Feature photo by Gretchen Phillips
I believe that the parent-child relationship is one of the most important things on earth. I want to protect mine at every turn and with every interaction.
In fact, I once wrote a paper titled “Force Flowers, Not Children.” That is all well and good for a 20-year-old education major with no children of her own, but how do you get anything done without forcing? Children who won’t listen or mind are a danger to themselves and to others.
I am frequently asked questions about homeschooling, but upon closer discussion, the questions are not really about homeschooling but about parenting.
“My son refuses to do any school work.”
“My daughter defies me.”
“They are so disrespectful!”
How is it possible to have cooperative, respectful, obedient children with real, ingrained morals?
I’ll tell you the secret and it is the opposite of Time Out.
When your child makes bad choices and pushes every button you have, try pulling her in tighter with love instead of isolating her in anger.
Many behavior issues can be prevented before they become big problems with this method. Try spending some special time in with your child every day. Spend time in fun activities that your child enjoys.
“I wish I could,” you say, “but this kid ruins every activity. Why should he be rewarded when he won’t do his work?”
You just described the kid who needs time in most of all.
We can never truly control what another human does and the choices he makes, but time in gives you the opportunity to get deep into his heart.
My brother was once working as a barista. I don’t think he was very good at it. He told me that he was constantly resisting the urge to get sarcastic and hateful with customers. “Then I would think about you,” he said. “I knew how upset you would be if I treated people that way. I couldn’t bear to be a disappointment to you.”
He had internalized my value system. Decades later, those nights I let him sleep in my bed while I read chapter after chapter, the walks to get pizza in our matching shoes, the art projects, the games…. They are still paying dividends.
I have two grown children now. There is no one around to tell them what to do or to punish them. I have to trust the investments I have already made – all of the late night talks about the nature of the universe, the walks down our road with the dogs, discussions about Milton while we milked the cow, the tea parties, the beach trips.
They will always have free will. I know they will make some bad choices. Isn’t that part of growing up? So I pray, and I hope that 18 years of time in has been enough to mark my values onto their hearts, and that no matter how old they are, or how far away, they will always feel the tug of irresistible love that brings them back to the right path whenever they have strayed too far.
Are you willing to give this a try for a month? Is your heart telling you that time in is what your child needs in spite of what your head may believe?
If so, you should stop reading right now and go bake some cookies or color together or go to the park and swing.
Make some memories today, and give your child a little extra time time in.
Genevieve–is a former public and private school teacher who has five children and has been homeschooling for the past thirteen years. In her free time she provides slave labor to Dancing Dog Dairy, making goat milk soap and handspun yarn, which can be seen on Our Facebook Page and at Dancing Dog Dairy .