On Day-care Centers, Who is Responsible for Homework, Pain, and Comforting Teenage Boys

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Should day-care centers be in charge of making sure children’s homework is correct, or is that the parents’ job? I work at a day-care center with an after-school program. We help the children with their homework and make sure they complete it. Our after-school program promises to provide homework help, but that’s it. My boss recently sent out a memo saying a parent complained that we were not checking the homework and making sure it was correct. Before I go to her to tell her that is the job of a tutor, not an after-school program, I wanted to get another opinion. Whose job is it? Keep in mind, our pay is very low.


In a vacuum, it is the job of parents to check their children’s homework. However, if the parents of the children in your day-care center want the center to take on that duty – and if the center’s management agrees to do so – then the job of homework checking falls to you.

Your level of salary is irrelevant. Day-care centers do not pay well, regardless of the services they perform. If you don’t like the wages, you can look for another job. But don’t expect your company’s parsimonious pay policies to convince the boss to change her mind.

The center’s marketing brochure or client agreement may provide a framework for services provided. But at most businesses, the on-site supervisor sets the work agenda. Your boss has apparently decided to make the parents happy by ensuring the children finish their homework. So as of now, your job description has changed. You have little to gain by talking to your boss, who certainly knows the center’s official policies.


My son went to the dermatologist today to get a mole removed from his shoulder. He said when they gave him the shot, it hurt like crazy. When he got home, we took the bandage off and put another one on, but it now hurts even more. The boy is 14, and the pain is so bad that he is crying. How can I comfort him?


Teenage boys sometimes need comforting, but they almost never want it. At least, not the obvious kind.

If your son has outgrown the desire for such outward affection as motherly hugs, comfort him in different ways. Make him his favorite food. Let him stay up a bit later than normal, or hand him the remote and give him control of the TV for awhile. Just a little something to let him know that you understand he’s not feeling well.

Don’t act obsequious or overly concerned, as such behavior could make the boy think even more about his pain. He may already feel weak or unmanly because of his reaction, and he certainly feels physically uncomfortable. So rather than focusing on the wound and its treatment, just provide him with a comfortable environment. Be ready to move in closer to participate if he chooses or to simply observe from a distance if he’d rather be alone.

If he’s drinking a milkshake, pour one for yourself and try engaging him in conversation about a favorite topic. If he selects a movie, ask if you can watch it with him. If he doesn’t want to talk or would rather you not share the movie, respect his wishes.

On the practical side, mole removals can hurt quite a bit, and your son’s pain is not unusual. If it persists for more than a day or so, call the doctor and ask for advice. But for now, I suggest an over-the-counter painkiller and a fresh bandage every day. Kissing this boo-boo won’t help.

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