bethalyn76's picture

7th grader behavior/homework issues

My son is in 7th grade.  We have had numerous notes from the teachers saying he doesn't bring his work and/or books to class.  We have a planner that he writes his assignments in everyday and the teacher initials it.  We started this because he didn't do a weeks worth of homework and has 5 zeros in math as a result.  He was grounded and over the weekend he had to do all 5 assisgnments in addition to his normal homework.  The math ended up being a total of 180 problems.  I sat down with him and we went over the problems that he missed.  Today at school he was supposed to meet with the teacher during lunch and turn the work in.  He still didn't turn the assignments in!  I thought this weekend would have made an impact on him, but evidently it didn't.  Grounding him does not seem to make a difference.  We are in constant contact with his teachers, we review his grades online.  I'm not sure what to do from here.

Jdevries's picture

Hey!Thats pretty bad!What you should do is ground him or talk to his teacher about him!

bethalyn76's picture

His teacher had agreed to let him meet during lunch to go over the assignments.  He said that he didn't want to miss eating lunch with his friends.  We have a meeting scheduled this week with all of his teachers and the shool counselor.  He is grounded to his room and  we have given him extra chores around the house while he is grounded... I am hoping that he will figure out that doing the work is a lot easier than being grounded, getting into trouble, and having extra chores.  He loves to play outside with his friends (baseball, football, fishing).  He is a sweet kid.  I just don't believe he is taking responsibility for his actions.  When he gets in trouble, he gets resentful.  I don't think he is getting the fact that these are the consequences for HIS behavior even though we explain it to him.  Maybe it's hormones?  Thanks for the response.  It's nice to know that there are other parents struggling too.

katie_13's picture

im in 7th grade to and i sometimes forget my books but its no excuse to leave all your books does your child have a locker if he does he needs to go up to all of his teachers and ask what all he needs

chriscnaz's picture

I have a 10th grader, 8th grader and 6th grader, not turning in homework even when it's completed is a lot more common than you might think!

First off try and figure out how he organizes himself and his schoolwork, many kids this age have not been taught organization and study skills, he may be being punished for something he doesn't undertand how to do better.  As strange as it sounds, I have found it to be true with both my AFHD child and non ADHD child ( I'm not suggesting he is ADHD, just explaining it happens to everyone).

  • Does he have a homework folder or one place where he keeps all assignments?
  • Does he have a consist time or place to turn assignments in? ( Teacher's in-basket, begining or end of class) or does he just have to remember in general terms?
  • Would a sticky note or list of what he needs to do that day help?  I'm a list person, even as an adult and parent, if it's not on a list somewhere I won't remember to do it ( That's why Franklin Covy and Dayrunner make so much money)

Ask him what he  is willing to do and what he is willing to work for.  Incentives or a combination of incentives and punishment usually work better than punishment alone.

  • If he does not turn homework in he has to stay in at lunch the next day and miss time with friends, vs if he turns homework in every day for a week he gets something special on the weekend ( extra TV or game time, fast food lunch have him tell you what he would like to earn)
  • Ask if there is a reason he's not turning it in, is he being teased for being a goody-two-shoes, teacher's pet, etc by peers who don't turn it in?  Is he struggling with the work and doesn't want anyone to know or figures if he doesn't turn it in, he won't get bad grades?  ( Sounds strange but is the thought process at that age)
  • Has a teacher inadvertantly criticized him or embarrassed him in front of his peers?  Is he upset with the teacher, justified or not.

As with most parenting issues it's trial and error, what works for one doesn't work for all.  Threatening and punishment may be very effective for some but others respond in opposite ways, which it sounds like what he is doing.  Negotiate a deal with him, make sure you hold up your end, and hold him accountable for his.

Just remember most kids do not try to fail, when they are struggling there is  usually a reason behind it, they may not want to tell you, or they may not truly understand it themselves.


gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I  noticed, with my own kids and with others I have tutored, that in the beginning failure to turn in work is often because the child doesn't know how to do the work.  If this persists for long, it becomes a habit.  Then it becomes part of the child's self-image.  If it gets to this point it is REALLY HARD to change it. 

elizam's picture

this problem reached a head with my ds when he was in 7th and 8th grade. He did not respond well to punishments, humiliation, etc. The teachers were big on that. No pencil? Take a zero on the day's work and be put out into the hall to be isolated and mocked by classmates and passersby. Etc. Etc. He was severely depressed by midyear both years!


We finally got him evaluated for ADHD. Sure enough, he has it and has had it since he was little, but we sort of avoided the issues involved by homeschooling him in elementary. He really wanted to go to public school, though, so we had to do something for him, poor kid. Being told he was lazy and irresponsible did nothing except tear down his self esteem and drive hm towards the wrong crowd (the other "dumb" kids, as he puts it)


He is doing somewhat better in high school, though he has his good days and bad days. He does not have a locker, which is a blessing in disguise. That's how he used to lose and forget so many things. His school now is overcroweded, thus the shortage of lockers. Trying to get him to remember to write in a planner is almost impossible. I haven't figured that one out yet! Plus he can't write fast enough to get things down.

But there is always hope. Just don't let him give up on himself. Mine acted so ugly at taht age, but he acting better now. He has nicer teachers also, which makes a huge difference.

rambaby's picture

I think you should talk to your son about why he's not turning it in. Maybe he is having a problem with something or someone at school or home. If this is the case maybe you should try to resolve this issue with him and not the teachers. He could be havng bully problems or getting picked on by his friends by you calling the teacher or the teacher talking to him so often. You should tell him that he REALLY needs to get his homework turned in and if something is bothering him then you're welcome to talk to him any time. (or me cause I'm in the 7th grade too)

LMcAbee's picture

chriscnaz says it very well. I had the same problem with my oldest son when he was 9 - 11 now 17. I never figured out why though. However i have a 14 yr old also and i know she has issues like chriscnaz says.....

Is someone or has someone made fun of them? Are they having a hard time and dont want anyone to know? Has the teacher said something on purpose or accidentally to belittle your son?

Yes there should be consequesces but try to figure out what the problem is because if there is a real problem then punishment without understanding will just make it worse.

Good luck I have been there and still am.

Synergy's picture

There's always a reason why a kid doesn't do well in school. Have you tried talking with him about what's really bothering him that's effecting his performance in school? There may be something he's not telling you.

acitez's picture

There are a couple of things I thought about. The first question is, does your child have basic skills for reading, writing, and calculating? This may have been addressed in all the testing that has been done, but when you sit with your 7th grader at a restaurant, can he/she order from the menu and figure the bill, including tax and tip after you explain those parts? Can he/she write you a note, legible, adequate spelling, and with complete sentences? If these skills are missing then getting them is the first priority. This is not an issue of "intelligence" but of ability.

The second question is one of motivation. If your child is frustrated because of lack of skill, your child will not be motivated. If your child is frustrated because of possession of skill, your child will perceive homework as busy work and will not be motivated. If your child has had too many bad days at school, your child will not be motivated.

One definition of crazy is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Traditional school is not working for your child. Perhaps you could find a home-schooling parent who wants a companion student for their child and would supervise and teach your child while you are working. I don't know how else a single parent would make it work, anybody else have an idea?