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#61 of 89 Old 11-27-2007, 02:54 PM
 
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I just wanted to add a thought based on my own experience....

I was encouraged as a child to be a nonconformist, "an individual" by my mom. This was both good and bad. On the good side, I felt that she supported all my dreams and who I was. On the bad side, it left me at a loss for some of the "social graces". I didn't talk about anything others were interested in. I often came across as bossy or snobby. To this day I still have no clue how to apply makeup LOL

I went through a phase in middle school (doesn't everyone) of feeling an INTENSE need to conform....but my mom was of NO HELP during that phase. It was it's own form of oppression - to feel like I had to be ashamed of my wish to be like others and to be liked by others and not seen as weird. At times, my mom's own idea of non-conformity made her blind to what I wanted to do or needed at that time. Here's a really silly example:

My mom is the ultra-feminist. When the time came and other girls were buying "training" bras and starting to shave their legs I couldn't talk with my mom about it because she thought all of that was silly. It was awful and akward - I was embarrassed in the gym because I was hairy and bra-less. In some sense I was fighting my mom's fight against oppression of women - but it wasn't *my* fight (yet!). Of course now I totally get where she is coming from....but wasn't that it's own sort of oppression?

It's only been in recent years that I've been able to talk with her about these things, and of course she feels awful. She thought she was giving me the gift of non-conformity/individuality - but it was making me miserable. Of course now I have a strong sense of individuality and all - but I guess I'm saying that the knife cuts both ways and you have to walk a fine line between encouraging your child and giving them the tools they need to fit in or not as they choose. That's why I guess I'm more into the idea of making a child aware of what the "rules" are first, then work on bending them or seeing through them as they get older....

just my 2 cents....
peace,
robyn
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#62 of 89 Old 11-27-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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This is a very interesting discussion.

I don't think that enforcing social conformity on children helps children succeed socially. At least, that was not my experience. My mother was very anxious that I learn to conform and that I make friends and that I do well in school and make a good living at a prestigious job.

I still have a lot of trouble doing some of the things she wanted for me. Parents who love unconditionally provide children with a much better basis for social interaction, for learning, and for finding pleasurable ways to make a living. You don't have to be like everyone else to do well in school, to make friends, and to find your way in life and love. You have to be confident in yourself and your own abilities.

My mom has already started telling me which careers would be okay for my four year old to pursue and which wouldn't. He's four. You know? He's a perfect little four year old person, doing exactly what he should be doing at his age. Even my mom can see that, but God forbid we should just allow him to enjoy himself and not control every aspect of everything.

Yes, I think I have different goals for my child than my mother had for me. My mother has never, and would never say, "I just want you to be happy." It's not true! She wants me to be successful. (I wouldn't say it to my kid just because it's usually attached to a guilt trip!)

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#63 of 89 Old 11-27-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
My mother has never, and would never say, "I just want you to be happy."
My dh and I have had discussions about this. He says "I just want our kids to be happy."

and I say:

"There are many emotions in life-happy being one of them, and It's not nessicarily what I desire for my kids.

I want my kids to be connected to a path

That they know is why they were put on this earth.

And if it takes traveling through hell to get there (and thus not really being "happy" like YEA!)

Than thats what they need to do.

I desire my kids to be called.

Not Happy."

Just wondering if anyone else has had that discusion with dp?

Sorry for the OT...
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#64 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 09:38 AM
 
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My parents wanted me to be happy and self sufficient. And their definition of happy was also specific in its way but I had to find it myself. It's not empty happiness of just doing whatever you want. It's true happiness of living a good life and finding your bliss. As I raise my own child I see how difficult it is to just facilitate that. It would be much easier to just plan out dd's life.
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#65 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 10:21 AM
 
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yeah, I suppose to say "happy" you would have to define happy.

I feel like my dh means "happy." Like just the emotion Happy.

I think thats silly, because no one is "Happy." Thats not a state of being to me.

Peaceful....content....THOSE are states of being that can be acheived.

