Ask Jigsaw: Getting a teenager to do homework

Ask Jigsaw: Getting a teenager to do homework

Friday, 17 July 2020

How can you try and get your 14 year old teenager to homework and just generally comply and not make life difficult for everyone else during this time.


Hi Dee,

This is a really challenging time for all members of the family. Being cooped up in the house together, without the normal routine and our usual social supports is really tough. For parents and young people alike.

Jigsaw Clinician
Decide which battles are the most important to fight, and what are the things that you can let go

Many schools are sending homework to do, and parents are trying to keep young people focused and busy. Trying to maintain a level of structure is helpful. However, don’t feel you have to replicate the school environment and routine throughout the day. Most parents aren’t teachers. Keeping young people motivated to work at home is different to working alongside peers in the classroom. This year will be one of the most unusual in terms of education and exams for all young people. Perhaps keeping on top of things academically may not be the priority for all.

What’s your priority?

Discuss what everyone in the house needs in terms of space to work, quiet time, schedules and so on. Try to communicate assertively and encourage your teenager to do the same. Ensure you are listening to their needs too. It will require a bit of compromise on all sides and may not be ideal.
Decide what are your own key priorities. Is it a focus on work, avoiding arguments, time alone, doing activities together, discipline or maintaining communication? This might help you to decide which battles are the most important to fight. It will also highlight what are the things you can let go in these strange times.
Jigsaw Clinician
You and your teenager are doing the best that you can in an unprecedented situation

Just as it is important for young people to mind their mental health at this time, parents also need to look after themselves. Step outside to have a breather, or call a friend and have a rant if you need to. You can also call Parentline on 1890 927277.

Parents are not super-human. It’s OK to acknowledge the toll that social distancing and isolation will potentially take on us and our relationships.

You and your teenager are doing the best that you can in an unprecedented situation.

Christine, Jigsaw Clinician

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