Have you ever noticed that when you read a "how to" article or book, they make it sound so easy. Even if they admit that it's harder than it sounds, you still walk away thinking "I can do that!"
Getting children with ADHD to do homework is no different. There are countless -- and I mean countless -- articles on how to help them, how to organize them, how to set up a space for them, when they should do it, when they shouldn't do it, what kind of snack they should eat prior to doing it...you get the drift. These articles are all (OK, maybe not all) extremely helpful, except they all assume one thing: that your child is actually willing to sit down and do the work.
But that's the key part. It doesn't matter how nicely you line up the pencils and how healthy a snack you prepare, if your child refuses to do his part (I'm using the masculine here because you know damn well that I'm talking about Bear), there's nothing you can do about it. Well, maybe there is with most kids, but not with an ODD kid. No siree Bob. Or Bear.
Yesterday was a really bad day with Bear, and it all centered around homework. For three hours Bear and I battled, with him alternating between scribbling all over his homework, apologizing, yelling at me, promising to be good, standing on the dining room table, telling me he's ready to work, throwing things at me, crying in remorse, and hitting his baby brother (just once, and not even hard enough to cause Stitch to blink, but nonetheless). In the end I think we managed to get about 20 minutes done, but we were both exhausted.
When it comes right down to it, there's really not a damn thing I can do if Bear refuses to do his homework. Like most kids with ODD, he can't be externally motivated (stickers, charts, etc.) or punished. If he doesn't want to do something, he honestly couldn't care less what we're promising or threatening (the school has noticed this as well). There are all kinds of great programs to help kids with ODD become less...well...ODD...but they can take months and even years to show results. So what are we supposed to do in the meantime? I have no idea.
And on an amusing note, when I tried to explain to Bear today why it was so important to me that he do his homework, he looked me straight in the eye and asked "Do I look like I care?" Where the heck did he pick that one up???? And for the record, no, he didn't.