want this more than you think, trust me...like going to a movie, out to eat, bowling, or as simple as a walk around the block, etc.) Or if there is someting she is really into, maybe like books or video games, buy her a new one, or any makeup she wants, like a new lipgloss, or just to have a friend come over. Hope this helps!

Carla - posted on 01/12/2012

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Collette, I would imagine, in every class, there would be at least one volunteer who would like extra credit to post the homework for the class. I can't imagine, in this day and age, that ANY person under the age of 60 can't figure out a computer ;)

Collette - posted on 01/12/2012

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Every year her school says that select classes will have the homework online. After the third month, they stop updating in the majority of those classes because it is "too much work" and some of the teachers are also technology challenged. It would be a beautiful thing if they made it mandatory for all homework to be up there.

Carla - posted on 01/12/2012

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@Linda--I deleted your duplicate post--hope you don't mind ;) I was also going to mention the on-line aspect of the school. My pseudo-daughter used this to get her errant child back on track. Wish we would have had that option when my kids were in school!

Collette - posted on 01/09/2012

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Yes, I think that most of her teachers would do this, she has a couple of new teachers that I am not too familiar with. My husband has made an appt. with her guidance counselor and I will be sure to have a short form with a few questions on it and ready to present to the counselor. The meeting is next week, I am really looking forward to going to the meeting, and having a positive approach to this situation. Thank you so much ladies, for all of the suggestions and help with my problem. I really think the form will work, and the allowing more freedoms and privileges. AND the studying every night when the form is not filled out. I feel like now we have a way of helping her, and not pushing her away with all of our nagging, and punishing.

Angela - posted on 01/09/2012

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Missy Bettschen ha come up with a great idea there. Would the teacher's at your girl's school be willing to co-operate with this?

Carla - posted on 01/08/2012

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Trying to get a teenager to go to school and do their homework is sometimes a losing battle. I worked for the postal service as a rural mail carrier when my kids were in high school, and the only excuse for being off work was if you were dead or almost ;) This was before cell phones, so the school couldn't get ahold of me if they weren't there, and I had to get up at 0-dark-hundred to get there, so I couldn't stand over them to make sure they did their homework. My son, bless his dear heart, didn't want to be in school. Period. During the first part of his senior year he dropped out. He enrolled in the continuing education center which my mother happened to work. In this setting he excelled (smaller class sizes and more one-on-one interaction). He finished his courses and was actually ready for graduation two months before his peers at the high school. Because he finished the high school courses, he was able to graduate with his class. I called this a win-win situation. Trying to push his tail feathers out the door, argue about homework EVERY night was more than what I could manage. Luckily my kids had enough intelligence that they have been able to find good jobs with a high school education.



Kids are different, and they learn at different paces and in different settings. Thank God He brought a solution to our house that ended happily.



God bless!

Collette - posted on 01/08/2012

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Thanks Kyra, I have been and will continue to pray for her. You are right, if they don't have the drive to or want to do it then they won't. If I add privileges and freedoms, then maybe she will want to do it.

Kyra - posted on 01/08/2012

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I have a 20 yr old that when she was in 7th grade just stopped doing some of her homework. She failed one class every year till she graduated. Yes just one class, i did everything, i had a close relationship with her teachers i was at school everyday you name it i did it, and at the sacrifice of her 2 younger sisters. They did come through fine though. If she doesnt have drive to do it, it is not going to happen. No matter what i tried, and i am a teacher too, so i had all kinds of tricks up my sleeve. The one thing that no one mentioned is to pray hard. Get the book The praying parent. And i also like the idea of getting her counseling, if she doesnt want to speak to you and your husband without lying, maybe you are too close to it and she needs someone objective. I will also pray for you. By the way, my 2nd daughter is now 15 and she is such the opposite of her older counterpart.

