First born’s. That pretty much says it all. I am a typical first born child. I am Type A personality to the “t”. I like things in order. I like organization. I like alphabetized books. My heart literally smiled when I walked in to the consignment shop near us and everything was color-coded. I was so excited, I even sent a picture to my mother to show her and let her share in my joy.
When our oldest began showing signs of the Type A personality, it didn’t surprise me. Even though my husband is the “baby” of his family, he does like things to be organized. So it was only natural that our child would like order. From a very early age, he would color-code his blocks and cars. He would like them up evenly with each other. And he would eat his food in sections.
He was our child.
As we began our homeschooling journey, I believed I knew exactly how he would work and do things. After all, I’m a first-born too. I like order. But…OH MAN! was I in for a rude awakening. He didn’t do things just like I did. SHOCKER! Although we do have many similarities, there are still many differences.
He is a boy, so his idea of “order” and “organization” is different than mine.
He is a self-starter, but only on certain things – not everything, like me.
He likes his alone time and so do I, which can make constant contact difficult for both of us.
He has a “know-it-all” attitude…and so do I.
Over the years, we’ve had many struggles between us as we both try to navigate what we think is “right.” I have spent many hours in tears, because I didn’t understand how God thought I was the best mom for him. I have spent many hours on the phone with other homeschooling moms to get tips and ideas on how to bring out his best without crushing his spirit. I have had countless one-on-one conversations with him to find out why he did something a certain way.
It hasn’t been easy.
Parenting the Know-it-all, Self-Starter Attitude can be a blessing!
You heard me right. A blessing. That hard-work, can-do attitude can be wonderful when harnessed in the right direction and given the right motivation. Although, we frequently revisit the expectations I have for him, he is usually willing to do what I ask. Of course, there is some resistance – he’s only 9 years old.
First, you need to find out what their goals are. A self-starters goal will determine how they work. Is it to finish? To learn? To “win”? These goals need to be guided so as not to create unattainable goals or false goals in the mind of the learner. That takes patience and lots of conversations back-and-forth. But these conversations also lead to sweet, quality time with your child.
Second, you will likely need to work on patience. Self-starters and know-it-all’s are rarely patient with those who don’t understand things as easily or quickly as they do – and their temper flairs quickly and easily, which can be a dangerous combination. It’s not something that is easy to control, but over time it can happen. Patience is something I struggle with daily. And I see that in my oldest too. His age difference between his siblings doesn’t help either, because he doesn’t remember “not knowing” things.
So how do we work on patience? I set aside times for him to help his younger siblings with their schoolwork. This gives him a specific task to help them with, where I am present and can help keep everyone’s attitudes in check. When time is set aside for this specific task, he is more focused and his patience is higher. This has really helped him bond with his siblings and enjoy them more, rather than see them as “pests”.
Third, eliminate the isolation. If your know-it-all, self-starter is like most others…they are not the social butterflies of the group. They like their alone time and are perfectly content spending hours by themselves. So, how do you get your self-starter to socialize with the family and friends? My oldest loves to spend time outside playing with his own imagination. He has always been welcoming to others, so long as they join in his “world” of play. We have had to work on him playing what others want to play sometimes, rather than just his plan. Some days are better than others and honestly, some friends are better than others. But, it is all part of the learning process.
Although we still have struggles, my self-starter-know-it-all has grown more than I ever imagined in the past few years. We have overcome many obstacles within our family as well as with his friends. Even though we have struggled, he has taught me more than I ever thought possible. He has made me a better Mom.
Want to know how we have overcome the self-starter, know-it-all attitude in our homeschooling? It isn’t easy teaching a self-starter, know-it-all. But, it can be done!! You can read more about our journey and my tips in this new book, I co-authored with 14 other homeschool bloggers!! Check it out now and get THREE amazing bonuses with your purchase (through 4/30/15)!!