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setting limits in unschooling - Page 4

post #61 of 86
Quote:
I don't think very young children always have the maturity to decide what's appropriate for themselves.
No, they can't, but I'm glad that as a child I was allowed to make a lot of these decisions for myself. When I was 12, I had horrible nightmares and woke up screaming and crying because I read a book called "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark." I'm still glad I could make the choice to read that book.

My oldest dd (not quite 3) asked me to get Jurassic Park after she saw it on TV and I got it for her. She calls it the "scary dinosaur movie." I thought it might be too much for her but it's her choice and not mine. She loved it, though.

I didn't want my parents to protect me from ever feeling scared or confused. I wanted them to be there for me when I needed them, but to let me feel feelings.
post #62 of 86
When Rain's sister and nephew came to visit us when he was 2ish, he wanted to watch that movie over and over again. As soon as we'd get home for our day, it was, "Watcha dinosaur movie? Watcha dinosaur movie now?" He loved it. It scared me at times, but he loved it...

Rain was 6 at that time and obsessed with "Friends" reruns, so sometimes he had to settle for dinosaur toys, at least until her show ended...

Dar
post #63 of 86
We did stop letting her watch South Park after she started picking up the language. Maybe it's not very radical TCS unschooler of me, but I decided I just couldn't deal with the way other people would judge me when my toddler walked around saying "goddammit" and "fatass" all the time.

If we are going to a public place, I do make her dress appropriately, again because of the judgment I would get otherwise.
post #64 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarasam

Do you see the point I'm trying to make? Often times children do not know that they are about to read/see something disturbing, and if (as you advocate) they can make any choice they want about what to see or watch, they cannot make an educated choice in advance.

Tara
I see the point you're trying to make. I also understand the inclination to protect your kids from things that you think will frighten/harm them. My feeling though, is that, at some point, my kids will have to make those decisions for themselves, and *I* would prefer they make them while I'm around for support. While I'm here to advise them that "this has some scary parts in it," or whatever.

And it's not just children who do not always know that they are about to read/see something disturbing. It happens to us grown-ups too, doesn't it? I know there are many things in my adult life that I've seen that I didn't want to see, things that I wasn't "ready for," but that's unavoidable, imo, it's one of the risks of life. I don't mean that to sound as cold as it probably does--it's really why I want to foster their decision-making abilities now. Before they're on their own.

I DO believe that kids can make an educated choice about what is right for them at the time--even though I'm the mother and I know my children, I think they each know themselves best. Again, I'll tell them what I know, what I think about something, but I fall short of forbiding it.
post #65 of 86
Jumping back in from lurkdom.

Quote:
I also understand the inclination to protect your kids from things that you think will frighten/harm them. My feeling though, is that, at some point, my kids will have to make those decisions for themselves, and *I* would prefer they make them while I'm around for support.
No argument with this in general, but why should children have to shoulder this responsibility at very young ages? Parenting isn't all or nothing all of the time. You can shelter a 3, 5 or 8 year old from many things, gradually allowing them to explore a wider range of material as they mature. By the time they are teens, they can experience total (or near total) freedom with various forms of media while parents are *still* around for support. This argument reminds me of the argument that children need to be independent eventually, so why not push them in that direction at the earliest possible opportunity? (Often used to justify CIO, or early separation from parents in spite of a child's protests.)

Bottom line, however, I just don't agree that it would be healthy for my children to allow them unfettered access to any and all books, media and video games. I agree with whomever said (Tarasam?) that the hours a young child spends in front of a screen are hours stolen from more important and fulfilling childhood activities. My children don't have the maturity and experience to know that, however. (I do allow some TV, BTW -- my dd is watching PBS as I type.)

