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Homework Refusal: Is It Laziness or Executive Functioning Issues?



It's not uncommon for kids to be unexcited about doing homework. For some kids, this lack of enthusiasm translates into putting off homework or drudging through assignments until they are completed. However, for some students, their negative attitude towards homework can be more extreme. It can even take the form of homework refusal. Homework refusal happens when a child completely refuses to do their assignments. This can turn into a regular, routine struggle with parents. It can make the time spent at home unpleasant, emotional and stressful.

If you are experiencing homework refusal from your child, it can help you to understand what's going on with them. Once you have a clear idea about what's causing the protest, you can focus on a solution. Alleviating the homework struggle can make home life much more pleasant and low-stress for everyone.

What Causes Homework Refusal?

There are many potential causes of homework refusal. Some of them are purely behavioral. Others are neurological. By determining what's causing the resistance, you can address it in the right way. Here are some common neurological or executive functioning issues that cause homework struggles. Consider whether one of these is the culprit behind homework refusal, rather than laziness:

Learning Challenges

Your child might be struggling with a learning disorder or challenge that is causing them to avoid doing their work. A learning issue can make the work feel impossible and overwhelming, and they'd rather not face it than try to struggle through. If you suspect this is the case for your child, have them tested. A test may reveal that they are dyslexic or struggle with attention issues. Once diagnosed, problems like these can be addressed appropriately.

Eyesight or hearing issues

It's possible that your child is having problems with their vision or hearing. This could make paying attention and learning in the classroom tough, and in turn, their homework tougher. This is especially true if they haven't properly learned the concepts. Getting hearing and vision tests can diagnose this problem, and your child may be able to benefit from hearing aids or glasses.


Children can develop feelings of anxiety that make doing homework uncomfortable for them. This anxiety can stem from pressure to do well in school or perfectionism. Students who suffer from anxiety can work with school counselors and coaches on their negative thoughts. Removing these thought patterns can also remove what stands in the way of them completing their work.

If your child refuses to do their homework, contact Brain Balance Achievement Centers. We can help address the underlying causes and help get them back on track so they can succeed at school and at home.

For over a decade, we’ve helped over 50,000 individuals improve the critical skills needed to create a brighter path for their future. Contact us online to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.

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