The Relationship Dynamics Tea with Julie series continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, March 27, 2021

Hi Friend,

The best educational environment is one where everyone is moving in the same direction, with similar levels of enthusiasm. Not everyone has to “love” writing, but it helps if resistance is lowered.

So let’s work on that!

Power Dynamics in Home Education

There’s no question about “who’s in charge” in a family. Kids know. Parents know. Adults carry the responsibility so they have the power.

Knowing we're in charge, we often use that power to run our families and homeschools. We set out the expectations of what is to be done and then we expect respectful cooperation. When our kids don’t share the same goals and don’t have the same instincts, many parents assume the child is in rebellion or is willful. (Books have been written to illustrate this point.)

Kids who don’t share the same goals or perspective, instead, will assume their parents are mean and don’t understand kids. (Kids wish they had written books to illustrate this point.)

There is an imbalance between the perspectives of parents and children (one has books with studies to support its viewpoint and the other doesn’t—all kids have is whining, crying, ignoring and acts of passive aggression).

This imbalance can create havoc for the homeschooling parent who hopes their children will one day learn to write. Kids might believe that the parent’s insistence that they write is another one of those power-plays designed to meet adult needs while ignoring the viewpoints of children.

If we want to see crankiness replaced by joy (since joy is the best teacher), we have to shift the power dynamic. 

Here are some sure fire ways to do just that:

1) Apologize.

If you've been hard on your kids and their writing, go belly up. Apologize.

Say you’re sorry. Then start over, together.

2) Take the same risks your kids take.

When they write, you write. Share your writing. And the biggest bonus of all: you’ll learn how you break through stuck places so you can share those insights with your kids.

3) Ask permission.

Your child is not just a writer, but an author. Authors deserve final control over their writing. Discuss artistic choices. Then let the writer decide which of your suggested artistic choices she prefers to take.

If you take this approach with all writing (personal, academic, assigned), I've seen that over time children come to value a parent's input.

4) Ask for your child’s writing goals.

If your kids say they have no writing goals, you can share the goals you have for your writing… and then pursue them, right in front of your child.

“Wait honey. I’m working on that piece about gardening for my online community, remember? Hey can you listen a minute? How does this sound?”

I know you have goals for your children’s writing. But right now work toward unhooking the power struggle.

If your child has goals (such as, wants to write a short story or is interested in learning how to write poetry in calligraphy), talk about ways that you can support your child in reaching those goals.

  • Does your child need more time on the computer?
  • Does your student need a book about story writing?
  • Can you purchase a set of calligraphy pens?

5) Make writing opportunities interesting.

If writing has become a curse instead of a joy, take a break from writing.

Read, talk, read, talk, watch movies, read, talk.

Then pick a surprising writing activity. 

  • Leave a new freewriting prompt on an empty kitchen table with brand new colored pens and pretty paper.
  • Jump in the car and bring journals along.
  • Or write at a coffee shop, all of you, together.

Change the setting and you’ll change the attitude.

If you shift the power dynamic in your home—giving up some of your power so that your kids get some—you’ll see a shift in the level of joy in your home. It may take some time before they trust that you are truly divesting (not just manipulating them).

Once they do get on board, so many good writing experiences can follow.

What an honor to be the one to foster that kind of home environment!





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Julie Bogart
© 2021 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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