About patience, unschooling, etc -
Because I have no other great place to think that doesn't create another random scrap of easily-losable paper floating around my home, I'm going to put my thoughts here to discuss with dh later. :)
-Still having trouble seeing how to "be the authority" in our children's lives without being authoritarian (at least at times, at least with the two most stubborn "I do only what I want and really don't care much WHAT you want" children). I bend over backwards but really, how often MUST I tell the almost 3yo not to shake her baby brother's head??? (apparently it's more than several times a day, every day since his birth! - and yes, I watch her all the time, but even when I'm *right there* changing his diaper or something she'll come over while my eyes are on his diaper area and grab his head!) If I *demand* she stop and punish when she doesn't, I'm being authoritarian, no? Am I just supposed to let her??
- Are we really *supposed* to let children make so many decisions for themselves? Didn't God set it up so that we could tell them what to do because we are older and wiser? Yes, many children seem to be OK at this from an early age, but we do have at least one child (so far) who is very impulsive, always acts first and thinks later, which unless tempered a bit by parental "control" of her choices/activity, causes multiple problems each day for multiple family members.
-Just how DOES this work when you have 5 irrational children (i.e. 5 under 11 - the oldest acts more like 8 so it's more like 5 under 8? - and my 2yo has to count twice because she is SOOOOO TWO, LOL!)
- opposing needs. Baby needs sleep, 5yo chooses to do something loud - I ask for it to stop and explain why, she refuses. What do I do now - MAKE her stop? Isn't that coercive? Punish her for not stopping? No, that's bad too. Show her something fun and quiet to do? "No mom, I want to bang this pot." Now what? (yes we have a white noise machine, it's not enough for my light sleepers in this small house). Just let her wake the baby? Then he's cranky and my attention is less for them because I have to deal with him. With five kids in little house and two nappers, this could (and sometimes does) happen EVERY DAY. This is just one example.
-I'm still having trouble with what I call "jumping through hoops". We do have certain "arbitrary" rules in the house because as older and wiser parents we see a need for them - for example, no food outside the kitchen w/o permission (we have a horrible ant problem). Soon-to-be-3yo comes out with a chocolate chip muffin. I ask her to go back in kitchen with short explanation why. She does, for two seconds, and comes back out with it again. And again. I think she just wants company but I'm nursing - or helping another child, or changing a diaper or whatever. Really, should I "jump through the hoop" of putting the baby down to keep her company? Or should I jump through the hoop" of having to follow her around all day with a dustbuster so she can eat where she wants? (I have no energy to follow five children around with the dustbuster - and yes they all would start eating everywhere if I let the 2.5yo). No, I really just want her to EAT IN THE KITCHEN, which means she has to obey me when I ask her nicely to!
-Here's one that just happened - it shows how much of a control freak I am but it seems to me like I have to be or things don't go well here. This seems like a silly example but it's the little things like this that add up humongously. We made a new kind of rice milk today from a powder. I put it in the fridge because I heard it's better *really* cold. Lunch rolls around and I don't think it's cold enough to be good. My 10 is helping with lunch while I'm in another room dealing with a crying baby, and she suggests the rice milk to the 5yo, who tastes it and declares it yucky. Well, if they had just followed my suggestion that it was better at dinner (when it would have had time to get ice cold) then I wouldn't have a 5yo on my hand who doesn't like this new (and much easier to get/cheaper) rice milk. Now 5yo won't want it again without lots of cajoling (more hoop jumping?) on my part. She has a limited diet and is growing slowly so yes, I worry about this stuff and feel I need to be controlling ... Didn't make clear where I got impatient in that story, it was where the 10yo came out and said she told the 5yo she could have the rice milk for lunch. I said yes to be the nice, non-controlling mom but when I found out she didn't like it because yes it really WAS too warm, I snapped at the 10yo for suggesting it in the first place (taking things out of my own control). But if I said "no absolutely not" then I'm "bad controlling mom". No win situation. 100's of these a day!
- Does this really work *well* with kids under a certain age? (or all kids under a certain age with no older sibling role models?) Just my limited experience, but where I see this working well is in parents of teens/tweens. When I see MOMYs trying it, the just seem strung out by it - and the kids don't seem all that genuinely happy either.
- Another case in point that just happened. I'm still nursing in next room and older DDs are helping make lunch - 2yo has a major meltdown (she's prone to them, not just when she is hungry/tired - she really just insists on getting her way) because DD gave her milk instead of the ice water she wanted in her cup. Do I give in to her melt down to "save our relationship" (because I personally don't care what she drinks at this meal) - doesn't that just teach her to tantrum more which really ruins the peace of our home? If I just sympathise she continues to demand and carry on. (multiply this by 50x a day) If I punish and/or refuse the water I've damaged the relationship, at least in her eyes - and isn't this all about "seeing things through their eyes and respecting that"? Just how does this work with irrational children?
I've taken enough time right now, gotta run- I'm going to post this, not to get replies (although I thoroghly enjoy them and would love the discussion), and definitely NOT to take this away from Lissa's comment section, but so dh can see it and also because I know other people have similar questions. BTW, Lissa's post was mostly about unschooling and how it relates to patience and a certain kind of "unschooling/uncoercive/patient/living-in-and-loving-the-moment parenting -- I get how it relates to schooling, but I'm having a lot of trouble seeing how to run a house/family effectively that way. Maybe that's my problem, I'm seeing myself as "running the family" so everything goes smoothly, and I probably should have a totally different mind set. But when I don't *run the family* things are SO hard here and I'm even more strung out/tired/snappy...
On that happy note, I'm off to convince a 2yo she needs a nap! LOL