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Old 11-21-2010, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Any Waldorf inspired/waldorf mamas use an unconditional parenting approach?


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Old 11-21-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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We do.  We also lean toward consensual living--not giving choices for everything, but when dd is showing frustration, we try to empower her to feel she has a say in the situation.  I'd say that the Alfie Kohn UP book and Hold On To Your Kids pretty much define our parenting style.  Is there a particular reason you're asking?


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Old 11-21-2010, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We do.  We also lean toward consensual living--not giving choices for everything, but when dd is showing frustration, we try to empower her to feel she has a say in the situation.  I'd say that the Alfie Kohn UP book and Hold On To Your Kids pretty much define our parenting style.  Is there a particular reason you're asking?



I have just about got to the end of Alfie Kohn UP book and it has sort of knocked me for six a bit really. I understood alot of what it was saying, and agreed with it too (I've have never felt comfortable with the idea that children are 'trained' to be obedient and they are considered to be a 'good' child if they basically do exactly what they are told with no fussing, judging the child based on behaviour)

While I understood what the book was saying about no praise, it would be very challenging for me to change my behaviour on that front and my older girl has definately come to expect it and actually asks sometimes if she doesn't get the praise she's expecting!

I also found it a bit confusing...if I ask my girls to do something and they basically say 'no'... where do I go from there? How do I respond? My DH asked her to put away some writing things before they watched their afternoon family movie and my older girl didn't want to and I honestly had no idea how to help DH resolve the situation. The book has basically confused me!

 

We're a Waldorf inspired house and I am just trying to process it all and how everything might fit together...the 'no hurrying' point in the book wasn't new to me b/c that is in alot of the Waldorf books I have read. Sorry for rambling, just trying to process it a bit I suppose. I actually found it a really challenging book to read to be honest. I come from a background where children are expected to do what they are told if an adult asks, and if they don't, the aren't being respectful to the adult and they are being 'naughty' (now I realise what about the respect for the child?!)


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Old 11-21-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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I actually grew up in an UP household so I had a leg up in that regard.  My parents didn't know they were doing AP and UP at the time, but they instinctively followed many of the precepts.

 

With the praise thing, I separate manipulative praise from authentic praise.  Kohn talks about manipulative praise--saying "good job" to elicit that behavior again.  When dd does something really amazing, I try to always respond genuinely, which DOES include praise--"That is really awesome!  How did you figure out how to do that?"  Dd has a friend the same age who was raised on the former type of manipulative praise whereas we've always done the latter.  There is a huge difference in their behaviors and motivations now.  Dd does things because SHE wants to and appreciates when we acknowledge what she does but she isn't dependent upon us for making her feel good.  Her friend, on the other hand, has to have an audience for everything, and his behavior tends toward the clownish because that gets the most attention.

 

I think UP really comes down to respect.  Waldorf teaches that children are not mini-adults, and they aren't, but they are worthy of the same dignity given to adults, which is what Kohn is trying to say.  If my child (nearly 5) says, "no" I ask her why she didn't want to do it.  Her responses have always been very logical and reasonable--"She was in the middle of something and wanted to finish first," "She was too tired to do it all on her own," " She wanted company," etc.  All of these are very reasonable.  I have never had her say "no" in a manipulative or angry way, and I think that's because we've always allowed her "no" to be negotiable so it sort of disempowers it.  If "no" is used as a tool to show who is in charge, then it takes on a sense of power or authority in itself.  Even when little, dd did not go through a "no" phase (although we did not give her as much control over her decisions then as we do now--I think that is something that should increase with age and awareness). If my child did not want to pick up her toys, I'd use some Waldorf tricks of cooperation and imagination--"Let's be squirrels gathering up our nuts for the winter" and work WITH her.  Carrie at the Parenting Passageway blog (love this blog!) talks a lot about how children under age 7 really need to be directed physically rather than verbally.  That resonates a lot with me.  I can tell dd to do something but if she shows hesistation, it is my responsiblity to do it along with her.

 

The whole idea of obedience or even authority has never come into play in our family life.  For us, I do find it helpful not to even think in these terms because they set up a power dichotomy--those "in charge" versus those "not."  Dd knows dh and I determine certain parameters but we try to keep those boundaries not overly black and white with plenty of leeway so she can have freedom to act within those parameters without feeling too free or too constrained.  We don't always do it perfectly, but over the years we've gotten better.