Without sadness, anger, etc-they wont know what Happy even means. I have no problem with my kids feeling negative emotions/
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#66 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 11:34 AM
 
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hippymomma69, I totally hear you. My parents weren't like your mom, but I think I run the risk of parenting that way myself. My DD is not yet 4, and we are already running into it to some degree. DH and I value nonconformity and individuality a lot, and ironically, at times I think we unconsciously push it on DD. I find the balance rather hard to strike, especially now that DD is "in the world" and being faced daily with other kids who find her odd. Sometimes I suspect I encourage her natural quirkiness TOO much.

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#67 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
DH and I value nonconformity and individuality a lot, and ironically, at times I think we unconsciously push it on DD. I find the balance rather hard to strike, especially now that DD is "in the world" and being faced daily with other kids who find her odd.

Dh and I also value nonconformity and individuality, and encourage it in dd. For us (so far), the balance comes from honesty about our cultural norms. We've had a lot of discussions about what is the norm in our culture--and other cultures, and how our choices go with or against the norms. We also model making choices that are right for us, but run counter to social norms. I guess temperament plays a big role, but dd seems to appreciate knowing ahead of time when she is going against a norm, so that she can weigh if the risk (being seen as odd) against the benefit (going with her first preference). More often than not, she sticks with her first preference with a "well, *I* like it!" : And then, of course, we reinforce that that is the most important thing.
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#68 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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Hippymomma69 wrote:
Quote:
I think the most important tool we can give our kids to resist oppression is to teach them critical thinking.


Quote:
I was encouraged as a child to be a nonconformist, "an individual" by my mom. This was both good and bad. On the good side, I felt that she supported all my dreams and who I was. On the bad side, it left me at a loss for some of the "social graces". I didn't talk about anything others were interested in. I often came across as bossy or snobby. [...] I went through a phase in middle school (doesn't everyone) of feeling an INTENSE need to conform....but my mom was of NO HELP during that phase. It was it's own form of oppression - to feel like I had to be ashamed of my wish to be like others and to be liked by others and not seen as weird. At times, my mom's own idea of non-conformity made her blind to what I wanted to do or needed at that time.
This sounds so familiar! My parents were like that about some issues. I think the problem is that when a parent values NONconformity, the child doesn't feel free to explore ALL options, only the options that are different from the norm.

Transformed wrote:
Quote:
My dh and I have had discussions about this. He says "I just want our kids to be happy."
and I say:
"There are many emotions in life-happy being one of them, and It's not nessicarily what I desire for my kids.
I want my kids to be connected to a path
That they know is why they were put on this earth.
And if it takes traveling through hell to get there (and thus not really being "happy" like YEA!)
Than thats what they need to do.
I desire my kids to be called.
Not Happy."

Just wondering if anyone else has had that discusion with dp?
My partner agrees with me on that, but I've had that discussion with my boss! She is extremely intelligent and has a bit of a grudge about people (I'm not one of them) who've told her that she should have had children in order to help increase the intelligence of the population. She says being smart is not important; the only important thing is to be happy. But I agree with you, Transformed. Most of the best things in my life have involved some periods of suffering and risk-of-suffering and not just being happy all the time.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

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#69 of 89 Old 11-28-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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This is such a great thread.

One thought I had about this issue of success (non-poverty in the trapped sense) is that I am not sure pushing anything around conformity helps in either direction. People who conform can often be downsized out of jobs too and end up in deep poverty.

I was thinking instead about what makes success and I really think overall in general terms it's being able to figure out what steps you need to take towards a goal, and to take them. (Along with accidents of birth and global economy and those sorts of things.)

So I think what's key for me is whether my son conforms or not, to help him learn that sometimes you have to decide whether you really want to reach a goal where you are going to have to conform along the way.

My example would probably be that I really was clueless about hair and makeup for a long time, and I still really can't be bothered half the time. So guess what, I am not in marketing or sales or anything like that. But I did make it my job to learn at least a bit about how to apply makeup attractively, and which types of clothes look good on my body, and to be aware of social norms. I did that because *I* wanted to be able to do it and because I also knew it was necessary for other things I wanted to do.

I think it's entirely possible to raise kids so that they do experience true choice. But I also think it's really important to guide them to see the results of those choices. If you don't want to wear socially-appropriate clothes, okay, but I am not going to pretend people around you may not react to that, sort of thing.

