Waldorf parenting help needed! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 07-04-2005, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone. A little background: I have two children, a five-year-old daughter and an almost two-year-old son. I am the co-founder of a Waldorf School initiative here in my town and am fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive community in which to raise my children as a Waldorf mama.

Unfortunately, my mother is (silently, and sometimes not so silently) unsupportive of our choice of lifestyle and education. She lives 10 minutes away from us and has been quite involved in my children's lives since my daughter's birth. I have struggled from the beginning in knowing how rigid vs. how flexible to be with her. Examples: numerous plastic and electronic toys, videos on some occasions (not the worst dreck fortunately but still), the cheap, the tacky, the unaesthetically appealing abound at her home. I have had NUMEROUS conversations about exactly why I do not want my children exposed to it, she "shapes up" for awhile, then in it creeps again (she loves shopping and yard sales and literally cannot pass up a "bargain" is her excuse, plus, in her words, "they love it!"). Her reasoning (I'm sure all of you have heard this before) is that we are too "pure" in our childraising and that children also need to live in the "real world." My mom also believes that if they are kept away from all the mainstream stuff, it will become enticing as they grow older, so better expose them to it in small "harmless" doses now so it doesn't become an obsession later.

Again, my arguments about why I do not agree fall on mostly unsupportive ears. I think she partially "gets it" but that lifestyle frankly bores her and she sees it as anachronistic. My stepfather wouldn't know a natural lifestyle if it bit him in the ear so he supports her 100% and in fact does some of the shopping himself.

I need advice from others who have been there! I've thought of many ways to handle the situation, such as having her come here to visit rather than having the children go there, giving her ultimatums (no videos or electronics or no visits), etc. but what always stops me is the fear that I'm being unreasonable or too rigid. Sometimes I think I should just let go, limit the time the children are over there, but just let her have her home the way she wants it and trust that what they get at home is what will stick. Trying to convince her of the merits of this way of raising children obviously hasn't worked! I guess I'm just chicken to stand up to her in such a big way (working on developing my will, can you tell? )

The final straw was this afternoon, when, after a holiday family gathering (and against my better judgment : ) I let my daughter stay for an hour and play. When they pulled into our driveway, my daughter was entranced with a (you guessed it) hideous, plastic computer like thing that "asked" her to locate various letters and match them with the word they belong to. I saw red, and told my mom how undermined I felt, etc. etc. She said she had it put away in a closet, my daughter saw it, and so of course she *had* to get it out. Oh, and the only reason she kept it, because she "knows how I feel" is because my brother's daughter, who is three, loves to play with it. Help!!!

Ok mamas, what would you do? Thanks in advance for any advice and/or reality checks!

~ Jill
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#2 of 29 Old 07-04-2005, 07:11 PM
 
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Whew! I don't blame you a bit. I have the same problem when it comes to my MIL. I mean, DH and I have been married a long time, and she knows my limits, but I have yet to discuss this issue with her. (My mom knows and respects my decisions.)

We were at the in laws yesterday, and my MIL, who thrift shops, found several plastic toys for DS and gave them to him to play with while we were there. It sent me reeling because not only are they plastic, but one was Sesame Street (no characters in this house) and winds up and plays music too. I am also very concerned about plastic because DS still puts everything in his mouth.

I tried to re-direct her. She has baskets and baskets of seashells, which I was encouraging DS to play with. He loves them. She even offered some to take home. Yay!

Anyway, not to steal your thread, but I am going through the SAME thing. I deal with it, so far, by saying, "let's keep these toys here so we have something to play with next time!" I wish I had some earth shattering advice for you, but only that I am in the same boat and I feel your pain.

I will certainly have to have a talk about it at some point. But you're right. Everyone thinks I'm some kinda weirdo for not letting my kid have junk toys. When I discuss this with my DH, my argument is that when DS is in *our* house, we can control what he has. I know he'll have junk (toys, food, etc.) someday, but not here. I think I would definately draw the line at toys that take batteries, though.

What does your daughter have to say about it? What is her favorite toy at home? Could you keep some "special" toys at your mother's for your DD to play with only there? When it comes to my mom, I have given her a few websites with mom-approved toys. Would that work?

Wish I could help more. Good luck!
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#3 of 29 Old 07-04-2005, 09:08 PM
 
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I have similar issues w/grandparents just doing what they want and not taking things very seriously. And in the begininng it was cause of many fights between my parents and I.
But I have relaxed a lot in the past few years and things are much better. they think I parent my children very well and support me in my choices, but I can't expect them to completly change their way of thinking for me - they are adults who have had a happy wonderful life just the way they are. I have made it clear how I raise my children in my home and they respect it in my home..... when the kids are in their home without me, well I leave it up to their judgement. they know not to cross the line w/diet issues (except the sugar issue, which I still have issues with : ). TV - they watch at my folks house and I'm fine with that. Plastic toys at their house- I'm fine with. they read stories to my kids, take them for walks, cook, etc. Little bit of all of it!

