my mainstream girlfriend makes me sick - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My Girlfriend just left our home from a playdate and I have to say that I treat my dog better than she treats her one year old son. We have not had a playdate for months and months and now I remember why!!!!

Her son was exploring my home and she would just scream "NO!" to everything he was doing. I mean yelling and repromanding (sp?) like you would if your dog peed on your favorite rug! He was just being a baby and doing what babies do...

She kept saying to me, you are so calm, Isabella (my dd) is soooo calm. WELL YEAH LADY, if you stop screaming than maybe your kid would be calm to!

It is so hard not to criticise behavior like this, and it is quite easy to do when she is gone. But I do not want her ranting and raving like this in front of my child. Bella looked at her like she was crazy! We definitely have VERY DIFFERENT ideas on parenting and I know this has changed our relationship. There are so many other things she does that I do not agree with but I won't even get started...

Any suggestions about future play dates and how this behavior can be mentioned gently without making her feel defensive? Anyone with similar experiences? Just wondering If I should just skip the interaction all together... TIA!
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#2 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 05:32 PM
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It depends on how close you are, and how open you feel about talking with her. It might not hurt to say, after she tells you again that your dd or you are so calm, that you believe your gentle discipline is the primary reason for the calmness (if this is true). You might explain that you don't yell or scream at your daughter, and don't hit her, and that you find that if you treat her with the respect that you'd show any other person, that she behaves better and you stay calmer. Say this without any fanfare.

If you don't think you can broach the matter, however, I'd probably just avoid them in the future, if I were in your shoes. Man, her poor kid.
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#3 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 05:58 PM
 
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I totally understand your frustration. Since becoming a parent, I have grown apart from a friend who sounds exactly like yours. It was a series of events that finally led to us mutually not calling on eachother for playdates. First she made a comment about me STILL bfing. My son was only 6 months old at the time. She felt it was necessary to tell me that I should stop soon because I don't want him remembering THAT! *sigh* She never even attempted breastfeeding, so that kind of hurt me. Then there was the natural birth issue. She found it necessary all the time to tell me how crazy I am because I chose to decline any drugs or intervention and how epidural was the best thing that ever happened to her birth (she quotes Vicki Iovine ALL the time....I can't stand that woman/author). Then there was the time she made a comment about her 'crazy' neighbor who homeschools and I clarified the benefits of home schooling. THEN...there was the time she told me I was doing my son a serious injustice by not putting him in daycare to build socialization skills (I work at home and I strongly believe children learn socialization by watching how their parents treat eachother and themselves). She kind of stopped calling me after she found out we don't vax. As if my healthy, bfed son who has NEVER been sick is a danger to her children who are sick with colds and coughs constantly.

My responses to her were always positive, as I know not everyone has all the information about making informed childbirth, breastfeeding and healthcare choices. I try to blame it on their doctors, but a lot of it ends up in personal accountability in my mind. The doctors don't help though.

I found it was helpful and less stressful to have playdates with friends who share the same parenting philosophies as myself. Their children tend to be more caring and sensitive and the conversation between us is always refreshing. I have made a few friends from my Bradley class that I took when I was PG, and those have turned into great ones! I also have my closer knit group of friends who have been open to what I have learned and we are trying to grow together as we raise our kids.

I would suggest not setting up playdates with her anymore. I feel bad for her baby, but AP and the non-mainstream way of parenting just isn't for everyone. Or they just don't want to take the time to open themselves up for this way of raising children.

I'm sorry for your frustration.

-Marlene
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#4 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 06:15 PM
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Mayb you should see her once a week without the kids.

