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Question: I am very challenged with my children's attitudes toward me. They don't listen until I scream. They laugh and play most of the day. They don't take homeschooling serious. I'm constantly correcting them. My husband is of no help. He drinks too much and is very irritated with their attitudes. The whole household is out of control. Some days aren't so bad but other days are. I don't know how long I can do this without cracking. I love them and want to do what's best. I prayed about this and thought homeschooling was the right thing to do. But now I'm questioning my decision.

Dear Mom,

After I read your heartfelt letter I walked out onto the deck of my home and looked up at the beautiful autumn sky and prayed for you. I asked the Lord to help me answer your question in the way He would have me. I feel a particular burden for you because of the amount of disrespect that you are dealing with in your household.

I do not think the question is whether to homeschool or not. As I read your letter I feel very strongly the issue that is confronting you is the question of how to regain the respect that is essential to the running of a household and the nurturing of children. Because this is the basic issue, it is probably to the advantage of your children that they are homeschooled. Many times when we are trying to work on serious issues it is difficult to do this in fragmented time slots. Having your children home and being able to attack this problem head on and with purpose is a blessing.

Where to start. When children are disrespectful it indeed feels like you are fighting a losing battle. This is exactly what the Tempter wants you to think. It is his desire that you throw up your hands in defeat and give this task over to other persons who do not have the passion for the job.

This is not to say that you can not call on outside help, but the responsibility for training up your children belongs to you and certainly your husband. Remember this: the Lord wants you to succeed at this task. He will empower you and your husband to tackle the problem. You and your husband must first come together and discuss the problems. Children can sense a force divided and they in turn react to this with 'acting out.' They are confused and their misbehaving is a cry for help and order.

My suggestion would be for you and your husband to spend time in prayer together and if possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Make a plan which would include speaking with your parish priest or another spiritual advisor, who may know your family and the unique issues of the dynamics within your household. Trust in the Lord and pray for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

If this problem is not handled at this time in the life of your children, then the problems which will be created will come around again in a more serious way to destroy. All parents have gone through or are going through this issue of respect. It is the Tempter's desire to tear down families and he uses disrespect to do that.

Do not try and handle this on your own. There is no need. People want to help you. The Tempter wants you to think that you are all by yourself with this problem. In this way you will shun the help of others.

I admire you greatly. You have a great challenge ahead of you. It is obvious that you love your children and have poured yourself out for their welfare. Keep up the good work. Tackle this as though you were about a task. Formulate a plan and then with God's grace, work the plan. Nothing of any worth will ever be accomplished in a household that is full of disrespect. I sense that you are a hard working and loving parent who is willing to do what it takes to save your children from the sorrow of disrespect and the problems that it can lead to. God love you and may the Holy Spirit empower you daily.

Jesus, show us the lies of the Tempter. Help us to overcome his temptations and the sorrows therein. Lord, families are in a battle during this time. Please empower all families to build an environment of respect, trust, and love within the walls of their homes. In so doing, Lord, it is our desire that we will take this grace beyond our homes and bring a spiritual witness to all we meet. We are Your Light, Lord. Help us become all that You would have us be. Amen.

Dear Mom, remember that I am praying for you every day. Please begin to pray together as a family. The rosary is powerful and healing. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us and intercede before the Throne of God on behalf of all families.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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