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Unschooling Support Jan 08 - Page 17

post #321 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
do you worry about tv/internet/video game addictions?

congrats marine wife!!! now get off the internet and go get some lovin!
I personally believe addictions wouldn't happen if it wasn't made a taboo. When you have unlimited freedom with those things, and noones getting on your case about it, you get bored eventually. Also, I would feel like a total hypocrite not letting my ds watch his tv if he wants as much as he wants, since I have the same privilage with the internet and computor.
post #322 of 332
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
do you worry about tv/internet/video game addictions?
not at all.
these things aren't physically addictive.
I do believe that a warm and supportive environment doesn't provide good nourishment for destructive addictions to flourish.

I do see that there's a difference between playing a lot of a game because it's enthralling and interesting and the "fad of the moment", and playing a game constantly as a way to avoid reality/ feelings/ etc.

of course, unschooling isn't a wonder cure that will automatically save our kids from getting into a space where they feel the need to escape reality, but I do believe that an open, honest relationship goes a really long way in that direction, unschooling or not.

So, my point is, exposure to a thing doesn't necessarily beget addiction, even when that thing is physically addictive (which video games aren't). there's a thread in TAO about meth usage that can illustrate that - plenty of mamas have tried it, enjoyed it a lot, and then stopped before they got hooked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwahine View Post
I personally believe addictions wouldn't happen if it wasn't made a taboo. When you have unlimited freedom with those things, and noones getting on your case about it, you get bored eventually. Also, I would feel like a total hypocrite not letting my ds watch his tv if he wants as much as he wants, since I have the same privilage with the internet and computor.
post #323 of 332
Hi- I'm new here. I have four kids, dd 9, ds 6, ds 5, and dd3. We have always homeschooled, somewhere between very relaxed and unschooling. I was doing "basic skills practice" for about fifteen minutes a day and having horrendous power struggles over it. Then I split up with my dh and let the "school work" (such as it was!) go just to eliminate as much conflict as possible for a while. That was six months ago, and now I'm looking at engaging in unschooling in a more intentional way. So, here I am.

One thing that bugs me, and maybe some of you can address this for me- I feel like I have a strong 'negative' reason for unschooling. I have a hard time going head on with my dd about anything, and I don't want to choose a homeschooling method based on avoiding conflict. Maybe I need more 'positives' to help me decide if this is the right choice for us, sort of as a counterpoint to the stubborness issue.

I would also really like to hear from some of you who have older kids- can you offer encouragement, resources I can look at that will help me get a vision of what our lives might look like into the high school years? What about long division for goodness sake?:

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you all!
post #324 of 332
Wow, Majikfaerie, I could have written your post, nice to know there is someone else like me around. I don't know any other clean ex-junkie, like you, almost everyone I knew back then is dead (most didn't live past 21.) I've been clean for 15 years now (16 in September.)

I left home at 16, a pretty mutual decision between me and my dad (to put it nicely) and hung out in the street punk scene for years. Pretty well every other kid there was like me, not a runaway, but a throwaway. Many of the kids came from so-called "good" families (well off, 2 parents, nice house, etc.) What we all had in common was that our parents didn't know or like who we were and wanted different kids, or just didn't care enough to get to know their own kids.

I've always felt that the main reason I survived was that I had a very, very good mother who made it really clear that she adored me and that having children was the only really important thing in her life. My mom died when I was 12, and I pretty well just drifted after that, but just having known unconditional love and acceptance at some point in my life was the big difference between me and the kids who died, or wound up in jail, or who just never got out of the life.

My past hugely influenced how I parented ds from the beginning. Way before I'd heard of unschooling or attachment parenting I'd decided that trust and respect were the most important things I could give my child.

Because of my past, my family, and ds's father and his family (lots of addiction problems of all sorts on both sides) I do worry about addiction in ds. I've been honest with him about mine and his father's past (to whatever extent that I felt he could understand at the time), and been honest about drugs as much as I can (the whole scare tactic "just say no" drug education from my childhood had a really bad, backward effect on me and a lot of kids I knew, the first time I did drugs or drank, and didn't immediately die, or fall into a coma, or go insane, I figured that all adults had always lied to me about drugs), and I've tried to give him as much honest information I can about addiction, and talking over behavior I see in him that strikes me as addictive. He has had moments where I thought his interest in a game or toy (most notably a pokemon obsession when he was 5 or 6) had crossed the line into addiction.

This is pretty rare in kids, or most adults though. Ds's pokemon obsession went from wanting to play pokemon, watch pokemon and talk about pokemon all the time (pretty normal behavior for a 6 year old at the time), to not being able to think about or do anything else. He would think about what pokemon card he would buy all week long, build it up so much, become convinced that "this" card was the one that would make him happy. Then, when he bought the card, he'd get home, realize that "this" card wasn't filling the need, and would become convinced that it was some other card at the shop he really needed, and that card was the one, the one that would fill the void, make him happy, enable him to stop thinking about pokemon all the time (of course, at 6 he didn't articulate this quite this well, it was "I was wrong, it was the other card I need, we have to go back to the store RIGHT NOW, I can't live without THAT card.") I finally decided I needed to step in and take pokemon cards and stuff away for a while. We did talk about it at the time, and ds agreed that he wasn't really enjoying pokemon anymore, he just couldn't stop thinking about them and wanted to stop. I banned pokemon stuff for about a month. Eventually he was able to start playing pokemon again without becoming obsessed, but he really did need my help to stop at the time.