I believe that children grow up knowing how their own home runs. My kids know that all the things they do at my folks house is a treat and something we don't do at home. I have no complaints at home and everyone has a good time when we visit the grandparents. It is all moderation in my book. A little bit of those things is not so bad. We don't fight at all anymore about those things and when I really put my foot down about an issue, my folks know I'm serious and tend to respect it. And Babara Kingsolver said something in her most recent book of essays that made such sense to me. She said sometimes being a gracious guest to friends is more valuable than any political agenda. (or something to that effect)

I'm just going on the hope that the lessons we learn at home will be the ones that valiently shine in my children lives....and the love from their grandparents will only make that brighter!

Just my 2 cents and how I have chosen to deal with it.
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#4 of 29 Old 07-04-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Tricky situation.

I'd put energy into giving them positive feedback whenever they do something right, and quietly maneuvering around it when they do something that drives you crazy. The current situation is piling up a lot of energy around the problems. Grandparents usually do love their grandchildren and want to do well by them, but don't always "get" what the parents mean by doing well.

You do have to decide exactly where you draw the line that cannot ever be crossed. One of my friends was physically abused by her mother. When she had children she stated, very loudly and clearly, that her mother could have the children over to visit, but she was absolutely never, never, never, to lay a finger on them. This has worked.

My daughter feels really strongly about TV, and has made it very clear to her in-laws that TV is forbidden. They only ignored her once on this and I think she was so angry (without saying anything) that they "got" it. It helps that they live on the other side of the country.

I try hard to be a compliant and cooperative grandmother and let my daughter lead the way on how she wants to raise her kids. Luckily for both of us we are in agreement on most things so it isn't a big strain.

Good luck!
Nana
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#5 of 29 Old 07-09-2005, 12:05 PM
 
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Maybe my perspective will help you. When I was a kid in the 60s, my mom raised us very naturally - whole-grain foods, very little TV, no junk foods, etc. Looking back, it was a very Waldorf-style childhood, although it wasn't called that and my mom had probably never heard of Waldorf.

I know she had lots of problems with her MIL (my grandma). Nevertheless, my grandma was like a soulmate to me and my parents sent me to her house quite a bit as a young child. She did everything that would make me cringe now as a mom - she smoked, gave me Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast, had the TV on all the time, house full of plastic toys. However, she also taught me lots of great things: Nature is a great healer, you can still learn how to paint at age 50, leave a man the first time he hits you, don't live above your means, be happy with what you have, you can be happy living alone. So, I absorbed a lot of her wisdom in this environment. She lived to be 92 (in spite of smoking) and I still have a whole stack of letters filled with her wisdom (which included, "Don't ever start smoking", which I didn't).

Not everything is all black or all white. No one ideology - whether it's Waldorf, Catholicism, or whatever - has the whole truth.

Although my mom provided a great role model in healthful living, she couldn't give me everything. She never criticized my grandmother's lifestyle. She just quietly lived her life, and let others live theirs. In fact, at her funeral, many, many people came up to me and told me how compassionate and non-judgemental my mother was. I had never thought of her this way because I was a child and just saw her as my mother, but other people saw it.

BTW, of course you should just "let (your mom) have her house the way she wants it." It's her house. She raised you, and you turned out OK, didn't you? Besides, isn't that what you're asking from her? Are you going to ban your daughter from this relationship because you don't approve of the way she dotes on her grandchildren? Don't you think that your child can sense the excitement and happiness that your mom has for her when she finds these toys for her? Personally, I would place more value on that, than if the toy were made out of plastic.

Your mom is role-modeling thoughtfullness and doting on her grandchild, and that's what grandmas are supposed to do.

I would instead focus more on supporting the things your mom does that you do approve of and let the rest go. She sounds like a perfect grandma to me. It sounds a little condescending to say that she should "shape up" or "get it" - as if you know more than your mother, who has much more life experience than you. (Isn't there something in Waldorf about respecting authority?)

BTW, I agree with everything she says.
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#6 of 29 Old 07-11-2005, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your responses.

Nurnur4ever, I appreciate your perspective, but to me the issues go deeper than whether my mom has plastic toys in her home. It's the issue of her not listening to me, disregarding my heartfelt wishes for how my children are raised, and disrespecting my (and my husband's) parenting and educational choices, which to me goes very deep.

I guess what's hard for me is I wouldn't dream of disrespecting my own daughter's (or son's) wishes with her (hypothetical future) children as my mom has done with mine. If my daughter came to me and said, "Mom, I'd really appreciating you not feeding Sam sugar because it makes him really wild," I would absolutely respect her wishes and trust that she knows her child, and not think to myself, "Well, I think sugar is really good for kids (they LOVE it!), if they don't get sugar they'll be the laughingstock of the neighborhood, and I really think I know best about this situation, so here, honey, have some ice cream and a lollipop and to heck with what your mom says!" KWIM?

Again, it's so much more than the "plastic," there is what seems to me to be some pretty deliberate undermining of my choices as a mother. For example, in Waldorf education, the children learn their letters in first grade, and it's a magical unfolding of stories, art, etc. that creates a very deep experience of building the foundation for reading and writing. There is a very important de-emphasis on academic learning before first grade readiness, which is designed to allow the children to come to first grade hungry for learning and to ignite a passion for lifelong learning, and also to allow their imaginations to have free reign for the first six years or so of life, which has important developmental benefits. My mom knows this is very important to us, yet has exposed my (pre-kindergarten age) daughter repeatedly to flash card-type games, a mini "computer" that teaches letters electronically, "educational" books that teach letters, numbers, etc., specifically against my wishes, simply because she doesn't agree with our philosophy. She has also exposed my daughter to some scary books and video material that gave her nightmares for weeks because she believes it's important for children to "face their fears," again despite the fact that I tell her the fallout from this kind of exposure and why I think this is harmful to my daughter. This is not OK with me!

