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Parents are reportedly paying for 'homework therapists' for their kids

In NYC, one session might cost up to $600

Pexels photo
Pexels photo

A fairly new trend is emerging, to help students who are overcome with stress from school, or, more specifically, students who are struggling with the concept of homework.

The possible solution, if you want to call it that, may lie in the form of “homework therapists.”

What's the idea here?

These specialists, if you will, play the role of both a tutor and a therapist.

The idea of a homework therapist was discussed at length in The New York Times last spring, but earlier this week, it came up again on “The Doctors.”

Dr. Andrew Ordon acknowledged how competitive it can be just to be a kid these days, and said the stress is often due to parental pressure.

Dr. Mike Dow pointed out that the depression rate in teenagers is going up, as well. In 2005, the rate was 8.7 percent, and in 2015, it increased to 12.7 percent. Dow said helicopter parenting is part of the problem.

'New niche'

The Times called this trend “a new niche in the $100 billion tutoring industry.” Homework therapists offer academic help and emotional support over Skype, email and text, and in expensive one-on-one sessions.

“They soothe cranky students, hoping to steer them back to the path of achievement,” the article said.

Parents in New York will pay between $200 and $600 for regularly scheduled in-person sessions. Is that the scariest thing you’ve read today?

These therapists -- who are not always accredited therapists -- usually do this type of work on the side, meaning, they have a 9-to-5 job, as well. The Times said they often work as clinicians at hospitals, family counseling centers or their own private practices.

And then, in the evenings, “they work with overwhelmed students to create study guides, do algebra problems, organize binders, smooth out crumpled papers at the bottom of book bags and do ‘error analyses’ when a biology test goes awry. But they also help children address the psychological issues that are holding them back, using common counseling techniques like motivational interviewing and exposure therapy, a strategy sometimes used with victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

What to make of all this

Homework has been making headlines more and more over the past few years, with some districts saying they're going to ease up, and some parents saying they're not going to push the idea in their homes. Love it or hate it, the concept doesn't seem to be vanishing entirely any time soon.

“The bottom line is, let kids be kids,” Ordon said. “Let them walk to the park. Let them get dirty. Let them learn the hard way. If they don’t do their homework, they’re going to pay for (it).”


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