I wouldn't have ayone around my child who screams or yells, period. Not negotiable.
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#5 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 07:28 PM
 
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Oatmeal,
I know it hurts to see other parents acting like this. I agree that it doesn't make sense to spend time with somebody who has a very differnet approach toward parenting. But you still call her your girlfriend. When I feel that other parents are too rigid with their kids in my house or at the playground I ususally try to intervene and tell them that it's ok for the kids to play or touch things. Maybe your friend just wanted to be polite. When I'm at somebody's else's house I also sometimes tell my kids not to do this and that. At home I wouldn't even bother to mention it but you never know how other people feel about certain things. What I want to say is, maybe she is a little insecure.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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I don't have any advice as I am in a similar situation, only the "friend" is my sister. It makes me so sad for her children (3 and 4 years old) Luckily for me she lives 3 hours away. I had a horrible time with it when she would visit very often because I began to act like her to my children by the end of the visit!! Now when she comes down for the weekend I try to minimize the time we spend together. I'm trying to lead by example when I do see her. My girls will often ask me "why is auntie ____ so angry at her kids all the time?" or "why can't auntie _____ talk to her kids in a nice voice?" My oldest even asked once if she should yell at auntie's boys -- when I asked her why she said she thought they had trouble hearing and that's why auntie yells so much because "mamas aren't actually supposed to yell all the time are they?"

I hope you can find a solution for you and your babe!
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#7 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 08:33 PM
 
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Lucina, aren't children so insightful, your kids know what is going on. I think adults should spend less time trying to make children into "adults" with our manipulative, lying, materialistic, sinister, controlling angry way of being(Not you personally just the average adult) and more time trying to remember the true nature of man which is held in a child , honest, integrous, gentle, caring, compassionate, and insightful. Then the world would be a much better place. I also agree with the other that maybe it depends on how deep the friendship is if it can be saved.
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#8 of 24 Old 03-01-2003, 08:55 PM
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I think you got us mixed up.
this wasn't my post


Quote:
Originally posted by racermom
Oatmeal,
I know it hurts to see other parents acting like this. I agree that it doesn't make sense to spend time with somebody who has a very differnet approach toward parenting. But you still call her your girlfriend. When I feel that other parents are too rigid with their kids in my house or at the playground I ususally try to intervene and tell them that it's ok for the kids to play or touch things. Maybe your friend just wanted to be polite. When I'm at somebody's else's house I also sometimes tell my kids not to do this and that. At home I wouldn't even bother to mention it but you never know how other people feel about certain things. What I want to say is, maybe she is a little insecure.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 12:31 AM
 
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If you don't think you can broach the matter, however, I'd probably just avoid them in the future, if I were in your shoes
I agree with Marlena. I have been in certain situatons regarding parenting styles, and have had to drop the friendship. i could no longer be objective (and believe me, i am far from perfect....and i dont know a mom who is!). and the issues werent so clear as the ones stated here...one involved my neighbors son who would pull down his pants, and tell my son to "suck his di*ck" all while fondling his penis...my son got into a fight with this kid, and the mom who i was friends with called me and threatened to sue me over the scuffle (i told her her son needed to be evaluated, which i later found out he was)....my second issue was was with my sil, sje became extremely critical of me, my kids, evrything behind my back to other family memebers, my other sil said she was actually "seething" with jealousy towards me. In this case she was an emotional iceberg towards her kids, her son (my nephew is a insensitive, name calling passive aggressive brat), her daughter (my neice has smoked heroin, pot, drank and at the age of 13 went to a high school prom with her "boyfriend" who was a junior in highschool (and football player), half naked in a gown with a ton of makeup. again, i could no longer be objective, and i have dropped that relationship as well.

I would rather be alone, than with people who givem me a knot in my stomach, who make me doubt myself. And just because someone is a family member, in no way obligates me to tolerate negativity & toxicity.
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#10 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 12:50 AM
 
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Bellamama, I agree that the situation is frustrating and unfortunate, and reading your post, I felt very badly for the one year old who was being yelled at all day. However, I would hesitate to label this "girlfirend" a "mainstream" mama as you did in the title of your thread. I do not think "mainstream" is synonomous with "verbally abusive," which it seems your girlfriend is. She may be mainstream in most of her parenting practices, but I know many parents whom I consider mainstream, and there is nothing inerent in that label which makes them scream at their children. So, it isn't her "mainstream-ness," but rather something else about her personality, that makes her treat her child this way.
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#11 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 01:06 AM
 
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I find that at times, I'm really on edge at someone else's home (thats why I almost never go) I'm really affraid of my DS breaking something or doing something that would tick off the "owner" of the home.
When we're in our own home, I'm much more relaxed....