 

The basic premise of the book is that it isn't enough for you to know you love your child no matter what but how to let them FEEL that way so that they know it too.  I thought it might be helpful just to have that written out because whenever I'm processing something it's nice to keep the main point in my head so I don't lose the forest for the trees.  Since Waldorf has a lot to do with working with a child's will and emotions, and nurturing their senses by also nurturing their environment, I think UP and Waldorf make a phenomenal combination.

 

I'm pretty well-versed in UP so if you ever need help, please let me know.  Often on the GD board here, UP comes up (you can also do a search for it and I'm sure you'll find lots of posts).  Best wishes! 


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Old 11-22-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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If you REALLY want to blow your parenting mind, check out the site Joyfully Rejoycing: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/  It will answer a lot of your questions, tho.

 

We strive for consensual living.  With a two-year-old, it is not easy at all, but we do not like to threaten or coerce, so we are clunking along as best as we can w/ some help from friends who have older children.  We are also a homeschooling/unschooling family, so that helps to define who we are and who we want to be.

 

Kohn is a lot to wrap your mind around.  To embrace UP you need to de-parent yourself and begin questioning everything society has taught you about how children should be treated.  Encouraging intrinsic motivation & working with kids can be incredibly difficult, but it will lead to a more peaceful and respectful house.  The way you view your role will also probably change.  I now look at cleaning as serving my family and helping my children to learn rather than being resentful for having to do so much work.  My choice was to bring them into existence & my work now frees them up to live out their existences as they choose.  The praise thing was easy for me to shed b/c I already did not care for the phrase "good job" & never really said it.  I now say things like, "You did it," or, one of my favourites, "Good for you."  At first, I did have to hold back a lot on praise & now it comes naturally to not really say anything.  DD1 does not look for praise at all & we have conversations about things, not just me doling out niceties.  DH and I use please and thank you a lot.  Like, maybe if dd1 jumps off of something and says, "Jump!" I, too, will say, "Jump!  Jump, jump, jump!  Do you want to jump again?"  Instead of just saying, "Great jumping!" I let it flow as a mini conversation.  We might try jumping like different animals, or yelling while jumping, etc.  If she jumps really high, I could say, "Wow, that was a BIG jump."  That acknowledges that she did something neat & is a statement about something specific.

 

There are personal boundaries within UP.  Two good starting points: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/commitments%20obligation%20responsi/freedomandresponsibility.html and http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/changing%20parenting/ifthencontracts.html  Rather than trying to figure out how to get your child to do what you want them to do, you need to look at your life as a whole and determine why you want things to go the way you want them to go.  You might decide that you will do your kid a favor & start picking up the crayons for her.  You might say, "If you want to watch the movie, then you need to pick up the crayons."  You might leave the crayons there w/out saying anything & see what happens.  Could be that your daughter picks them up on her own after the movie.  Someone else might pick them up.  You might pick them up and then tell your daughter that you would appreciate it if she would do that herself next time b/c it adds more work to your day & that is not fair to you.  The choices really are limitless :)


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Old 11-22-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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I also found it a bit confusing...if I ask my girls to do something and they basically say 'no'... where do I go from there? How do I respond? My DH asked her to put away some writing things before they watched their afternoon family movie and my older girl didn't want to and I honestly had no idea how to help DH resolve the situation. The book has basically confused me!

 

I have the same problem.  I envy those parents whose youngish children can articulate why they say "no" and provide reasonable answers that parents can then deal with.  oo often in our house, the middle child I don't think knows why she is saying "no".  She is frustrated and angry, and while I "think" it becasue she is unhappy with losing her place as the 'baby', its been 1.5 years, and we have not been able constructively help her adjust.

 

In theory, I agree with many of the principles.  In practice, I find it very hard to inspire my children to be 'intrinsically motivated" to go to bed on time, tidy their room, stay quiet while their baby brother is being put to bed, etc...

 

Beth

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Old 11-22-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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In theory, I agree with many of the principles.  In practice, I find it very hard to inspire my children to be 'intrinsically motivated" to go to bed on time, tidy their room, stay quiet while their baby brother is being put to bed, etc...

