You say this is only an occasional occurrence so it may be an opportunity for your son to learn to take personal responsibility for himself. First of all, you need not get involved in his homework at all. Your only job is to provide a quiet, uncluttered workspace, some basic supplies (paper, pens etc.) and the expectation that there are no screens available until homework is finished. If you develop the routine that homework and chores are done right after dinner for example, you have set the tone for what should happen. Of course this may or may not happen when you are out of the home. If the homework does not get done, you can be sure the school will deal with your child. If his chores do not get done, there will be natural consequences at home. (You may not be free to drive him to a friend’s home when he wants, as you have to finish his chores). If you are not fussed as to when the chores get done, then he should be free to choose when he does them within a time frame. (ie.: The garbage needs to be taken out sometime tonight rather than right after dinner.)

By definition children and teens are very egocentric and often cannot see the consequences of their more unfortunate choices. Only by living with the outcomes do they come to understand and begin to take responsibility and know that you will not always be there to remind, cajole and otherwise make sure they do the right thing. And you will not jump into fix things when he has not done as asked. Your job is to hold him close and let him come to terms with the things in his life that do not work for him.

If you must be away most evenings in the school week for work, then you might want to make other arrangements for your son. While he is technically old enough to be left on his own, it is a long time and he will be lonely and may look for things to occupy his time that are not necessarily good for him.

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