I wanted to share this article because I found it to be inspirational as well as a good reminder as to why we peaceful parents parent the way we do! It came to me during a very needed time of refocusing on our parenting style. Times have been stressful and busy and it is easy to loose sight as to how and why we want to parent this way. I hope others find it just as helpful!
We have been homeschooling for 2 solid years now. We have gone from somewhat structured but laid back to structured when asked for and very laid back, which we consider to be Unschooling. Our children have grown and thrived so much using this method. They love it! So much so that they don’t even realize they are learning and doing ” school stuff ” when in fact they are because they want to, because they ask to.
Kaitlyn said to me the other day, “Mom, when are we going to start homeshooling again?” I was really surprised she asked this actually. I responded, “Well we are, we are homeschooling all of the time really.” She said, “No we aren’t Mom. We are always playing and having fun and doing what we want to do.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I mean does she actually want to be loaded down with school work? I reminded her that she read everyday, whatever she picks out because she wants to, and she works in her language arts book because she wants to, she goes on the computer and does math using a program we have or online learning by playing games, and we do many other activities in which she is learning because she wants to. We learn by doing real life “stuff”. They beg for me to read to them from a math curriculum that is teaching by telling stories and applying to real life situations. They don’t even know it is a math curriculum, haha. After I reminded her of all this and that they also do other extracurricular-type activities: art, cooking, sewing, physical fitness, etc., she says to me, “Then our school is fun?”. Yes honey, that’s the point! Learning should be fun and not like work 🙂 There is always time for work down the road. Maybe this is her way of saying she needs more of a challenge and if that is the case and she wants more “school work”, then I am happy to find her some.
When your 3yr old runs to the back door to go outside to play and casually adds, “Don’t worry Mom. I went poop in the potty but it all is in the potty. Not on the floor and I flushed it all gone.”, it will be quite the opposite when you finally get the nerve to go in and check exactly what damage might have actually been made. You really should prepare yourself for such a disaster. It’s not going to be good.
Today I sang a Little Mermaid song to Max. You know that one Ariel sings, “Part of Your World”. He loves it. He asked me if I was Ariel. He is 3 yrs old and has no concept of who sings beautifully and who doesn’t. I couldn’t resist telling him that yes I did sing Ariel in the movie. Just like many little girls raised in the 80s, I loved the movie and wanted to be Ariel so badly and I am sure for months at a time, my parents had to suffer through many-a-little mermaid songs. It was so cute when he asked that I just couldn’t resist playing along. Ansley smiled really big and excitedly and exclaimed “you Ariel mommy!?”. It was just so stinking cute! I was planning on telling them later that no, I wasn’t really Ariel but I did love to sing the songs when I was little (and I may or may not still like to belt it out…don’t judge).
Later, we got to talking about it again at dinner and so I joked and told the older 3 that “did you know I played Ariel in The Little Mermaid!?”. Aaron and Kaitlyn both looked at me suspiciously and said, “Sing so we can tell”. I think I may have convinced them somewhat lol. Ethan, on the other hand said, “Mom, there is no way because I can tell a difference in your voice and plus, you said you loved that movie when you were a kid so you couldn’t have sounded like that when you were little. You would have told us this a long time ago”. Ugh, and the fun stops there lol. I still tried to convince them that I really was Ariel but Ethan wasn’t buying it. So, with 6 skeptical eyes upon me, I fessed up. No, I wasn’t Ariel, just an Ariel wannabe. Of course this was no surprise to Ethan but it didn’t seem like much of one to Kaitlyn and Aaron either, lol. Kaitlyn also asked why did I want to be someone else when I was little. Good question! Hard to answer too because of course I don’t want her to want to be anyone other than she is! I just explained that some little girls like to pretend to be princesses and mermaids while others are perfectly happy not 🙂
Oh well, a girl can dream right?! I do have “who’s its and what’s its galore” after all. This was definitely a fun memory I never want to forget 🙂
I came across this list last night during my Pinning hour 🙂 Even though I am sure we all give our kids compliments quite often, and I feel like we (my husband and I) are pretty good at giving our children these very compliments that are mentioned in this list, I think it is a good reminder to try to focus on doing this often. It is easy to get in that rut where we feel frustrated and aggravated and unintentionally let those awesome things our kids do, go unnoticed. This is especially true when our attention is split between 5 kids, not to mention the puppy, who is like a teenager and toddler at the same time, haha. Kids need all the confidence boosting and acknowledgement they can get from their parents 🙂 and I just wanted to share this with everyone 🙂 Hope you guys find it helpful!