By the way, there has never been discussion of cutting my mother out of my children's lives. It's simply my ongoing journey of deciding how to set boundaries about some things that are pretty core for me and my husband while still having my children (and my mom) enjoy the grandparent-granchild relationship.
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#7 of 29 Old 07-16-2005, 01:51 PM
 
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Hello everyone - I'm new here, although I think some may know me from other sites (Hi Nana). I tried to begin by lurking for a bit, but I had to add my 2 cents to this thread. As background, I am the father of three kids - the oldest is 17, the youngest is 12. They have gone to Waldorf school for their entire lives. Their mother is a Waldorf nursery teacher. My kids grew up with all, and I mean all, the wooden toys money could buy. What they didn't have, I built - castles, playhouses, doll cradles. Their mother made Waldorf-style dolls. I think you get the picture. They were raised as Waldorf kids.

Ya know, I can't think of anything more harmful to children than alienating them from their grandparents. This happened in my family for years, I'm sorry to say, because my parents thought Christmas presents should make noise. Big deal! The toys were quickly removed as soon as they were brought home and my parents were scoffed at (not by me, of course). The harm this did to my children is immeasurable. I can only imagine how my parents must have felt.

My father died when my oldest was 12 - having had limited access to his grandchildren - over what? Because he thought a fire engine might be a good toy for a child? That my kids missed out on the benefit of his life experience over some petty nonsense is a tragedy. And believe me when I tell you, by the time they are teenagers, it really makes NO difference whether their dolls had faces or not. Those of you who would deny your parents or inlaws time with your children, please, reconsider... let your children enjoy and appreciate the richness of the world - and of their grandparents. It won't hurt them - really! Denying them this experience will.

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#8 of 29 Old 07-16-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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Pete, very powerful post. Wow.

Jill, I thought about your reply and I was wondering, is it possible that the feelings of disrespect and hurt go both ways? In other words, do you think that maybe your mother feels that you disdain or undermine her, as well?

Mary
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#9 of 29 Old 07-16-2005, 06:19 PM
 
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Pete,
i am so very sorry to hear about the hurt that has happened in your family. i cannot speak for others but in our home we value time with family more than the type of toys given to the children. yes, we prefer to use simple toys that foster our children's imagination. we also like the waldorf curriculum and it's emphasis on preserving the beauty and integrity of childhood. and we do recieve plastic toys that make noises; "mainstream toys", call it what you want, from well-meaning family members and friends. we do not throw these toys away-rather i just let dd play with it for a few days, as eventually she loses interest and goes back to the toys that foster her imagination. at this time we pack it up in a box that we take out for "rainy days".
i feel that it is much more important to cherish the love and thoughtfulness that goes in choosing a gift for someone, rather than if the toy is "appropriate" or not. i would hope that my children learn compassion and appreciation when someone gives them a gift, i think that the love that comes from giving more than makes up for any "damage" such toys can bring.
any philosophy brought to extremes can be harmful. while i am choosing to not expose my kids to tv and other materialistic aspects ; they are well aware of who barbie and big bird are. we simply cannot escape these aspects of our culture, not would i want to install an "us vs. them" concept of dealing with others whose values may be different than ours. this is particualrly important not with just our neighbors, but most definately with our family members as well. hopefully we can teach balance, harmony and acceptance.
i hope i am not going on a limb here when i sense that perhaps the issues surrounding your wife's refusal to let the children play with their grandparents went deeper than the rigidity of her toy choices. human relationships should always take precedence over the things we buy or give to our children.
i hope that within your family you find resolution to these troubling problems.
thank you for your post.

