the network for radical unschooling families
Hey, I went to the library today. So I picked up a few books I waned to see if anyone has read them and what you think. I hate wasting my time reading something that doesn't line up with radical unschooling.
"the mindful child" and "unconditional parenting"
I thought I remember seeing "Unconditional Parenting" on some unschooling board.
Thanks for you input.
Unconditional Parenting is Alfie Kohn, right? I haven't read that one, but I did read... Punished by Rewards, I think. It was good for me when my kids were little, to give me some perspective as to why I might want to get away from punishment/reward based parenting. He's not an unschooler or even a homeschooler as far as I know, though, so his writing will only go so far. That's often the case, though - its good to assume an author will be writing for a school-parent audience unless its pretty clearly an unschooling book. Doesn't mean it won't be helpful to you!
I haven't read The Mindful Child, but it seems kind of irrelevant to unschooling. Are you looking for something in particular?
Well, I'm searching for something on the parenting side of unschooling. I get the learning side of it but I struggle with how to handle situations that rise up with the kids. Maybe I'm just not getting the point or something. I find myself still falling into old habits, such as yelling. I'm just not sure how to handle some things I guess. Name calling, fighting, yelling, bad attitudes. Here is an example:
Yesterday we were getting ready to leave to go to the library (which T asked if we could go) the boys were playing the Wii and when I saw that they were in between games I asked them to turn it off and get ready to go. I then went to my room to get ready and when i came out about 10 min. later they were playing a new game. This really upset me and I took the Wii away for the rest of the day. This is turn made for a very bad day yesterday.
Here is another thing we struggle with. T just turned 9 in Jan. Every since then he has had big time attitude. I can't talk to him without him rolling his eyes or throwing himself on the floor. This is not him so I am really bothered by this and want to help him through what ever this is but I also find myself angry and upset when he does this. I guess I can't help him till I help myself. I don't know! I have a lot on my mind but am struggling with putting into words.
*** Yesterday we were getting ready to leave to go to the library (which T asked if we could go) the boys were playing the Wii and when I saw that they were in between games I asked them to turn it off and get ready to go. I then went to my room to get ready and when i came out about 10 min. later they were playing a new game. ***
Your expectations aren't in line with their abilities. Their actions are showing you what they're capable of. Let go of what you think they can do and look at what they can do. Expect to have to help them and when they do it on their own it will be a nice surprise rather than expecting the opposite and being disappointed.
*** Every since then he has had big time attitude. I can't talk to him without him rolling his eyes or throwing himself on the floor. This is not him so I am really bothered by this and want to help him through what ever this is but I also find myself angry and upset when he does this. ***
Disconnect from his emotions being about you. Maybe imagine what you'd need to be feeling in order to react as he is. If you had a headache for 3 days and were grumping at people, how would you need people to react when it just became too much for you to behave nicely?
I'm thinking 9 sounds familiar as a time when kids can go through something like this. Hopefully others will come along with some practical advice. If not, you may want to either search through the archives for a similar thread or start a separate one with a catchy title :-)
I know you were looking for more general help rather than for those specific incidents, so:
Parenting a Free Child by Rue Kream.
Subscribe to Scott Noelle's Daily Groove. They're short and focused.
Ha! Today's was exactly about your first problem:
:: Relieving Time Pressure ::
You enjoy parenting most when you feel expansive and
flowing -- the way you feel when you're not under any
kind of pressure.
One of the most common pressures of modern life is
*time pressure*: having to be somewhere or do
something by a certain time. Young children naturally
live in the moment, not by the clock, so subjecting
them to time pressure usually leads to discord.
To reduce time pressure in your daily groove...
* Decide that geniality (feeling good) is more
important than punctuality (being 'right').
* Don't agree to be on time -- build
flexibility into your agreements.
("I'll be there around 7:00-ish.")
* When you really want to be on time to an
appointment, give yourself LOTS of extra
cushion time -- just accept that life with
kids is less "efficient."
