Q: I know my son needs to be trained out of some of the bad behaviors he’s picked up over the last 6 months of having a really loose schedule, but I feel so angry at him. I am so worn out and he talks back so much, and all I want to do is give up and not be around him. What do I do?
A: First, let me say… I get this. It’s so easy to feel defeated and angry when we’re dealing with major issues in our children.
But don’t give up and don’t give in!
Hang in there. Commit yourself to be patient and consistent, no matter how many times the exact same discipline is required.
If you take time to consider the long-term effects of NOT disciplining faithfully, in a godly manner, it might give you the patient long-term view you need to deal with this firmly and faithfully, without anger and irritation. God is giving you a vantage point of seeing yourself and him with accuracy, and giving you the opportunity to discipline yourself, and your son, in order to bring glory to God in your home and in your relationship.
And God will help you! He’s helping you SEE, and He’ll help you grow in patience and kindness and self-control and perseverance as you strive for faithfulness in this area of discipline.
Each time your son back talks, patiently stop him and have him repeat what he ought to say in that moment. Give him the words he OUGHT to use. And wait for him to say them. You can even practice several times.
Hang in there and don’t give up.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~Galatians 6:9
Follow-up question: DEAL WITH HIS ATTITUDE? OR KEEP HOMESCHOOLING?
FOLLOW-UP Q: When we are in the middle of homeschooling, and my son does something he shouldn’t do, or pulls an attitude, what should that look like? I think he benefits from having a schedule, but should we stop having school until his attitude is retrained to what it should be?
I’m afraid it wouldn’t go well if we had no routine in order to deal with discipline all day.
A: The main problem you’re facing here isn’t whether or not you have a routine or do school. You do have that right now, and it can flow along swimmingly until something comes up.
But when character issues rise to the surface, it doesn’t matter if it takes 10 minutes, 45 minutes, or multiple efforts that take hours, to outlast your son and get his attitude and words to change to what they ought to be… if it means you get less pages of school done than were scheduled, that’s ok.
And it doesn’t matter if that process happens 16 times a day the first week or so, until he starts to realize that you mean what you say– that’s ok, too.
Elizabeth Krueger (the author of Raising Godly Tomatoes) hosted a message board for many years, where she would coach us moms through discipline and dealing with behavior, character, attitude issues in our homes. She used to say again and again that when something happens (attitude, words, behavior) that is not what you want,
- you stop right there.
- You don’t move on to anything else until that is dealt with.
- THEN once it’s addressed and things re going as they ought to, you keep going through life with loving affection, happily, faithfully, not punishing your child for that misbehavior, but smiling and enjoying time together.
But then, if something happens again, you stop right there & repeat all that again and again.
So you’re basically going through life normally, until/unless something goes awry, then you take whatever amount of time to discipline faithfully.
So it doesn’t mean no routine.
It just means, the routine takes a backseat to discipline. By all means, keep doing school, but don’t let “getting this phonics page done” take priority. If, in the middle of the phonics page, he back talks, says something disrespectful, or does something else he shouldn’t do, everything stops and gets dealt with until he’s happily, willingly, respectfully, going along with your teaching… then, if time still permits, go back to the phonics lesson. But if it took so much time that now you’re nearly to lunchtime, put the book away and pick back up tomorrow. Etc.
The lesson takes a backseat to his character.
But it doesn’t mean that you have to do no school. Just don’t let your drive for schooling to get done override the clear/desperate need for faithful discipline.
IN THE COMMENTS: Do YOU have other input for this mom?