How do you homeschool when kids have bad attitudes and siblings fight amongst themselves? This is a good question to ask because, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, it is a very real, daily part of homeschooling!
I recently had someone ask me this question on YouTube.
Quite honestly, it would be easy to skirt around this question because there’s not an easy, clear-cut answer on this one, but truthfully, it’s a question we need to address because it is a regular part of what we do as homeschool moms. When we moms think of homeschooling, I think some of us have this idyllic picture of doing it in a world where there’s no problems. No selfishness. No personality clashes. Everyone just enjoys being together. If only that were the case, right?
While I still have a lot to learn on this topic, I want to share the helpful tips I have learned in my 14 years experience homeschooling our ten kids. For those of you who have been homeschooling a little while, I invite you to join the conversation below and comment with your solutions for homeschooling when kids fight and have bad attitudes.
Video: How to Homeschool When Kids Have Bad Attitudes and Siblings Fight
Looks Different in Different Seasons
Behavior struggles look different depending how old your children are. When they are young, kids often quarrel over sharing a toy, who should be first, not wanting to obey. With older kids, sibling conflict often itself in clashing personalities. As teens gain independence, sometimes they can be disrespectful of parents or house rules.
Address it or not?
How can you tell if the sibling quarrels in your home are something you should address or leave the kids to work out amongst themselves? This is something that I believe you get better at with experience in parenting. A general rule of thumb I use is this. When the matter involves injustice, it should be addressed, if it is more of a clash of personalities (often with older kids), it may be a good chance to let them try to work it out.
What about when the conflict is between parent and child? This can show itself in many ways. If a child noncompliant or doesn’t want to do anything you ask, it is hard to move forward in any type of school work. Without respect, how can you accomplish anything? This type of behavior should be addressed as the first priority.
One of the most obvious solution is to have conversations with your kids about being kind and putting others first. If you are a family that reads the Bible and great literature together, the concept of loving your neighbor will be something you come across all the time. This is a wonderful time to talk to your kids about. how to do this in your home and with others.
In addition to this, here are some other problem solving strategies I have used over the years in our home when we are struggling with conflicts.
#1 Have clearly defined expectations and boundaries and stick to them!
We can’t hope to have peace in our homes if the kids don’t know what to expect. Additionally, if the boundaries are unknown and/or consequences keep changing, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Write out a list (preferably a short list) of expectations and put it in a visible place for all members of the family to see.
Be the first to set the example. When arguments escalate and the temperature rises, respond by lowering your voice. (I’m not referring to an angry, passive-aggressive whisper, but a quieting of the spirit.) Visibly de-escalate the situation by calming yourself down first. When you start whispering to solve the conflict, kids often begin to lower their voices.
#3 Separate them from the situation.
Sometimes when tension runs high, the best option is to separate a child from the situation. Have the child go to another room for a few minutes to calm down until you can talk to them reasonably about the issue. It’s easier to make sift through problems when emotions aren’t quite so high.
#4 Keep kids near you.
Often it is when we as moms are distracted or are trying to get something else done that our kids can start to squabble. If you find this is becoming a problem in your homeschool, try keeping your kids near you. Work at a table or in one room together where you can keep close tabs on conversations and struggles. Close proximity tends to minimize conflict.
#5 Separate your kids.
If kids are older and can work independently, separating them can be an effective plan. It will help to not only minimize quarrels, it can also help them focus better on their lessons as well. Our older kids have a desk in their bedrooms where they can go to have some quiet focused work time.
#6 Strategize with your spouse.
Talk with you husband about ideas for some of the difficulties you are having. This has been helpful to me specifically with having boys. He understands how boys think better than I do. Knowing that they are more physical and have a need to get out their energy, he has had some great ideas to help me know some good tactics to use with our sons.
#7 Prioritize your home atmosphere and the character of your kids above school.
If I notice that we are constantly having conflict in our homeschool, we put our school books aside to work on our relationships . Yes, it is ok to stop your school day to tackle this! The atmosphere of our home and the character of our kids takes precedence over everything else. If that means we have to close the books for a day, so be it.
Spend time getting the house in order, cooking together, and getting the family relationships back into a healthier place. If you keep trudging through school work so you can just get it done, you might be spinning your wheels. Rather, it is worth taking the time to stop and focus on character issues with your kids. It will pay off in the long run when everyone is getting along better and you can move forward.
Leave a Comment!
Has this been helpful to you? If you have been homeschooling a while, join the conversation. Leave a comment below to share the ways you handle conflict in your homeschool!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!