Chelly
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#12 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 01:54 PM
 
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Melanie,
I totally know where you're coming from on this one. One of my former best friends who I am still friends with has a totally different parenting philosophy than me. For example, last week she was telling me how her 9 month old son has started biting. He is teething like crazy right now and he's not really biting. He mouths at things, but will bite down if you put a finger, toy, etc. in his mouth. Duh! Anyway, my friend said she didn't know wheter to smack his hand or bite him back when he does this mouthing/biting thing. WTF?!! I told her that he's teething and he's doing what he needs to do to ease the pain a bit. I told her to give him a cold wash cloth to bite on and that he's only 9 mos. old and should not be punished for that. She said I was probably right. Oh, I also told her that my one year old dd was doing the same thing 3 mos. ago, and she doesn't do it any more. I certainly never tried to punish her for it! This friend is AP in some ways though--co-sleeps, very healthy natural diet, natural childbirth, bf for just 7 mos. though. I thing gently educating people is the thing to do.
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#13 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 02:35 PM
 
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Have you been to her house? Does she yell there too? If so, I agree with all the other posters here, but if not...

I know that when *I* visit [one of] my friend's I tend to be alot more strick and even end up leaving early because while their children know the boundaries of their own house my son does not, and breaks them. For example WE put away behind lock and key ALL music cds. But our freinds didnt. We decided to teach our son "dont touch etc" with my books instead. They chose their CDs. So every time we went to there house it was a CONSTANT battle to keep my son from destroying their CDs. Looking at me my friend thought I was nuts and way too stressed out. I hated visiting until my son was older [and would leave the CDs etc alone] and in fact didnt. FYI, she NEVER visited my house even once until her son was 3+. They told us it was easier and more fun for them to have people over to their house so they didnt have to worry about stuff like this etc.

Could it be that they have different house rules? If so maybe instead of taking the route I did, try finding out what the differences are and accomadating. Your children could become best friends too?
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#14 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 04:02 PM
 
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I would agree that mainstream does not = verbal abuse.

I would like to share something someone once showed me. I was freaking out about seeing a mom yell and swat her kids at the grocery store. My friend was with me and while I stewed about how this woman was interacting with her children, my friend did something. She casually made her way over to the woman. She said, "boy, kids this age can be a hand ful, huh?" The woman looked like she was about to be yelled at, kinda flinched. My friend said, "What a beautiful family you have!" The woman relaxed a little and shyly smiled. The kids stopped being crazy just looked at their mom, and at my friend. She asked the woman how old they were and what their names were. Then she addressed the kids, visited with them a bit. After a while she turned back to the mom, and said, "I could tell you were having a hard time getting the shopping done, I'm sorry, I wish I could help." The mom got teary and said, "I could hear myself screaming at them, I just loose control when they won't listen!!" My friend said, "I can tell you are a loving mom, it sounds like you could use some help." The mom told my friend that her husband yells at her, she yells at the kids and the kids yell at the dog. My friend told her she understood how hard it could be, and asked her to join us at the library story time the next day. The woman thought maybe she would and we went our way. The woman came and a whole new world opened up for her and her kids. It had honestly never occured to her to "have fun" with her kids. The first few times they came everyone was very welcoming, (thankfully) and her kids were wild. The story teller just encouraged the mom to let them enjoy as long as everyone could still hear. After a few times, they settled right in to story time. A different way of being with her kids was modeled to this woman everytime she came. Her kids still had bottles and plastic diapers and smelled like cigarette smoke and probably still got spanked. But the love she felt for them was expressed in sweeter and sweeter ways as time went by. Such a small thing seemed to make such a difference in all of their lives.
I understand how horrid it is to have that much negativity in your house. Maybe, if you want to continue to be friends, you could ask her to join you somewhere where some *positve* parents hang out. The group at story time is by no means all one kind of parent or the other, but everyone there pretty much adores their kids, however they decide to sleep, eat and doctor.
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#15 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much mamas for your replies...A lot of you mentioned a really good point about being more comfortable in your own home and being more stressed out in a friend's home. I have to say, I wish this were the case.