Easily said when my son is 2.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#70 of 89 Old 11-29-2007, 02:46 AM
 
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this is a terrific thread! It sounds like almost everyone here is interested in unschooling...to which end I offer a few reading tidbits. "www.sandradodd.com" which has tons o links on all these awesome ideas and ideals in some cases......and Holt! John Holt....anything you can read by him. A.S.Neill too ...who wrote and lived 'Summerhill'. Unprocessed Child was a good one too. There are so many great reads that speak to the goal of not getting in our children's way. 'Course there's an unschooling thread here on MDC anyway
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#71 of 89 Old 11-29-2007, 07:46 AM
 
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I have really enjoyed reading threw this thread. I love all the different ideas of what raising
our kids means to us. How our own childhood has shaped how or how not we are teaching
our own children. This seriously was my most enjoyed thread to read in a long time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
One of my goals is to raise kids who can think outside of the box, but not get locked out of it either.

This means to me a mix of pragmatic and idealistic dreams.

I would never tell my kids "you don't want to be X, because you won't make any money."

I WILL tell my kids "X is a noble profession. However, you need to recognize that the profession doesn't earn a lot of money, and that will require some sacrifices on your part - you won't be able to live at an upper middle class lifestyle AND be an X - since inheriting a fortune isn't an option ; )". And i would help my kids think through what they would have to do in order to succeed.
I agree. My parents (well more my mom) was always encouraging to me growing up. I could do
anything I wanted. I wanted to be a vocalist, I wanted to be a song writer. Nobody ever gave
me an example of how this could be a hard life. I said I wanted to be a rock star, and so it would
be, right?
My brother is a musician, and so is his gal. They live a good life, they are leading a life that means
a lot to the both of them. Is it happy, at times, are they being true to hearts, yes, is their life stressful,
OH YEAH.
I mean they own a house, they are warm, and they are fed. Do they worry about money everyday,
yes. They are in their early 40's and with one bad event they could loose everything they have worked
for.
So while I would love to encourage my dd's love of art (her dad is a broke professional artist) if she
decides to be a artist, I think I would like to encourage her love of many interests. I will be truthful
with her about life expectations, and how much certain professions earn. I would like to stress to her
(with love) to keep some activities as hobbies, or to think bigger. Example if she wants to be a artist
to think about going into art therapy, or something where she gets to use her love of art, while making
a living.

I have watched too many people struggle in creative lifestyles. This doesn't mean I would tell my
dd not to be an artist is this is her passion. I would support her in her choice, and be there to help
in any way. But I'm not going to lie and tell her that following her heart makes for a stress free
life, cause that's not been my personal experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
There is alot of social pressure to "keep your kids under control" and/or "Have good kids" (which means kids who jump when you say jump)
<snip>
I am not sure where these social pressures come from. TV? Parents? Husband? Other people with kids? School?

Do you guys know what I am talking about?
Yeah, I found this in school with dd. Last year her teacher told me that dd finishes too quickly
and then talks too much to other students. This year her teacher told me that dd is taking too
much time doing her work "too carefully". : I've been told my dd is at times loud, overactive,
has a hard time staying on task, talks too much, BUT dd also gets the best grades in her class.
She is a dedicated student, and it's important to her that she hands in good work. These are all
qualities that are her. I didn't encourage this behavior. I have encouraged dd to be herself. I
don't want to change her, but try to give her the tools to use who she is naturally in a positive
manner.

I keep repeating this to teachers. I tell them upfront when they think their is a "problem" that
this is my dd's natural self, and while I will encourage her to use it in a positive manner, I won't
tell my dd that she is doing something "wrong".

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I think this is where critical thinking comes in.

I have some friends who demand to be "taken as they are". But then complain that no one likes them. Well, sorry, we don't get it both ways
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Hmmm. In my experience, when people are well-liked, it's not because they're "just like everyone else" -- but because of their genuine love for other people. My guess is that if your friends aren't liked, maybe it has less to do with their uniquenesses or "weirdnesses," and more to do with their lack of real, genuine, interest in or concern for others.