I also believe that exposure to graphic material that is way beyond a child's maturity level can actually be damaging, regardless of whether or not they have nightmares, etc. I feel it's my responsibility as a parent of young children to make decisions about what is harmful, what is safe, and what the gray areas are (which I would handle much like others have described, with warnings and conversation.) The other day, I had to tell my dd that she could not eat the sandwich she had saved from her lunch at a restaurant. We had forgotten to put it in the fridge when we got home and I was concerned that it was not safe to eat. I didn't give my 4 y.o. the choice of eating it anyway and getting sick, even though she likely would not have gotten sick at all. At 4 y.o., it's *my* job to keep her safe from food poisoning, not hers. Same goes for "media poisoning" or "culture poisoning" IMO. I realize that some will not agree that such "poisoning" is possible, but I feel pretty strongly that it is. Like food poisoning, not everyone who takes the "risk" will experience a lasting negative effect, but I'm going to mitigate my children's risk where I deem appropriate. My dd is taking on more and more responsibility as she gets older, and there will be plenty of time (while she is still living at home) for her to explore more mature material when she is able to appreciate it and even be thrilled by the new discovery.
post #66 of 86
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Originally Posted by Dar
So, if I allowed my child to learn from the tools I provided and all of those tools were textbooks, would I be unschooling?
I've never, ever read any description of unschooling that would be consistent with that type of approach. There is no way. I don't even think that's called 'library'! More akin to indoctrination with the illusion of choice on the child's part.
post #67 of 86
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Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
Jumping back in from lurkdom.


No argument with this in general, but why should children have to shoulder this responsibility at very young ages? Parenting isn't all or nothing all of the time. You can shelter a 3, 5 or 8 year old from many things, gradually allowing them to explore a wider range of material as they mature. By the time they are teens, they can experience total (or near total) freedom with various forms of media while parents are *still* around for support. This argument reminds me of the argument that children need to be independent eventually, so why not push them in that direction at the earliest possible opportunity? (Often used to justify CIO, or early separation from parents in spite of a child's protests.)

Actually, this argument is NOTHING like CIO and the like. I'm not suggesting pushing or forcing a child to do things they don't want to do. Exactly the opposite--I believe that kids should be able to do what they're interested in doing, what they're ready to be doing--as they determine their readiness. (I'm not sure what you mean by parenting not being "all or nothing." We're all parenting, we just go about it in different ways.)

And I've found that my kids HAVE entered the "adult world" gradually--they're not shouldering responsibilities that they're not ready for. We can use the old book example again: None of my kids, at the age of 2, were asking me to read, say, The Catcher in the Rye. They wanted books with pictures. Even when they became independant readers, they were drawn to adventure stories or non-fiction books about animals. We began reading Harry Potter aloud when my middle child was little--she would tell me if it was starting to get scary and she'd leave the room, or we'd put the book away until she was asleep. A few years later she read the books on her own without a problem.

So, my point is, that my kids have moved gradually into new territory, but it's been on their schedual, not on mine. No one is being pushed here.
post #68 of 86
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Actually, this argument is NOTHING like CIO and the like. I'm not suggesting pushing or forcing a child to do things they don't want to do.
Yeah, I guess the CIO was a bad example -- sorry. I don't mean to imply that a no limits approach "pushes" kids. Rather, that they might decide to "jump" when doing so could be harmful to them. I think the fundamental disagreement comes down to whether or not a kid has the natural instincts to only take in what he can handle. I don't believe this to be the case. Others seem to disagree with me, which is fine. I bet all of our kids will have some hang-ups no matter what we do! We each do what we feel is ideal for our kids.

I don't claim to be an unschooler (yet, anyway -- I keep leaning more and more that way as time goes on!) But I'm obviously in Tarasam's camp when it comes to believing that an unschooling approach to education is possible within some parental boundries.
post #69 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
I think the fundamental disagreement comes down to whether or not a kid has the natural instincts to only take in what he can handle.
ooohhhhhh....we're getting close to agreeing!
:LOL I think that in all probability, people WILL take in slightly more than they can handle. That's how they learn where their limits are.

I loved the Wizard of Oz movie as a kid, but the monkeys scared me. At the first glimpse of them, I'd cover my eyes and have someone tell me when that part was over. So...I saw something that scared me. But it was okay. These days, I don't mind some detective-type movies that dh rents, but I don't like gore. Most times, I can tell when it's coming and I'll look away. Or, if it's "that" kind of movie, I just won't watch it at all.

I think the fundamental disagreement is over WHO gets to decide what the child can handle. (Not to split hairs or anything. )
post #70 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
I think that in all probability, people WILL take in slightly more than they can handle. That's how they learn where their limits are.
I really like this, and it's generally been true IME, when I think back about it. Joan is so wise!

Dar
post #71 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
I just wouldn't feel good about wearing a warm jacket while my child shivered, whether not beinging a jacket was her choice or not.
Hmm. I don't recall saying that I felt good about it.

