I was re-reading in Education for the Wholehearted Child another principle that was exactly what I needed to hear.
God gives two commandments to children- honor your parents, obey your parents. One is about the attitude or the heart, and the other is about action. Both these commands must be followed for there to be true love and respect in the home. It is not enough for a child to do as they are told if they do so with dishonor in their heart. When they turn on their heel with rolled eyes, sighs, or hatefulness under their breath they may have obeyed but they have dishonored nonetheless.
This affects the home and school like a subtle poison. It can explain many things that seem to go wrong in what would otherwise be a wonderful, productive day.
I think too, it's equally important that we not provoke the children to anger as God has commanded us as their parents. Sarcasm, yelling, sharpness in tone does not go unnoticed by them. Even though they grow into bigger bodies their feelings are still that of child. Sometimes their bad attitude is one of defense because they have their feelings hurt by something we've said, or how we've said it.
If you have veered off course, as we have at times (times like this) it's not an easy path back to the road of honor and obedience. The habit is not in place, and it won't happen overnight. It might even get worse before it gets better.
I feel very blessed that we have strayed but a little and that the dishonor I feel from time to time when they grumble or roll their eyes, is quickly resolved and that with contrite hearts the children apologize and recognize their fault.
Have you had the discussion with your kids about what constitutes "rolling" of the eyes? Does it count if they look sideways or up? Or if they merely look away and set their jaw? For the record, YES!
So maybe you are asking the same question I had? Does that mean they have to be happy and pleasant when they have been asking to clean up dog vomit or scrub toilets? No. So we are working with the kids on healthy ways to express their very natural emotions and reactions. Key words or phrases they can use. Like "That's not my favorite thing to do" or "Are you sure I can't go for a root canal instead?" It's also okay if they ask for a minute to collect themselves. It's okay too if when they react badly and it's calmly corrected. I think it's great to give them a way out while still maintaining their dignity. Asking questions that allow them to express themselves is working well here too. "Did you mean to be disrespectful or are you just frustrated?"
At any rate this is the very foundation of parenting in my opinion, and to attempt child rearing or home schooling without this rock is building a house on sand.
As I am making progress in many areas of our home life, I recognize that no progress can truly be made or maintained if I take my eye off this ball for one moment.