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Friday, January 9, 2015

Homeschool Sibling Rivalry is the Goliath to My Parenting David

Sibling rivalry takes on a Goliath level (or at least it does in my home), when you are homeschooling.  The competition for attention is constant!  Twenty four hours a day we try to stay calm and respectful; until we just aren't.

I have to ask myself if the punishment in the classroom is the same for the rest of our lives.  We set up different rules in the classroom, so perhaps the consequences for infractions should be different.  The real head scratcher is whether I have to constantly be the snarling principal type.  In order to retain control in this room, I am the snarling principal.  Softie Mom will arrive later for bedtime stories.

Today we had a break down.  Granted everyone is dealing with a nasty case of Louisiana snot faced funk.  This is no excuse for kicking at a brother's "area" or a brother threatening to hold down his little sister and punching her.  I'm shaking my head wondering where the violent outburst came from!  They aren't spanked.  They don't watch violent television.  What is happening?

This behavior is in no way acceptable.  To solve it both the Mom hat and the snarling principal hat were worn when consequences were delivered.  I can only imagine what kind of consequences would have been given if they'd done either of these things to a child in a public school setting.  Either way the consequences would be the same at home....severe!

They were immediately ejected from the school room.  Each was made to sit in their rooms silently.  Each had their electronics taken from them for a week.  Each had to sit there and brainstorm for an essay that they would write when they returned to Dagobah.  They also need to stay an extra 30 minutes in the class room because they wasted our learning time with this nonsense.  It would be great if I could say that I handled the situation without a red face and an angry outburst of my own, but then I'd just be lying.  I set up their essays on their desks and let them sweat it out for a little bit, as I calmed myself down.

The small kid had to write a page about why hitting or kicking someone when angry is a terrible idea.    The older kid had to write 100 words about why threatening violence is a terrible idea.  Yesterday when we were all sick, we were all taking care of each other and it made me feel like they were such sweet and caring children.  Then today happened and I have my doubts.

The small kid wrote all about how she'd never do it again.  Yeah right, I'll hold my breath on that one.  There are some impulse control issues we are currently trying to eliminate.  The older kid wrote all about how he deals with how annoying his sister is until he no longer can.  Several insults were included in his well executed writing, along with the astute realization that "she will be the one to love him after our parents are gone."  After reading, I was a little less pissed than I'd been at the start of our violent morning.  Yet another hat had to be placed on my head, the counselor hat.

They exchanged essays and read them separately.  The little one read the insults and the older one had remorse for writing them.  Another speech about choices was delivered, though nobody knows if any of my rantings actually meet their mark.  We talked and listened to each other and a little empathy started to rise up in their throats.

A little evidence that my parenting sometimes works was that the older one made lunch for the little one.  It helped me, it was her favorite, and perhaps kindness returned.  Be assured dear readers that no electronics will.  These two will be watched by the hall monitor for the remainder of the day in case any further punishment needs to be doled out.

Parenting is a tough job under normal circumstances.  Each passing year reminds me that my job is nowhere near over.  Parenting ebbs and flows like a tiny boat on a big and constantly changing ocean current.  Perhaps tomorrow will be another ebb.

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