I'm reminded of the old saying, "If you want to HAVE friends, you have to BE a friend." Of course, since you claim them as YOUR friends, maybe they're not totally lacking in friend qualities, huh?
I have to agree with mammal_mama's reply to your post. I think one of the best qualities about
a person is that if they have an opinion, they need a leg to stand on. If a person is one who lives
their own life, dancing to their own beat, they can also be well liked. If they have the skills to
communicate with others without belittling and can communicate effectively their feelings and
values I feel that person will gain respect. Even in situations with people that disagree with their
choices.


-I learned early in my parenting of dd that she was born independent. As much as I thought I
could raise her to be a free thinker, she might not have. It just so happens that she did, and is
more of a free thinker than I could have instilled in her, she just is, it's who she is.

Before I was a parent I believed that they my child would follow my lead, and threw dd I have
learned that I am following hers. This is a really bad example but does anybody remember the
TV show Family Ties. How the parents were children of the 60's and their son was so different from
them? Well my dd happened to be born a person who thinks for herself, and seriously could give a
crap if somebody else agrees. At the same time she is very sweet, and giving. She SO dances
to her own beat. But if her natural self was that of somebody very different than me, more careful
somebody who wants to follow rather than push, I might find myself supporting that as well. Because
I want my child to be who they are. If they don't want to rock the boat, I feel I have to respect
that choice.

Instead of pointing our examples in my dd's life, telling her that ABC that she did was good, or
wrong. (Which I wouldn't do obviously) many times I focus more on the attitude of others. We
have had the best conversations watching Kid Nation. When I ask my dd what she would do if
she was there, who would she like to be friends with, why. Dd and I talk a lot. We talk about the
rules of school, and of home, and I have asked her if she sees a difference. If we have a rule at
home dd has the right to say she doesn't agree, and some rules have been changed because when
I listened to her view, she was right. I respect what she has to say. I really believe that if we give
our children a safe place to fall, they will feel safe being themselves. Who ever that is.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#72 of 89 Old 11-29-2007, 11:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
I went through a phase in middle school (doesn't everyone) of feeling an INTENSE need to conform....but my mom was of NO HELP during that phase. It was it's own form of oppression - to feel like I had to be ashamed of my wish to be like others and to be liked by others and not seen as weird. At times, my mom's own idea of non-conformity made her blind to what I wanted to do or needed at that time. Here's a really silly example:

My mom is the ultra-feminist. When the time came and other girls were buying "training" bras and starting to shave their legs I couldn't talk with my mom about it because she thought all of that was silly. It was awful and akward - I was embarrassed in the gym because I was hairy and bra-less. In some sense I was fighting my mom's fight against oppression of women - but it wasn't *my* fight (yet!). Of course now I totally get where she is coming from....but wasn't that it's own sort of oppression?
See, I see the problem not so much as your mom "not teaching you the rules" -- as it was your mom not listening to you and helping you to get the things YOU wanted in life. Of course, I realize it was all really well meant -- and I respect your mom for at least listening to you NOW. Some parents never do listen, and just go on the defensive if their kids try to tell them what you've told your mom.

While I certainly agree that it's a good idea (as suggested by a previous poster) to prepare our children for others' potential reactions to various clothing and behavior choices --

I recall an example given by Sarah Fitz-Claridge, founder of TCS, in an article: "If you say 'f*ck' to Grandma, she's liable to get upset" (probably not an exact quote) --

what you've shared is an example of how perceptive children and young people really are about social norms: you "figured out" that the teenage norm was shaving legs and wearing training bras without anyone having to spell it out to you. The problem wasn't that you didn't know the rule -- but that your mom wasn't open to looking at things from your point of view.

To my way of thinking, any time a parent downplays a child's goal or interest as "silly" or frivolous, that parent IS being very oppressive. For instance, I've heard of cases where little girls begged for more "princessy" toys and clothes -- but their feminist moms just poo-pooed it and insisted that they play with and wear only gender-free stuff.

