Encouraging Good Attitudes in the Home and Homeschool

Personally, I have found that within in the home, attitudes are insidious. When one person has a bad attitude, it negatively affects others and can create chaos. On the other hand, when everyone chooses to persevere with a right attitude, occasional grumbles and the like don’t really have much impact on the overall scheme of things.

Attitude is closely linked to the expression of negative emotions, like anger, which certainly can have a detrimental effect on the entire household if not handled properly.

Mom having a good attitude is key to maintaining a peaceful and joyful home atmosphere that is conducive to meeting family, home management, and homeschooling goals. There is a real “trickle down effect” that occurs in the home, so if Mom is responding in a positive manner, children are more likely to reciprocate. Of course, Mom having a great attitude doesn’t guarantee that the kids (or Dad!) will, too. So, as the “manager of the home,” part of your job is to encourage everyone to have a godly attitude on a consistent basis. How to accomplish this?

Well, our human nature wants things now. We want quick-fixes and would rather put a band-aid on a gunshot wound than do extensive and time-consuming surgery. Unfortunately, encouraging proper attitudes is a process that requires perseverance as well as understanding.

How to Encourage a Good Attitude in Children

Perhaps obviously, bad attitudes are usually just the evidence of a flesh versus Spirit battle, and the flesh is winning. Typically, an individual (whether Mom, Dad, or kids) wants to do one thing, and their authority (Mom, Dad, or God) in some way makes it clear that something else is more necessary. And the knee-jerk reaction is grumbling, complaining, arguing, anger, or a generally sour approach to the task at hand.

I have found that when dealing with attitudes in the children, a proactive approach is best. We teach and train twelve “core values” as part of our Biblical instruction. Three of those values are surrender, self-control, and praise, all of which come into play in the area of attitudes. We like to focus on these positive character traits at a time when there is no correction needed, but rather to teach the foundational Biblical principles, Scriptures, and ways of interacting before negative situations arise. Otherwise, if we wait until something happens and simply provide discipline, sometimes it is not well received because of the negative situation.

So, we pick out a time (usually daily) to have a “training time.” (We talk about this at length in our book, The Values-Driven Family, and also have a brief article available on our Web site called The Softer Side of Child Training here.) There are many ways to incorporate fun and memorable elements into a training time, but one thing we always do is share Scriptures about select values or Christlike character traits and discuss how these values and verses do (or should) play out in our everyday situations. Of course, we don’t always have lessons related to attitude, but when we do we might share some of the following verses and how to apply them in maintaining a godly attitude:

Surrender

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)

Mom and Dad occasionally have a bad attitude when God (who has authority over them) wants them to do something contrary to their own will; and similarly the children can experience this rebellion when Mom or Dad make a request. This verse helps to remind everyone that it is God’s plans and purposes that should prevail, not our own. As we discuss this verse and others like it, we consider things like, What is the outcome of submitting to authorities? What happens when you rebel against the powers who are over you? What are our existing authorities and how do we show them subjection? We guide the discussion a bit to show the children that it is a blessing to be surrendered to those who have rule over you, and that this is God’s desire.

Self-Control

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)

One of the side effects of both bad attitude and anger is running at the mouth and saying things you shouldn’t. We share verses like this in relation to self-control, and even though the reminder to keep a bridle on the tongue in spite of negative emotions may not help to change the attitude, it can keep the resulting damage to a minimum.

Praise

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5)

Anger and bad attitudes can be the result of rebellion but it can also come from a spirit of discontent or unnecessary upset. The core value of praise reminds us that God wants us to rejoice in all circumstances. Having verses at the ready that talk about rejoicing, even in the midst of trials, can be an encouragement when someone in the household is struggling in this area.

Of course, there are more verses that speak to these particular subjects but hopefully this simple overview will show you how you can teach God’s Word and help everyone in the family to apply it to real-life situations, especially here in relation to attitude (but also, by extension, anger and other emotional outbursts). Through this consistent exercise, you can create a more  joyful home atmosphere. Having covered applicable verses during family time, it becomes simply a reminder to the children when attitudes or anger flare, to share one of the applicable verses in an encouraging manner and say something like, “This is what we talked about the other day…this is one situation where you can choose to obey God’s Word and be blessed.”

The approach of meditating on God’s Word and using it during life’s “teachable moments” is not an instant-fix, but it gets to the heart and will prove more effective than other “band-aids” in the long run. The consistent teaching and application of the Scriptures has been the one thing that I would say has affected the most change in the atmosphere of our home. So I encourage you to turn to God’s Word to correct bad attitudes and other outbursts in your home; pray with and for your children as you minister the encouragement of the Word and trust God that His Word will not return void!


Cynthia Carrier is the homeschooling mom of seven children and author of The Growing Homeschool: Integrating Babies and Toddlers into Your Already Busy Schedule and the children’s character training coloring book, Growing to be Like JesusThe Values-Driven Family: A Proactive Plan for Successful Biblical Parenting and Values-Driven Discipleship: Biblical Instruction and Character Training Manual. She is also a popular speaker at homeschool conventions and events. Visit her website, ValuesDrivenFamily.com.

avatar Cindy Carrier (2 Posts)

Cynthia Carrier is the homeschooling mom of seven children and author of "The Growing Homeschool: Integrating Babies and Toddlers into Your Already Busy Schedule," "Home Sweet Home: Creating a Joyful Home Atmosphere," and the children's character training coloring book, "Growing to be Like Jesus." She also has written, with her husband, Marc, "The Values-Driven Family" and "Values-Driven Discipleship: Biblical Instruction and Character Training Manual." The focus of Marc and Cindy's "Values-Driven" ministry is to encourage and equip Christian families to make the most of every opportunity: that is, to serve God, participate in fulfilling the Great Commission, and raise children who love and serve the Lord. For more information about their resources, for fresh inspiration on your family journey, or to find practical helps--including dozens of FREE DOWNLOADS--visit www.ValuesDrivenFamily.com.


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