ANSWERS & ADVICE: Homeschoolers & The Real World

Recently got this question from another homeschooling mom:
Q: "Making home a priority is so important. What do I say to those people (Christians) who say, "Get off of your island!"; "You are so shielded from the real world."; "Your children will never know how to act in the real world - you are crippling them."; "You need to let other people invest in the lives of your children." Seriously - people say this stuff to me. I never know how to respond."
A: I do not know the age of the mother asking this question... and that certainly affects my reply. But here are my thoughts in response to her question; please feel free to add your response in the comments section.

I think receiving these comments when one's children are young is, frankly, absurd. But to the homeschooling community in general, there is a tendency for some of these things to be true about our children if we are not careful to get them to a point where they can wisely, safely and healthily live IN the world by the time they are adults. Ours is a society with transgender kindergarteners and porn addictions, teen pregnancies and same-sex marriage. Just using google can Pretending like these things don't exist is not a choice that will serve our children well.

I've proposed my thoughts about that in an article called "Thoughts on Sheltering". Michael Pearl has also put out a series of articles called "The Cloistered Homeschooler Syndrome" that I would recommend to every homeschooler. I absolutely would recommend a process of prayerfully and carefully talking through real life issues, and slowly but surely and intentionally releasing our children so that they can wisely live in the world.

I say all of that because I don't know how old your children are. If they are older, I'd encourage you to read the above mentioned articles and prayerfully consider ways that you can release your children into adulthood in the real world in a meaningful & intentional way. But if they are younger, I'd just either not say anything, or if I was really being challenged (more than just an occasional comment), I'd reference Deut. 6, Proverbs, and other places that show that parents are to be the primary teachers and "input" into their children's lives, particularly when they are young.

One other random thought-- I was interested to note that the very first mention of motherhood in the bible is when GOD says "a man shall leave his mother" in reference to Adam & Eve's union... from the very beginning-- before there were even children, LEAVING was the whole point. I think we as moms need to remember that, particularly as our children grow older.

But to moms of young children, these concerns are ridiculous. I don't want other first graders "socializing" my son when he ought to be learning. I can do a much better job socializing my son about real world things he'll encounter as an adult rather than having him exist in a microcosm where Bratz and Wii games are the most important things, thankyouverymuch. :) Additionally, God instructs me to be teaching my children diligently. So, that's what I'm doing. The time for outside input will come later.

But for now, I get the opportunity to pour in as much of the Lord, His Word, and His wisdom into my children, and I don't want to squander that.


Ashley said...

oh, preach on sister! i cannot stand the whole "socialization" argument. like you said, i have no interest in other 6 year olds socializing my child. i'm pretty sure i can do a better job myself, THANKYOUVERYMUCH!!

my sister pointed out to me that some research was done on the optimum time to transition "missionary kids" to america, if the transition is going to be made. the best time was onset of puberty (about age 12 or before) or wait until adulthood (18+). i thought about it and concluded that the same is probably true for homeschool transition into the real world. thoughts on the connection? sorry, i don't know the whereabouts of the alleged study.

Mrs Adept said...

Hi, I just found your blog and have started perusing. Looks super interesting. :)

Sharon said...

That article by the Pearls has some great things to think about. Thanks for linking to it, I appreciated it.

~ Sharon

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Thanks for the post, Jess. It's just what I needed when I needed it. After homeschooling our children forever, we have decided to put them in school for the first time. There are a lot of reasons behind it (moving to an Islamic country where they are totally isolated is the biggie), but it's a real struggle for me.

I don't think I've ever "over-sheltered" my kids. We have always been open and discussed real-world stuff, but the thought of them going out into the world where I have no control is killing me. They are both in middle school and this is such a critical age. But after a year of prayer and debate, we feel this is what God would have us do.

I am so intrigued by your point that the first mention of motherhood is the leaving part. I'd never realized that before, but it sums up our job, doesn't it? Preparing them to be adults who can stand on their own and live productive, godly lives. Thanks for the reminder.

linda said...