I'm sure the intent was to protect them from our oppressive sexist society -- but they were being just as oppressive in the process, IMO.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#73 of 89 Old 12-03-2007, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To my way of thinking, any time a parent downplays a child's goal or interest as "silly" or frivolous, that parent IS being very oppressive. For instance, I've heard of cases where little girls begged for more "princessy" toys and clothes -- but their feminist moms just poo-pooed it and insisted that they play with and wear only gender-free stuff.

I'm sure the intent was to protect them from our oppressive sexist society -- but they were being just as oppressive in the process, IMO.
i agree with this one. I don't necessarily define UNoppressed as just plain being different or against the establishment. If my DD decides she really likes make-up and dresses and what the popular crowd likes that is fine...as long as it is what SHE wants and not someone else. I hope to raise my daughter in such a way that she has a good sense of individuality but I realize that will look different for everyone. What I will try to do is to let her be who SHE wants to be and not who I want her to be.

I am still amazed at some of the things I hear. I was in a store today and a woman was on a rant about how parents don't spank anymore. She talked about how the kids need to know who is in control and how to act. I do believe in discipline but I also do it gently and respect my children as human beings who have wants and needs just as I do. That doesn't mean I allow them to be terrors in public but I try to respond to their needs (as in, I'm really tired and want to go home!) rather than force them into submission...they certainly don't give them everything they want or give in all the time but I do respect them and try to find solutions that work for all of us. Does that make sense?
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#74 of 89 Old 12-03-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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I have to confess I haven't read through the entire thread, so I may well be misinterpreting the point of this thread. But I try not to micromanage my children. They are what they are, and there is very little I can do about it. I take no credit for them being what I see as incredibly well adjusted whole beings. Whatever we do, our children are going to be manipulated, by us as parents, by peers, by education, by media and the system in which we live. But as a parent of an older teen, I am seeing that they have the opportunity to undo that manipulation and it is amazing to watch.

I try to make them aware that there is more going on that what they experience physically, that there is a "Good Source" from which everything and everybody flows and to which they will one day return. I cannot prevent the manipulation, neither can I make them wake up to it, but I hope I can assist them to utilize the tools they have been provided with to do it. The rest is up to them.

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#75 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 12:06 AM
 
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To my way of thinking, any time a parent downplays a child's goal or interest as "silly" or frivolous, that parent IS being very oppressive. For instance, I've heard of cases where little girls begged for more "princessy" toys and clothes -- but their feminist moms just poo-pooed it and insisted that they play with and wear only gender-free stuff.

I'm sure the intent was to protect them from our oppressive sexist society -- but they were being just as oppressive in the process, IMO.
Amen.

This was me. And it really messed me up for a while. Not being denied princessy clothes, particularly... ...more just being steadily schooled to denigrate and disrespect my own completely normal desires. About everything, not just clothes. And to put undue weight on those desires--as if wanting neon pink stirrup pants would turn me into the "kind of" woman I didn't want to be. Or that my mother didn't want me to be. And that neither one of us would respect me anymore. And that the only way I could assure myself respect was to deny myself pleasure or frivolity. :

My experience has convinced me that this is just not a good way to go with parenting.
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#76 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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I wanted to clarify my earlier statement about "being taken as I am".

The example I was thinking of were people I know who routinely flout social standards - such as showering often, saying please and thank you, telling little white lies when asked how they are. And it also includes going along to get along and holding their tongues when having unpopular opinions.

You (the general you, not anyone in particular) has every right to be true to yourself. And I have every right to not like your true self and to not want to be associated with you. ; )

IRL and online I hang out with A LOT of geeks and self-described misfits. I totally get what it feels like to not fit in, and to claim that "not fitting in" as an expression of ones personality rather than a lack of social skills. After awhile, there is a badge of honor at not fitting in, and intentionally flouting social rules.

However, the point I tend to have to make with folks who do not wish to conform to social rules - by all means, don't conform. Absolutely be true to yourself.

But don't expect the world to applaud either. Not conforming can take a great deal of bravery and sacrifice - and selective conformity can sometimes get you farther than full all out rebellion.

But then I am a "work within the system to change it" kind of girl. Again, every choice contains sacrifices and paths not taken. For my kids, I'd rather they know the rules and the selectively chose which ones to follow.

Is that clearer?