That said, I've rarely seen kids display this kind of behavior. Ds has spent most of the last 2 years either playing video games or being on the net. When he's online, he is mostly either chatting with friends, watching anime or reading manga. Even though he's online anywhere from 2-10 hours a day (it's -51 below outside right now, there is really very little else to do right now), he's always doing something different that stimulates his brain and interests him, and he can walk away from the computer if something else interests him. So, while he's spending a lot of time on the computer, I'm not worried at all about how he relates to it, he's using it as a tool.

Video games, on the other hand, he spends a lot of time playing the same games over and over again, while at the same time complaining about how frustrated and bored he is with the games. He isn't acting like he's addicted to the games, but it seems to me that they have become more of a bad habit than anything else, and we have been talking about how much he is playing, and how he doesn't seem to enjoy what he's doing, and how doing something over and over again in the hopes that it might become fun again doesn't make sense. I don't think he's ready to give up on gaming (nor would I want him to give up a huge category of activity), but I think he does need a push move on to a new area, or start interacting with games differently (play more complicated games, or start designing games, something that would challenge him more.) I spend a lot of time with him watching him play games or watching anime, and we talk a lot about both the content of what he's watching or playing, and about how he and I both feel about how much time he's spending staring at screens (is it taking time away from our relationship, friends, and other activities he loves but is avoiding because it's just easier to turn on the game.)

Basically, to cut this long-winded post short, I think when people talk about being "addicted" to video games or tv, what they are really worried about is bad habits, and the best way to teach what you feel are good habits is to practice those habits yourself. If I ever get really, really worried about how much time ds is spending on video games and the computer, I'll stop watching tv and spending time online myself. (and since I'm still on MDC, I guess I'm not all that worried yet )
post #325 of 332
Thread Starter 
thanks, alima.
I was just sitting here wondering if I should delete my post.

I think in the case of serious addictive behaviours; the problem isn't necessarily because of the "thing" the child is addicted to. I've seen so many people go from one addiction to the next. there is a root cause that starts it.

I've been watching my DD and thinking a lot about heriditary addictions/ emotional problems.
I know there isn't genetic evidence for this, but I do a lot of mind/body/spirit healing work, and we look a lot at the healing we need to do on ourselves, that is actually inherited from our parents. either through a spirit level, or through a nurture level.

I sometimes see my DD acting out the exact same rage and frustration that I feel, though she doesn't have a past of violence and abuse.

anyway, without getting too deep and long-winded again, I think that these kind of cases can best be resolved by looking at the deeper issues.

Is my child showing addictive behaviours because of the pokemon cards (for example) or because there is something deep inside that they are avoiding? How can I communicate with my child to get to the source of this? what is happening for my child in this moment?

I believe this should be the starting point for pretty much all "bad behaviour".

I caught myself being snappy with DP today, and he pulled me up on it. of course, it's my habit to look at this stuff, so I could instantly see that I was acting out on some deeper stuff, that was actually unrelated to the situation. Once I worked that out, my irritation with DP melted away, and i could see how I'd been reacting irrationally.
post #326 of 332
Yeah, I've had far more than one addiction. I'm not addicted to drugs, I'm addicted to extreme sensations, if that makes sense

Given ds's genetic history, and the behavior he's seen in his extended family, I was really glad, actually, to have the fairly minor pokemon incident to teach him about how to deal with the underlying feeling of needing something external to fill a void or need, and that there is nothing outside of himself that will make him happy if he doesn't know how to be happy and complete in himself first.

Here's another thing that led me to unschooling. One of ds's father's biggest problems is that he was (is? I haven't seen him in years) completely incapable of being alone, I mean, not just couldn't entertain himself, but completely could not be alone with himself, it absolutely drove him nuts. 5 minutes and he'd be looking for anyone to keep him company, or anything to get outside of himself. I really wanted for ds to feel comfortable and happy with his own company, to feel complete in himself, and that he needed a lot of space and time to accomplish this, that he needed to be able to know himself without being defined by me, other family members, his teachers or his peers, or he would never be able to be happy or content with who or where he is.

