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Dear Caroline,

My husband is a micromanager. When my kids ask for help on their homework, he ends up doing it for them instead of helping them figure it out for themselves. How do I get him to stop?

…Peeved at Papa

Dear Peeved,

Your husband is clearly well-intentioned. He probably hasn’t stopped to consider the reasons his efforts will hinder your kids in the long run.

Before you critique his behavior, let him know how grateful you are that he’s there to offer his guidance and availability to the kids. It’s natural that he wants quality time with them, and likewise, they want his attention. You just need to convince him to resist the urge to take the work out of their hands.

Remind him that teachers can always tell when homework shows signs of too much parental involvement.

Next, help him reflect on what may be motivating him to dive in up to his ears. Is his competitive spirit pushing him to propel the kids to the head of the class? Is he trying to be a more attentive father than the one he had growing up? Is homework time his only chance to bond with the kids?

Or … does he simply enjoy doing the homework the same way some people love sudoku or crosswords?

If he can see what’s driving his behavior, he should be better equipped to control it and teach the kids three things that will serve them in the future: study skills, self-reliance and a work ethic.

If your husband is like most micromanagers, he’s all about order, so create a new order of operations: The kids do their homework, on their own, and once they’ve completed it to the best of their ability, they go over it with their dad, who can help them understand whatever they missed and correct their mistakes.

Little by little, as the the kids get through the early grades, their homework should become their full responsibility.

Wishing your kids a successful academic year,


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