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#10 of 29 Old 07-16-2005, 11:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by babibelli
Pete,
i am so very sorry to hear about the hurt that has happened in your family. i cannot speak for others but in our home we value time with family more than the type of toys given to the children.
As it should be.
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yes, we prefer to use simple toys that foster our children's imagination.
After years of trying to believe this to be true, I have to say that in reality, I have seen little if any evidence of this. When I was a kid, we used to use mom's iron to scorch a sheet of paper. We would use the faint designs to make pictures. It was always more imaginative than starting with a blank piece of paper.
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we also like the waldorf curriculum and it's emphasis on preserving the beauty and integrity of childhood.
Again, I tried to believe this but it is not true in my experience. I found Waldorf, especially in the early years, to be less interested in the integrity of childhood than I would have liked. Children who ask a lot questions are often given dumbed down answers if they are answered at all - we don't want them too much in their heads. That's not preserving the "integrity" of childhood, which, to me means being inquisitive, it's dismissing the child's natural curiosity.
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and we do recieve plastic toys that make noises; "mainstream toys", call it what you want, from well-meaning family members and friends. we do not throw these toys away-rather i just let dd play with it for a few days, as eventually she loses interest and goes back to the toys that foster her imagination. at this time we pack it up in a box that we take out for "rainy days".
One sees what one wants to see I suppose. I think a child will lose interest in any toy eventually, but if "toys that foster the imagination" are all that's available to play with, then that's what they play with. Why not leave the other toys out too and let the child choose? A child can do a lot with a length of string, but if all a child has is a length of string, their imagination is limited to what they can do with it.
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i feel that it is much more important to cherish the love and thoughtfulness that goes in choosing a gift for someone, rather than if the toy is "appropriate" or not. i would hope that my children learn compassion and appreciation when someone gives them a gift, i think that the love that comes from giving more than makes up for any "damage" such toys can bring.
I agree with this.
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any philosophy brought to extremes can be harmful. while i am choosing to not expose my kids to tv and other materialistic aspects ; they are well aware of who barbie and big bird are. we simply cannot escape these aspects of our culture, not would i want to install an "us vs. them" concept of dealing with others whose values may be different than ours. this is particualrly important not with just our neighbors, but most definately with our family members as well. hopefully we can teach balance, harmony and acceptance.
Yes, of course. And really, who are we to judge. My niece learned to read watching Sesame Street and she's a straight A student in college.
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i hope i am not going on a limb here when i sense that perhaps the issues surrounding your wife's refusal to let the children play with their grandparents went deeper than the rigidity of her toy choices.
Sure it did. You mentioned us vs. them above. When I started questioning Waldorf, I became one of "them" too.
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human relationships should always take precedence over the things we buy or give to our children.
i hope that within your family you find resolution to these troubling problems.
thank you for your post.
Yes, well, unfortunately the resolution had to involve courts and lawyers.

Pete
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#11 of 29 Old 07-17-2005, 03:11 AM
 
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Children who ask a lot questions are often given dumbed down answers if they are answered at all - we don't want them too much in their heads.
ouch. well i cannot speak for the schools. we homeschool using a waldorf-inspired method. i would hope that i answer my dd's questions thoughtfully and truthfully. again, it sounds like there was too much rigidity in your situation.
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Why not leave the other toys out too and let the child choose?
well, unfortunately if we did that, we'd be chin-high in barbies and dancing elmos. we also find that she gets over-stimulated from all the disorder and we have difficulty keeping our house from looking like a toy tornado. for us, less is better(in sweden we call it "lagom" meaning "just enough"). we don't have all "waldorf toys" out- her brio train, a dr. kit, garden tools, tons of musical instruments, and yes, dolls with faces-especially some beautiful dolls made by dh's grandma before she died. she also likes to play with her toy animals (yes they are plastic) and a favorite "plastic" baby doll.

i suppose it's all about finding moderation and a happy medium. my husband's work is very technical (creative but technical) so of course some elements of technology are present in our home. again, for us it has been about finding the right balance.

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#12 of 29 Old 07-17-2005, 11:45 AM
 
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Pete I can understand your point of view but your relationship with the mother of your children does not sound good and it sounds like it is coloring your view of Waldorf. Dogma and rigidity in any form is not good. I am sorry that Waldorf was not the wonderful experience it can be. I have been fortunate that both my parents and in-laws have been very accepting of our choices for our children and the inappropriate toys have been kept to a minimum.
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#13 of 29 Old 07-17-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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There are three different discussions running here--at least.

One about the support or non-support from grandparents of parenting decisions

One about the choice of toys

One about waldorf and its possible relationship to the other two

The first one is the most difficult. Grandparents (speaking as one) have a lot to offer their grandchildren and it is very sad when they are shut out due to family conflicts, custody disputes, disagreements over parenting styles or whatever. On the other hand, parents do have the right to make the final decisions about what enters and stays in their children's lives. I'd love to see reasonable flexibility and understanding on both sides, but it doesn't always happen. [side comment: I'd also like to see understanding on the board of the fact that we are always on the outside looking in when someone shares their family situation, so be gentle when critiquing someone else's choices, we never know the whole story!]

On the choice of toys, there are lots of people who are down on commercial toys, plastic toys, toys that are advertised on TV, etc. Not all of these folks are waldorf affiliated. Some are just upset about the intrusion of advertising between parent and child (the sort of advertising that depends on the whine factor). Others want toys that are durable and open-ended. I don't think it is inappropriate for parents to indicate to relatives what sort of toys they want in their household, but total rigidity on the topic is asking for conflict.

On the role of waldorf: I haven't experienced waldorf schools as super dogmatic on toys, but some of them may be. They are usually pushier on media exposure. I liked having my daughter in a waldorf school because it supported my no TV stance (a family thing, not originally arising out of waldorf) and because it made Christmas and birthday celebrations a lot less expensive. She never asked me for any expensive crap that she saw on TV so I bought art supplies, the occasional stuffed animal and books. As she got older I sewed her clothes.

My daughter had a hard time, at first, with her mother-in-law. They've both mellowed out over the years and although I don't think they like each other they are united in adoring the children and wanting what is best for them. MIL has settled down to providing costumes for gd and clothes for gs with the occasional book or puzzle thrown in. A large part of the conflict didn't have to do with the type of toy at all! It was the lack of space in my daughter's house. She hated bulky stuff that would be played with once or twice and then just sit around getting in the way!