 

Beth

 

That is b/c you want them to become intrinsically motivated to go to bed when YOU want them to go to bed.  They are already motivated to go to bed when they are tired, but it may be at a time that YOU do not agree with :)  Same w/ the clean room.  What is clean to you is not the same as what is clean to them.  It can also be quite difficult for a child to clean their room w/out help, even up to an age where we think they should not longer need our help.  I do notice that dd1's play becomes scattered & disorganized when her play areas are incredibly messy.  B/c I love her and want to help her (and also b/c she is only 2.5), I clean her playroom and bedroom for her.  I ask her if she would like to help me and I leave the choice up to her.  Most often, I do clean the playroom at night b/c it is easier for me.  My reward is seeing her enjoy playing in there for long periods of time, not that I didn't have to do it myself.  As for the staying quiet for the baby, I never did come up w/ a solution that *I* thought was great, but it is one that dd1 loves!  When I go to put the baby down, dd1 gets to watch a video.  Not at all my top choice, but I've spent the past six months arguing w/ her every day so I put on the videos rather than continue to damage our relationship.  Instead of being yelling and crying time, it is now one of the highlights of dd1's day :p

 

http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/influencing%20kid%20behavior/sleep/sleep.html

http://enjoylifeunschooling.com/2010/07/night-life-july-2010-carnival/
 


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Old 11-23-2010, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually grew up in an UP household so I had a leg up in that regard.  My parents didn't know they were doing AP and UP at the time, but they instinctively followed many of the precepts.

 

With the praise thing, I separate manipulative praise from authentic praise.  Kohn talks about manipulative praise--saying "good job" to elicit that behavior again.  When dd does something really amazing, I try to always respond genuinely, which DOES include praise--"That is really awesome!  How did you figure out how to do that?"  Dd has a friend the same age who was raised on the former type of manipulative praise whereas we've always done the latter.  There is a huge difference in their behaviors and motivations now.  Dd does things because SHE wants to and appreciates when we acknowledge what she does but she isn't dependent upon us for making her feel good.  Her friend, on the other hand, has to have an audience for everything, and his behavior tends toward the clownish because that gets the most attention.

 

I think UP really comes down to respect.  Waldorf teaches that children are not mini-adults, and they aren't, but they are worthy of the same dignity given to adults, which is what Kohn is trying to say.  If my child (nearly 5) says, "no" I ask her why she didn't want to do it.  Her responses have always been very logical and reasonable--"She was in the middle of something and wanted to finish first," "She was too tired to do it all on her own," " She wanted company," etc.  All of these are very reasonable.  I have never had her say "no" in a manipulative or angry way, and I think that's because we've always allowed her "no" to be negotiable so it sort of disempowers it.  If "no" is used as a tool to show who is in charge, then it takes on a sense of power or authority in itself.  Even when little, dd did not go through a "no" phase (although we did not give her as much control over her decisions then as we do now--I think that is something that should increase with age and awareness). If my child did not want to pick up her toys, I'd use some Waldorf tricks of cooperation and imagination--"Let's be squirrels gathering up our nuts for the winter" and work WITH her.  Carrie at the Parenting Passageway blog (love this blog!) talks a lot about how children under age 7 really need to be directed physically rather than verbally.  That resonates a lot with me.  I can tell dd to do something but if she shows hesistation, it is my responsiblity to do it along with her.

 

The whole idea of obedience or even authority has never come into play in our family life.  For us, I do find it helpful not to even think in these terms because they set up a power dichotomy--those "in charge" versus those "not."  Dd knows dh and I determine certain parameters but we try to keep those boundaries not overly black and white with plenty of leeway so she can have freedom to act within those parameters without feeling too free or too constrained.  We don't always do it perfectly, but over the years we've gotten better.

 

The basic premise of the book is that it isn't enough for you to know you love your child no matter what but how to let them FEEL that way so that they know it too.  I thought it might be helpful just to have that written out because whenever I'm processing something it's nice to keep the main point in my head so I don't lose the forest for the trees.  Since Waldorf has a lot to do with working with a child's will and emotions, and nurturing their senses by also nurturing their environment, I think UP and Waldorf make a phenomenal combination.

 

I'm pretty well-versed in UP so if you ever need help, please let me know.  Often on the GD board here, UP comes up (you can also do a search for it and I'm sure you'll find lots of posts).  Best wishes! 


Thank you for spelling out to me how all this interweaves into a Waldorf way of life, I felt so confused and your reply has really helped me understand. You have reminded me of things I already knew and have used in the past (that sometimes a child might need to be directed physically rather then verbally to carry out a task, so I can go along with her to put away her writing things for example) Again, I love your idea of making it into a game, which I have read before but my problem is remembering these brilliant ideas in the heat of the moment. I read so many blogs (including Carrie's blog which is such an amazing resource), books, excellent magazines (like Juno in the UK, it is seriously one of the best parenting magazine I have ever read) that I have so much in my head that I feel completely bogged down with it all. I feel like I need some clarity and there is so much I want to do parenting wise that I don't know where to begin.