* Don't rush when you're late -- call and
renegotiate! For all you know, the person
you're meeting may be late, too.
* When you can get away with it, don't make
plans at all! Enjoy living spontaneously!
Disconnect from his emotions being about you.
With that in mind, a good book might be Naomi Aldort's Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. There's a lot in that book about separating your child's feelings and actions from yours - not in a dismissive way, but because a lot of times you're reacting based on experiences with other people - your own childhood for instance - rather than seeing where your child is actually coming from and what he's trying to communicate. That's a good book, too, in terms of understanding the pitfalls of changing your parenting, the biggest of which is expectations that your kids will react in specific ways.
Yesterday we were getting ready to leave to go to the library (which T asked if we could go) the boys were playing the Wii and when I saw that they were in between games I asked them to turn it off and get ready to go. I then went to my room to get ready and when i came out about 10 min. later they were playing a new game.
Woops! That's a good example of having a specific expectation - you did all the "right" things but the kids didn't follow the script you had in mind. Darnit. Mo's 9, and these days I don't say "ready to go" unless I'm Ready - car warmed up if its winter, shoes on, found my purse, had my last minute pee, everything, or she'll get distracted by something. She's very busy! And she doesn't have a ton of patience for my dawdling around, she wants to stop what she's doing and get in the car. That's something that has gone through a number of variations over the years, too - in the past she has wanted more notice. Now she wants just enough to save the game.
It's okay to experiment a bit and figure out what's a better way right now - but also realize you'll almost certainly have to adapt all over again as your kids get older and their needs change.
T just turned 9 in Jan. Every since then he has had big time attitude. I can't talk to him without him rolling his eyes or throwing himself on the floor.
Morgan is more likely to be dismissive of me if I've been dismissive of her. If she's felt like her needs and wishes are being place on the back burner, she gets very frustrated. The needs and wishes of a 9yo aren't always what parents might expect (or wish) so you might need to stretch a little to see his perspective if this is all new to you. What are you saying to him when he rolls his eyes? Are you "giving information" that he didn't ask for? Making a suggestion that he doesn't want? Comment on something he finds irrelevant? As adults we can fall into the trap of thinking what we have to say is Oh! So Important - and to kids it can seem like "Blah, blah, blah (is she Still talking? its been five whole seconds! eye roll). "
Also be mindful of your tone of voice. Would you use the same tone with a friend? Your mother? Your spouse? A stranger? Consider how you'd speak to other adults as a kind of "check" - kids are sensitive to those tones that you Only use with kids and start to hear them as condescending and dismissive even though you may be intending to be helpful.
I'm just not sure how to handle some things I guess. Name calling, fighting, yelling, bad attitudes.
Much of that will come down to being more present and more proactive. That’s a place where a lot of new unschoolers get “stuck” – you’re used to RE-acting to your kids, rather than getting ahead of the game. But knowing what dynamics are common gives you a chance to set your kids up for better times. That being said, siblings do quarrel!
And shifting expectations is another part of learning the nuts and bolts of unschooling. It won’t help if you expect them to Never quarrel. It’s better if you look for ways to help them think about disagreement in terms of how the choices they make in the moment can effect the situation.
Sandra has a page on sibling stuff:
And others recommend Siblings Without Rivalry as being helpful.
I am going to plug my own book here, Parenting for Social Change. Christine Yablonski posted her review of it on the RUN blogs. You can also read other reviews of it here: http://www.parentingforsocialchange.com/book-reviews.html
It is based on my experiences as an RU parent confronting my process of having to unlearn and question my socialization about how to treat children and what I expect from them. It also includes a lot of research references that support moving away from control and coercion. I will be very honest that you will be disappointed if you expect it to be a manual of how to do things a certain way to avoid certain things happening with children. It is about the process we need to go through as parents to see children and childhood in a way that is radically different from what the majority of us experienced. I address the ways that a paradigm of control can get in the way of our authentic and connected relationships with children and, more importantly, the ways that it is harmful to children.