Thanks for the great post Jess, I have been reading your blog since this past Dec, and I love it. I have three children, 9, 6 and 20 months old. The two older ones are at a small Lutheran school, which we absolutely love. However the "homeschooling bug" has been heavy on my heart lately and I am trying to discern what this means for my family, I am doing loads of research on this topic. I have to say it just makes common sense, I don't know if it is just a fear holding me back, but the fact I love the school makes it hard to pull them out also.I love hearing all you have to say with your experience. My husband and I are praying about this and we will see what happens. Thanks again for all the great info.
ps I wanted to know if I could post your link on my blog, new to this and I don't know if you need to ask or not?
Thanks again for a true honest blog.

Catherine R. said...

I think I read the Pearl article. I believe it was them who said parenthood is working yourself out of a job...the whole point is getting them ready to be OK on their own.

I am interested in specifics. I am uncertain at what age homeschoolers are best integrated into outside world activities and to what extent. Do people sign their kids up for Boy Scouts and Brownies? Let them interact with their ultra-worldly cousins? Put them in local sports teams?

I don't really know what it looks like. I have so little experience with homeschool lifestyle, yet I plan to do it. I want to do it right and for all the good reasons but not have bizarre children who will end up as 25 year-olds who seem like they are from Mars. (Yes I know my kid is only 2 months old...I know this is a far off issue but it doesn't hurt to have a vision, right?)

Jess said...

Unfortunately there's not a super-clear guideline. I have some ideas of how we'll do this, but I think it could be widely varied from one family to another.

Some ideas might inculde:

* to let your children attend a community college the last year or two of homeschooling
* to encourage your children to work at a place like Starbucks, Panera, Trader Joes, or Old Navy so that they're given the opportunity to readily engage in culture (as it really is) in a relatively "safe" environment while still living at home and under your authority
* to help out with the father's business, if there is travel or bookkeeping or outside-of-the-home interaction involved
* to take part in extracurricular teams and activities (youth soccer league? spring baseball teams? ice skating/gymnastic competitions? etc...)

Again, the ideas could be as varied as each child and their particular interests. The point is to get them to the point where they are ready to be in the world but not of it (among other goals) by that age of adulthood.

Addie said...

First of all I want to say how much I have appreciated your blog so much. It is very hard trying to take the ultraconservative views, the ultratraditional, and the ultraradical (often worldly and liberal, but the only source for info on more natural, and I feel God intended type of parenting) and synthesize the information to develop my own method of parenting. It has been such a blessing to hear from someone who I feel is so balanced and coming from a godly worldview.

In particular response to this post; My sister and I were homeschooled for many years, and I feel like the best response to the idea that kids will not realize what the world is really like is that when you are ministering parents the hurting and ugly things find their way to your family, but you are there as a parent to moderate your kids exposure. My dad was a full time home to Rural and Ranching Families in the Southwest US, and while almost all of our family's activities were together, we were not sheltered because my dad's ministry was all of our ministry. When hurting people needed help they became a friend of all of ours, and even as children we knew of horrible things that had happened to them and learned that the most important response is love. I can't imagine a better way to be "socialized" or exposed to a hurting world.

Heather said...

What a timely post! I just got into a blog conversation regarding this very matter last week.

Mrs. Lindblom said...

Thank you for the article you linked to. My kids are 2.5 and 7 months and when people found out I wanted to homeschool them, I got the exact same responses as the lady you spoke about.

Claire said...

Super timely post for me, too. My lovely (homeschooled) 14yo daughter took me to dinner last night at a local restaurant, and our waitress (Suzy) was a former homeschooler that I had known a few years ago from our ISP. She is almost 20, and about to move out for the first time to attend a Christian college here.

It was wonderful talking with her. I asked her how it has been working in a secular environment. She said, "hard," then went on to tell me about the people who teased her about being homeschooled, and the gay man that constantly harassed her at work, finding joy in making her cry. She was on her last few days of work there, and had gone to him and said, "I will never forget you. You made me grow so much." That made him mad. :)

She said her parents were concerned about her working under those conditions, but then prayed her through it. She has really grown, and has been a blessing to many BUT, she was old enough to handle the pressure because her parents didn't thrust her into the world too soon.

That's what I strive for with my kids. We live in Southern California, and they are exposed to plenty of darkness, but by keeping them home for school, I believe we are able to shore them up for the time that they actually have to handle it on their own. Seeing Suzy yesterday really encouraged me.

FYI, when I say we are "home," I don't mean we stay home all the time. There are music lessons, and field trips and dance lessons and church and babysitting (for my daughter). At ages 12 and 14, they no longer want to be home all the time, and that's okay. But, I am with them most of the time, even at their activities. :)

Anonymous said...