Collette - posted on 01/07/2012

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Yes Angela, she does have a free period where she is able to do some of her homework at school. Sometimes even during the class. She tells me she has finished it and handed it in. Then I get the letter that she isnt handing in the homework. Truly, if I saw her struggling with the work load, I could totally understand a missed assignment or two. I've missed plenty of them when I was a kid. Also, if I saw her putting effort into the class , and still was having trouble, I could understand that too. I'm hoping also maybe it is just an age thing, and she will start to focus again. Being organized with the diary will help all of us to know what's going on. And I don't think that a signature stating she has turned in the homework is too much work for us or her teacher.
I have a niece that started going to a boarding school at age 14, per her pestering her parents about it. She filled all the paperwork out for them and everything. It's her second year there and she is still loving it. I couldn't imagine spending all of that time, after school, doing more school work, Angela. I'm sure it teaches a child discipline, and priorities though, which will be extremely helpful when growing up. It must be hard to be away from their families though.

Angela - posted on 01/07/2012

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Homework, Colette, is such a minefield for kids AND parents. I went to a Boarding School at the age of 11. We got 4 subjects for homework every night. Around 50% of the kids at our school were day scholars – so they did their homework at home. The children who were boarders, like me, did 2 hours “Study” each evening between 5pm and 7pm with a short break at 6pm. The teachers of each subject that we got in homework had to provide an assignment which would take about 25 minutes to complete. I often spent over an hour on one subject! At weekends, as well as the 2 hours study on the Friday evening, we’d have a further 2 hours between 10am and 12 noon on a Sunday. As you can imagine, the best homework was always that produced by the day scholars – they had their parents to help them! It wasn’t unknown for teachers to refuse to mark work that wasn’t completed in fountain pen, or if they thought your handwriting wasn’t neat enough. Teachers would go through homework assignments during classwork time and publically criticise “Julie” who submitted “messy homework” or “Janet” who “obviously copied a huge chunk of information out of an encyclopaedia” etc …

Once I left the boarding school and attended a day school near to my parents’ home, it did get a little easier. But some teachers happily give out homework assignments that are lengthy and will clearly encroach on far too much of the student’s own free time. Another “trick” that some kids are happy to indulge in (concerning homework) is to get some of it out of the way during recess or lunchtime at school! “Free periods” when the teacher doesn’t turn up for the designated lesson are another time when kids might like to get homework out of the way. There’s nothing wrong with this. If a teenager has to be in the school building anyway, they may as well do something that frees up their own time at home later on. Does your daughter get the opportunity to complete part of her homework during school hours? Why not suggest this to her? But if she DOES do this, tell her she still needs to bring the homework home so you can check it off against the entry in her homework diary and then you know she’s done it.

Sometimes a teacher gives the students classwork during the day and then tells them to finish this at home as their homework. Depending on how quickly and thoroughly the student works in class the homework can be significantly reduced. Again, this is perhaps another occasion when it’s easier to finish the assignment at recess time (whilst the topic is also still “fresh” in the student’s head).

There are also a number of students who diligently spend hours on their homework at home yet on “Parent’s evening” at the school, the parents are told this student has scored poorly on homework. The parents wonder why this has happened. It’s usually because the student has “gone off on a tangent” and not answered the questions asked in the homework assignment. When the homework topic is subjective or flexible (e.g. a composition as an English Language assignment) this might be perfectly OK. However when an objective approach is required – based on facts – and furthermore the findings are to be discussed, a lot of hard work can score a zero mark because the student didn’t answer the correct questions or use the appropriate information. Students at University level and beyond can also make the same mistake.

If you are “helping” your child with their homework, be sure to do so within the framework of expectations and correct style!

Rochelle - posted on 01/07/2012

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As a teacher the hw diary sounds like a good idea but may also be difficult for a teacher to do every day in addition to their other responsibilities. Ask to see the completed homework assignments. If you are able show up to school randomly and get the hw from the teacher yourself in the presence of your daughter so you are both on the same page. Tell her that you know she's getting he because if she's not the teachers are not doing their job and then maybe she needs to go to a different school and continue taking away privileges and for every progress report that comes home with a failing grade extend the punishment. She should not get off until the grades change.
And lastly try a heart to heart with her saying exactly
What you posted that listening to her speak has become less enjoyable because you're not sure of she's bein honest or not. Express that you would like to listen to her and will always be there so that the lines of communication aren't cut completely.
Perhaps u should also have her come straight home
From school since clearly the after school help is not helping. She may be staying to socialize as opposed to doing work. Hope that helps.

