Overnight, a well-behaved teen can suddenly transform into a door slamming, eye rolling and tantrum throwing person you hardly recognize.
The secret to homeschooling a rebellious teen may seem elusive. However, now that I’m homeschooling my third teen, I’ve learned a trick or two that can help you to sail through a difficult time.
Being prepared is key for this time in your teen’s life.
It’s hard to remember a teen’s surging emotions when he is talking back, rebellious and maybe bullying a younger sibling.
Without excusing that type of behavior, I’ve learned that giving choices to my teen has been the hurdle needed to move past problems.
For example, though I don’t appreciate my teen flailing his arms or saying he hates math, history or whatever is the object of his hatred for the day, I do know that asking my teen his advice on what he thinks is the solution for the problem works.
Asking my teen if he has a better way of solving a problem than the “dumb” way I am explaining it or that is being explained in the teacher’s manual works. Remembering that his attacks are not personal and taking my feelings out of the situation helps me to see his frustration through his eyes.
Separating the independence that he is trying to express from the way he is behaving is absolutely necessary to keeping calm.
Like we have done for many years, we tend to look first at how he is acting up and put on our parenting hat to address the behavior. We still need to do that, but now it becomes more important choosing when to do that.
In addition, after I have talked with my teen about the solution, he sees that I’m not just interested in lecturing, which is our right as parents, but that I’m acknowledging his need to learn in the way best for him.
Here are some things that you can give your teen a choice about.
Whether or not he wants to, be accountable to another adult who is approved by you. Some kids that have just been pulled out of public school find it easier in the transition to be accountable to another teacher. Teens, who have been homeschooled from the beginning may also want to be accountable to another homeschool parent, who models your same values. Another homeschooled teen’s dad or mom can be a powerful influence.
Allow for exploration or other options in curriculum. How many times have you switched programs during your course of homeschooling? Within reason and budget, allow your teen the same choices.
Sit down together and get your teen’s input for rules or consequences for not finishing his work. There is a way for you to be the final authority, but show you’re flexible and reasonable because there are many ways to reach the same goal. Too, by asking this way you show that you’re not giving him a choice about completing his school without your input, but options for how it is to be done. Big difference!
Give your teen time to venture outside of the norm. If a teen won’t take risks or try something different at home while under your roof where it’s safe, trying new things on his own without your guidance will be tough. Does he want to take an outside class or learn a hobby, which you think will be a bad idea? Now is the time to find out.
Consequences – A Better Teacher?
Does punishment really make a situation worse? It may be at the beginning because we want peace every day in our household.
However, when a teen clearly recognizes that because of his choice, not your reaction to his choice that he has to pay for the natural consequences of his actions, it’s a better teacher.
You get peace faster than just frustrating your child because you may want to make things “better” for him or for your household right then.
As parents we are not perfect by any stretch, but I’ve avoided many stressful times as I calmly enforced the penalty for his behavior, which he controls.
When your teen recognizes that having internet, driving, having a job, talking on the phone and being on his device are privileges and that are within his control to have or not, he will learn that getting mad at you won’t help. As hard as it is, stay calm, kind and don’t be sucked into a heated conversation.
Don’t give up and don’t be dogmatic as you lovingly guide your teen through a tough stage.
In the end, when he is an adult, you won’t be able to hold back tears when your relationship with your teen comes out stronger than before and he tells you how deeply grateful he is for your training. No better pay off – ever!