Just to understand my position:
I, as her older brother (she is without father, 13 and I'm 24), have to sometimes act like her parent, because mom just can't restrain her, when she starts yelling or doesn't want to do anything.

Recently she has been having problems at school, getting bad grades, bad behavior - I understand, that she is in that pubescent age, but still, when I'm studying with her, she's not really paying attention, still on her facebook on the phone, saying 'I don't care', and when I convince her to learn, she really does it the very 'lazy way'.

She does not respect me as an authority, because I have always been nice to her, got her everything she wanted me to (just couldn't say no to her, english is not my native language - but I hope you get what I mean).

So I need some way to make her do her homework, actually learn and get good or better grades.
How do I achieve that?

Every advice will be very appreciated in this matter.

  • 3
    Phone should be put away somewhere, with ringer off, if you two are working on homework together. All devices, for that matter. If you are using a computer, only the applications or websites directly applicable to what you are doing should be opened. Aug 26, 2016 at 13:10
  • She does not respect you as an authority, because you aren't one. Have that power bestowed upon you (and use it!), and read every question here that's tagged with discipline.
    – Mazura
    Jul 28, 2017 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


WWooowww... Mirror image of my own situation, see my post.

I have no answer, but I have suggestions.

I came to the conclusion that puberty, social trailblazing and the change in the properties of school all kind of combined to make this kind of "what the hell is going on in my life!" soup for my daughter.

The thing that seems to have worked to a point with my daughter is giving her a focus. She likes to draw, both digital and sketching, so we've all kinda unofficially centered around that. It has become the nexus for rewards based on school performance. She has a graphic tablet, a nice set of colored pencils, sketchbooks, markers, I even installed The Gimp (graphics program) and showed her how to use it. Each attained as an individual 'attaboy' for primarily school but general performance as well.

As I said, it seems to have worked to a point. The way I look at it is this: If I'm buying a Coke at quiktrip, and I see that the 32oz cup is now 89c instead of 99c, that's a bonus. "but can I have it free?" No, stupid... shutup. Free would be perfect, but 89c is better than NOT 89c. Take it for what it is and work to make it better.

I'm not expecting her to cut it out all together. That would be an unattainable utopian goal and potentially damaging to my relationship. But she's doing better and that's better than NOT doing better. Beyond that we're taking it one step at a time.

I think, however, that this is working for us because it developed organically. At some point I noticed that she was developing a skill as a sketch artist. She admitted that she wanted some pencils and a good sharpener. $7 later, she was happily doodling away on anime. I suddenly realized that I had a carrot and stick.

If you think this might work with you, do not try to force it. Notice yourself what she's into and then lightly use it as motivation. Saying "if you do this in school, i'll get you a Thing." is transparent and will get you NO traction. What I've done is talk about the positive things, then when she does something positive I "surprise" her with a Thing. It didn't take long for her to figure it out and feel like she is one step ahead of me. "If I do this, that fool will buy me a Thing! I've got him aaaalll figured out."

Anyway this is what has had a modicum of success for me. If you try it, I hope you have some success.

  • 2
    +1 thanks, you got me thinking the right way, the advices are really good.
    – JTC
    Oct 2, 2013 at 8:27
  • 1
    Never let them figure out that the carrot is on a stick, but if they do make them think they're holding it. +1
    – Mazura
    Jul 28, 2017 at 17:27
  • Really love this answer, just for the Zen-like approach. I've found with my three (at least 2 of which never could do homework) my biggest hurdle was always eradicating that picture in my head of the perfect version of them I think they ought to become, and instead helping them discover the better person they could become. Its led places I never would have expected.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 30, 2018 at 19:02

Interesting, I am faced with a similar situation, except I am the mother and I consult with my 19 year old son.

Warning: there is no easy solution and to create a change takes consistent and extended more effort

I have three children:
Two sons, 19 and 13.
A daughter 12.

Their father died 10 years ago, so no father.

I have been going through this with both younger children, more so my 13 year old son, but as he plays up, so does his sister (case of monkey see monkey do ;-)

Firstly I will relate my experiences with my 13 yo son then move onto my daughter (as I have found they need to be managed differently).

13 yo son

My 13 yo son came home with the worse school report card, ever. Even he was ashamed of it, and it's "cool" for his bunch of friends to do no work. He was raging at every boundary I would make. Swearing, damaging things and wouldn't listen. He wanted to be homeschooled (he hated starting high school), was on facebook chat, was playing online games and chatting to people for hours, started a youtube account and uploading videos, and so on.