Nana
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#14 of 29 Old 07-17-2005, 08:52 PM
 
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Pete I can understand your point of view but your relationship with the mother of your children does not sound good and it sounds like it is coloring your view of Waldorf.
Of course it is. Just like when the relationship was good, it was also coloring my view of Waldorf. I've seen the good side of Waldorf and I've seen the bad side of Waldorf. Now, I'm trying to be objective - and, sorry, that means asking questions and not accepting things on faith, and not doing things based on ritual or what trendy friends may say. I look for support for ideas like playing with swords is better than for children than playing with guns. I don't find any sense in it - perhaps you do.
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Dogma and rigidity in any form is not good. I am sorry that Waldorf was not the wonderful experience it can be. I have been fortunate that both my parents and in-laws have been very accepting of our choices for our children and the inappropriate toys have been kept to a minimum.
Please, don't apologize. And yes, you are very fortunate to have had a great Waldorf experience. Your decision to deem some toys as inappropriate is, of course, your choice but not necessarily more informed or better for children than other people's choices. Wooden toys, while nice, are as limiting or more so for the imagination. The wooden farmer is always a farmer. The wooden Indian is always an Indian. A wooden pig is always a pig. No imagination in that - sorry.

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#15 of 29 Old 07-17-2005, 10:21 PM
 
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I would like to reframe the discussion to refocus on what the OP wanted support with: how do others handle parents and ILs that seem to be sabotaging family lifestyle choices after direct communication about the family's preferences? The OP acknowledged that she struggles with being flexible vs. being too rigid and is aware that this is an issue of consequence on both sides of the decision.

From time to time members get hooked on debating the merits of Waldorf. From what I have observed, that has not been helpful in this subforum. All of the regular members who are supportive of Waldorf are more than happy to answer questions, and deal in gentle debate for the purpose of clarification of Waldorf principles. I have learned that there are sites specifically designed for "Waldorf bashers" that people can visit.

I am not a Waldorf parent myself, but have learned a tremendous amount about Waldorf just from moderating this forum.

While the Waldorf subforum is not a 'support only' subforum, many members do experience it in that way. PLease focus the discussion on the OP original intentions. Thanks so much!!

 
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#16 of 29 Old 07-18-2005, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lauren
I would like to reframe the discussion to refocus on what the OP wanted support with: how do others handle parents and ILs that seem to be sabotaging family lifestyle choices after direct communication about the family's preferences? The OP acknowledged that she struggles with being flexible vs. being too rigid and is aware that this is an issue of consequence on both sides of the decision.
I think this has been pretty much on topic. Is there something wrong with not supporting the choice to alienate inlaws over toy choices?
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From time to time members get hooked on debating the merits of Waldorf. From what I have observed, that has not been helpful in this subforum. All of the regular members who are supportive of Waldorf are more than happy to answer questions, and deal in gentle debate for the purpose of clarification of Waldorf principles.
Is there a Waldorf principle I'm not aware of that says inlaws and grandparents should be alienated from their grandchildren if they don't comply with parental toy choices? While this may seem insignificant to some, it was a very serious problem in my Waldorf family and others should be aware of this.
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I have learned that there are sites specifically designed for "Waldorf bashers" that people can visit.
Oh please... Accept and support everything Waldorf or get lost? Don't dare question the Waldorf wisdom of restricting children's toy choices? Ignore the stresses this wisdom places on family dynamics? Challenge Waldorf methods and it is Waldorf bashing? What is this - Stepford land?
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I am not a Waldorf parent myself, but have learned a tremendous amount about Waldorf just from moderating this forum. While the Waldorf subforum is not a 'support only' subforum, many members do experience it in that way. PLease focus the discussion on the OP original intentions. Thanks so much!!
I think my comments are absolutely valid, on point, and to the topic of discussion. Hopefully, you weren't addressing me.

Pete
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#17 of 29 Old 07-18-2005, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whew! As the OP, I'd like to chime in again. I've realized the difficulty in presenting a small piece of a family dynamic pie and asking others for advice on this -- there have been some assumptions made that I feel really aren't true in my situation. Not that I blame anyone for this -- it's difficult, as Nana (Deborah) said, to assess something clearly when looking from the outside in.

First, my mom was not a great mother to me in many ways, unfortunately. My brother and I suffered quite a bit of emotional neglect at her hands -- no ill will on her part, just dealing with her own difficult childhood and unable to see what our needs were, let alone to muster it up to meet them. My stepfather was worse (I don't feel comfortable going into detail on a public board). So, to me, I guess what I'm struggling with is the issue of trust (how much can I trust these people with my children?), and the issue of my mom and stepfather exposing my children to scary videos, talking mini computers, and electronic toys, after we have had discussions about why this is important to me that my children not be exposed to these things at such a young age (and why), makes me very wary about giving them carte blanche with my children the way I do with other trusted friends and relatives.

These choices are really important to me, and I do "live and let live" in a lot of other areas that aren't so crucial to me. I've given these choices lots of thought and done lots of research, and communicated my views in a very respectful way, and I feel very concerned (especially given my history with them) that they are unwilling to respect a few simple wishes on my part.