One of the reasons I was able to get out of the addictions and crap I was in was deciding that I really needed to figure out why I had made the choices I did, and to work through them, before I moved on with the rest of my life. I've carried this on in many other ways in my life now and surprisingly have grown up to be someone considered to be very honest and trustworthy (not where anyone would have thought I'd be 20 years ago), because I always start with taking responsibility for my own stuff and trying to figure out if I am being honest in my actions and motivations, and rectifying or apologizing if I think I was wrong, or selfish, or motivated by something selfish. I really like the person I am now, and I feel really strongly that all the work I had to do as a teen and young adult, and all the stuff I've experienced is a huge part of that. I've tried to impart that to ds, that working on knowing yourself and being honest with yourself is the most important work of growing up.
post #327 of 332
I agree majik, I think addictions to anything happen not because of the thing, but more of a lack of something in that persons life.
post #328 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post

One thing that bugs me, and maybe some of you can address this for me- I feel like I have a strong 'negative' reason for unschooling. I have a hard time going head on with my dd about anything, and I don't want to choose a homeschooling method based on avoiding conflict.

Maybe framing your reasons differently would help. Instead of thinking that you unschool in order to avoid conflict, you could say you unschool because you want to work *with* your children.

Of course, it's more than semantics. I think parents can set up power struggles when their agenda doesn't coincide with the child's. If a parent is saying, "You must complete these worksheets" and the child isn't into it, it's the child who gets blamed for the struggle, because the overwhelming majority of people believe that children should follow their parents' wishes. Unschooling doesn't set up that kind of struggle to begin with because it's the child's desires and the child's interests that dictate what activities they'll be engaged in.


Quote:
Maybe I need more 'positives' to help me decide if this is the right choice for us, sort of as a counterpoint to the stubborness issue.
I understand what you mean by "power struggle" and "stubborness" but frankly, it takes two, yk? Your child could very well be thinking that YOU'RE the one who's being stubborn or creating a power struggle. Dropping that kind of thinking is going to go a long way towards making unschooling work.

I think unschooling requires a respect and enthusiasm for the child's interests and goals. It doesn't work so well if the parent is thinking, "Yes, but you're not learning what *I* want you to learn."

For a positive look at unschooling life, check out Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled LIfe. I also often recommend The Teenage Liberation Handbook for info on what an unschooled teen life can look like.

Quote:
What about long division for goodness sake?:
What about it? What about the ballet? What about biology? What about wood carving? What about writing? What about botany? It's all out there--my kids are free to explore any of it and when they find a need to know certain information or to learn a certain skill, they will.
post #329 of 332
Sagmom, thanks for giving me a new perspective on this conflict thing. It does help to take a look at what my agenda is when I'm trying to force math worksheets or handwriting practice down their throats, so to speak. I guess what it boils down to is two goals- one (not so proud of this one) is to show all those naysayers that I'm not ruining my kids by homeschooling them. I have some strong naysayers in my life. The other is to make sure that I don't limit them in some way by not providing all the information they need. Will they be able to go to college? I mean, will they be up to studying and taking tests and writing papers, or will they just not be able to handle this kind of stuff because 'they' didn't choose the activity? I guess when I use this kind of reasoning, I'm actually imagining my nine year old in a university classroom, at her level of maturity- ha, ha! Of course she doesn't have the ability to carry out such long term goals!

Thanks for letting me blab, I just had a ligtbulb moment about why this could work, why it does seem to be working. My dd has HATED writing since she could do more than scratch out a few letters. I saw it as her weakness and tried to make her practice so she'd get better at it. I figured it was partly a confidence issue, and that she wouldn't hate it once she could do it well, with my help, of course. I haven't made her do anything for six months, no pressure at all. Just last week she was visiting her Granny and decided she was into making books. All of a sudden, she's writing like crazy. She's even trying to figure out ways to teach herself how to spell correctly.

I guess with most of this basic learning, the stuff I feel concerned about, it's more a matter of 'when' it will happen than 'if' it will.
post #330 of 332
those are great. thx!
post #331 of 332
Transformed - About name writing? When was the last time you wrote your name? I hardly ever write mine unless I am signing a card.

My dd has been able to write her name for a while now and she isn't five til next month but she was really driven to label her stuff: her pictures, her books, her chair, cups etc etc. I let her put her name on whatever she wanted to. She has 3 siblings so maybe she just wanted to stake her claim. Anyhow she doesn't really write anything else other than her name right now.

Singin'intherain -That's so cool about your dd. It is as if several things have to converge for something to be produced and it is just a matter of when that will be. School just makes people think that it happens too late or too early but being at home time is not important.
post #332 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
Transformed - About name writing? When was the last time you wrote your name? I hardly ever write mine unless I am signing a card.

My dd has been able to write her name for a while now and she isn't five til next month but she was really driven to label her stuff: her pictures, her books, her chair, cups etc etc. I let her put her name on whatever she wanted to. She has 3 siblings so maybe she just wanted to stake her claim. Anyhow she doesn't really write anything else other than her name right now.

Singin'intherain -That's so cool about your dd. It is as if several things have to converge for something to be produced and it is just a matter of when that will be. School just makes people think that it happens too late or too early but being at home time is not important.
Thanks for this.

I come up with this "duh" kind of logic for people all the time. Like dh, and MIL. DUH!

For some reason they dont buy it. (It seems black and white to me...)

Ok, the problem isnt me, its every other adult in contact with ds.

I "get" it.
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