This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: 7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
7 Ways to Make Your Teens Miserable, Interview with Kathie Morrissey
Kathie and Vicki recently met, although Kathie has been around for a long time with her Character Corner website. Vicki was excited to find another homeschool mom who shared a fun sense of humor while taking homeschooling seriously. She had to be serious about homeschooling: she homeschooled her eight children all the way through graduation. That’s thirty-one years of homeschooling! (Her youngest graduated four years ago.)
Kathie spends a lot of time with her fifteen grandkids now. She enjoys trying to keep their names straight! In non-COVID holidays, they have lots of fun and noise together (as well as day to day life.)
Kathie began the Character Corner back in the 1990s (that is a LONG time ago). She has always shared resources she used and enjoyed, as well as creating curriculum for younger homeschoolers. Kathie enjoys sharing character development without being preachy or legalistic.
We had some fun discussing things NOT to do while homeschooling high school! (We know our 7th Sisters don’t really needed to be reminded, though!)
Here are 7 ways to make your teens miserable!
Being too controlling with your teens
It often backfires if we homeschooling parents try to over-control our teens. While our kids needed a lot of control when they are very young, we want to them to develop self-control and God-control by the time they are adolescents.
It can be hard, as parents, to back off or ease off when we are used to being protective (and developmentally appropriate).
However, backing off can protect our teens hearts.
Don’t treat your teens with respect
If a parent talks over, over corrects or criticizes their homeschool high schoolers, they are being disrespectful and unloving. As parents, we need to do more listening and less critiquing. Allow them to share ideas and the feelings in their hearts. For more on realistic expectations, check out Sabrina’s talk on this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.
Fear our teens’ questions
If a parent is afraid of our teens questions. Part of adolescence is asking hard questions, even about faith, family values and politics. Listen and wait. For more on having hard conversations with teens, check out this Homeschool Highschool episode.
Never being happy with their decisions
If we spend all of our energy preventing our teens’ goofy decisions, we will break their spirits. We want to encourage them, ask questions, trust them and sometimes allow them to make mistakes.
This develops our faith in God, our trust in God.
Criticize them to their siblings
Bad idea! There’s nothing more hurtful to hear a parent complaining about them to their sibling (or anyone else). Bring your complaints to God, spouse and the teen. Work it out. This develops the fruit of the Spirit self-control in us moms. (You have probably noticed how homeschooling “helps” us developed so much fruit of the Spirit.)
Don’t bother to make our teens feel accepted
Sometimes parents, in easing off with their teens, might forget to stay connected with them. Teens, like all children, thrive on acceptance but even more so because they are in years of growth and change so often feel insecure about themselves. They crave knowing their parents’ unconditional love. So try not to slip into constant criticism.
Parents can show acceptance in actions and in words. (Think about love languages.)
While we parents have the pressure of making sure our homeschool high schoolers have marvelous transcripts, we never want them to feel like that is our primary objective in parenting.
Act as if helping them is a BIG inconvenience
Sometimes we parents are tired, for goodness sake. If we sigh and act inconvenienced if our teens need a ride to a friend’s house or activity, they will feel de-valued and hurt. There is a balance, of course, so plan together as a family (but allow some reasonable spontaneous activities). Someday, they will all be grown and maybe we can catch up on some rest!
Treat people outside the home with more kindness than the folks at home
You know the drill, fussing all the way to church and then walking into church with smiles on our faces. Teens are over that!
This can be hard for us moms. Motherhood is such a character developing experience!
BONUS Reason: Don’t have a relationship with them but give advice anyway
Relationship building requires time and attention. It requires a lot of intentionality for busy moms and busy teens. But as we build in the relationship, we earn the right to give advice when appropriate.
Some of the ways Kathie invested in her homeschool high schoolers included:
Make availability time (that means, stopping what we are doing when they have something on their minds). It’s great that our teens want to talk to us! Stop, make eye contact and listen as often as possible.
Try to be fun- at least put a smile on your face by faith. (Teens don’t want to hang around a grumpy mom…and it’s hard to see God in a grumpy mom.)..
For more ideas, Vicki shared about How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Teens in this post at Character Corner.
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