If there is one most important outcome from our parenting that I want the most for our kids, I think I would have to say it would be this….that they feel loved for exactly who they are and grow to be emotionally healthy adults. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? To feel loved for who we are, just as is? To not feel we have to pretend to be one way when we really are another or feel scared to speak our minds? To be able to feel accepted for who we really are, for what we really believe in and for the actions we choose to take? To feel accepted for what we find joy in and what we do or don’t believe in? Of course assuming that these aspects are all good and kind, not unkind or cruel. This is not to say that we won’t correct our children in some way or another or talk to them about something that they may have said or done that was unkind because instances such as those will certainly be addressed but hopefully empathetically.
This is about accepting your children for who they are, what they like and dislike, what they feel and don’t feel, how they react to situations and supporting and respecting them for all of these things. Not making them feel like they should or shouldn’t think a certain way. Allowing them to speak up for themselves and supporting them for the choices they make and the way the feel. I want our children to grow up feeling loved for who they are, knowing they can always tell us anything and that we will always be here for them. If you can’t get that from your own family, where else are you going to get that? I simply don’t want them to feel they have something to prove to us or that they need to seek our acceptance in one way or another. It is a painful struggle when you feel nothing you do is good enough or accepted or understood. You can’t be an emotionally healthy person with struggles such as these in your life. That is why I just love this quote from Fred Rogers. This feeling will give them the potential to grow and blossom into the strong, beautiful, and amazing human beings that they are.
Sometimes the little life lessons we try to teach our kids go right over their heads. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s just plain funny. Tonight was a funny time that I don’t want to forget.
Kaitlyn was grumpy tonight after dinner and going through one of her sugar withdrawals. A few days ago we bought the kids their own pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Kaitlyn, being her mothers daughter ate it all in 2 days. Aaron still had 3/4’s if his left. He pulled it out to eat and of course Kaitlyn started begging him for some. This, by the way, was not one of my kids shining moments. He told her no because she ate all of hers and should have taken her time more. He told her it was her fault she didn’t have any. This surprised me because usually Aaron is very generous, especially to her but for whatever reason, he wasn’t tonight. This only frustrated Kaitlyn and she began to get upset saying Aaron was mean and so on. I of course tried to encourage Aaron to share some but he was right. She would still have some if she hadn’t eaten it up so fast! It would have been really nice to see Aaron share his though. Nothing melts your heart more than your kids being sweet to each other.
Anyway, now to the “over her head” moment. I asked Kaiylyn if she had heard the phrase “you catch more flies with honey”. She hadn’t so I explained that, the more honey and the sweeter the honey, the more flies you are going to catch….she looks at me with a scrunched up face and says “what? So if Aaron eats all of his ice cream than he will get covered in flies?”. Geesh….of course I put it to her now in more straight-forward terms but that was about the funniest misinterpretations I’ve heard from her! This of course prompted some further discussion about treating others the way you would like to be treated and how she might react to the way she was treating Aaron and so on.
Oh boy, I can’t wait to remind her of this in 15 yrs from now!
I find this to be quite perfect 🙂 If you are a positive or peaceful parent, I think you will too!
1. Communicate With Your Children, Not At Them
Practicing Empowerment gives us the ability to recognize that each child is entirely unique, with his own personality, needs, and thresholds. So parenting has to be tailored to the individual. This means there are very few rules that everyone must follow, and the few rules there are will be subject to change from time to time, with the child’s involvement. New rules may be put in place and old ones deactivated. Because there is open communication, the children understand that a rule for a toddler may not apply to a seven-year-old. Things are explained, not just declared. When a child feels he has been respected enough to be a part of the rule-making process, he has a stake in the household and is more likely to follow the rules.