Even when I am talking on the phone with this friend, I hear her speaking soooo loudly to her son. Well then again, she parks him right in front of the tv with videos (ever since birth) and she has to get his attention over all that noise. I just really think our parenting philosophy is at the extreme ends of the spectrum. I really loved the relationship I had with this girlfriend, but geez, we are so different in our thinking. She does ask me questions about AP, but then when she hears the answer, she always says "Well my pediatrician says I should not do this or that..." Everything she does with her child is by order of her ped and it seems like nothing flows naturally.

When she was pregnant (dd is 8 months older than her ds) I would tell her how wonderful breastfeeding is and even showed her how dd would nurse. She decided from the getgo that breastfeeding was "GROSE" and she did not even want to try. She can not even believe that my 21 month old dd is STILL NURSING!!!!

Just to clarify something Teachma, when I refered to this friend as being "mainstream" I was only refering to her parenting philosophy as a whole, which I really did not go into detail in my thread. IN NO WAY was I insinuating that mainstream is synonomous with verbally abusive. Never. I just chose this word in my title because the differences between my ap philosophy and her very mainstream philosophy, have really wreaked havoc on our friendship. The differences are just immense...

Everyone chooses to raise their children differently, of course I understand this. I just feel sad for her son. He deserves so much more respect. As far as our friendship, I may try again at her home and see if her behavior is any less rigid. But then again, I really doubt it will be. Momatheart23, you summed it up so perfectly.

Quote:
momatheart23
thanks mama!
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#16 of 24 Old 03-02-2003, 07:10 PM
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What a cool story, Carmen!
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#17 of 24 Old 03-03-2003, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MommyT
(she quotes Vicki Iovine ALL the time....I can't stand that woman/author).
-Marlene
ITA!!! Not to mention the fact that Iovine is married to a very rich record producer and has a very different lifestyle than 99% of families.
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#18 of 24 Old 03-03-2003, 04:16 PM
 
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a few of my friends (ok all of them) are very strict with their babies/toddlers/kids.

it drives me nuts. their kids are really nice too, which i think makes it worse, as they do not deserve ANY of their negative feedback.

i try not to say anything and lead by example. but, i will admit, my kid is a LOT more "out of control" than theirs are, but he is the way i want him. he is in control of his destany.

i hate it when kids are not allowed to explore.

i even have one friend that spanked her kid for yelling with joy---a 12 month old squealing with happiness gets spanked!!

I did NOT ever let her babysit for me even for once second after this was let out.

GRRR
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#19 of 24 Old 03-07-2003, 06:40 PM
 
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Like someone said in another thread (don't remember where), becoming a parent makes you find new respect for some of your old friends and also makes you lose respect for others. I thought that comment was totally true (at least in my case).

The following is long, but I had to vent! Thanks, in advance, for listening!

I have 2 girlfriends who both became pregnant around the same time (both were unmarried at the time). One of my girlfriends is such a wonderful mother, and totally AP, even though she probably doesn't know about the whole "AP" philosophy. She bf, co-slept, was always gentle, spent as much time as she could with her son, enjoyed being with him, etc. It came naturally to her. She's a lovely person.

Her path was difficult, as the father of the baby was a complete dead-beat who not only broke up with her (after a serious long term relationship) but had no involvement in the baby's life. Anyway, she moved back home with her parents, went back to school to get another degree and completely devoted the next few years to her education and her son. Every single time she had a spare moment, she would take him on hikes, to the zoo, out for a walk. She pumped in between classes, made his own food and talked to her son with much respect. This little boy (now 5yrs) old, is the brightest, well-mannered and adjusted kid I know. He has always had a fantastic relationship with his mother. I always had sooooo much respect for her for the way she handled everything, including her mothering. Now, that I am a parent, I have even more respect and appreciation for the sacrifices she made. Last year she met a wonderful man, who adores her son, and they were married. Now they are expecting their first baby.

