Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When Dad and Mom Don't Agree

This week, Dr. Phil hosted a show called "No Compromise" where he interviewed a couple who have a major difference on a critical issue. Whether or not they should homeschool their four year old son. The mom believes she should homeschool. The dad thinks that the son will be stunted socially if he's not with other children. Both believe their right.

Dr. Phil sides with the mom. That is, up until eighth grade. He changes his mind when it comes to high school. Here's what the show's website says,
Dr. Phil brings up the research. "The truth is, the research shows there is absolutely no disruption of social development and evolution in children who are home schooled up through the eighth grade," he tells them. "But that presupposes that the parents are willing to make the time commitment, the money commitment, the lifestyle commitment to provide that academic environment for the child at home. And then to take them to participate in extra-curricular activities of their peer group. Like the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, the church groups and socials, and sports and choirs and things like that. Once kids get to high school, social development is important. They become more independent. They want to interact on their own. They’re post-pubescent. And so they don’t do well in a home school environment in high school as they do socially in a public or private school."
Unfortuantely, Dr. Phil does not offer a source for the research to which he is referring. I'm not aaware of any studies that show that either public or private school is a better option. Anecdotal evidence could demonstrate the very opposite. HSLDA would like us to contact the show and ask Dr. Phil what evidence or research he is using. Here's the website on how to do that.

As far as the actual disagreement, as a Christian, I would contend that the wife should allow the husband to direct the final decision. She is free to voice her reservations but should do so with the understanding that she is willing to submit to his final decision in the matter. I also believe that both the husband and the wife should study what the word of God says about how we are to instruct our children. Both should examine their motives and heart in the matter. And of course, they should come together and pray and ask the Father to give them guidance and direction. Ultimately, obeying God and His Word despite how they may feel.

I have to say, however, that going on the Dr. Phil show and seeking his counsel would not be the best option for resolving this disupute. The woman is now fortified with new ammunition to use against her husband. As a result, he is weakened as a husband and a father. To their impressionable son, that's a message that is going to be hard to erase.

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