I believe that natural consequences are the best teachers. I also believe that there is a difference between being a conscientious parent and a doormat. My son was treating me as a doormat.

Being chilly in a movie theater never killed anyone. He learned from it and now he doesn't argue about bringing a jacket.

You talk a lot about children having choices. IMO, he is old enough at age nine to understand that if he CHOOSES to not bring a jacket, then he is CHOOSING to possibly be cold.
post #72 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
I didn't want my parents to protect me from ever feeling scared or confused.
See, I'm feeling a lot of confusion here. It's okay to let a child watch a scary movie, because if they feel discomfort they'll learn from it.

But Dar tells me that it's not okay to let a child be chilly for neglecting to bring a jacket, even though they would learn from that discomfort.
post #73 of 86
I also think it's important for children to know it's okay to change their minds, and to make mistakes while trying to figure out where their limits are, and that parents will try to help them out when this happens.

I think learning this is a lot more important than learning to bring a jacket. I do think that eventually happens anyway, but everyone doesn't learn that someone will be there to help you out even when you made a mistake.

So, if in the middle of the movie, my child decides it's too scary and she doesn't want to watch it after all, we can go to the lobby for a bit or leave, or if we're home (videos seem like a better idea for potentially too-scary movies) we can fast forward or turn it off or she can leave the room.

Just because you chose something, you don't have to stay with that choice.

One nice effect of modeling this kind of thoughtful is that my child, at least, tends to act in the same ways. She hesitates to take my coat because she's concerned that I'll be cold, or she'll lend her jacket to a smaller child on a homeschool field trip because he forgot his. When she was 8 or so, we were on a homeschol field trip at Ano Nuevo, to see the elephant seals. It was a cold, wet, windy day, and some of the other people decided not to comtinue on the hike when it started to rain. Rain's best friend and her friend's mother went back, but her 4 yr old little brother wanted to keep going with us. His mother warned him that it was a long walk, but he was insistent. Well, about 15-20 minutes before we reached the parking let he decided that he was too tired to go one step more, and he wished he'd gone back with his mom. Rain picked him up and carried him all the way back, through the puddles, in the rain. I helped a little bit but mostly she did it. He was a small 4 yr old and she was a big 8 yr old, but it was still a lot of work.

Dar
post #74 of 86
I think people have the right to change their minds. If my dd doesn't want to wear a jacket and then says she's cold, she can have a jacket. I'm not going to punish her and say "You should have known this was coming!" If she wants to watch the scary movie and then later doesn't like it, and then later wants to watch it again, that's fine too.
post #75 of 86
Quote:
And it's not just children who do not always know that they are about to read/see something disturbing. It happens to us grown-ups too, doesn't it? I know there are many things in my adult life that I've seen that I didn't want to see, things that I wasn't "ready for," but that's unavoidable, imo, it's one of the risks of life.
Just because it happens to adults doesn't mean children need it to happen to them, or should always have it happen to them. I remember parts of my childhood very well, and the potential for negative emotions, and the degree to which they were felt, was far greater than that which I've felt in adulthood -- I was more vulnerable and had more to lose by being exposed to certain harmful things, and had less ability to understand that and to see those things coming.
post #76 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
I think people have the right to change their minds. If my dd doesn't want to wear a jacket and then says she's cold, she can have a jacket. I'm not going to punish her and say "You should have known this was coming!" If she wants to watch the scary movie and then later doesn't like it, and then later wants to watch it again, that's fine too.
So at what point does your dd get to learn that her actions affect others? If she doesn't bring a jacket, and she gets cold, she automatically gets yours? That's fine. From your picture, your daughter appears to be quite young. My children are not that young. This is not about electing not to wear a jacket; it's about electing not to even BRING one in case you get cold. At their ages, I shouldn't have to bring everyone's jackets for them. IMO, that's coddling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
One nice effect of modeling this kind of thoughtful is that my child, at least, tends to act in the same ways. She hesitates to take my coat because she's concerned that I'll be cold....
But she takes it, nonetheless, right?

