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Home > Support > Family Life > My son has a nasty and lazy attitude that needs "fixing"!...
Question: My first grade son is bright, but lazy. He complains that things are too hard and screams and refuses to do work he is quite capable of doing. He won't listen to my instructions and "already knows" everything, whether he does or not. Most of my time is spent trying to coax him to listen and cooperate. I want homeschooling to work. I have a lot of ideas for fun, engaging activities. But we never get to them because the morning is wasted on arguing and stubborn resistance. I beat myself up wondering what I did wrong with him. I am close to giving up and just homeschooling the younger two. I don't want to do that. But by the same token, I can't allow my oldest to monopolize the day with his nasty attitude. He just won't listen to me or my husband when it comes to teaching him something.

Dear Mom,

God love you. I can sense that you are really trying to utilize the wisdom and patience gained from prayer. The Holy Spirit will never let you down. I admire your trust and faith.

Let's begin by assuming that you have discerned correctly concerning homeschooling. Remember that a six year old is still a very young child and as such does not require a burdensome amount of academic instruction. Let me make a suggestion to you. Have you read through the CHC catalog? Even if you do not use the curricula there is a wealth of information therein. Under the title of 1st grade, you can see that they have listed those subjects that are considered core subjects. This may help you when you are preparing a day's lesson.

Another suggestion that has helped me with the "strong willed" children that I have taught follows. Sit down with your son and include him in the choices concerning the activities you will cover. For example you could approach him in this way, "Which of your subjects do you want to finish before lunch?" "How much of your spelling lesson do you think you can finish without my help?" By giving your son choices you are also giving him responsibility and privilege. You are teaching him that he is the one who must take the lead with schooling. He becomes a cooperator in the effort and hopefully not angry concerning the work expected.

Make certain that you and your husband are a unified force when homeschooling issues come up. Make certain that your son knows before the issue presents itself what disciplinary action will be taken. This should be done in a calm manner, with his input welcomed. "How do you think we should discipline you when you fail to meet the guidelines we have all talked about and agreed upon?"

It has been my experience that "strong willed children" are very bright and respond well to discussions concerning their behavior. In addition they have a very low tolerance for frustration. Part of our teaching with these children is to help them through love and patience to handle this very powerful emotion within themselves. Do not tolerate behavior that is hurtful or disrespectful. Time out and a period of cooling off works very well to help them think about unacceptable behavior.

As far as taking away all of his toys, I can not answer to that. I personally feel that this action would create more animosity between you and your son. However I respect your judgment on this issue.

Please keep praying before the Blessed Sacrament and keep asking for the tender guidance from the Holy Spirit. These are difficult days for you to be sure. Ask that the Lord send you companions and support persons to uplift and cheer you on the journey.

Now that you have shared your difficulties with this forum, believe me there will be an army of moms praying for you. You are loved by the Lord Jesus. He holds you tenderly and soothes your hurting spirit. Nothing upsets us more than when our children are disrespectful. Not only does it hurt us emotionally but it disrupts the harmony of our homes.

Please let your son know that he is loved tenderly and dearly by the Lord. Hold him and let him know that you love him very much as well.

Jesus, please hear our prayers when we come to You for guidance. Send the gentle teaching of the Holy Spirit to instruct and uplift us daily. We love You, Lord, and desire to care for our children so as to emulate Your love for us. We ask that You surround our dear sister in Christ with Your protection and comfort. In You all things are possible. Amen.

Continue to seek confirmation from a spiritual advisor or trusted friends concerning your choices. This takes great courage and patience. I admire your fortitude.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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