raising UNoppressed children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 89 Old 11-22-2007, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to raise my children oppression free! Anyone else here interested in doing this? What does it mean for you?

For me it means letting my child develop her own sense of self and learning not to be bound by societal standards. This does NOT mean no limits or anything but I don't want them to be trapped by what other people think she should do.

For example...I was always told as a child I didn't want to be a geologist or something because I would never find a job or make any money...thus it wasn't worthwhile. I was always told that I didn't want a pink house because it was ugly and would make my neighbor's think I'm wierd....ect. ect....I want my DD to find her OWN sense of self regardless of what other's think and I want to create a safe and nurturing environment for her to do that.
I love my in-laws but most of them won't even discuss certain things (like BFing or sex) because its "dirty" and not "proper". I don't want my DD feeling so trapped like that....

So what does unoppressed mean for you? What are your strategies? How doe you balance this with setting safe limits for their well-being?
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#2 of 89 Old 11-22-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I think much the same as you.

I see no reason to put limits on future occupations simply because they won't earn any money. I want my kids to be happy and content in what they do no matter the monetary compensation. If they want to play guitar on the street corner for change or be investment bankers, that's fine with me.

As for social constructs, I find most of them silly. My dh is in many ways stereotypically a woman and I, a man.
Our ds's favorite color is pink and most of his clothes are pink. He has just discovered that it is the "girl" clothes that come in pink and with sparkles. He thinks that's not fair, but it isn't going to stop him from wearing them.

No topics are off limits for discussion. I figure, if they are old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to get an answer.

I also respect him by showing interest in the things he is excited about even if I think it is dull as dirt. He is important to me, so his interests are, too. I want him to like what he wants, not what he thinks I want him to like.

I try to restrict the limits I place on him to respecting other people and their property. I try to teach him, he can't hurt someone (including feelings and ears) nor destroy something they own without consequences. His own property, he can do what he wants with it, but we/he may not have the money to replace it and then he has to go without. In regards to his phyical safety, he has been remarkabley adept at pushing his limits without getting seriously hurt.

I am definitely trying to raise unopressed children. I want them to find their true selves. One of the main reasons I had kids was becasue I wanted to find out who they were/are.

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#3 of 89 Old 11-22-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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For example...I was always told as a child I didn't want to be a geologist or something because I would never find a job or make any money...thus it wasn't worthwhile. I was always told that I didn't want a pink house because it was ugly and would make my neighbor's think I'm wierd....ect. ect....
OMG that's awful.

This is coming from an art historian with no job at the moment who is also the former owner of the house known as "The Pink House". It actually wasn't all pink, it was white with pink trim but it was still pretty pink
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#4 of 89 Old 11-22-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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#5 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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Subscribing.

This is so important to me. I want my children to be their own people. I don't care if they are wealthy, or prestigious, or if they follow in my footsteps, or what others think of them. I just want them to think for themselves and be true to their values.

We talk about everything. I answer questions. I try to give reasons besides "because I said so." Sometimes I fail.

I most definitely need to learn to be better at this.
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#6 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 04:38 AM
 
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This is really important to me too. The difficulty that I have found so far is ridding myself of my own 'conditioning' from my childhood that would completely enable me to provide the support that is needed for my son to live a completely unoppressed life.

Mostly this revolves around financial stability.


Peace
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#7 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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I also respect him by showing interest in the things he is excited about even if I think it is dull as dirt. He is important to me, so his interests are, too. I want him to like what he wants, not what he thinks I want him to like.
YES! As an example, I'm learning to gain an appreciation for computer games and cartoons. There's nothing more disrespectful (or oppressive) than labeling our children's toys and chosen pasttimes as "junk."

I actually find I'm learning a lot of new things by trying to see things through my children's eyes.

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#8 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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Have you heard of The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School by Valerie Fitzenreiter?

Here is an article by her: http://www.unschooling.info/articles/article9.htm

http://books.google.com/books?id=_Ec...with-thumbnail


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#9 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 03:28 PM
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Have you heard of The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School by Valerie Fitzenreiter?

Here is an article by her: http://www.unschooling.info/articles/article9.htm

http://books.google.com/books?id=_Ec...with-thumbnail


Pat
Thanks Pat! I´ve just bookmarked both links - look forward to reading!
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#10 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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Raising unoppressed children is a major parenting goal of mine. I feel there is no other way for them to reach their fullest developmental potential.:

Awesome link, Pat. I've bookmarked it too.
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#11 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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This is extremely important to me, too. And very, very hard to do, since my son goes to school.

I have a very sensitive child. He just really, really hates the fact that others might laugh at him, or think hat he does is stupid etc. He is at the same time a kid that IS unique. He loves to have long hair, he loooved the colour pink for the longest time, he has pretty "geeky" interests etc. So, how do I help him be who he is?

How to help a child that by nature seems to be very afraid of failing, of being different..

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#12 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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He has just discovered that it is the "girl" clothes that come in pink and with sparkles. He thinks that's not fair, but it isn't going to stop him from wearing them.

.
I am completley on board with unopression, but I am wondering how you will teach your children to handle the social issues that come with a man wearing sparkly pink clothes. kwim?

(My 4 yr old ds is the same though, and I dont have aproblem with it. My dh is worried about him getting made fun of though.)

You cant raise unopressed and oblivious kids, right? That cant be good-that they would be unprepared for the social more's of our society.

