7th grader behavior/homework issues - FamilyEducation
7th grader behavior/homework issues
09/24/2007 at 19:13 PM

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.

Hey bethalyn,


Welcome to the boards.  Have you talked to your son about why he is not turning in his work, even when he has it done?  I would say that possibly something else is going on here.  Also, maybe you are going to have to find something besides grounding to use to motivate him---did you take away computer, TV that sort of stuff with the grounding?  Have you had a conference with the teacher and him and you together.  It just doesn't seem to make any sense as to why he wouldn't turn in work that he has done and knows he needs to turn in.


Anyone else have any experience with this?






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


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.


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


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.



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. 


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.


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)


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.


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.


I am a single dad with 6th and 7th grade children. My 6th grader is in advanced classes and the school band and loves to do homework. My 7th grader refuses to do his homework. This is a carryover from last year. It was the same story. After reading this discussion thread I see most have answered with simple suggestions but nothing concrete. Just to go through the list of what has been done so far, here it is: 1. both kids have ADD. 2. both kids are in therapy and see a psychiatrist for their medication. 3. They are both monitored very closely for the effectiveness of the medication. 4. Both had I.E.P.s but tested out of eligibility for the program. Their IQ and perceived ability was to high. Both had issues with output. My 6th grader got the message and got busy. My 7th grader became resentful. 5. They both now have 504 Plans in place providing for assistance where it is helpful to them, die to the ADD. 6. Systems of checks and balances have been implemented with each teacher, including daily phone calls, emails, and signatures. 7. Groundings, detentions, other discipline has come into play. 8. Issues with bullying have been dealt with. 9. Everything has been done and still my 7th grader refuses to do homework and lies about it. So here's the big question....... NOW WHAT? What do you do when it's not "something else going on"? What do you do when the child simply refuses to do it because they don't see the value in it? What do you do when the child doesn't care about the consequences of not doing the work?

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?

I can relate to the problems you are having with your son. We are stumped. He is a bright kid. A or F's. Getting him to hand things in feels impossible at times. He tells us that he hates school. We created a contract with him. He is not allowed screen or social time unless he pulls his grades to C's or higher. It just isn't motivating him to get things handed in. Tonight he told us he wants to be home-schooled. We are trying to ask questions to see if there is somthing else going on. It is difficult to get a full answer. Something that happened a week ago can get a strong enough reaction that you think it happened today. THere sense of time is out of wack. We are also in constant contact with teachers and checking grades and homework. His motivation to do homework is very low. We are at the point we feel like we need to see a counselor. When they are acting so unmotivated I do question what else is going on>>>>??? At the beginning of the school year my son was being bullied and threatened - that did not start the year off smoothly. He was open and brought the problem to us and the administration. IT was resolved, but I still worry that it could have an affect on him. Question - how do you motivate students who do not want to do the work??

I am a 7th/8th grade teacher. This is a VERY common problem for junior high age kids--those with ADD or ADHD and those without. The transition into 7th grade seems to be especially tough. One of the things that I have started to do with some of the kids that really struggle is to check in with them at the end of the day. This is kind of my procedure: the student comes to me at the end of the day. I ask to see their planner (filled out or not). We go through each class and I ask 1)what did you do in class? 2)Did you have homework? 3)Is it done? 4) May I see it please? If they have forgotten anything, that gives them a chance to add to their planner. After that, I sign the bottom of the planner so that the kid's parent knows that they remembered to check out and the kid knows which books and supplies he needs to take home. If the only problem class is math, I would suggest having your son check in with the math teacher at the end of the day, if possible. If he doesn't like the math teacher or if for some reason that won't work for him, maybe suggest that he find a responsible friend to be his "study buddy" in case he forgets what he needs to do for class. It does get better, I promise! I hope I have been of some help to you.

It sounds like maybe a control issue...I have a good friend that went thru the same thing with one of her sons...after much frustration and talking he finally told her he didn't turn in his homework because, simply, no one could MAKE him. I don't know if he displays other "control" type issues...but it's just a thought.

How to teach your child Manners: 1. Set a good example. It's unfair to expect politeness of a child if his parents are not polite themselves. 2. Start using words and phrases like 'please,' 'thank you,' 'excuse me,' 'I'm sorry,' and 'may I?' as early as possible around your child. Encourage your child to do the same. Take care what language you use around children they mimic the way adults speak. 3. Ask your child to address adults with a certain degree of formality - that is, Ms. Lee, Mrs. Doe, Mr. Smith - unless the adult tells them to do otherwise 4. Avoid ignoring bad behavior or waiting to talk about it. Address a rule as soon as your child breaks it. 5. Bring up the behavior again inprivate so you can discuss it more thoroughly and make sure your child understands how to behave in the future. 6. Praise your child for good behavior. _______________ http://www.learningchocolate.com

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