It will happen.

“I hate this book!”

“Do we have to do Morning Time?”

“There’s no point in learning algebra!”

When it happens, you have not failed.

Pick up your shield of imperviousness, homeschool mama; these complaints are not about you. They are not even about what you are studying.

They are growing pains. Learning is growing, and when it’s happening, there are times it is uncomfortable, difficult, or tense.

Of course, that doesn’t make it ok.

Truth: Complaining, grumbling, whining – these are sins. These are the sins that kept many Israelites out of the Promised Land.

Sin is a fact of life. It is the way we deal with it that changes ours.

Rachel Jankovic

Remember, these are not childish sins only. We, too, fall into the sin of complaining.

No temptation has overtaken you that is Not common to man. God is faithful, and he will Not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

How to handle kids’ complaining

Still, though we too fall, it is our job to handle the situation in front of us: our grumbling student. We cannot let him stay in that place, yet we also cannot change his heart – which is what he needs.

We have to handle the situations in front of us with wisdom, which means not seeing the complaints as a personal affront or a challenge to our authority.

We can, with practice (which we will have plenty of), keep our cool and handle the interaction with grace.

Think of it as a court case, and you are the disinterested lower court judge.

He is a plaintiff.

He has some ‘plaining to do? That is, explaining that is actually complaining?

Don’t listen. Don’t let him derail the day.

Let him file a grievance: “an official statement of a complaint over something believed to be wrong or unfair.”

He is grieved. Let him put his case into writing to be dealt with at a higher court: his father. The written suit will force him to think through his position. The hearing will come after the heat of the moment has passed. It is possible – even likely – he will settle out of court before his hearing, without being harangued by the defense (that’s us).

The sinful situation smolders and swells when we let the grievance remain the internal kind: “a feeling of resentment over something believed to be wrong or unfair.”

The problem is that emotional grievance doesn’t stay put. He thinks his school is unfair. You think it’s unjust everyone is not on board with your plan.

He is aggrieved, which makes me aggrieved, so quickly we have an escalated situation which grieves God.


It is the only solution. We must be repentant ourselves, not demand it from others.


It matters how we feel. But who can change a sinner’s heart? The Holy Spirit alone. Repentance brings with it the fruit of the Spirit, for it is only by and through Him we repent at all.

So after repenting, we have joy
and patience
and love.

If our hearts are clear before God, we can extend that grace to our children, even while they are still hot in their resentment.

When we see ourselves in them, we can smile, remain humble, and handle the situation with responsibility: with the ability to have self-control in our own response, no matter how little self-control the other party is exercising.


This is not a lesson to be learned once, but a habit to form through repeated practice. As long as we live here on earth, we will complain, we will grumble, we will grieve the Lord our God, but He always makes a way of escape for us, allowing us to repent and rejoice, over and over again.

And we can give that grace to our children when they, too, grumble and grieve.

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