I was brought up in a very strict household. As a result, I was a bit naive when I left home to go to college.

People can have the most credible backgrounds - they can have been brought up in churches, accomplished and successful. Yet, they can sometimes also be dangerous in that they are disrespectful, take advantage of kindness, or perhaps be too controlling.

As an adult it became essential for me to learn how to recognize these attributes. Then, I had to learn how to protect myself from them by sticking up for myself, and having stronger boundaries. It was a long and exhausting process and I wish I'd learned more as I grew up.

I think the hardest, most challenging and painful thing though, has been the way my devoted Christian relatives are unwilling to discuss anything, ever, that goes beyond what their church says. If I'm seeking guidance for how to handle a relationship, for example, they simply bark out an order and that's it. They don't take the time to listen for what it is that's specifically confusing me.

This has led to tragedy within their own household, as they now have a daughter & granddaughter who has gone to the other extreme: she's become an alcoholic and had a child all before the age of 18.

My point is that as kids get older, they need to learn the ways of the world. They need to be able to recognize poor judgment regardless of its packaging. Keeping them too sheltered only creates a person who is paralyzed in the face of confusing and tricky situations.


Lana said...

It's an interesting question because homeschool moms and kids get asked that all the time.

I think it's a lot different today because our kids will be faced with a lot more at a young age than we did (I say that as a homeschool graduate of a few years ago). For example, a group of homeschool boys were talking about Obama, and our four-year old heard him say, "Obama kills babies" and started weeping.

So it's interesting that we don't have to take our kids into the schools for them to find out about the world.

In my personal life, in high school I met the world and its philosophy by hanging out at the bookstore. School isn't the answer for everything. *smile*

WendyLou said...

Oh, and I see you have a little Lacrae on your playlist down there. If you're ever in Memphis, visit my church, and I'll introduce you!!

Mrs. R said...

I'm the one who asked this question back in December. =) I should probably be embarrassed to tell you that I am 37 and the mom of 5 children, the oldest being a 10 year old girl.

I SHOULD be wise enough to handle the kinds of comments people throw at me. However, the reality is that the opposition is so strong... so strong that it sometimes scares me how people FORCE their thoughts toward us.

I wish I could just chalk it up to the fact that many people "just don't understand", but it's much more than that. They think we are flat out WRONG to be raising our children the way we are.

I am having to rest in the fact that my husband and I will be the ones held accountable for how our children are raised... not others.

As for sheltering them from the world, yes, we are doing that. BUT we are also equipping them at age-appropriate levels (and that's for US as parents to decide how soon (or late) to introduce certain topics). We talk about things that we see and hear that are not appropriate. We explain WHY these "things" aren't pleasing to God, trying to use scriptures to back that up.

Bottom line for us is "Who are we trying to please?" And OUR answer is, "THE LORD."

So, it's all straight in my mind and heart. I just have trouble responding clearly to others when they throw these comments out. I should probably memorize some responses so that I'm not caught off guard the next time someone makes a comment.

anna said...

Just a thought - Michael Pearl's chosen name of "cloistered homeschool syndrome" can be kind of a misnomer - the problems described are not just applicable to homeschool kids. The same problem can crop up even if the kids go to public school. It is really just bad parenting.

gina said...

There is no black and white answer for this. Every child is different. One child/teen may be ready to venture out and do some things, when another teen may not be ready at the same time. that has been our experience. That is why we need to pray over each child and seek wisdom. My kids experiences will be different than yours. It's so easy to compare. Or, to say...that we saw disasters happen and so we need to do this or that. It is just not that black and white. I would encourage every mom to get alone and pray for wisdom. When my kids were little, if I had been given a glimpse of the things that God has for them in their teen years, I would have said, 'NO WAY!" But God prepared them...and me. On the other hand, if I had said, "When they are 16, they will do this or that..." I would have been walking on dangerous ground, because my children were so different and ready for different things at different times.

Read the articles. Glean. But most importantly, pray over your children. They are individuals. God will show YOU what is best for each individual.

Kari said...

Thanks for writing about this topic. My oldest is 3 years old and the decision is soon approaching whether we will homeschool or not. Thanks also for linking your article from last June. It was good to see some notes on Love and Logic. I am just starting that book and was interested to know your thoughts on it.