Martial arts expert Dawn Callan, in Awakening the Warrior Within, talks about…
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So I will go ahead and say it. Sunday I turn 35. No big deal really. I don’t really feel that old and I am not upset about it. Just another year. As spring comes along, I realized I don’t really have any nice clothes. All my shirts are plain, solid colors and same style and look old. I decided I would take a little money and head to Kohl’s to hit their sale and clearance racks. I shopped in the young adult section. Not juniors and not the older ladies section but what I thought was appropriate age and stylish section for me. You know, the section with Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez, Elle, Apt. 9 and so on. Seems like my age looking clothes. Anyway, I scored some good deals on a few nice looking blouses and capri pants. I get dressed this morning wearing a cute new outfit because we are going to head out and run some errands. Fixed my hair, put on some make-up and feeling like I look better than I usually do. I usually feel like I look like a “mom-blob” and today I feel more stylish than usual. And then it happened. My kid speaks the truth. It hurts when they do that at times. He is looking at me while I am still finishing my hair (not that it takes long). I said “do you like my new clothes?”. He says, very calmly, “You look nice mom but why are you wearing something Grandma would wear?”. There it is….a blow to my ego. I still am a bit baffled honestly. It’s not the reaction I was expecting. Usually he is very complimentary. I don’t even think he realizes what him saying that means to me. I happen to think my mother dresses nicely actually. I think she dresses appropriately but stylish for her age. She is 62, not old and I feel she dresses well for her age. Maybe she dresses young, IDK but I am only 35. For some reason, it just hit me kind of hard to hear him say that. Maybe it is just a similarity because she wears capris and happen to be wearing them. I happen to think they look cute. Anyway, doesn’t matter I guess because I still like my clothes and I am not returning them. I will still wear them happily. I want to remember all of the sweet and kind things my kids say and do but for some reason, I don’t want to forget this moment either lol. Maybe it will be just the thing to remind him of some day when I need some good blackmail or maybe it is just something we can all laugh about later 🙂
As many of you know, we unschool our children but I have to say that I love this requirement for allowing our children screentime privileges, and not for just summertime, but for everyday. Screentime becomes a battle in our house. We have a general rule that they can use screentime for a maximum of 2 hours a day. This includes TV time, computer time, as well as use of the tablet. It gets a bit tricky though, especially with my older 2 because they like to learn a lot by computer. I don’t want it to take away from what they are able to learn without the screen though. If they spend all day watching TV and learning on the computer, it not only hampers their decisions to do something more creative or constructive but they tend to get way overstimulated and unreasonable, as most children do. I personally see a lot of value in games that they like to play on the computer or even the Wii. Ethan pretty much educates himself by watching a ton of documentaries and videos on various subjects that interest him either on Netflix, YouTube, and Brainpop and I can tell he learns so much. He is very knowledgeable on a wide array of topics and subjects, to the point that I have no clue of what he is talking about at times, ha! Kaitlyn and Aaron enjoy watching such videos as well and they also enjoy playing educational games as well as ABCMouse and Starfall. Of course there is always Minecraft which I find to be a great creative outlet for them. So, that being said, screentime does get a bit tricky in our house because I don’t want to limit it too much.They really do learn when they are using it. We do try to get them to do a mixture of watching and playing games which seems to work out for the most part. Some days they get more or less time than others due to other activities we may or may not have. I think it all evens out in the long run. We aren’t SUPER strict but 2 hours is a guideline that we use. We also impress upon the kids that screentime is a privilege in our house so when things get a bit chaotic, screentime is removed temporarily and then brought back very limited.
Anyway, I found this image while on Pinterest (while using my screentime 😉 ) and I love it! Since we do unschool, we allow the children to explore what they want to learn but this is VERY minimal as far as I am concerned! They go above and beyond these requirements usually anyway, aside from making sure their room is clean and they don’t necessarily write a paragraph everyday but this will just ensure these things happen before they use screentime. This is getting printed out and placed on my wall for a reminder to us all! Hope this is useful to others 🙂