Woo howdy, it can be hard to know how to have patience when you are with your ornery teen all day erry day like we homeschoolers are! If you’ve ever struggled with this (and you know you have, hello), then this episode is for you.
Ann discusses some of the underlying causes of our impatience and gives practical ways to exhibit more patience on the daily. Your efforts to learn how to have patience will reap benefits in your relationship with your teen — which will make the homeschool days proceed more smoothly. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
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Episode 77: How to Have Patience with Your Homeschooled Teen
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Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School — includes a chapter on communicating with your teen
Ann Karako: Hi, this is Ann Karako, and you’re listening to episode 77 of the It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School podcast.
Welcome to another episode of It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I’m your host Ann Karako from notthathardtohomeschool.com.
Hello, everyone and welcome. I’ve actually got a thunderstorm going on at my house right now. Hopefully, it will not cause any trouble with the recording, but if you hear any rumblings behind me, [chuckles] that will probably be why. Today, we are going to talk about a topic that is– Well, we know we all need it, and yet it is so hard to achieve. I personally have been learning yet more lessons on this topic even today.
You might remember we’re kind of doing a loose series about how to– Well, I’ve sort of been calling it the care and feeding of homeschooled teens. This is something that our teens need from us, but we sometimes have a hard time giving it. Okay, enough of the buildup, right? What am I talking about? I’m talking about patience, patience, patience. Remember the song? Well, how does it go? Wait a minute. Let me think about this.
(Singing) Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry.
We’re not talking about necessarily being in a hurry to do things per se, but just having patience with our child’s development, [chuckles] especially with our teens. So many, many ways we could be showing them patience that we’re not. So many ways we could be modeling patience that we’re not. So many ways we need to grow in the area of patience so as to help our teens grow themselves. Let’s delve into that today.
Are you a nag?
When it comes to being a mom of a teen, it can become super easy to also be a nag. Just a nag, someone who is constantly reminding about things the teen needs to get done. Then when you add in the dynamic of homeschooling the teen, then the nag factor [chuckles] increases exponentially.
We can be very easily walking down the path of pretty much telling our teen what to do all day, erry day as we remind and suggest and cajole so that whose agenda gets done? [chuckles] Is it the teen’s agenda? No, no, it’s probably not. It’s our agenda — so that our agenda can get done. We have an idea about what our teen should be doing and when, and we make sure that that happens. I think that might be just the first step is, yes, acknowledging you have a problem.
Just watch your interactions with your teen over the next few days, and see how much you are actually reminding them or suggesting or “helping” to keep them on track with some schedule, or some idea that you have in your head about what should be happening. Maybe it’s time to back off from that a little bit and have a little more patience.
I know we’re supposed to be training our teens, so we use that as the excuse to be the reminder [chuckles]. Of course, occasional reminders are not a problem. It’s when it is a prevailing pattern, i.e. when we are nagging, now it’s a problem.
With teens, we need to start loosening the reins a little bit and allowing them to make some of these decisions for themselves. We’re going to talk a little bit more about autonomy in a later episode of the podcast. In general, when it comes to timeframe about a particular task, lots of them we can leave up to the teen to figure out for themselves, whether it’s a time-of-day thing or whether it’s a how-long-it-takes thing.
Try to, as much as you can, allow your teen to determine these things for themselves. A lot of times that makes them a little bit more invested in it, and it gets done in a more timely fashion than if you are nagging, or if we are nagging. (I’m just going to throw myself under the bus too, shall I?)
One of my teens has told me flat out, “Mom, just because you told to do it makes me not want to do it.” [laughs] That’s a little painful, but hey, it’s the truth. A lot of teens feel that way. I don’t think it’s only my kids.
Hey, I’m just hopping in to say that this episode has been sponsored by CTCMath. Are you looking for a new math curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multisensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 top picks and the Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way. The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a test.
Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way and in only a few minutes at a time. Using a multisensory approach, having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with a voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results, and ones who were doing okay before are now doing brilliantly.
Speaking of patience, CTCMath is a great way to eliminate some of the inpatient times with your kid. Let CTCMath take care of their high school math, and then you don’t have to get impatient about it [chuckles]. Visit ctcmath.com today to start your free trial. That’s ctcmath.com.
Tone of voice and the issue of control
What are some more practical ways though, too? Obviously, we can be aware of the problem and we can try to peel back, but let’s also get really practical and discuss some individual ways that we can show patience to our teens. Sometimes it’s not what we say, but how say it. Our tone of voice can easily be impatient. Are we snapping? Are we raising that voice, because we’ve said this thing 500 times already, and now we have to say it again?
Well, the fact that we’ve said it 500 times already and think we still need to say it again, that’s part of the problem. Raising the voice isn’t going to help it be heard again. Sometimes being patient involves knowing that we’re not going to nag 500 times, but that instead we’re going to mention this thing once. Then if it doesn’t get done, there will be some consequences.
A lot of times, it’s because we feel out-of-control of the situation that we are being impatient about it. Whereas if we know that there are consequences set up, if the kid doesn’t get the work done or doesn’t do whatever it was, then now we feel more in control of the situation and we don’t feel the need to start raising our voice or snapping, something to keep in mind.
