My Son Melts Down & Cries During Homework

It's upsetting for any mother to see her child distressed 1. If your son routinely cries when doing his homework, as a parent you might feel responsible, as though you're the cause for his distress or you're not doing enough to help him. However, don't immediately jump to letting him off homework or offering to do it for him--this will only bury the problem rather than solve it. Homework is important for a child's educational development, so if it makes him upset, you have to find a way to work through it with him.

Determining the Cause

Determine the problem in order to help your child avoid getting upset during homework. Talk to your son and try to understand why he cries whenever he needs to do his homework. Boys need to express emotion as much as girls and therefore a parent should not get angry with her son if he finds completing his homework an upsetting time. There is always an underlying cause.

Academic Pressue

Children feel the strain of academic pressure, especially if they have exams coming up. Some teachers are tougher than others and they might have inadvertently scared your son by discussing the downfalls of incomplete or failed homework. Perhaps the teacher has strict consequences for poor homework, or maybe your son struggles with schoolwork and without a teacher at home he finds it difficult to complete his homework. Discuss these problems with your son and, if necessary, arrange a meeting with his teacher to see if you can reduce the pressure your son feels.

Social Pressue

Your son might have friends who excel at school and homework and they are perhaps making him feel inadequate because he has trouble understanding the material. Other children in his class might have picked up on his difficulties and use them as a method of bullying or peer pressure. Social pressure can be overwhelmingly influential in a child's life and negative pressure can make your child feel stressed and emotional.


Your son's difficulties might not have anything to do with the homework at all. Consider his sleeping patterns and determine if he might be overtired. Perhaps he's overloaded with too many other commitments and responsibilities and doing his homework only reminds him of how much he has on his plate. He could be stressed from other things, such as problems with his friends or family issues. Problems outside of homework can make your child over-sensitive which then manifests when he tries to concentrate on the task at hand 1.

Help Him Overcome It

Help your son overcome his distress over homework by learning what the teacher expects and helping your child reach his goals. Set up a dedicated study area for him and set specific times so he doesn't feel as though he has to sit there all evening. Stay positive and engage your child--talk to him about his homework and show interest. Praise your son for completing his homework on time and offer appropriate assistance when he gets stuck. Make homework something your son can control and get through; don't add pressure by insisting he does it a certain way.

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