Let’s get real ~
So while my blog often shows smiling faces and lovely work, we have had our fair share of working through bad attitudes. Cheeky answers, biting comments, rolled eyes, sulky mouths, even swearing (teens really know how to try to shock!) … sigh … we’ve had them all.
It is the hardest part of homeschooling, and the most draining. Rather than deal with incorrect answers in school work, I stop and address a bad attitude. Attitude is a choice, and I want my kids to make good choices. But there are those days when this is tough, thankless and seems to make things worse. Brick walls. Stand offs. Chilly relationships. Dark moments of feelings of defeat and failure.
It is hard to discern whether to be understanding of a problem and sympathetically help a child negotiate how they approach the problem, or, often in frustration, discipline their bad attitude. Charlotte Mason has loads to share and inspire in her volume on Habits and Character ~
- “Deal with the child on his first offense, … but let him go in until a habit of wrong-doing is formed, and the cure is a slow one.”
- “The mother (must) be always on the alert to nip in the bud habit her children may be in the act of picking up from others.”
- “Never lower your standards or slack off.”
- “Expect prompt, cheerful obedience.”
- “The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.”
Extracts taken from “Charlotte Mason Study Guide A Simplified Approach to a “Living” Education” by Penny Gardner ISBN 1-57636-039-3
So, essentially, start young and establish good ground rules. Be quick to nip things in the bud.
I love that a Charlotte Mason education offers tangible, practical practices that heal attitudes and restore relationships ~ Why not, when trouble bubbles to the surface, and nerves start to fray, go out and take a nature walk? Sit together and sketch or listen to classical music. These Fine Arts subjects are often a healing balm. Tension, now released, we can come back to face the difficulty. What about her recommendations to keep short lessons? Put the maths aside for the day, and come back when fresh and positive.
Often I reassure myself that my child is going through an “age or stage” phase, where they express their fears and frustrations in their attitudes. “This, too, shall come to pass.” Sometimes kids act out with their moms and yet they would never dare to do so with others. If you are in constant war with your teen, trust the Lord to help you step back and to lead your child to someone for help. My advice to high school parents is to find a 3rd party person or tutor, who they can see fairly regularly with their homeschool subjects that frustrate them. Somehow, kids keep themselves in check with a person they respect. Most times, their attitude issues have very little to do with actual school work. Don’t let things spiral out of control.
I found myself repeating,
“Don’t take things personally. This is not about you. This about them.”
Parenting is done on our knees … praying. Praying for you and yours with blessings,