The Edmond Sun

Features

December 27, 2013

Limit the amount of time dealing with kids’ questions

EDMOND — Q: I homeschool my two children, ages 7 and 9. The school day lasts from 8:30 in the morning until 2 o’clock in the afternoon, after which they usually do homework for an hour or two. During homework time, they are constantly coming to me, asking me to go over material we’ve already covered during school. This is preventing me from getting my own work done. I find myself being frequently interrupted and have to admit I’ve lost it on a couple of occasions. What should I do?

A: You should tell your children that after 2 o’clock in the afternoon you are no longer their teacher — you’re their mother and you don’t intend to re-teach material you taught during school.

Look at it this way: If they were attending “regular” school they wouldn’t have access to their teacher(s) after school hours. Likewise, in your homeschooling situation, they shouldn’t be able to have “teacher” on demand after school hours. As things stand, they don’t have to give you their full attention during the school day. Furthermore, you’ve given them permission to come to you any time they experience the slightest amount of frustration concerning homework. That circumvents the development of perseverance, which, as you will recall, is one of homework’s seven hidden values. Under the circumstances, the effectiveness of homeschooling is significantly reduced and your stress level is significantly increased. If you don’t put an end to this, you’re going to continue to have periodic cerebral meltdowns.

This is a mother-child boundaries issue, as are many if not most contemporary parenting issues. Instead of you being in control of whether — at any given time — you are in the role of mother or teacher, you’re allowing your children to make that determination. In any relationship, clearly defined boundaries are essential to mutual respect. Without those boundaries, one party will begin to take advantage of the other person and take her enabling for granted, as your kids are clearly doing. In the vernacular, they’re manipulating you, but not consciously. They’re simply doing what you’re allowing them to do. You open the gate, they run through it.

The solution to this problem is for you to establish clear definitions of what your children can and cannot expect from mom after school. Begin by limiting the number of school-related questions you will answer after 2 p.m. to two per child (maybe three for the younger one). Tell them that after they’ve finished as much of their homework as they can (and not before), each of them can bring you two (or three) questions, but that you’ll spend no more than a total of 10 minutes per child answering them. After the 10 minutes, they’re on their own.

I guarantee that if you enforce this dispassionately, your kids will (a) begin to pay better attention during school hours and (b) eventually all but stop asking after-school questions. And you’ll be able to get your mom-work done. Independence in a parent-child relationship is always a mutual thing.

FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parent questions at parentguru.com. His column is distributed by MCT Information Services.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • What’s normal age for voice change?

    Q: When is it normal for a boy’s voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.
    A.: “It’s a very variable process,” says pediatrician Bonnie Miller, associate director of general pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.. “Puberty will begin as early as age 9. Generally with the advent of puberty, the voice box changes.”

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Living history presented at metropolitan libraries

    Hear stories of pace setting women in different eras throughout history. Biographies of Wild West trailblazers, The Harvey Girls, WWII assembly line champion-Rosie the Riveter, mail order bride Mary Elizabeth Walker, and Oklahoma society lady Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson will be reenacted by gifted and prolific storyteller Barbara Byrd.
    Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson was the wife of a prominent Guthrie attorney who shares her experiences and adventures during the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard. For more information, visit www.metrolibrary.org

    July 25, 2014

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014

  • Receive 10 free dogwood trees from Arbor Day Foundation

    Add color to your landscape year-round by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August.

    July 23, 2014

  • Authorities update Simpson’s saga

    Investigators are attempting to locate the owner of a dog named Simpson to determine whether or not his injuries were due to an accident or man-made, an official said.
    On July 1, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigated reports of an injured dog near the intersection of Western and Simpson in south Logan County, Lt. Tom Kutay said. Officers responded and took several statements of a dog being found with injures to its back, Kutay said.

    July 22, 2014