Dealing With Attitudes

I had such a great post in mind for today.  We had a full weekend of learning and activities... yet to only write about all that we learned and all that we did would not be true to how our weekend REALLY went.

See this weekend when I was focusing on fun and trying to make family memories my boys were making us parents miserable.  The reality is that just because we homeschool does not mean that my kids always get along, that they are always helpful, kind and sweet, that we don't have problems with behaviors and attitudes.  

I wish I had solutions and a list of helpful ways to deal with them all for you....

But the reality is that I don't.

Each time my kids act out I have to play detective and try to figure out WHY my kids are acting out... then I might be able to come up with a really great solution or two.  Maybe.

Kids are rarely perfect and I'm not sure about you, but I know I am not a perfect parent.  Their attitudes and behaviors do affect mine and I can only tell you how our days went and the consequences we came up with.

Our weekend started innocently enough.  I took the younger two boys to their 4-H STEM class and they practiced with making wind power.  They were laughing and happy and having a great time learning some really neat lessons on wind power, the effects of wind speed, the angle/ shape/ size of the blades, etc.  It was great!

After class they asked if we could go out to lunch.  Feeling pretty good I agreed and we picked up my husband.  As we arrived at the restaurant the boys started acting up.

They did not like the restaurant we picked and started bickering and kicking each other under the table (though it should be mentioned that they often beg to go to this particular restaurant; they just didn't want to eat there on this particular day).

Alec groaned that it was such a long wait, that without his kindle or video game to play he had nothing to stop him from being bored and proceeded to blame us for his bad behavior since we should know that kids can't behave when they're bored.  He's 10!  He knows this is SO NOT true!

We threatened to leave without ordering any food.

Their behavior improved dramatically when our food arrived and I figured perhaps they were just overly hungry; I don't know about your kids but mine are unbearable when they're hungry.  They then started playing a game of I spy and got along great.

We read the Snapple cap from my drink and Alec questioned if the fact was really a fact or just a made up gimmick so once home I offered to work out the math problem with him; 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 is in fact equal to 12345678987654321!  Evan watched us solving it and they both thought it was pretty neat.  

Finished work 

With our bad moods behind us we looked forward to our afternoon. It was sunny and nice out so my husband suggested a hike.  

Well, you would have thought he told the boys they were going to be tarred and feathered with the way they carried on and on.

They finally agreed to hike if we could walk the same path that we had taken last Wednesday.  We agreed and even told them we'd stop for a treat on the way home; a milkshake!  But we expected a nice hike....

Playing on the frozen brook

Climbing trees 

They grumbled, they fought, they actually cried and both threw tantrums when we tried to modify our walk a bit and hike further.  

All I heard was that they wanted to end the hike so they could get milkshakes and head home to play video games. Are you seeing a pattern here?  I sure was starting to!

If I had been driving they would NEVER have gotten shakes but my husband is much quicker to forgive and once they calmed down, hiked nicely, and behaved at my husband's work (where we had to stop for some supplies and tools) he offered to stop and buy them milkshakes anyway an hour later.  

They apologized for their behavior and spent the rest of the night hanging out together, playing nicely and watching a movie together curled up in bed together.  

We had a fun Sunday planned and were all excited to go bowling.  

We woke in great moods and spent a wonderful morning on Sunday playing and watching videos.  Ian actually decided to come home early and join us for bowling so it was truly a family event and we left after lunch to head to the bowling alley. 

We had not been bowling together in a long time and they had so much fun at their friends birthday party recently that they could not wait to go back.  

We got our shoes, found our lane, and started to play. 

It was one of the longest hours of my life!

They bickered, mocked each other, and made me miserable. 

Evan pitched a fit and tried to punch Ian because Ian was winning and trying to give him pointers. Alec pouted and kept tearing up because he was not winning (which he usually does) and blamed Ian because he was bowling better.   

It was awful!  I wanted to leave before our game even ended.  

Once in the car I reamed them out for their horrendous behavior over the last few days and reminded them that it's been a rough couple of weeks.  The boys' behaviors towards one another just keep getting worse and worse.  The attitudes they are giving to me and my husband have been getting worse and worse.  Any moment they are not watching a movie, playing a video game or staring at a screen we're met with eye rolls, sighs, hitting, and constant fighting.  

So I told them that all screens were taken away until further notice.  They will not get any of them back until their attitudes and behaviors improve.  

Not surprisingly they did not like that.  Alec's behavior actually got worse and his attitude continued to spiral downwards.  By dinnertime he had been spoken to a minimum of 10 more times; his bedtime had been cut down by an hour and he actually shrugged and told us that he really didn't care.  He rolled his eyes so much I thought they might be permanently facing the ceiling.  

