Sunday, January 11, 2009

Never Let Them See You Sweat

The Washington Online School is offering a Love & Logic class this winter and I signed up for it. It's through Elluminate so I can take the class from the comfort of my own home, and it's geared specifically toward homeschoolers, which is primarily why I signed up for the class. 

The first class was this past Thursday. The instructors are Deslynn and Dave Mecham; you can visit their new blog here, plus I'm going to add it to the sidebar for future reference.

I realized that I already follow many of the Love & Logic teachings. I learned them when our older son was living at home and we were challenged to parent him; Love & Logic didn't work with him because he was incapable of being motivated by love OR logic. However, the techniques produce excellent results with healthy children.

But, I did need a good reminder of things I'd forgotten, and the one that hit me like a smack upside the head was, never let them see you sweat.

When I've struggled with the boys during school time, when things haven't worked out the way I planned them, I've responded with frustration and disappointment. My dear, sweet, loving boys, though nearly perfect, do like to take advantage of me if I appear weak or vulnerable.

No matter their goodness at heart, children are not dissimilar to pack animals who sense a weak member of their pack - they'll turn on you in an instant.

So, listening to the class, I realized that I've been shooting myself in the foot by allowing the boys to see my frustration when school didn't go smoothly.

Love & Logic teaches that I should put all the responsibility on the days' school accomplishments squarely on the boys' shoulders. If they spend all day goofing off in their room instead of getting down to do their work, then it's their problem, not mine. I cannot allow it to be mine. 

I have my jobs in the family, and the boys have theirs. Out of love for them, I need to let them be responsible for themselves. Using logic, they will learn to manage themselves and we will all be happier.

So I'm going to practice keeping my cool this week. Don't mistake me, I'm not a freak-out kind of mom, but I do get disappointed in myself when things don't go smoothly, and the boys know I'm willing to put the blame in myself rather than on them. But no more, my friends! I am going to give the boys clear instructions on what is expected of them each day and the time during which I am available to help them. The rest, is up to them.