My other friend (if I can even call her that), had her baby around the same time. She was in a very short term relationship when she got pregnant. The father was never involved with the baby. She was the complete opposite of my other friend. I tried for years not to compare them, because they come from different backgrounds, but, I really didn't like a lot of the things she was doing with her dd. I always tried to justify her actions....she's single, she's trying, she needs money, etc.....Now, however, I have to say that I really don't have much respect for her. AFter her dd was born, she was more interested in "getting" the father to come back to her than concentrating on the baby. The only AP thing she did was co-sleep, but that was more because of logistics than anything else....she lived in a small studio. She employed corporal punishment (with a belt) on many occasions, left dd with her mother or other relatives frequently and basically was not that into being a mother. DD was watching t.v from the moment she could sit in front of it. The shows were never censored. This friend also moved at least 8 times in the last 4 years. DD switched daycares, providers, etc about 4-5 times. This little girl totally didn't smile for the 1st year!! I really think much of it was because of the constant upheaval in her life. Meanwhile, my friend was so consumed with finding a "husband." She really wanted the house, picket fence, someone to care for her. She focused so much on material things too.....Hence, her financial troubles.

To make an already-long-story short, because of her choices, friend became pregnant again (still not married). This father IS involved with baby, but wishy-washy about whether he wants a relationship or not. Friend still wants marriage. She and I were pregnant at the same time. For a while, we seemed to come closer, because of the pregnancy. But, after our babies were born, I realized that her parenting philsophies and mine were totally different (on most things). I also realized that I had lost respect for her. It was so disappointing. Until then, I was always supportive of her and encouraging. I never criticized her choices (even though I questioned them to myself) and I justified the parenting choices she had made. I always told myself that it was really hard for her, she doesn't have good family support, she doesn't have many choices, etc. etc. At some point, however, I realized that I just didn't agree with what she as doing with her children and have lost respect for her decisions.

Am I totally bad for feeling this way? I've been struggling with this for about 1 year now. DD is 14 months and her son is 17 months. I have stopped going over ther (even though she lives 2 buildings down from me) and I don't really call her.

When her son was born, she was fired from her job and she decided to SAH, collect unemployement and live off of government aid. She was "tired" of working. She also wanted to devolte more time to her kids. I can totally understand devoting more time to your kids. Her way of doing this, however, consisted of having the kids watch t.v most of the day, running around in their nightgowns and eating t.v. dinners. She was too lazy to take them out...too much work with 2 of them. She didn't look into any of the local playgrous (free) or library. She just recently realized that we have a library 2 blocks from our building. She spent more time calling me from home and watching horror movies (her favorite) than doing anything meaningful with the kids. I think that's when my attitude towards her changed.


A few months ago, she decided she was going to homeschool her kindergarten-age daughter. Now, I am not against hs, but the "reason" this friend was going to do it was because she didn't want to take public transportation to take dd to a public school!!!! She always talked about sending dd to a "latin school" or a "magnet school" or other private school. For a year, she sat around and did NOTHING, to get a scholarship for dd to attend these schools. Literally, on the day that dd was going to enroll in kindergarten at the local school, she decided it was too much trouble to take her and that she would learn more at home! HUH!? This is the woman who keeps her kids in a 1 bedroom apt most of the time because it is too much of a hassle to go anywhere with them! Mind you, we live on the beach, next to at least 5 parks!!

Now, you might be thinking that I am overreacting to her decision to do well by her child and homeschool. However, not surprisingly, her "schedule" for teaching every day from 12-2 lasted only 1 month. Then, it deteriorated to teaching "whenever" she could get it in. She tried to rationalize that children learn ALL the time and that dd did not need a rigid routine. Now, 6 monts after she started this, she has moved 2 times and has just enrolled her dd into a daycare! It's a shame because her dd is so bright.