Anonymous said...

That post on sheltering was really good, and I meant to write up my own reflections on the subject, but never got around to it.

Our children are not exclusively homeschooled, but I think every involved parent inevitably does some homeschooling. Obviously we are not going to rely solely on public schools to teach our kids about everything.

Sheltering can be a problem even in families where kids are not homeschooled. If you send your kids to a public or private school where they encounter very few children from different ethnic, political, religious or economic backgrounds, they can grow up without many clues about how the world works.

Laurie B

ShellyR said...

so are you saying that you're the type of parent whose kids relate better to adults than to other kids? You said: "I can do a much better job socializing my son..." I don't agree.

It's also funny to me how you act like you're the expert on children when you only have small children, never have had a teenager and especially have never had a child go off to college (where most homeschooled kids go crazy and rebel).

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that homeschooling is more of a "control-issue" for parents. They want to control everything. Let me tell you, I had to make decisions to stand fro Jesus my whole time in elementary school. I remember many of those times and they really shaped me to be who I am today. I'm glad my parents didn't feel the need to control me and know exactly everything I was learning, saying or doing.
Annabelle Showers

Jess said...

You're free not to agree. I do think I can do a better job preparing my son for the real world than a gaggle of other 6 year olds and one teacher left to manage 20 of them. So did most of the founding fathers' and church fathers' mothers... this isn't some freak of nature choice.

As for whether or not I'm an expert, had you bothered to click to the link, you'd see that I don't set myself up as some sort of expert on teens. Goodness gracious, how foolish that would be of me! That's the reason for my first paragraph.

Look-- I have some experiences as a homeschool mom of one so far. I try to read and learn a lot about it, learning from those who really ARE experts and have been in the trenches for 15 or more years. I went through my teenage years with many homeschooled friends and watched many of them crash and burn and some of them fly and do extremely well. I have a fair amount of experience. I'm no expert, but I feel OK about sharing about my thoughts and experiences.

If you don't agree, that's fine. If you hate everything I say, that's fine. My kids are really fun people-- and kids and adults seem to think so. Maybe I'm wrong about much of this though. And that's OK. I'm not forcing anyone to read, and certainly not twisting anyone's arm to follow my lead or my advice.

But I got asked a question, and I answered it.

Jess said...

If I went onto a public schoolers' blog, I'd probably need to say something more than:

"It seems to me that public schooling is more of a lazy choice for parents who can't stand being around their kids."

If I said something as judgmental as that (akin to your first statement), I wouldn't expect my comments to be taken very seriously or soberly by the author or much of anyone else reading that blog.

As for my and my house, we feel convicted by Deut. 6 to spend lots of time with our children, teaching and training them as we go. If at some point, we feel that some other form of schooling will allow us to do that and obey Scripture more prudently, we're open to that. Right now, this is where we're at. We're homeschoolers. Not militant. Not angry about it. Just trying to obey Scripture and be faithful with what we've been given, the same as any other disciple of Christ.


Leah said...

God has taken my husband and I on a HUGE jouney over the past two years; we've searched the scriptures and been on our knees seeking His wisdom for our family and our/their future and we are now ruined for the Kingdom! If we lift our head and look ahead at what our hearts desire is for our children; what are we doing about it today? We've been home educating since Sept 08 (in the depths of the Uk where it still is pretty much a foreign concept!)as we saw in the Word the biblical responsibility for parents to their children...and the fruit: Jesus is no.1 in our home, a fruitful marriage, growing, thriving children (in the making!!) AND a happy happy Mama! Everyday we seek Gods Word and wisdom for the hearts of our children and pray, pray, pray.

What we've realised as people have examined 'our journey' is that if you don't 'get it' you just don't 'get it' and it's not our job to 'convince' people; we'll leave that to the Holy Spirit.

Great post Jess!

Anonymous said...

As a former public school teacher, the choice to homeschool was easy to make. In our eyes, the decision is perfect for our two kiddos, but I've been getting some negative feedback from others when they find out that my oldest son has mild developmental delays (he is being assessed for autism/ our doctor's third request). They question whether I am making a good choice of educating a child who needs "special" help. I hear these questions, and my confidence wavers for a second. I have a Master's degree in education, yet that kind of question causes me to waver? I am only on the outskirts of homeschooling, so I don't know what all is out there for mom's of kiddos with special needs, but I know that I still am the better choice for his education for so many reasons.

