When I am believing my son won’t do his homework I create a war. One in my head when I am beating myself up for being a bad parent and one that can’t get their son to do things, and the other the war that I’m having with him because he’s not doing what he should.
And then I notice how the reality is different to the picture that I have in my head of him not doing his homework.
Virtual reality is the way that both you and your children live these days isn’t it? They spend all of their time engrossed on the computer playing games either alone or in the cyber world with their friends from who knows where, and you spend all of your time in your virtual world seeing them not doing their homework.
I remember me nagging my son over and over because he hadn’t done his homework. I would spend time at work stressing over how I could get him to do his homework and in that moment the picture of him sitting on the computer for hours was fresh in my mind, as fresh as if he was sitting in front of me.
He should do his homework!
In my world though, I had the right to make him do his homework. “He should listen to me and understand how important it is for him to do his homework!” My belief is my son won’t do his homework. I was so adamant that I was right. There was no ‘virtual’ to what I was thinking and believing. It was real! Or so I thought.
When you stay out of your family’s business, they notice that you have your stuff together and that you’re happy, so they start to follow.” Byron Katie on Parents and Children p.39
Since doing The Work I have realized how much I was in his business and suffering for it. I believed I was so right. He should have been doing his homework.
It was my responsibility to make him change what he was doing (his reality) to what I wanted him to be doing (my reality). My reality was based on the image I had of him in my head, sitting playing on the computer.
How did I know my son won’t do his homework?
Did I know for sure that after I saw him sitting on the computer he didn’t go and finish his homework? No. And did I bother to find out when he needed to have his homework completed by? No, I didn’t. It was none of my business, and I could have been interested and asked if he needed my help.
I was fighting against him all of the way. And you know what, just as I was fighting against him, he was fighting against me.
Its crazy that the war we were fighting was all based on the image and story of him that I had running in my head that he should have been doing something that I thought he wasn’t.
What I now notice is that I didn’t meet him for who he was in that moment. I didn’t meet the person sitting at the computer, happy, free, doing something that he loved.
How I saw him
In my reality I met the person that I wanted him to be; the good student; the student who got his homework in. Or perhaps I should say, the bad student who was sitting on the computer playing games and not doing his homework.
And why did I do this? So that I wasn’t the parent who got called up to school to explain why my son hadn’t done his homework and was therefore ‘failing’ school.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? “Your son won’t do his homework, Is it true?”
What about connecting with your son and having a conversation?
Maybe the opportunity is to sit down with him, and have a person to person conversation. Not Mother or Father to son, that’s no equal. Sit with the person that you see and begin to find out what is going on for him.
You might find that he’s struggling, or that he’s ahead. Or there might be something else completely going on. This is about creating a connection, and one that is made without judgement or criticism. Not something that is easy to do when you have the story running in your head that he’s not doing something he should be.
Did you do all of your homework?
Consider for one moment if there was ever one moment in your life time when you haven’t done your homework? What was the reason. Why did you not do what you were ‘supposed’ to do? I’m sure you had a very legitimate reason and yet know you are not allowing him to speak his. Only guessing of course.
Because if you’re like me, you don’t listen to him, you don’t want to hear what he has to say because you think he’s lying to you. It’s one great story. And one you are going to have to be willing to set aside if you really want to find out why he isn’t doing his homework, or at least to check if that’s the case.