Random: A parenting style…

5 03 2011

So I’ve started to look into homeschooling for my kids, once they reach that age. Kurt is almost preschool age.. so it got me thinking. Then one day at the library I saw a poster for a homeschooling group here in town! And yesterday I went to their monthly meeting to see if I wanted to join. I really like them! I only met a handful but they told me their is roughly 50-60 more families in the are who are homeschooling. So great! I was a tad disappointed to find that most of them use curriculum based learning through actual schools, but then they explained that they schools give them money towards curriculum and music lessons, material etc. Which was very intriguing. And once I perused the list of school available here in BC I was pleasantly surprised to find some very “open” learning style places.

So this trail of thought has landed me on many websites about Waldorf, Unschooling, Montessori and the like. All very interesting. I really had no concept of “alternative parenting” until I stumbled across the peaceful and non-coercive stuff. But to find actual methods really made my mind swirl. I really wish I would have found this information BEFORE having kids. To have a plan for every stage a REASON for treating my kids with respect.Which sounds absurd but I am struggling with connecting with Kurt he is two and a half years old and I came into parenting with what I call “recommended guidlines” way of parenting. Time outs, saying no, slapping hands ( and bums and sides of heads) and pulling ears. Rewards and punishments, convincing, overpowering. These are all parts of my parenting style that I am trying to get rid of, change around etc… It’s hard. It’s ingrained! I don’t have many memories of being punished as a child by my mother. I do remember getting spankings from my dads. Vividly.. arg. It’s so hard. I’m feeling so guilty that Kurt is almost 3 and I’ve ruined these important years with struggling to find myself as well as parent with some leftover from how I was parented.

I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling like the more I learn the less I know.. which I’m pretty sure is a song or quote from somewhere.. but it’s exactly how I feel.

How do I overhaul my parenting whilst being waist deep in the mucky part of it?

Part of the things that are holding me back. The TV. The computer. The iPhone. The DS. ALL THE TOYS . They beep and light up and buzz and talk. or they are plastic. or they dont’ really do anything .. but they are the normal toys you get for kids. I’ve been struggling with the idea to get rid of them all. Well.. the ones that we really DONT NEED. the problem being most of them were a gift from family. namely my in-laws. Very touchy subject if I was to suddenly sell them all…..

I’m lost. I have to figure out how to be so I can model it for my children. I need to find and practice patience so my kids will be. I need to figure out how to interact day to day…





3 responses

9 03 2011

Hi GreenMumma –

I so hear your frustration regarding this parenting gig being hard. It truly is. I have days where I feel we are making great progress, and then a day where I feel so disconnect and things feel impossible. But I know they aren’t. I’ve seen a lot of progress in both myself – and as a result, my son, in the last year.

I started therapy a few years ago because I did not want to turn out to be my mother and it has been very helpful. It has helped me to see through the BS of what my parents said/did to me…and to accept it as part of their unconciousness. Also, it has taught me that when I am acting towards my child the way my parents might have reacted towards me…I am simply seeing him through their eyes. Does this make sense to you? It took me a while to grasp. It’s like you said, It’s so ingrained and so when our child does something that “provokes” us, if we are not present, we react the way our parents would have…because it’s all we know. And it is hard to break. But it is possible.

Have you looked into NVC (Non-Violent Communication) classes in your area? This tool has been HUGE for me and Isaac has picked up on it quite quickly too. It’s been very helpful to shift our focus to discussing needs and feelings rather than me just blowing up…ahem, which still happens from time to time. I’m human, and Isaac knows this. I appologize afterwards and empathize with how scary if might have been for him. It makes things “right,” if such a thing is possible.

Regarding the toys – here are my thoughts: get rid of what you don’t want. It sounds as though you want to create an invironment that is peaceful and loving and if you are finding all the plastic and batteries offensive to your senses (and those of your children) than do away with them. You might just gather them all and put them out of sight (basement in a big bin or bag) and if family inquires about them you can say…or they are just downstairs…or around here somewhere. Or…be honest from the get go and explain why you don’t want them. My family knows not to buy Isaac anything that is plastic, or has batteries. It has been my rule since day one. We have very few toys. We have tons of board games, building blocks and whatnot. So much of that stuff is pointless anyway. (Totally my opinion.)

I just want you to know you aren’t alone. We all struggle with this stuff and I so admire your honesty. Sharing our experiences can be really hard, but I am always so happy to find others who long to live a life that is in sync with their core beliefs. And as a dear friend of mine always tells me, the fact that you are evening thinking about this stuff, speaks VOLUMES to your parenting. Go easy on yourself. It is a journey. You are on YOUR journey. Enjoy it.

Sending much love,

9 03 2011

Thank you for taking time to comment. Since I’ve started this blog and actually connecting with people, I haven’t felt so alone in my thoughts! NVC would be a dream, but northern oil country Canada doesn’t really seem to support alternative thinking… I”ll have to check if there are any classes around my parents.
And thank you for saying to go easy and that getting started and making efforts is a good thing. I always have “end results” or regrets in my mind.

I cleared out a huge amount of our toys and put them under the stairs. I went to the thrift store and bought big wooden bowls and silk(or soft) scarves for like $1 a piece in the most beautiful designs and colors. Then I found some big smooth rocks I bought ages ago for a table center pieces and voila we have a waldorf inspired upstairs living rooms. Some wooden block and animals, the costume trunk, the bowls, rocks, some scarves and some big plastic bead necklaces which make very satisfying sounds when shaken, smashed etc.
And watching my kids actually interact with them is really awesome. We did the same with the bath toys, I got rid of the foam letters and the little plastic doo dads and just put in a bunch of cups and containers and soup ladles. And voila bath time fights seem to have ended! YAY! my kids aren’t bored! ๐Ÿ™‚
It actually amazed me quite a bit to see a difference in their play.
Thanks again.

9 03 2011

Sounds like a little piece of heaven. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m in Canada too – SW Ontario and my town is VERY conservative…but there are lots of people trying to break out of that. I’m sure other in your area feel similar to you.

I looked for NVC support for over a year before I found it. If you visit this site – https://www.cnvc.org/ …you might be surprised who is in your area. I found another unschooling dad who was just looking to offer support and to set up a practice group. So far it’sjust me and him. It’sbeen AMAZING.

Wishing you lots of continued success, because even when you think it isn’t happening, it is. I promise. ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

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