In the meantime it is important to keep in mind that the single most robust protective factor for chronic and potentially toxic childhood stress is social and family support; that is, a responsive relationship with an adult caregiver.
"Parents' first responsibility is to the health of their child," Pope says.
"We realized that we need intervention around homework," she said, and not just with high school students.
While the present study was conducted with high schoolers, "we have the same data from the younger years." The researchers acknowledged the limitation of their reliance on students' self-reporting, but felt that it was important to explore the students' firsthand descriptions of their experiences with excessive homework.
Pope found in her work with Challenge Success, a Stanford collaboration formed in response to increasing emotional and mental health issues in American students, that homework kept coming up as a tension point.
There were parents who wanted more homework and others who wanted less.
And while some of the grousing about having too much homework and feeling stressed out may seem like typical adolescent complaints, this latest study joins a growing body of research that paints a disturbing tableau about the unrelenting pressure on privileged children.
That children growing up in poverty are at-risk for a number of ailments is both intuitive and well-supported by research.
This is where the real homework wars lie—not just the amount, but the ability to successfully complete assignments and feel success.
Parents want to figure out how to help their children manage their homework stress and learn the material.