ADHD: Homework Horror

January 15, 2013 Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

Homework was a touchy subject with Bob, pre-ADHD and treatment. Bob hated it and so did I. I dreaded coming home to help Bob with his homework. I knew a battle would come because Bob never wanted to do his homework. It was boring to him.

Homework Battles

We'd spend HOURS fighting over the homework. Bob spent hours sitting at the dining table avoiding his homework with me first encouraging, then pushing, then urging and finally yelling at him to do it. And every single time at the end of that homework cycle, I wanted (and did) cry. Bob cried because he was so frustrated and I cried because I was so frustrated.

Being alone as I was (Bob's father and I broke up and made up several times during our relationship), I was used to fighting with Bob alone. I paid private school tuition, Bob's father didn't. I worked a full-time job (and a part-time job) to support myself and Bob.

Feeling Like a Failure

The worst feeling about Bob's homework horror was feeling that I'd failed. Every time Bob didn't finish an assignment, I failed. Every time Bob received a bad grade, I'd failed. More and more I felt that I was a failure as a mother. That I didn't deserve this child. That Bob didn't deserve to have ADHD issues. That it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that I was suffering through this alone as a parent. It wasn't fair that I didn't have anyone to back me up and take over when Bob struggled with his assignments. I wanted to scream and pull my hair out of frustration. I simply wanted to give up.

Homework Horror Continues

I was reminded of those horrible homework times over the past weekend, when Bob refused to read. He's required to read a book a week and then write a book report on it. For the last two and a half years, this requirement has been in place - 25 books, 25 book reports. Bob has never hit this mark, before or after his ADHD diagnosis.

This past weekend, he did not want to read. For the love of Pete, the kid didn't want to read and I was back to yelling at him for not reading. I saw my pattern all over again - encouraging, pushing, bribing, urging, threatening punishment and yelling. Sigh. I thought I'd gotten past the homework horror. NOT!

I was instantly back to those terrible nights of fighting with Bob for hours over his homework. And back to being that mom that I couldn't stand. The mom who let herself get SO frustrated that she couldn't see straight. It was a huge reminder that Bob still has ADHD; that he still struggles, needs help and needs my support to succeed. It was a reminder that my work as a mom, advocate and cheerleader didn't end with medication and therapy. The homework horror continues.

What are some of your homework horror stories? Please share.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, January 15). ADHD: Homework Horror, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

January, 20 2013 at 2:52 am

My son has gone on homework struck since last week. I've loved it. No more stressed evenings.
There are many articles that show it causes more stress with the parent child relationship than is achieved academically.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 22 2013 at 2:57 pm

Hi Miranda,
Thanks for coming by to visit and share. Homework strikes can be nice. I often get happy when summertime comes - NO homework battles. lol Homework can definitely be a source of contention between kids and parents. But, ultimately parents need to find new ways to help kids with school-based learning and look outside of the box for creative ideas. Thanks for sharing. See you soon.

Di a Mum
January, 19 2013 at 12:18 pm

My 3 children have adhd, dyslexia and related specific learning disorders, as do I. My partner, their dad, has dyslexia. We were v involved with homework, often destructively but they never had compulsory reading, thank goodness. My daughter was undiagnosed until after first term at Oxford university, where she discovered also significant processing problems, so reading always a slow process, most reading done by audio books. Lots of determination, strategies self discovered, and unusual thirst for knowledge and curiosity got us through, life always a challenge, but rarely uneventful. Scant possibility of meds here as little professional expertise here in central Scotland , may be just as well as heart and high bp also run in family :-)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 22 2013 at 2:55 pm

Hi Di,
Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your experience with me. Success isn't only measured by grades, but also by accomplishment. Some of the best habits are learned outside of school and Bob learned things to help him along the way. I'm glad that your children were able to find strategies that worked for them. I wish you the best! Please come again soon.

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