I feel like others look at me as trying to hide his quirks or delays. That is not the case, but it doesn't stop them from questioning. I've been out there in the schools. I know where he would fit in.

I know that ultimately it is our responsibility, but I really don't like how the culture feels compelled to instill a sense of doubt in homeschoolers each step of the way.

Best Life said...

I agree with Gina...each situation is individual. We do believe in sheltering and we have one daughter that is a homeschool graduate (plus other children still in homeschool). It has worked for us. BUT our way of raising our kids is not the way for everyone. Our children have their own paths to travel and they are different than your children's. Just bringing up individual stories doesn't prove anything. I can tell you many success stories of young adults that were sheltered and now have joyful, successful lives. We each have our own experiences to learn from. Mine tell me that sheltering is the best way to raise a child to adulthood.

But we don't just shelter them and then dump them onto the side of the road and say, "Go live life out there now." It is a slow, natural process. You can tell when they are ready for the next step into the adult world and they get there slowly...much slower than the world does it. I do not agree with the Pearl's teachings on this issue. But like I said, we are all different. We can't use experience to prove our points...only the Scriptures can really direct us and I believe they direct us to shelter and protect our children. Lisa~

Anonymous said...

as always jess, i agree with you :)
you are so wise :)
as a homeschooler to 6 for 10+ years, i suspect there are 2 issues here.

one is the issue of sheltering (and some homeschoolers DO shelter in a way which will cause their children to have difficulty adjusting to life outside the safe home environment.
but most that i know (here in a country where homeschooling is still a really weird thing to do!) do not do that at all. although strangers are always quick to assume the worst!

the other issue is one of the personality of the parent being challenged about their choice. if the parent is insecure, or melancholic/sanguine, they are more likely to take negative comments to heart and agonise over them. on the other hand, a parent who is more choleric/phlegmatic or emotionally secure is more likely to shrug off those comments.
i am more the second type, so other people's comments don't bother me so much. i know i am doing the right thing for our family for now, so what other people may say or think doesn't worry me too much!
my more emotionally insecure friends, however, tend to worry much more.

anyway, i just thought i'd add that other perspective.

Britt said...


You are awesome...really. God has given you so much wisdom! You are always in my prayers and I just love ya girl!

Jess said...

Thanks for your sweet words (and siminoz and others, too). Any wisdom that comes out at all is from God alone. He promises in James 1:5 to give it generously, and I beg Him for it a lot. I don't feel very "awesome", LOL, but I appreciate your sentiments nonetheless.

I've received enough private comments over this post to make sure I darn well realize that plenty of moms differ with me on these things. And they're certainly right about one thing-- I could be wrong. I've only seen what I've seen in life and my observations, and I've only read what I've read from Scripture and other private readings. Indeed, we each must be accountable for what we do with the blessings God gives (including our children), and I'm not trying to usurp anyone's parental authority.

At the same time, I want to state unequivocally and openly that I do not believe it's wrong for a young women to share what she has seen plainly-- whether in Scripture, experience, or both. Everyone who comes to this blog has the opportunity to see clearly that I have not raised teenagers ("mommy to four kids 6 and under"). I'm not hiding anything or pretending to be something I'm not.

Apparently, some people think that any woman sharing an opinion about anything she has not personally walked through is wrong. I don't agree. I believe Scripture and discernment that comes from seeing real life situations in the lives of fellow Christians gives us each a unique perspective and potential wisdom that may not come from having done something, but from the insight He gives us through life and the Word.

And, ya know, I'm not sharing because I think I know it all or have all the answers... Usually, when I do these "answers & advice" posts, I share the question, and then, once 20 or more people have shared their thoughts, I share mine. This time, if I'm remembering correctly, I received this question as an e-mail, and I answered her. Then I decided to use this as a launching point for discussion, and posted it as an A&A column. Because I'm a busy mom of 4 and knew I'd forget if I didn't, I went ahead and attached my response on the front end, so I didn't have to come back and copy and paste it in the comments section.

I'm not trying to delude myself that if I just follow some theories, everything will come out right. At the same time, when I see clear principles or insight from Scripture or life, I want to share it and potentially help others. And when I get asked a question, I try to answer it with caution and discernment.