The point of this endless rant.......I have lost respect for a friend that I have had for many years and I don't think it is going to come back. IT saddens me but we are beyond the point of return.

So, my relationship with one friend has grown by leaps and bounds, because now we have parenting in common as well as all those other things. One relationship has deteriorated to the point where I don't even want to talk to her that much. If we talk once every couple of weeks, that's fine with me. Thanks, again, for listening!!!

Lib
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#20 of 24 Old 03-08-2003, 01:26 AM
 
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delighted mama, don't feel bad for not wanting to be her friend anymore. It harms you to have toxic people in your life. I feel so bad for her kids. Also I plan to homeschool, but trust me, it can be the best thing for kids or the worst. I have a adult friend who's parents "homeschooled" her because of peer problems she was having at school, only problem was nobody actually taught her anything. She was just to herself to learn. She is very ignorant as a result and has severe emotional issues because she feels "dumb". This same girl was sexually abused and has deeper emotional scars from the fact that she is uneducated than the fact that she was raped, so I have seen how bad it can be if homeschool just means the kids are kept home but not actually taught anything. So the fact that she is choosing to homeschool out of laziness is not a good sign, since it requires dedication and work. It is hard seeing people damaging their children's spirits. That is why I chose not to be a teacher because I couldn't bear the pain of watching all the painful things people do to their kids. I think people that are willing to be in the trenches and still work to make a difference are heroes, I know it was too painful for me. I know that I am making the world a better place by raising my son to be an awesome human being with a beautiful spirit still intact. So don't beat yourself up for abandoning your friend. Sometimes it takes the feedback of people not wanting to be her friend anymore to make people realize that they need to make changes in their lives.
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#21 of 24 Old 03-10-2003, 03:02 PM
 
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Thanks for reading that loooong post and for your kind words! They really mean a lot. Just expressing my feelings in written form has helped me to sort things through in my head. Having someone respond with such a thoughtful and kind post makes it a lot easier! Have a great Day!

Libby
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#22 of 24 Old 03-11-2003, 01:58 AM
 
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an aside...

without defending the myriad of behavioral issues and individuals described (and loved your story, carmen! good point), there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for unschooling hereabouts.

a rigid schedule is not necessarily the way all successful homeschoolers handle things- sounding a bit 'mainstream' to me here, lol

just wanted to mention that there are a lot of unschooling mamas here who might be a tad offended to be painted with the 'neglectful' brush (i know that wasn't the intention; clearly we would also be the ones at the beach & playgrounds, not in front of the tv every day... but sometimes my kids DO watch tv, & I'd hate to be judged by that rainy day I had a headache & the Blue's Clues marathon ran for hours, kwim?)

suse
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#23 of 24 Old 03-11-2003, 07:44 PM
 
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Not to offend any unschooling moms, as I said I intend to homeschool my son. But from experience I am aware that homeschooling can be the best experience, and the worst depending on the situation. I would say that any mom on here would be a good one because it means they are informed and thoughtful of how they parent their children. The situation I personally described was a case were a child was pulled out of school in 5th or 6th grade because of a bad situation, yet no one actually taught her. I am not talking about schedules, I am talking about the parents would go off to work and leave her home alone with books. They were screwed up neglectful parents in other ways as well, I am just saying if the purpose of homeschooling is because a person is to lazy to take them to school every day, I can't see how they are going to have the energy to teach them. There is also a big difference between the occasional TV watching and staying in on a rainy day, and watching TV constantly and never taking your kids out. So I don't feel there was any criticism of unschooling moms in general, just that not every homeschooling situation that is out there is a good one.
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#24 of 24 Old 03-12-2003, 12:10 AM
 
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i figured
i didn't take it TOO personally (sometimes considering the hoops the states put up, and all the curricula one can purchase, it is hard not to get the proverbial chip; heck, for the littles i'm more charlotte mason-y anyway. my teen is fine alone with a pile of books, asking for help when she wants it- it depends a lot on the kid, too. 'teenage liberation handbook' rules!)

suse didn't mean to hijack, back to our scheduled program.
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