I desperately want my children's childhood to be healthier and better protected than mine was. I know this can make me go too far into the realm of protection and control, and I work on trying to find the middle ground constantly. As someone who had very little contact or relationship with my own grandparents, I also very much want this to be different for my children. I went as far as to move back to my hometown from a beloved adopted town so my children (and my parents) could have the chance to experience this. Believe me, I do not want to deprive my children or my parents of this relationship (by the way, I trust my biological father and my stepmom; their lifestyle choices are very different from mine but they LISTEN to me and I listen to them, the relationship is one of mutual respect, and therefore I don't feel the need to check in with what's going on over there in the same way at all).

I just want to say that the issue, for me, is much deeper than toy choices; it's about trust and me finding my way to a middle ground with family members that are difficult for me to deal with. I just wondered how others found their way of fostering these important relationships while still being true to our own visions of the kind of childhood we want for our children.

~ Jill
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#18 of 29 Old 07-19-2005, 08:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Pete
I think this has been pretty much on topic. Is there something wrong with not supporting the choice to alienate inlaws over toy choices?

Is there a Waldorf principle I'm not aware of that says inlaws and grandparents should be alienated from their grandchildren if they don't comply with parental toy choices? While this may seem insignificant to some, it was a very serious problem in my Waldorf family and others should be aware of this.

Oh please... Accept and support everything Waldorf or get lost? Don't dare question the Waldorf wisdom of restricting children's toy choices? Ignore the stresses this wisdom places on family dynamics? Challenge Waldorf methods and it is Waldorf bashing? What is this - Stepford land?

I think my comments are absolutely valid, on point, and to the topic of discussion. Hopefully, you weren't addressing me.

Pete

Pete, I am curious as to what your interests in Natural Family Living and Attachment Parenting are? Have you introduced yourself in the introduction thread? Do you practice GD, eat organic, did you cloth diaper? The site as a whole is not a Waldorf site but rather a NFL and AP site that has a few threads for parents interested in Waldorf. It is not the main focus of this board.

In the past, we have had people who have come here whose sole purpose is to bash Waldorf who have no interest in NFL or AP. So, some of us get a bit concerned when a new poster shows up who doesn't post anywhere but here on the school threads. That is why Lauren brought up the Waldorf bashers sites. If that is what you are interested in, then there are more appropriate boards. If you are interested in NFL and AP and how Waldorf fits in, then by all means, welcome but I would suggest that you explore the rest of this board and meet the members here.
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#19 of 29 Old 07-19-2005, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Pete, I am curious as to what your interests in Natural Family Living and Attachment Parenting are? Have you introduced yourself in the introduction thread? Do you practice GD, eat organic, did you cloth diaper? The site as a whole is not a Waldorf site but rather a NFL and AP site that has a few threads for parents interested in Waldorf. It is not the main focus of this board.
Hi Rhonwyn, I am unaware of an introduction thread, but I have introduced myself elsewhere here (sorry, I don't remember which thread it was). My kids are older (not babies) but yes, we cloth diapered and yes, I did more than my share of changing diapers. We ate organic / bio-dynamic foods - I did my share of the cooking. I don't know what GD refers to - sorry the acronyms throw me sometimes. While it is not the main focus of the board, Waldorf is what I know - you could say I'm an expert in this field. I have 3 kids that have been in Waldorf their whole lives and I was married to a Waldorf teacher who went to Waldorf school as a child and whose parents were Waldorf teachers, Anthroposophists and Waldorf students when they were children - my kids are third-generation Waldorf students. I studied Anthroposophy for 12 years in earnest. I could not add to the discussions of, nor would I have any current interest in breastfeeding at this point in my life - but I would recommend a double breast pump over a single one as it saves time. When my first child was born, his mother had complications and had to remain in the hospital for a week after I brought him home. I was in charge of a new-born - pretty much by myself and had to run back and forth to the hospital for breast milk (that's why I know the breast-pump stuff). I have been a live-at-home father since my first child was born, giving up a career to work from home and be with my kids. I was the one who went to Mommy-and-me with my son. I was in the delivery room for each of my children but had a horrible experience with a mid-wife when we tried home birth (long story). I was, and still am, a fantastic dad and have a very close relationship with my kids - despite that they are teenagers. As a single parent, I cook home-cooked meals for my kids every night and I'm involved in all their activities - including their school. If I am to be disqualified from these discussions, it will have to be for something other than lack of wholesome parenting.
Quote:
In the past, we have had people who have come here whose sole purpose is to bash Waldorf who have no interest in NFL or AP. So, some of us get a bit concerned when a new poster shows up who doesn't post anywhere but here on the school threads.
I can appreciate your concerns but wouldn't that be a little judgmental of me? I question some of what Waldorf does - does that make me a "Waldorf basher"? I don't know (or care) who has been here before. I'm new here and I'm here because there is a Waldorf forum here - and because I feel I have something to add to discussions about Waldorf. I, perhaps, have more Waldorf experience than 95% of the people here. I probably have more parenting experience than most here too. If we were talking nutrition, wouldn't it be best to talk with the experts? Why are we so touchy about Waldorf?
Quote:
That is why Lauren brought up the Waldorf bashers sites. If that is what you are interested in, then there are more appropriate boards.
I am aware of those sites. Thanks. There are also sites that censor anything critical about Waldorf regardless of whether or not it has any merit. Is that what we are trying to do here? I can't help but get the feeling you are inviting me to leave because you don't want to hear what I have to say.
Quote:
If you are interested in NFL and AP and how Waldorf fits in, then by all means, welcome but I would suggest that you explore the rest of this board and meet the members here.
I'm pretty sure there are members who never venture into the Waldorf forum. Are they required to explore this forum? Again, my interest and experience is in Waldorf education. I'd love to meet the other members here, but I doubt that I could add much to their discussions. I can, however, shed some light on Waldorf education and draw from many years of personal hands-on experience with Waldorf. Why isn't that a good thing?