If you disagree, fine. But please, attack the ideas and not me personally. I've withheld some comments this go-round because they're addressed to me personally, trying to size me up and offer advice. So I figured they were meant for my eyes and not everyone else's. But just so everyone knows, there are certainly moms who disagree with this advice and (I'm sorry to say) some of them probably think I'm young and arrogant. These are the times when not putting much stock in the opinions of man, for good or for ill, becomes a very helpful lesson.

Laura said...

Jess, I think you're spot on with that last comment. It seems to me that we've bought into this idea that Christians, brothers and sisters united in Christ, have nothing to teach each other unless they have something ELSE in common. I call that baloney. Our shared identity in Christ unites us, and we don't need to add a bunch of "affinity"-type requirements. Incidentally, this is why I despise "singles" Sunday School classes and the like.

If I'm unqualified to remind my married friends of the Gospel (even in the context of their marriage) because I'm not married, if they can't encourage me with truth just because they got married at 18 and I'm still single at 27... well, that's going to make for some pretty isolated Christians!

And you're right -- we have been given EVERYTHING we need for life and Godliness in the Scriptures. Life experience is helpful and sanctifying but it's not the be-all and end-all of living in community together with other believers!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Annabelle used judgmental language, but I think she hit on one benefit of public school that is overlooked by many homeschoolers.

Having grown up as a member of a small religious minority, I was forced to acknowledge and understand, from a very young age, that my family did things differently. I learned not to expect that other kids believed in the same things. Of course, my parents had to be very involved in building and supporting this part of my family's identity while my siblings and I were not at school.

Looking back, I think this experience helped give me the confidence to resist peer pressure as an older child and young adult, when lots of other kids were doing things that went against my values (sex, drinking, drugs). I already knew I was different from the mainstream, even though I had been interacting with the mainstream for many years.

Maybe I have misunderstood what Annabelle was getting at, but I think parents who try to control outside influences too much are sometimes not giving their kids enough credit.

Laurie B

Julie said...

Jess, I understand what you are saying so clearly about people who think you are young and ignorant. I am 30 years old and have been married for 8 glorious years to an amazing godly man. Apparently, this makes me useless in the marriage advice catagory. Even though I am passionate about marriage and have read and studied the scriptures, Im just too young and blessed with a great husband. *Sigh*
Same with kids. Before we ever had the first kid at our house we had some serious guidelines for how we would raise them. People scoffed. But my kids are amazing. By God's hand! We stuck to those Biblical guidelines and even picked up a few more.
My oldest is 11, but she is still very emotionally immature (adopted from fostercare at 9).
We do shelter them. We take the time to search out scriptures with them. To discuss daily issues. To let them fight a few minor battles on their own while we are with them.
Our goal is that they will have an answer for their faith and beliefs when they become young adults. We take that very serioulsy.
However we don't think that means throwing them into battle unprepared. They are still in boot camp learning how to use their weapons. Why would I send them out against the enemy before they are ready??
Great post! Thanks!

Jess said...

I meant to thank you earlier for contributing your very relevant perspective.

Mrs. R.,
I also wanted to come back to you and let you know that it seems that I misunderstood your question. As for specifically how to respond to those who question us (in any "different" area of our lives), I try to have two separate "sets" of answers... we want to be ready to give a reason for the choices we make because of the hope we have in Christ.

One is a quick answer for those who really don't want to know but are just being nosy or momentarily curious. The other is the more in-depth, detailed answer for those who are truly curious and really interested in learning more about why or what we're doing.

For homeschooling, it might be a quick response like what I gave to Shelly R, "We believe I can give our children a better education and better socialization than they would receive in a classroom with 30 other kids from a teacher who doesn't know their strengths/weaknesses, interests, etc." Or it could be something like, "we believe that the Bible puts the responsibility on parents to do the primary education and input into their childrens' hearts and minds." (Of course, you could adjust any of this to fit your particular thoughts on the matter.) For someone who wants to know more, I can always share more from the Bible, from our educational philosophy, about our curriculum, or whatever else they want to know.

I would find a way to succinctly and unapologetically say what you believe on the matter, and why you have made the choices you have, without leaving room for them to come back and criticize or question more. For example, "We do this because blah-blah-blah, and believe we'll be the ones held accountable. So while I appreciate your input, our decision is firm in this area."

I hope this helps more than my initial answer. Sorry that I misunderstood your question.