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Children and Obligations: My Mistake

I decided to write this today when my teenage son was really struggling with the realization that he would be out of the house fulfilling obligations ALL DAY. He was really angry about it from the moment we went through the schedule in the morning.

Do your children ever react like that to your homeschool schedule?

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At first I thought he was just whining.  We had had a busy week, and I thought he was just trying to “get out of stuff.”

I admit it.

I heard myself saying: “You should see MY life. Give the drama a break, kid!”

I thought about all my responsibilities and obligations.  Laundry, dinner, dishes, clean the toilets, nap times, fun times, learning times, social times, get kids to appointments, make sure they are growing and thriving, make sure they are maturing spiritually, etc., etc., etc.

And my own concerns: am I eating healthy, am I spending enough time with the grandparents, that friend that is ill, the house is a mess, etc.

And then I saw it.

This issue wasn’t HIS problem.  It was mine.

That makes me so sad to say that.

The fact is that I (me! Moi!) have been feeling overwhelmed with MY duties and all the people I answer to. I have been struggling with all the people and places I am obligated to.

And I had transferred that pressure… right on over to him.

He’s 13.

We grown ups have a lot of things on our minds. I am sure you can come up with a healthy list of items that are pressuring you right now. Take a moment to think of some.

Now imagine transferring that feeling you now have to your child- how would they handle it? Probably not well.

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Now don’t get me wrong.  I am quite the opposite of the mom who protects her kiddos from every little thing that might cause them inconvenience.  I do think they have to live up to their commitments like the next guy.  I do expect them to challenge themselves and do new things. I don’t expect them to be babies forever.

BUT…

How am I teaching them to handle it?  And… is my approach to “schlump” it onto them and say “deal with it kid”?

So you know what I did? I said, “Son, do you need a pass?”

He replied, “A what?”

“Do you need a pass from all your duties today?  Do you need to just go home and do your own stuff?”

You should have seen the look on his face.

“I can DO THAT?”

I said, “Yes, sweetie, you can.”

And he was relieved. And happy again. And felt understood. And acknowledged. And experienced God’s Grace. And it went a long way toward building a positive vibe between us too.

Do you put unnecessary pressure on your kids and not realize it?

Here are some more articles that may help you figure this topic out in relation to your own family.

Signs You Are a High Pressure Parent

Parents How to Help Your Kids Handle Pressure

 

 

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