Ep. 64 Homeschool and Fear of Failure

There are so many factors that can affect our effectiveness as homeschool parents. Even the weather can mess things up for us. Have you ever recognized that sometimes it is you that magnifies an issue with the way you react to a situation? I do this all the time. On today’s episode, I want to discuss an article that might just hold the key to helping you recognize why you “over-react” in certain situations. It may just boil down to the fact that you are “HOMESCHOOLING THROUGH FEAR.”

 

EPISODE 64: HOMESCHOOL AND FEAR

Schoolboy

As parents, homeschooling changes everything. It is not only the children that have to adjust to a new social structure when a family decides to bring their education to the living room. It can be a frightening thing to tell friends and family that you have decided to take the formal education of your children into your own hands. When I talk to homeschool parents they almost always talk about the disapproval of someone important to them: parents, spouse, friends, etc. This disapproval can have a major impact on how we respond to our children when they are not excelling in every subject.

My wife had an experience at the State Capital where a tour guide put my children on the spot with a question about the three branches of government. The guide said, “You should know this. You are all old enough.” I wasn’t quite sure what she meant when my wife told me what had happened. Let’s be honest. Most of the men in D.C. on both sides of the party lines have forgotten all about checks and balances of power.

My wife was embarrassed that they did not respond immediately and she felt like the guide was judging her as a parent and a teacher. We have talked about that incident several times. Would the guide have been so critical of a group of public school students that did not know the answer? Maybe, but I doubt it.

More concerning was the feeling of inadequacy my wife felt. I started to wonder how many other moms feel the same way when their children don’t perform “on stage” in front of family and friends that are already a little skeptical about the homeschool process. I found this great article that may hold the answers for some parents that deal with this issue. You can find the article by clicking on this link:

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=1010&sid=32729019

The 4 Attachments

The article discusses four different reasons that a parent may over-react when a child does not perform to a desired standard.

  • ATTACHMENT TO IMAGE
  • ATTACHMENT TO PERFECTION
  • ATTACHMENT TO CONFORMITY
  • ATTACHMENT TO CONTROL

Let’s briefly take a look at each one. You can see the detailed description by checking out the article.

Attachment to Image

Sad mother and daughter having problemThis is the sports-dad syndrome. Parents get worried that their child’s performance will look bad for them. If my son does not play well, then I look like a bad dad. This is a little of what my wife struggled with at the state capital. She was worried about how she looked as a homeschool parent when our children did not know an answer to a spontaneous question.

Attachment to Perfection

Some parents have a little (or a lot) of Obsessive Compulsiveness in their nature. In some cases, this nature drives parents to seek perfection in everything—including their children. That is totally unfair. We, as the parents, have had 25 to 55 years longer than our children to learn through trial and error. We have to give our children the same opportunities. Remember, failing is an important part to education. If you expect your children to be perfect you are overlooking that important key. Also, in the long-run, your children will recognize this expectation of perfection and develop crippling OCD tendencies themselves.

Not TalkingAttachment to Conformity

This is a major challenge for some parents. There are those of us that derive a feeling of safety from being a part of a group. Consider it the “herd” mentality. When a parent with this attachment decides to homeschool, their sense of safety takes a major blow. They are now in the minority. If these parents do not see constant improvement and success right away, there is a huge desire or temptation to jump ship and send their children back to public school so they can feel safe again.

Attachment to Control

These are the micromanaging parents. These parents may homeschool because they felt like they were not “in control” of their children’s education. If you are a parent that tries to control everything, you have got to recognize this attachment and learn to give some autonomy to your child. They will grow to resent you making every decision for them. Remember, your child is not a clone of you. They are an individual being and they need to learn how to act and behave appropriately WITHOUT you their to make every decision for them.

So Now What?

Once you recognize one of these attachments (or more) in your own feelings and behavior, you are now prepared to search for specific triggers. What is it exactly that triggers these feelings? When are you most likely to expect perfection or exert control? Write down your experiences and describe when you have fallen into these traps in the past. Look for situational clues that will help you understand you. So often, a situation with our children gets worse because we bring our own baggage to the table.

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