My kids are pretty considerate of others. They're just hardheaded and got used to mama always making sure they were comfortable. Mama will give up her jacket, mama will pack snacks for you, mama will drive 15 minutes out of the way to buy you a drink because you were too lazy to fill up your water bottle, or insisted that you wouldn't be thirsty on a 3-hour outing. Well, there comes a time when kids need to take some responsibility for themselves. I don't think 9 and 12 are too young for that.
post #77 of 86
Quote:
So at what point does your dd get to learn that her actions affect others? If she doesn't bring a jacket, and she gets cold, she automatically gets yours? That's fine. From your picture, your daughter appears to be quite young. My children are not that young. This is not about electing not to wear a jacket; it's about electing not to even BRING one in case you get cold. At their ages, I shouldn't have to bring everyone's jackets for them. IMO, that's coddling.
It's not hard for me to just load extra clothes into the car. If we're walking and not driving, I can take the stroller and load jackets into the bottom of it, or bring a backpack the way I would anyway. If it was an older child, I could tell her she had to carry her own jacket if she didn't want to wear it. If she didn't want to carry a jacket then no, I wouldn't give her mine.
post #78 of 86
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
At their ages, I shouldn't have to bring everyone's jackets for them. IMO, that's coddling.
See, I see it as thoughtfulness.

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But she takes it, nonetheless, right?
Not always. If we have one jacket and two of us, we generally go through the whole "Here, wear mine" "No, that's okay, you need it", "No, I have a sweater on, I'll be fine", "No, really, I'm not that cold (shiver)". We do try to always store spares in the car, too, so it's not that far. I have a warm wool plaid jacket that's older than I am and was originally my father's, and it lives in the car...

I don't know why she doesn't take advantage of my doing things for her, but she doesn't. Maybe it goes hand in hand with asking for her help regularly, although she can always say no - but she rarely does. Maybe it's because I really do need her help, and she can see that? Maybe it's because I try really hard not to characterize her as lazy when she doesn't want to do something, or to characterize doing things for her as coddling.

People started telling me to stop carrying her when she was 18 months old. She was really big and had been walking for almost a year, but she still wanted to be carried sometimes. I promised her that I'd carry her for as long as she wanted to be carried, although sometimes she got too heavy and I needed to out her down for a while. I carried her off and on for year, not for long walks really but the kind of thing where you pop a kid on your hip for a few minutes, or carry them to bed when they fall asleep somewhere else. Then one day when she was 5 she fell asleep in the car and I reached in to carry her tothe house, and she shook me off and said, "No, I can walk." She was kind of woozy and I asked if she was sure, and said I was happy to carry her.... but she was sure, and she never wanted me to carry her again. Actually, a year later she started carrying me, but that's another subject...

Dar
post #79 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
This is not about electing not to wear a jacket; it's about electing not to even BRING one in case you get cold. At their ages, I shouldn't have to bring everyone's jackets for them. ... Mama will give up her jacket, mama will pack snacks for you, mama will drive 15 minutes out of the way to buy you a drink because you were too lazy to fill up your water bottle, or insisted that you wouldn't be thirsty on a 3-hour outing. Well, there comes a time when kids need to take some responsibility for themselves. I don't think 9 and 12 are too young for that.
I'm with you 100%, and my kids are only 6 and 8! I let them know what I think they will need and leave it at that. They've gotten cold, they've been thirsty, they haven't died. Even my 6 year old can handle getting her water bottle, a book to look at in the car, etc.

May be part of this depends both on how many kids you have and how big they are -- if all I needed to grab was one size 3 jacket, it would be one thing, but me dragging around stuff for both my big kids is just absurd.
post #80 of 86
Quote:
And it's not just children who do not always know that they are about to read/see something disturbing. It happens to us grown-ups too, doesn't it? I know there are many things in my adult life that I've seen that I didn't want to see, things that I wasn't "ready for," but that's unavoidable, imo, it's one of the risks of life.
Just noticed this.

I agree that it's unfortuante that it happens to grown-ups too. There have been many times I've been quite disturbed by something I've seen or read or heard. Sometimes, it's been disturbing, but I've been glad to have know anyway, for whatever reason. Other times, it does me no good, and only torments me everytime I think of it.

Dh and I are there for eachother even for things like this. Of course I have the right to see whatever I want, but there have been times when I've been grateful for dh, when he's seen something first, and told me not watch/read it. There have been times when he's seen an peculiar headline, and I've in the room to tell him not to click on it; I read it, and I know he doesn't want to.

We appreciate that from eachother, and certainly don't mind doing it for eachother.
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