“Do NOT speak to your mother like that!”…… “Do you realize how you are talking to your Father?!” …… “That tone you are using is very disrespectful.”…..
These words have been my signature sayings, probably since the day my kids started to talk fluently – and I know I’m not the only one. Many of you are and have been experiencing this and worse. It’s probably because us homeschool parents are a bit too familiar with our kids (see my last post ‘Familiarity Breeds Disrespect (Pt. 1)), which is very common among homeschool families.
Familiarity simply means that you are treating your child or children like your equal, so instead of you being the one in charge, you are sharing the job title/responsibility with them. Sometimes you command them, and sometimes (they feel the right) to command you – in their opinion, you are equal. It can lead to chaos!
Here are somethings you may want to examine and work on to combat this problem:
1. When you go through life problems, do you share with your kids? How about marriage problems…? Do you tell them personal things about others? Or gossip to them about people you don’t like? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any one of these, then you are definitely barking up the wrong tree.
When you are experiencing something difficult, then go to your spouse, a friend, or the pastor of your church … Not your kids… It takes adult maturity to handle adult problems – And kids are not yet ready to shoulder adult burdens (no matter how mature they seem). When you share mature issues with them, it places them on your level.
2. Love them, but don’t allow them rule or be rude to you – YOU are the parent, and the parent’s responsibility has been given to you. It is a very heavy and serious responsibility – a job that will never fit a child.
3. When they disrespect or disobey you, then punish them – justly. DO NOT treat their wrongs lightly. Children usually come to understand the seriousness of breaking laws, through their parents. When you treat their offenses lightly, then THEY will treat their offenses lightly – which means, there is no reason for change, or correction – there is just self-righteousness. (ex.. “I didn’t do anything wrong”)
4. Be consistent. I have struggled with this issue for years, and I am still working on it – it’s not easy, but practice makes perfect… Every home has its rules and every parent has standards. Make sure that your goals, rules and standards are achievable – and if they are, then stick by them. DO NOT change them because your child will not adhere to them or they are not convenient to you. For example…If you tell your child that the history test is on Wednesday, then he should be expected to be ready to take the test on Wednesday. If Wednesday comes around, and you decide that the test is on Friday instead (and you change your mind like this from time to time), then eventually your decisions won’t mean much and your child won’t take you seriously.
5. Please be careful how you allow your children to address you. If they are disrespectful, don’t overlook it…. When they interrupt you mid sentence, point it out to them, and correct it…. It is very common for homeschool children to jump in and dominate adult conversations, but please homeschool parent, do not allow this. You must teach them to be respectful to you, as well as other adults. It can be a very difficult thing to break, so be careful and be wise.
We want to cultivate great relationships with our children, but we also want them to be respectful and well mannered.
“If you have children, remember this: When you finish with them, the rest of the world has to live with them, so please teach them respect”