Warm wishes,

Pete
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#20 of 29 Old 07-20-2005, 03:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Pete, I am curious as to what your interests in Natural Family Living and Attachment Parenting are? Have you introduced yourself in the introduction thread? Do you practice GD, eat organic, did you cloth diaper? The site as a whole is not a Waldorf site but rather a NFL and AP site that has a few threads for parents interested in Waldorf. It is not the main focus of this board.

In the past, we have had people who have come here whose sole purpose is to bash Waldorf who have no interest in NFL or AP. So, some of us get a bit concerned when a new poster shows up who doesn't post anywhere but here on the school threads. That is why Lauren brought up the Waldorf bashers sites. If that is what you are interested in, then there are more appropriate boards. If you are interested in NFL and AP and how Waldorf fits in, then by all means, welcome but I would suggest that you explore the rest of this board and meet the members here.
An interesting issue (probably better in Q&S, if it's going to be explored at length).

I will note that there are also some posters (senior members, at that!) who post only in News & Current Events, and nowhere else on MDC. I haven't seen them be given a hard time about their rather singular focus, nor have I seen anyone question their NFL/AP credentials and advise them to participate in other forums, as well.
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#21 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 09:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kaydee
An interesting issue (probably better in Q&S, if it's going to be explored at length).

I will note that there are also some posters (senior members, at that!) who post only in News & Current Events, and nowhere else on MDC. I haven't seen them be given a hard time about their rather singular focus, nor have I seen anyone question their NFL/AP credentials and advise them to participate in other forums, as well.

If you look at the history of many posters, by the time they reach a senior level they often gravitate to particlular threads but in the beginning they tend to be all over the place.

During the election period, we did have people who showed up in what was then War & Politics with the intent of only stirring things up and poking people in the eye. The same thing has happened in this forum and in others such as GD (gentle discipline). It has happened here several times. Usually when something gets cross posted on another site. New posters will show up either to tell you that Waldorf is the most wonderful thing in the world with no negatives or to tell you that it is a cult and it needs to be stamped out. Either way, the poster is what is called a troll.

Pete has been very polite but has displayed some trollish characteristics which cause many posters to get their hackles up waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't believe that Pete is a troll, but I thought he should be aware that the defensiveness he gets from some of us isn't really about Waldorf but is a reaction that many older members have to new members who display trollish characteristics. I have seen this happen in many forums not just the Waldrof thread. MDC is a community and as such, many people are protective of it.
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#22 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 11:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
If you look at the history of many posters, by the time they reach a senior level they often gravitate to particlular threads but in the beginning they tend to be all over the place.

During the election period, we did have people who showed up in what was then War & Politics with the intent of only stirring things up and poking people in the eye. The same thing has happened in this forum and in others such as GD (gentle discipline). It has happened here several times. Usually when something gets cross posted on another site. New posters will show up either to tell you that Waldorf is the most wonderful thing in the world with no negatives or to tell you that it is a cult and it needs to be stamped out. Either way, the poster is what is called a troll.

Pete has been very polite but has displayed some trollish characteristics which cause many posters to get their hackles up waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't believe that Pete is a troll, but I thought he should be aware that the defensiveness he gets from some of us isn't really about Waldorf but is a reaction that many older members have to new members who display trollish characteristics. I have seen this happen in many forums not just the Waldrof thread. MDC is a community and as such, many people are protective of it.
Sorry, Rhonwyn, but it's not really my problem is it? I'm not responsible for the history of this board nor am I accountable to anyone, as far as I know, for which forums I post in or don't post in. I'm new here. If you want to judge me (and you seem to) based on experiences with other members, that's up to you of course and speaks to your character. Will I accept your assertion that it is reasonable defensiveness or an automatic response for people to call me a representative of WC or young Jedi or Waldorf basher, or (now) troll-like - no, sorry, I won't - and I feel these comments have pushed the rules of this board.

If you have an issue with me, perhaps it's your issue. If I have said something inappropriate or inaccurate, please point it out and I'll address it, clarify it or apologize for it. If you are looking for understanding from me for what is apparently a witchhunt on your part, sorry again. You may have a long wait for that other shoe.

Pete
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#23 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 03:31 PM
 
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Hmm, this has gotten off-topic, but if Jill, the OP is still there, thank you for clarifying your situation. In the original post, it seemed to be about toys and such, but now I see that it is really a lot deeper.

I have a friend in a similar situation and it is sort of like she is beating a dead horse. Her parents were emotionally neglectful while she was growing up, and they are still the same way. I have met them, and they are shockingly self-centered and unable or unwilling to adjust to what she needs at all. It is very sad to me that she moved far away from me, her very best friend in the whole wide world, to be back near them, when they are still the same way. They promise her things, and then don't follow through. She is trying to get nurturing from them that she didn't get as a child, and that she will never be able to get from them because they can't or won't do it, for whatever reasons.