 

About obedience, you are so lucky it is not even an issue in your household, really it is what is expected of children in my life ( I mean from family, people I know) I guess conventional parenting methods are the norm. So how does a parent got about using a different parenting method when people in their life might not have heard about UP or similar parenting styles? Or will it be a lonely path for me? (which if  this is what it boils down to, then I am happy to accept that) Thre is a very strong routine in our home, around mealtimes and bedtimes so I can honestly say, there isn't too much that comes up about obedience thank goodness. But my DH does expect to be able to verbally direct my 5 year old and for her to respond straight away.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogretro View Post

If you REALLY want to blow your parenting mind, check out the site Joyfully Rejoycing: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/  It will answer a lot of your questions, tho.

 

We strive for consensual living.  With a two-year-old, it is not easy at all, but we do not like to threaten or coerce, so we are clunking along as best as we can w/ some help from friends who have older children.  We are also a homeschooling/unschooling family, so that helps to define who we are and who we want to be.

 

Kohn is a lot to wrap your mind around.  To embrace UP you need to de-parent yourself and begin questioning everything society has taught you about how children should be treated.  Encouraging intrinsic motivation & working with kids can be incredibly difficult, but it will lead to a more peaceful and respectful house.  The way you view your role will also probably change.  I now look at cleaning as serving my family and helping my children to learn rather than being resentful for having to do so much work.  My choice was to bring them into existence & my work now frees them up to live out their existences as they choose.  The praise thing was easy for me to shed b/c I already did not care for the phrase "good job" & never really said it.  I now say things like, "You did it," or, one of my favourites, "Good for you."  At first, I did have to hold back a lot on praise & now it comes naturally to not really say anything.  DD1 does not look for praise at all & we have conversations about things, not just me doling out niceties.  DH and I use please and thank you a lot.  Like, maybe if dd1 jumps off of something and says, "Jump!" I, too, will say, "Jump!  Jump, jump, jump!  Do you want to jump again?"  Instead of just saying, "Great jumping!" I let it flow as a mini conversation.  We might try jumping like different animals, or yelling while jumping, etc.  If she jumps really high, I could say, "Wow, that was a BIG jump."  That acknowledges that she did something neat & is a statement about something specific.

 

There are personal boundaries within UP.  Two good starting points: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/commitments%20obligation%20responsi/freedomandresponsibility.html and http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/changing%20parenting/ifthencontracts.html  Rather than trying to figure out how to get your child to do what you want them to do, you need to look at your life as a whole and determine why you want things to go the way you want them to go.  You might decide that you will do your kid a favor & start picking up the crayons for her.  You might say, "If you want to watch the movie, then you need to pick up the crayons."  You might leave the crayons there w/out saying anything & see what happens.  Could be that your daughter picks them up on her own after the movie.  Someone else might pick them up.  You might pick them up and then tell your daughter that you would appreciate it if she would do that herself next time b/c it adds more work to your day & that is not fair to you.  The choices really are limitless :)

Thank you so much for the link, I love what it says about peaceful parenting in the introduction to the website, I think I have been natuarally working towards this for a while now. Can't wait to explore the website.

 


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QUOTE from MamaUK: "So how does a parent got about using a different parenting method when people in their life might not have heard about UP or similar parenting styles? Or will it be a lonely path for me? (which if  this is what it boils down to, then I am happy to accept that) Thre is a very strong routine in our home, around mealtimes and bedtimes so I can honestly say, there isn't too much that comes up about obedience thank goodness. But my DH does expect to be able to verbally direct my 5 year old and for her to respond straight away."

 

I absolutely had dh read UP because I truly felt like we needed to be on the same page.  Would yours be open to that?  We also discuss quite often the best ways to handle things like obstinance, redirection, etc., so that we both are acting in a unified manner.  As for other people, I try and intervene if people ever order dd around.  I usually hear their command and then I either explain it to dd and let her know that it would be kind of her to do xyz or tell her I'll help her or whatever is appropriate at the time.  We homeschool and so dd is rarely ever in a situation when someone expects blind/immediate obedience (as I wrote earler my parents are into UP, and they are the only ones besides dh and myself to see dd quite often).  I think at this age, you have to be a filter between your child and the world, but this is probably nothing new to you because this is pretty in-line with Waldorf-thinking.  I try to always model respect and grace, and I think modeling is very important for children's character development and I *hope* dd picks up on that as she matures.  I think it truly helps that she knows her opinions and thoughts are always gently respected, too.  Like everyone else, though, I am an imperfect parent, but I think what you do MOST of the time is what matters. 