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#77 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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or as my dh just said - you can be true to yourself without being an a$$hole. Unfortunately, I know too many people who are unaware of this fact.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#78 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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IRL and online I hang out with A LOT of geeks and self-described misfits. I totally get what it feels like to not fit in, and to claim that "not fitting in" as an expression of ones personality rather than a lack of social skills. After awhile, there is a badge of honor at not fitting in, and intentionally flouting social rules.
Well, I still think that people who WANT to be liked and accepted, will find ways to do this without needing anyone else to prod and force them.

I'm not saying you're trying to prod your friends or anything -- just that if social acceptability was something they truly wanted, they'd find a way to get what they wanted.

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For my kids, I'd rather they know the rules and the selectively chose which ones to follow.
I certainly don't feel it's oppressive to dialog with my children about how various behavior choices are likely to be perceived by others. I find that many social norms are readily obvious, and children pick up on them by a kind of osmosis, if they see us habitually doing them (please and thank you for example). Others aren't as obvious, and that's where dialog (to the extent that the child's interested) can help.

Since your children get to selectively chose which rules they want to follow, that doesn't sound oppressive at all to me.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#79 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Been thinking and thinking about this issue... there are so many ways that we, as members of a civilized society, are "oppressed" (I don't like that word--but that we are, in whatever way, not-fully-free). And I want to protect our kids. I want to be their ally against the world. I want to give them a safe space where the world does not apply. So. That's what I'm trying to do. Even when it seems like I'm having to beat the world away with a stick.

Yeah. That's all I've got.

Still thinking.

Carry on.
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#80 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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I'm enjoying this discussion; I think it's important to put a lot of thought in how you parent.

My mom drilled it into my head that it was important to be myself and that it was not only okay to be different, but ideal. What became painfully apparent as I got older and grew into myself, so to speak, was that she wanted me to be different like her. She was/is very hostile to me actually being who I am. She always prided herself on how cool she was because she used drugs and partied and was very beautiful. She looked down on normal, boring people. Well, guess what, I've never been cool and I have nothing in common with her and it is not okay with her.

Some parents say they want their kids to be themselves and be unoppressed, but they don't really mean it. Sometimes I have to look at the decisions I make as a parent to see if I have an agenda, or if it's really in my dd's best interest.
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#81 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 11:17 PM
 
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I'm enjoying this discussion; I think it's important to put a lot of thought in how you parent.

My mom drilled it into my head that it was important to be myself and that it was not only okay to be different, but ideal. What became painfully apparent as I got older and grew into myself, so to speak, was that she wanted me to be different like her. She was/is very hostile to me actually being who I am. She always prided herself on how cool she was because she used drugs and partied and was very beautiful. She looked down on normal, boring people. Well, guess what, I've never been cool and I have nothing in common with her and it is not okay with her.

Some parents say they want their kids to be themselves and be unoppressed, but they don't really mean it. Sometimes I have to look at the decisions I make as a parent to see if I have an agenda, or if it's really in my dd's best interest.
Yes. My parents wanted me not to conform to the suburban world in which we lived; they wanted me to conform to them--be bookish, spurn all music written after 1950, wear my hair short, and read Dickens for fun. Becoming a cheerleader and singing in show choir were supreme acts of rebellion for me.
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#82 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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or as my dh just said - you can be true to yourself without being an a$$hole. Unfortunately, I know too many people who are unaware of this fact.
Me too.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#83 of 89 Old 12-06-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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Yes. My parents wanted me not to conform to the suburban world in which we lived; they wanted me to conform to them--be bookish, spurn all music written after 1950, wear my hair short, and read Dickens for fun. Becoming a cheerleader and singing in show choir were supreme acts of rebellion for me.
Kinda like how I sometimes feel like a rebel for being a SAHM and practicing AP and Gentle Discipline.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#84 of 89 Old 12-06-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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I'm enjoying this discussion; I think it's important to put a lot of thought in how you parent.

