Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This post is for you

"Don't Beat the Children"

This is my hard times mantra, and honestly there are some days when that seems to be limit of my accomplishments - I didn't hit anyone today. (Talk about low standards!)

Last week a mom lamented to me "I was reading Amy's blog, and my kids aren't anything like that!" "My kids aren't motivated" "They aren't self starters" "They aren't miles ahead of their schooled peers." Man, I hear you. My kids aren't brilliant, perfectly behaved, or gifted beyond belief (at least not gifted in the things others would notice, is there a gifted category for "can make sound effects that rival Fred Newman"? How about "loud and irritating beyond belief"?)

So this post is for every parent who thinks they aren't good enough. See, bloggers are people too. We don't really want to air our dirty laundry. When we post there is a huge motivation to make everything look shiny. It's like writing your Christmas letter every time you blog. Do you really need to put in the bad days and misbehavior? Nah, we'd rather write about the successes.

So here's some dirty laundry - I am a terrible homeschooling parent. I have a child I don't know how to motivate,. He has behavior issues, or rather, misbehavior issues. He has so many things he likes to do, and is good at, but he breaks down as soon as something gets difficult. He asks for music lessons, but won't practice. He was in tears this morning just because I asked him if he would sit down just once this week and practice 5 minutes of piano. He loved doing the Science Fair last year, and loves science activities, but is balking at doing the Science Fair this year. I think it is safe to say he has performance anxiety.

The carrot and stick just don't work for this child. He would rather do with out any carrot than do something he doesn't want to do, or even something he likes to do if someone else wants him to do it. He will suffer any stick just on principles. (Not that I'm too good w/ a stick, sigh... maybe if I would just beat the children? ;-p) He loves to learn, hates to be taught, hates deadlines, has difficulty with transitions, and on and on. And time after time, I blow it. I get impatient. I lose my temper. The kid is beyond inconvenient. I wonder what on earth am I doing wrong?

And here's the answer, for me, and for you. Maybe I'm not doing anything wrong. Maybe he's having a hard time and I don't know how to help him. Maybe none of us really deserve the amazing little miracles our children are. Maybe there's no way to be perfect and deserving.

Our job is not to be perfect, their job is not to be perfect. Their job is to be kids, and our job is to help them be safe and move towards adulthood as best we can.

And not beat them. Today.

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Amen. And thank you. ;)

Deanna said...

I have to say, I really felt this post was specifically for me :). Selfish, aren't I?

Pam said...

Sharing on FB, thanks A!

Lisa S said...

Wow, yeah, exactly :)

As you probably already know, I'm dealing with the 14.5 year old version of "I can't do anything that is required" and it's fascinating, when I'm not pulling out my hair. He can see his own resistance to work that he chose, that wants to be able to do, but can't actually do it because it feels like pressure and he shuts down. It's also quite a challenge to remember that although he can recognize it he can't really just get over it. (He doesn't really believe this, he beats himself up about it a lot; I believe it but I forget a lot).

Here's an approximate quote from yesterday: "I should have been able to do my 150 Kung Fu repetitions this week!...my teacher says not to beat myself up about them but I really can't use the excuse that life gets in the way because I had all week!" and then he almost refused to go because he didn't want to disappoint the teacher, the same teacher that had talked him down from the same place two weeks before. I wish I could say we've found a solution, but alas, no--I've tried not saying anything, reminding him, requiring small amounts through the week, etc. I don't think it's about what I do but about his brain.

And I know about trying to be perfect...in my case it's mainly to try to prevent blowups, but it's exhausting, isn't it?

lpepsi said...

Wow -- its like you're describing my eldest (though he's not home schooled, but same issues). Thanks!

Nanda said...

I can so relate! I was just thinking about how you almost have to be a literal SuperMom to pull off homeschooling successfully, especially if you also do things like put up vegetables for the winter! Thanks for sharing the not so glamorous side :-)

Fernanda
http://fernandapowers.com