 

Blessings!

 

 



 


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sbbing also.

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Old 11-28-2010, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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QUOTE from MamaUK: "So how does a parent got about using a different parenting method when people in their life might not have heard about UP or similar parenting styles? Or will it be a lonely path for me? (which if  this is what it boils down to, then I am happy to accept that) Thre is a very strong routine in our home, around mealtimes and bedtimes so I can honestly say, there isn't too much that comes up about obedience thank goodness. But my DH does expect to be able to verbally direct my 5 year old and for her to respond straight away."

 

I absolutely had dh read UP because I truly felt like we needed to be on the same page.  Would yours be open to that?  We also discuss quite often the best ways to handle things like obstinance, redirection, etc., so that we both are acting in a unified manner.  As for other people, I try and intervene if people ever order dd around.  I usually hear their command and then I either explain it to dd and let her know that it would be kind of her to do xyz or tell her I'll help her or whatever is appropriate at the time.  We homeschool and so dd is rarely ever in a situation when someone expects blind/immediate obedience (as I wrote earler my parents are into UP, and they are the only ones besides dh and myself to see dd quite often).  I think at this age, you have to be a filter between your child and the world, but this is probably nothing new to you because this is pretty in-line with Waldorf-thinking.  I try to always model respect and grace, and I think modeling is very important for children's character development and I *hope* dd picks up on that as she matures.  I think it truly helps that she knows her opinions and thoughts are always gently respected, too.  Like everyone else, though, I am an imperfect parent, but I think what you do MOST of the time is what matters. 

 

Blessings!

 

 



 



Unfortunately there is no way he would read the book,  he would possibly read crib notes from it but even then there is alot of UP that I think he would disagree with straight out...but at least we can talk about it I guess. I'm not sure if we will be on the same page about UP to be honest. He is totally open to talking about ways of dealing with issues that come up with the children though - he just doesn't like to be told how to parent from a book I guess!

Thanks for giving me the tip about obedience around other people, It is a great idea about offering to help my LO's ones if they get asked/told to do something and they don't want to do it right away. It's a good way to diffuse the situation :)

 

So there are some things I have been working on this week, if my older girl asks me to fetch her/help her with something I say 'Of course'. Interestingly, now when I ask her if she can get me something, she will frequently say 'yes'. So modelling helpfullness and kindness seems to be working already! In the past, I might have told K to get it herself, because I felt she was old enough to do it herself!

 

I am in the middle of reading the book 'Raising your children, Raising yourself' which seems to have some really good examples of UP working. I'm struggling with validating my children's feelings though, I'm finding it hard to do because I have never done this approach before. I've always used distraction or say 'don't worry, don't worry' to try and stop tears/fear etc. That makes me sound bad! And they are both scared of dogs and I would say 'don't worry, it's only a dog' I feel so bad about that now :/


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I am in the middle of reading the book 'Raising your children, Raising yourself' which seems to have some really good examples of UP working. I'm struggling with validating my children's feelings though, I'm finding it hard to do because I have never done this approach before. I've always used distraction or say 'don't worry, don't worry' to try and stop tears/fear etc. That makes me sound bad! And they are both scared of dogs and I would say 'don't worry, it's only a dog' I feel so bad about that now :/



Just jumping in to say: Let go of guilt!  First of all, when you know better, you do better.  You should be patting yourself on the back for having the courage to change and go against the mainstream.  We say 'mainstream' so often without really thinking about what it means.  It's a powerful force that sweep most people up in its path.  Second of all, kids are a lot more flexible than we think.  And they notice when parents try harder, apologize, change behavior.  I watched my own parents change their parenting philosophy over the years and I really appreciate the better relationship I have with them now because of it. 

 

Don't forget to unconditionally parent yourself.  Your own feelings are just as valid as your childrens.  You were telling them it was ok because you were being their mama and you wanted them to feel safe and protected and happy.  That's wonderful!  It's just what mamas are supposed to do.

 

And I'm subbing to this thread because I'm falling in love with a lot of Waldorf and Alfie Kohn's work.  I'm slowly learning how to really enjoy my 15 month old (a somewhat difficult age enjoy so far.. maybe if he would start talking..?) and I have great plans for his childhood that involve a lot of these concepts.

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