My mom drilled it into my head that it was important to be myself and that it was not only okay to be different, but ideal. What became painfully apparent as I got older and grew into myself, so to speak, was that she wanted me to be different like her. She was/is very hostile to me actually being who I am. She always prided herself on how cool she was because she used drugs and partied and was very beautiful. She looked down on normal, boring people. Well, guess what, I've never been cool and I have nothing in common with her and it is not okay with her.

Some parents say they want their kids to be themselves and be unoppressed, but they don't really mean it. Sometimes I have to look at the decisions I make as a parent to see if I have an agenda, or if it's really in my dd's best interest.
That's what I wonder about. Sure you can teach your child to conform or not conform but what happens if they choose the opposite? How are you going to feel if you end up with Alex P. Keaton? Or my dp and I we wonder what will happen if dd is popular and a cheerleader or a born again Christian investment banker. How can I be openminded about something that brings back painful memories for me? Such a balancing act parenting is.
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#85 of 89 Old 12-06-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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I don't think we can "teach" true non-conformity. If we're "teaching" it, then really we're just teaching our kids to conform to our particular brand of non-conformity (as mentioned by at least one pp).

So if we "teach" non-conformity, our kids are still going to feel forced into a mold, and an unpopular mode at that.

I think the main way to prevent doing this is to remind ourselves that our children are human beings with their own identities -- just as we are. We have thoughts and lives of our own, and we're not just little off-shoots of our parents. If we treat our kids with the same love and acceptance we wish we'd had from our parents (and hopefully some of us DID have it), then we can't go too far wrong, IMO.

I keep remembering that my kids are going into times and places I'll never see. They're going to need skills and perspectives I many not even (naturally) value or see any use for. And because of the unique perspectives they already have, growing up with AP and unschooling, I need to be open to having my life changed by their insights.

It's like Faber and Mazlish said in their How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk book -- much of what we're learning is so alien to the way we were raised, it's always going to feel like a second language to us. But our kids'll be fluent!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#86 of 89 Old 12-15-2007, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How are all you mama's handling the holiday season? I have seen a few threads about "Do X or Santa won't come" stuff...how do you deal with this Santa always watching, you won't get you're presents if you aren't "good" stuff? What about all the materialism in general this holiday season which many (including myself) can find "oppressive" at times?
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#87 of 89 Old 12-15-2007, 02:50 PM
 
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How are all you mama's handling the holiday season? I have seen a few threads about "Do X or Santa won't come" stuff...how do you deal with this Santa always watching, you won't get you're presents if you aren't "good" stuff? What about all the materialism in general this holiday season which many (including myself) can find "oppressive" at times?
We've started spending this time with just our immediate family, and visiting my mom on a different day, for a variety of reasons, my family's disdain for my unoppressive parenting being a big one.

On the Santa thing, when dd1 was 4 she shared with my sister and niece (we were at my sister's house for Christmas) that she'd learned that Santa's not real, but Jesus is. My niece said, "Santa's more important than Jesus!"

And my sister told dd she was making the wrong choice, by being honest about her discovery. She told dd that as long as everyone still thought she believed in Santa, she'd get more presents.

I wasn't directly confrontational (I wish I had been), but dd and I had a conversation later. Needless to say, I let her know I disagreed with my niece's comment. I also didn't like my sister's implication that it's better to be dishonest with people.

I guess my dd's haven't had so much experience with the "be good or you won't get anything" kind of cr@p. For one thing, we can't afford to hang out in shopping centers as much as I did when I was a kid. And maybe just miss a lot of those comments.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#88 of 89 Old 12-16-2007, 04:42 PM
 
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This is something I am finding much easier to do now that I am a single mum as my DH always was telling my son he "couldn't" like pink or play with dolls, etc... My oldest son is very sensitive and up until a year ago he LOVED pink simply because it was his Grammy's favorite color and grammy is his best buddy. I want my children to live truly satisfied lives, whether they are married or single, broke or poor. Right now I do not meet standards of many of my family and friends. I am a single mom and broke.....BUt this is the happiest, most assured and at peace with myself and my path that I have ever been. THAT is simply all I wish for my boys. I spent mnay years not really knowing who I was since I put too much weight on others opinions and expectations.
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#89 of 89 Old 12-16-2007, 05:05 PM
 
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Congratulations, Tonia!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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