I should not have been surprised; I know by now that I can't change their attitudes and behaviors by force of will or by punishments and threats.  

  • I know it sounds odd that video games were taken away for bad behavior but the only other times we've encountered behavior this bad from our younger two is when they have had unlimited access to video games and usually taking them away for a week or two finds them doing a total about face.  

The one common theme I found throughout the weekend was that they complained about not getting to play video games; our time outside, at the restaurant, at the bowling ally, and after bowling on Sunday all took away from screen time and they resented that.  

When they can no longer remember that life does not revolve around video games they need a break. 

I often find that the attitudes and behaviors of my boys and how they treat each other as siblings has been one of the biggest struggles on our homeschooling journey.   I have yet to find a great way to deal with them though.  

Depending on the cause of the behaviors we deal with them differently.  Sometimes it's a combination of a few things.  Since not all behavior and attitude problems are not caused by the same things we often have to start by trying to figure out WHY they are acting out and then we try to come up with a solution on how to deal with them. 

Some possible causes and solutions of their behaviors:

  1. If they're acting out because they are upset or anxious we find that hugs, understanding and listening go a long way to helping them find new attitudes.
  2. If they're overtired they rest, got to bed early, or take a nap. 
  3. If they're overwhelmed by the school work and topics we help and guide them; working side by side.
  4. If they're stuck inside with one another too long and they're bored we try to get out and go on a field trip or take a hike.  
  5. If they're bored with their schoolwork we try a no book day where we play games, use science kits, and focus on hands on "fun" work.
  6. If they're just forgetting how to behave because behaviors have been left unchecked for a bit we buckle down and point out all the ways they can be nicer and more helpful to us and to each other; that's part of what we're dealing with this weekend!
  7. If they're becoming out of control because we've been lax on our rules for awhile we remind them of our rules and make sure to reinforce them as consistently as we can (we are human and therefor not perfect at this!).... again; part of what we're dealing with this weekend.  
  8. If they are acting negatively because we've changed the rules and they're showing us that those changes aren't working we go back to our old rules... the final part of what we're dealing with this weekend!  (I find no matter how many times we try my boys can not handle it when we lift all limits on screen time!)
  9. If they are missing their friends and are acting out because they are lonely we try to set up dates to meet up with friends.
  10. If they are acting out because they are not feeling well we try to get them to eat right, exercise, and rest and let their bodies heal.  

How do you deal with bad behavior and poor attitudes?

Linking Up With:

Live Live Well Pin


  1. I love your liat if things to do to help. My husband is vehemently against video games, so our kids don't play them. They have a DS given to them by a grandparent, but it never gets used! I have noticed the more time we spend together without distractions, the better my kids get along. And your post just showed me why I am glad my husband doesn't like video games (or any electronics, lol). I hope you have a great and quiet week this week, and I am glad to know my kids are not the only ones who fuss and fight!

    1. Oh I wish! My husband will willingly play alongside my kids and has fond memories of video games himself; we have so many devices I've lost count and just try to manage the time we stare at them. I figure as long as I balance our screen time with lots of free play, fresh air and real life friends I'm doing OK.

  2. I really enjoyed this post! I have also found the more my children use electronics such as video games the less they get along. But, when these are not used, attitudes are better and we have much smoother, happier days :)

    1. Yeah they were given back movies and TV only last night and we went back to our old rule that they're only allowed them after 3 on a school day; our last two days have gone so much more smoothly!

  3. Thank you for this honest post! People see the label, "homeschool Mom" and think we have it all figured out and there are never any rough days. My sons get crazy when they are hungry also! My oldest (who is only 6) got in trouble this week, and has had all screens taken away from him for a week. Thanks for sharing your week with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

    1. So true! I KNOW I don't have it all figured out. :)

  4. My youngest two seem to have a a day or two each month that bickering happens almost constantly. I usually find that they need a break from each other. We also have noticed that to much media translates into bad attitudes for our boys. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Yeah I find if they spend too much time together they definitely bicker more too.

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  6. Thank you so much for this! I think it is so important to share the ups and downs of homeschooling and raising children.

    A few weeks ago we were having this same issue with one of our youngest. I yelled, he cried. It was rough. But I got back to the rules, took some game time and we are back to where we need to be. Thanks again for all the inspiration and help! :)

    Man I love fried fish!!!

    Thanks for linking up at #LiveLifeWell



    1. I do think we can't just post about the happy fun days. When I first started homeschooilng I felt like all the kids and families we met were so quiet and the siblings got along so well and the kids willingly did their schoolwork that I thought I had to be doing something wrong since my kids fought (a LOT!), refused any and all work, and we pushed through tears for many days until we finally found what works for us. Of course we still have days when they fight, refuse to work, and cry but thankfully they are fewer and further between than they used to be.


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