Since you know that grandparents can behave with respect towards you (since the other ones do), maybe that is a better place to focus your energy. Just a suggestion - I know that I am not near the situation, but I think I have a better grasp of it now.

Best wishes,

Mary
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#24 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 03:56 PM
 
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Rhonwyn wrote:

"Pete, I am curious as to what your interests in Natural Family Living and Attachment Parenting are? Have you introduced yourself in the introduction thread? Do you practice GD, eat organic, did you cloth diaper?"

This is exactly what Rhonwyn did to me when I posted here too - demanding new posters share their "credentials" or suggesting they aren't PC earth-mama enough to post here. I had just started to reply to her (this was months ago), explaining that I too had breastfed for what seemed like decades, and co-slept till my kid started junior high, and mashed up organic food in a mill for my baby and used homeopathic teething tablets, and I was a "Continuum Concept" fanatic etc etc., though, like Pete, I am a few years older than the breastfeeding gang at this point (and Pete, GD I think is "gentle discipline"), but before I could post my reply, the moderator shut down the thread, and I suspect that is what will happen this time too. The Waldorf threads here are never allowed to become critical, beyond people expressing a few mild doubts. To be fair, the moderator (Lauren) simply wants to keep the peace and I can't blame her. However, there seems to be no problem with people like Deborah and Rhonwyn carefully policing these boards to reply with their smooth Waldorf propaganda whenever doubts are expressed. And there is no doubt Deborah and Rhonwyn do this as part of an orchestrated plan. It is only when the plan is to deliberately present the *other* side of Waldorf that this is considered very suspicious behavior.

Diana Winters (yes, the same Diana Winters who has posted critical things about Waldorf here several times before, so please don't act like it's some kind of conspiracy or secret)
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#25 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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Rhonwyn:
"New posters will show up either to tell you that Waldorf is the most wonderful thing in the world with no negatives or to tell you that it is a cult and it needs to be stamped out. Either way, the poster is what is called a troll."

That's a bunch of bullshit. Mind-control, PC bullshit. I'm not aware of any rules here that new posters have to have written a certain number of cloth diapering posts or anti-spanking posts before they're allowed to discuss their *decades* of experience with Waldorf education, or else they're supposed to be run out of town. Maybe you think everyone who posts here is supposed to be under 40? Did it ever occur to you that someday *you too* will cease to be interested in diapering and organic baby food?

If this is how the "community" really works, it's got some problems.

Lauren - I've read *thousands* of posts in these forums (despite the perception of some that the only thing I could ever be interested in is bashing Waldorf, I have for years periodically read on many different parenting topics here) - and I generally admire your efforts to keep the peace and keep threads on track. I would suggest that the pro-Waldorf lobby here, and that is exactly what it is, it is *very* organized, should not have the free pass you've allowed it. Don't you realize the pro-Waldorfers are organized against the supposedly evil people like Pete showing up to tell the other side of the story?

Pete's not a "troll" - how childish is that? Pete is what he said he is, a very committed father of three with a lot of years of parenting experience.

Diana
(cloth diapering, breast feeding, family bedding, sling wearing, nonspanking "in my day," and still as ultra left wing as most of the rest of you but revolted by the level of PC bullshit here)
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#26 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 07:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Winters_Diana
Pete's not a "troll" - how childish is that? Pete is what he said he is, a very committed father of three with a lot of years of parenting experience.
Thanks Diana, but I can handle it : .

Pete
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#27 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 07:20 PM
 
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Wooo. Hooo.

It's a Waldorf's Critics reunion.
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#28 of 29 Old 07-21-2005, 08:22 PM
 
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As moderator I do try to keep the peace--that is the job of the moderator. I personally have no investment pro or con in Waldorf. I am learning along with everyone.

Any actions such as thread closings and thread moves are reviewed by the Administrator and not taken lightly.

Unfortunately at times like this when the thread turns into open criticism of the board itself, the thread does need to be closed.

 
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#29 of 29 Old 07-22-2005, 08:41 AM
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It is quite true that we do not have a policy against members posting to a single forum. But we do take issue with members who come to our community with an agenda about a specific topic and who post in a manner that is adversarial.

I don't have a problem with posts that are critical of Waldorf. In fact I think appropriate debate about such parenting and educational philosophies are valuable contributions to our forums. However, adversarial, attacking, rude posting is not welcome. Established members will be alerted and warned for such posting.

Agenda-focused new members will be warned and shown the door if they do not heed our warnings about their inappropriate posting.

Diana you have been contacted about such posting in the past and here you are doing it again. Your contributions to this forum are no longer welcome.

Pete, I think you have some beneficial information and opinion to share. I can see that some posts questioning your participation and expressing bashing Waldorf turned the focus of this thread. But please understand that while we do welcome posts that respectfully debate a topic our community does view a member's narrow focus of posting as an agenda presence and that will not be regarded as sincere community intentions. Please do show your good will and intent as a new MDC member by participating in other discussions on our forums.

I'd like to also advise our members that it is inappropriate to label a member as a troll or their posts as trollish. If you have issues with a member's posting please report it and let us handle it. Don't post to the forums to make accusations or otherwise cast doubt on someone's membership intentions or question them in a personally pointed manner.

Thank you all for your community concerns.

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