Another angle on the aspect of control is maybe we haven’t relinquished control over that which we can’t really control.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a controlling individual. I am working very hard at not being. With my kids out of the house, I am actually in control of more things because there’s not as much that happens that I’m not responsible for, [chuckles] that I don’t do myself. It’s still true that we cannot control other people, as much as we would like to have the illusion that we can.
Sometimes we’ve got this little army of kids who will do what we say until they get to the teen years, and then they basically forget everything you ever trained them to be or do, and now we feel like they are out of our control. Truth is, they were always kind of out of our control, but now it’s just more obvious. We do not have control over another person. Sometimes we need to remember to relinquish that, because we’re trying to control them and we really just can’t.
The only thing we can control is our response. That’s what we need to be focusing on controlling, not on trying to get the other person to do what we want them to do.
Another way to exhibit patience is to just remember that kindness is a thing [chuckles]. I know, I know, this should be obvious, but don’t we forget sometimes just to think about being kind? We’re so full of what we want to get accomplished or what we are full of. Our brain is full of our things, we forget to be kind to others who also have brains and emotions that are full of things. Kindness will cause patience to happen as well.
Here’s another very practical way to show patience. Do we listen to our teens, or are we constantly trying to interrupt to make our point or to give our instruction? Are conversations quick and jumpy, or are they slow and relaxed, with pauses in between to make sure that the other person is done speaking before we jump in? This is another one I’m an absolutely very guilty person for.
Let’s start listening. If they’ve got an explanation for why they haven’t done something, let’s listen to it fully. Listen, not be thinking about what we’re going to say next, but be listening to them. I read an article that talked about listening “on the other person’s channel.” I like that idea. It’s like you’re fully focused on what they’re saying. You’re not listening to your own channel inside your head. You’re listening to them on their channel. I think it’s a great idea and something that probably most people in this world [chuckles] need to do better at. I sure know I do.
Okay, but you’re probably thinking, “But if I don’t remind them, if I don’t give suggestions, if I don’t help them remember their deadlines, then things are never going to get done.”
I hear you on that, [chuckles] and that’s why we try to control, because we’re afraid of what may happen if we don’t. Sometimes natural consequences can be a thing, and they are hard to walk through, but sometimes it’s necessary.
The kid doesn’t do something when they were supposed to do it, now the natural consequence comes into play where they missed the deadline to apply for this particular job, or to maybe even apply for this particular scholarship. Sometimes those natural consequences are a thing.
The kid knew something needed to happen and they didn’t get it done, such as you got tired of reminding the kid to get to work on time and they arrive late. Now there’s something in their record that says that they were late to work one day. Where my kids worked, if you were late three times within a quarter, then there were definitely some consequences that occurred.
Sometimes that’s the only way for our kids to learn, is not for us to nag them and keep them from facing consequences for their actions, but for them to actually own it [chuckles]. “Hey, this was on me. I was the one who was late. I was the one who made myself late. I didn’t get ready on time.”
They can’t blame it on you for not nagging them. It’s all on them. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get their attention, is for those natural consequences to occur.
I will freely admit that on the big things, I still kept reminders going. If it was ACT morning, I don’t think I’d want them to be late to take the ACT exam. That is something where I’d be like, “Hey, don’t forget tomorrow is the exam.” Then the next day, I would be getting them out of bed if they hadn’t gotten themselves out of bed, because that’s got some larger consequences there than, I think not being able to get out of bed at that age — I don’t want to deal with those larger consequences. In this case, I would be getting them out of bed. I don’t know that that’s a case for patience versus impatience. I think that’s just, “Hey, this is a big deal and my kid needs to be there.”
In general, I think that when we stop nagging, that’s when our kids start to take responsibility for themselves, and yet it’s a process. It’s not like it’s going to happen overnight, “Hey, I stopped nagging you yesterday and now today you’ve got to do all of these things all on your own.” I don’t think that that’s how that works. It’s a process. They’re going to stumble and fall, but we have to keep our line. We have to keep our hands off and allow them to do that until they figure it out. If we rush in to fix everything, then it’s not a case of now, they’re going to take the responsibility. Now, it’s a case of they know mom will rush in and fix everything. They still don’t have to take responsibility.
On a long project, I would suggest that you set it up so that there are check-in points that are previously agreed-upon. Maybe they’re writing a research paper and it’s not due for six weeks, and you don’t want them to put it off until two days before it’s due. Maybe you have some agreed-upon check-in points, but then in between those check-in points, you don’t mention it. You let them handle it, but then at least those check-in points provide a smaller way to find out whether they’ve been handling it or not [chuckles] rather than waiting until the very end.
A lot of this is about being patient with their personal growth, their maturation process. Sometimes that can seem to take forever and we want it to happen now [chuckles], and we get impatient that it’s not.
You know what, think about the things that you have been working on for years and are still working on. Hoo, I tell you what, here I am at 56 years old. Yes, I said it [chuckles], and I am still working on so many things that I honestly thought I would’ve figured out 20 years ago by now, but nope, they’re still part of me. I’m still struggling with them almost on the daily and our teens are going to be same way. Just think about that. Give grace, if you can.
Be patient, show patience, exhibit patience, give patience, be a patient person, and I think that our teens will see that and respond to it over time.
I hope this has been helpful. Definitely give me some feedback. If you want to go find some show notes, I’ll post some related articles. Go to notthathardtohomeschool.com and click on podcast in the top menu and look for episode 77. I will see you there, have a great day.