For a few years, "stuggle" was overused and it wasn't helping anyone or any thing. I'll probably stop collecting now; I think the fad is dying down.

In early 2021, on the facebook page for Just Add Light and Stir, this beautiful comment was left:

I was very grateful to discover your writings on ‘struggle’ and the compilation on your website relating to ‘struggle‘ a few years ago.

I still read it regularly and get so much more from it with each read. It sparked a change in mindset and language which improved our unschooling lives massively.

I love it when a little tweak can improve lives massively, and it does happen. Help it happen at your house!

That comment gave me hope that maybe we had passed the worst of "the struggle," and could relax.

Jen Keefe, on her facebook page, in a beautiful description of a rainy event in 2023:
"A lot of what I’ve been learning is that struggle comes when we think things should be different than they are."

The End of Struggling

Relax! You can deal with problems better without struggling. You might find out that struggling WAS the problem.

Too many people are using the word "struggle" too often and too easily. I first noticed it in 2017.


"He's blunt: 'I struggle with the idea that a cauliflower base with some cheese and tomato on top is called a pizza. It ain't a pizza.'"

That is not a struggle. He had a definite opinion.
from an article on bad science and fad diets

2018—the struggle continues.
-=- and struggle keeping the balance...-=-
-=-We're feeling stagnant and struggling-=-

Too much struggling. Relax.

Struggling is a waste of energy.

I know the word "struggle" is as popular as "groovy" was in 1967, but it's not nearly as groovy.


If every time you start to write or say "struggle" you stop and rephrase, then you can move toward rephrasing every time you *think* "struggle." And your struggles will be over as soon as you stop struggling.

Relax into peace

"Power struggles can disappear when the person with the power stops struggling."
—Deb Lewis

Kirby Dodd age five asleep under a rocking chair

Kirby Dodd, age 5, asleep under a rocking chair
In June 2018, not about unschooling, from a closed group I'm in, me writing:
The word "struggling" is used too much lately. Everyone says they're struggling about everything.

Please consider re-phrasing. If you think of the situation in your own words, you will think of it, and see it, and respond to it more clearly.

And anytime people describe things as a battle, a struggle, a fight, they're categorizing the thing as though it's fighting back, and they're in danger.


By 2020 people were struggling with struggling. No one seemed to do or to discuss anything without the word "struggle."

Avoid struggles

"Struggling with a disorder" is not as good as living with choices and looking up instead of down.

Find ways to relax, rather than to struggle.

Peace for Unschoolers
photo by Sandra Dodd

A nice outside metaphor for this is Devil's Snare, invented by J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter's world. It will grab people, and if they struggle, it grabs harder. Relax and it will relax. Shine light on it and it will shrink away.

Movie version

[in the Devil's Snare]

Hermione : Stop moving, both of you. This is devil's snare! You have to relax. If you don't, it'll only kill you faster!

Ron : Kill us faster? Oh, now I can relax!

She leapt up and struggled toward a damp wall. She had to struggle because the moment she had landed, the plant had started to twist snakelike tendrils around her ankles. As for Harry and Ron, their legs had already been bound tightly in long creepers without their noticing. Hermione had managed to free herself before the plant got a firm grip on her. Now she watched in horror as the two boys fought to pull the plant off them, but the more they strained against it, the tighter and faster the plant wound around them. “Stop moving!” Hermione ordered them. “I know what this is—it’s Devil’s Snare!”

Devil's snare hates sunlight. 🙂 Just Add Light and Stir

Earlier and other uses, about unschooling

Instead of feeling like you need to struggle, just stop and look at your son and think, "Right now what can I do to make his life a little more interesting?"

—Pam Sorooshian
(original not found, but quoted here)
"as a Buddhist - I have struggled with the aggression my 4 yr old son has displayed, after attending school for a year..."

My response to that included:

If he's aggressive, how does adding struggle to that help? 😊
Please read that slowly, and twice. Let it percolate.

at Always Learning, March 2015
This page didn't exist then, so I had linked to Sandra.com/battle
Maya, in 2014: There are so many struggles I hear other homeschooling families talking about that we have completely avoided, and with barely any awareness of doing so, just by applying the principles here; the food control struggles, the sleep/bedtime struggles, the video game/"screen time" issues, the "trying to get them to do their work/chores/workbook" issues. Man, all I can think when I hear moms ranting about these things is what a waste of time.
(the rest of that beautiful retrospect on ten years of unschooling, by Maya)

On Always Learning in 2011, someone (cranky that we had critiqued her question) wrote (and there's part of my response):

-=-What I was thinking and trying to express was simply a desire to read other people's journeys ("struggles") from a lack of appreciation/knowledge about something (in this case gaming) that their kids are interested in, to an appreciation of it. Many people volunteered their experiences and gave suggestions, all of which-including yours- was helpful.-=-
(that was from a post that was returned by another moderator)

There are dozens of accounts of other people's journeys (not so many "struggles"; this list and my site and Joyce's exist to help people stop struggling)...

The original, in this topic and more specifically this post.

That same mom, trying to shush anyone who wouldn't agree with her, wrote:
-=- if anyone is willing to volunteer their thoughts and experience with precisely this kind of struggle, I would be grateful!-=-
I responded:
Does it need to be *precisely* that kind of struggle?

Perhaps thoughts and experience about any of the principles that help unschooling work well would be worthy of your gratitude.

If you see this as a "precise" kind of "struggle," you won't be looking at overarching principles, will you?

I think "struggle" comes with a dramatic martyrdom, wrapped in "You wouldn't understand." How many steps does it take to step out of that puddle of pity and onto solid clarity? I think one. Stop struggling. Breathe and try to think clearly. If that doesn't come naturally, or seems mysterious, here are some ideas:

Breathing    Clarity     Peace     Positivity     Thoughts about doing better

Creating more peace

I'm not interested in helping people battle or fight or struggle. I want to help them find joy, gratitude, abundance and peace.

Fighting a lack of peace isn't creating more peace.

photo by Colleen Prieto

"Battling" things and other negative thought and speech

Avoiding negativity

Martyrdom (don't go that way)

Phrases to hear and avoid


Breathing (recovery from adrenaline, and other benefits)

Peace for unschooling, and life