Collette - posted on 01/07/2012

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Thanks Carla and Angela for your suggestions. I wouldn't put it passed her to loose her diary, but if it can start to get her into a routine with the homework, that would be great, and it would be alot easier to keep in contact with the teachers I think too.( we have tried making appt. with her counselor...and well..that is for another post)
I agree Carla, we have sat with her, or at least had her at the table and stayed in the same room with her, so she wasn't alone. I know for a kid the feeling of alot of work and being alone is overwhelming. My husband started school again this year and I thought if they were sitting down at the table together that would be awesome, she would learn through example, and be able to spend time with him. My husband and I will have to work harder at that. We have two other children, so maybe if we make it so that a certain time of night we are all sitting and writing, or doing homework together, might help her also.
Angela, thank you! We used to do that with her,(the trading freedom and privileges) and I don't remember when or why we stopped. It is so easy to get frustrated and loose our way, when our time has to be divided into so many different directions. Your post reminded me of where we used to be and where we aren't anymore. It is sad when the realization is awakened, but also a relief to realize it,(if that makes sense)
Thank you all again, and God Bless all of you.

Angela - posted on 01/06/2012

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We had these homework diaries in some British schools. You'd be surprised how often kids LOSE or FORGET their homework diaries.

I don't want to pour cold water on a helpful suggestion but be prepared for strategies from the teenager herself.

At school I had a friend who had a brilliant social life which I really envied her for. She was just 15 and went out where she wanted just about every single night.

She started her homework immediately when she got in from school whilst her mother was cooking the evening meal. Then she ate her meal, helped mother with clearing up, ironed her clothes, got ready and WENT OUT.

Trade off some freedom and privileges in return for her doing her homework. Works better than taking stuff away.

We didn't have computers and phones back then though ....

Carla - posted on 01/06/2012

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I like what Judge Judy says 'when do you know a teenager is lying? When their lips are moving!'

We, of course, don't want to think that is the case, but, kids will be kids.

Beyond communications with the teacher, how about you or Dad sitting down with her to make SURE the homework is done? I know this takes time out of your busy schedules, but it is one way of making sure it is done. Make sure she brings home ALL her books, so that can't be an excuse.

No one wants to do homework. Maybe while you're sitting with her, share one of your homework horror stories. Let her know she isn't alone in hating this aspect of school. Also show her that if she digs right in and doesn't dally around, it will be done quicker and she can get back to texting and computer ;)

Teenagehood is a very difficult time. Help her as much as you can--remember your days as a teenager--I do ;) Wouldn't go back there for anything ! lol

God bless, darling, you will NEVER be the same after you've raised a teenager---but it's worth it.

Collette - posted on 01/06/2012

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Thank you Katrina, that sounds like an excellent plan. I am scheduling a conference with her teachers, where both my husband and I will be able to attend. My husband also thinks the diary is a great idea.
Thank you so much,

Katrina - posted on 01/05/2012

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Maybe you could start up a communication diary with her teacher? Something you both have to sign EVERY day (or at least once a week). Get the teacher to write what needs to be done and by when. Then you sign it to indicate that your daughter has shown it to you, and she also has to show you the completed homework so that YOU can tell the teacher, yes it was done. The teacher then signs off on your notes.
As for your daughter (because she will most likely dispute the diary), you could tell her that as she has indicated she cannot be trusted to do her homework without your intervention, it will continue until she can prove she is responsible enough to do it by herself.

I would also have a look at certain privileges she might have, and plan on revoking them if something doesn't change. TV, computer, phone etc. are privileges not rights so she needs to earn them.

Good luck with it, I hope it all works out for the best.

PS. Is there a third party she can talk to? She may have issues you are not aware of, and she doesn't want to talk to you about.

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