  • first defence, electronic bans. I installed family safety on all our electronic devices. I, temporarily, closed his facebook account, I permanently closed hi youtube account. He has no access to online gaming. This I did over some months. If he didn't do his chores, was rude, swearing, aggressive, he lost all internet privileges, except the urls needed for homework. He would earn time and url access with good behaviour.
  • His behaviour has improved I am buying him more credit for his mobile phone, but paying the extra for smart controls, so I can create a blacklist and whitelist for incoming and outgoing calls.

  • second defence, social bans. I regard this as a more severe and less preferred punishment, as I believe my children's social networks are important for their emotional health and development. I have only banned one of my son's friends from his life.

  • third defence, positive activity. My oldest (19 yo) son teaches and trains martial arts for a living. He has asked me to bring his brother in 6 days a week for training, twice a day in the school holidays. This has been brilliant for filling the void created by removing counter-productive activities. It has helped instilled discipline, he has the role models of older males and it is physically active, and so tires him out and a great release of aggression.

12 yo daughter

Now my daughter is a little trickier, as her needs are not in such great accord as the two boys. However, she still craves time with and the attention and approval of her eldest brother (contrary to her transient protestations).

Basically I have followed the same principles with her as with my younger son. The differences being:

  • She doesn't do as much martial art training, as she is younger, and so unable to do the adult classes. In this time I have offered her coaching with her homework, or some mummy daughter time.

  • I have not banned her socially, as she had a tendency to be socially isolated, except for the influence of one friend. An older girl, who had attitude, plus, plus. I noticed her attitude and behaviour deteriorating when she was in touch with this girl. She was identifying with the "older" girl and trying to behave "grown up". I have carefully steered her away from the "popular" girls over the past few years and, successfully, encouraged her to mix with a group of girls who are a little more innocent.

  • We will "window shop" online. However, I buy her clothes online, when she is not home. This way I know what she likes, but can maintain a manageable dress code, as the girls want to mimic the older girls and wear clothes, I believe, are too "sexual" for this age group.. (and in fact any age group). It's a hard knack at trying to sell this angle to a young teenage girl, I know, but worth the perseverance.

  • She gets very emotional and when she gets into a state, cannot be reasoned with. So I wait until she is calm and then chat with her. I also try to implement cause and effect consequence type punishments. Example: If her room is a disaster and such a mess, I cannot discern clean washing from dirty, and she has not put her uniform in the laundry (even though I have asked several times); she is faced with going to school on a Monday in a dirty uniform, that she has to spray with deodorant. This happened twice. She now has a tidy room.

  • If she gets worked up because her hair is not "perfect", I give her warnings, we are leaving in x minutes, and count it down. Ok we are leaving now. She'll scream and come in tow, but I explain to her, she needs to manage her time and sometimes accept that ripping out her hair bands and restyling her hair several times over a perceived imperfection, may not be a prudent use of time.

I am hoping you can use some of these. It will not be easy. It is easier than having increasingly hormonal teenagers becoming delinquent. It is important you and your mother are in accord on all matters. Do not disagree in front of your sister. My son and I discuss things privately. I keep him posted and he is calm and, luckily for us, an exceptional role model.


Almost forgot. They must have completed homework to earn electronic privileges, and if they don't manage their homework, I don't bail them out, they have to wear the consequences of trouble at school. I do offer to help them, but they know they cannot ask me the night before, and if it's a project, they need to give me minimum, a weeks notice.

The best advice he gave me, was this:
Mum, I tell them to do things and they can't argue with me, because I'm doing it also.

  • 1
    +1 thanks for your advices, I certainly try them, and hope they would work.
    – JTC
    Oct 8, 2013 at 7:29
  • 1
    @JTC yvw, there is no easy solution with children/ siblings, it is hard, constant and can offer little reword for prolonged periods, it's the long term pay off of helping shape someone to have a good life.. the real definition of love
    – user21179
    Oct 8, 2013 at 7:39
  • 1
    You've laid out some well-thought-out strategies. The approach of using punishments (and rewards) progressively rather than going straight to an over-draconian punishment or over-the-top reward requires more thoughtfulness in the way it is applied, but will seem more reasonable to the child and should therefore encourage a more cooperative attitude and behaviour.
    – Erik Kowal
    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:04

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