Not that that means they should conform either.
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#13 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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If they want to play guitar on the street corner for change or be investment bankers, that's fine with me.
I basically agree with everything you said, but I just wanted to say that line made me laugh out loud, which I don't do much right now.

My first FIL is a street busker, who plays guitar on the street corner for change.
My current FIL is...well, basically, he's an investment banker - maybe not exactly that, but so close as to be the same thing.

Interesting examples, from my perspective!

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#14 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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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.

My SIL was told that she "could be anything she wanted to be". But then she decided she wanted to be an RAF pilot, despite the fact she has very poor eyesight and (certainly at the time, and probably still) all air force pilots were required to have 20/20 to even apply. But she wouldn't listen. She kept telling her parents that they were trying to "oppress" her when they said she might want to rethink her plans. It wasn't until AFTER she was rejected that she actually realized that no, in fact, she couldn't actually be ANYTHING she wanted to be.

I am all for giving kids the ability to think blue sky thoughts, but a healthy dose of pragmatism can also keep everyone sane. Hell, being pragmatic is how a close friend of mine flourished in his acting career. He went to school for financial management - he realized that if he got a job where he managed a theater, he had a better chance of getting introduced to directors and producers - and they were more likely to hire an actor who could both act AND balance their books. So far, he has never had to work as a waiter... which is saying something for an actor!

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#15 of 89 Old 11-23-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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I am completley on board with unopression, but I am wondering how you will teach your children to handle the social issues that come with a man wearing sparkly pink clothes. kwim?
He already deals with it some. Kids at the playground have told him "those are girl clothes". He just shrugs it off and keeps playing or finds someone nice to play with. He has plenty of friends who accept him for who he is. Friends who understand that boys can like pink and sparkles. If he grows up to be a man who likes pink and sparkles, I'm sure he will continue to find people who are accepting.

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#16 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 02:22 AM
 
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I struggle with this on one issue with my dd & dh. Dd is 2 1/2 yrs old and loves to play mommy. She pretends she's pregnant, says there's a baby in her uterus, pushes her baby out and nurses her. She loves talking about being a mommy when she's older. I think this is great. Of course, she's been influenced by me: I love to talk with my friends and sisters about pregnancy, babies and children and she's heard all this talk. My dh doesn't think this is so great. He feels that she should get more out of life than being a mother. Yeah, that makes him sound like a jerk. He doesn't mean to offend, he just hasn't found his place in this life and wants a lot for her. He wants her to have more options than motherhood.

So, which one of us is oppressing her? Me, for teaching her about being pregnant and enjoying the mommy game, or him for saying she should do more?
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#17 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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One of my goals is to raise kids who can think outside of the box, but not get locked out of it either.
I love this.
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#18 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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Editted to remove link to a site. It seems super commercial to me now. I did not remember it being like that.

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#19 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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I think it is important to validate children's wishes and dreams. My sister wanted to be a dog with a mustache when she grew up and no one told her she couldn't be that. She just figured it out on her own ... although before a lip wax I do mention she has achieved her goal - lol.

My cousin wanted to marry her dad, and the rest of us thought about it and decided this was not a viable option for her, he was simply too tall.

Kids ideas will change and grow and as long as the parents respect their feelings and encourage them to grow, they'll continue to dream big. Without big dreamers, our world would be a pretty sad place.
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#20 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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I like this site too. I don't agree with all of it, but it's great for getting one to start thinking out side of the box.


I'm going to try raising my children unoppressed also. Dh and I were telling my ILs about the savings account that we started for dd to use for college. My MIL jokingly said, "What if she doesn't want to go to college?" I think I surprised her when I said, "That's fine; she can use it for something else, like a car or starting a business..."

I really don't care what my children end up doing, as long as they're happy and kind people, I'll be very happy.


My mom still tells my 14yo brother to go change his clothes if she feels they don't match. It bothers me so much! I have to admit that I'm kind of excited to see the look on her face when Dd is old enough to pick out her own outfits because I'm sure she won't approve.

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#21 of 89 Old 11-24-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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a question: What happens when your dp doesnt agree with your decision to "not care what they do as long as they are happy."

My dh doesnt realize it, even though I have pointed it out, but he totally thinks the way to happyness is partially through money, and his parents raised him in rich neighborhoods just to set that idea in stone. His whole family belives this way.

So will my kids be confused by the conflict in opinion?
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#22 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not so sure if they would be confused...maybe? But they are also exposed to other points of view as well? I would just encourage them to make their own opinion. You could say things like "Yes there are some that do feel that way but their are many examples of people being perfectly happy with little money...." would that work?
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#23 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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a question: What happens when your dp doesnt agree with your decision to "not care what they do as long as they are happy."
I think it's easier if the dp's okay with YOU being yourself and expressing your view of things (and just supplements that by sharing his own views with them) -- but harder if he feels it's your duty to promote HIS point of view because you're the one at home full-time.

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#24 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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I don't identify with the term unoppressed, what you describe is what I would call nurturing a child's natural individuality, and being an open and honest parent. I think it's what others have called respecting the child.

I think that children living in America are blessed with immense freedom, and do not experience oppression, as children in less fortunate, less free and less tolerant places do.
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#25 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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I think it is important to validate children's wishes and dreams. My sister wanted to be a dog with a mustache when she grew up and no one told her she couldn't be that. She just figured it out on her own ... although before a lip wax I do mention she has achieved her goal - lol.
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#26 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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I think that children living in America are blessed with immense freedom, and do not experience oppression, as children in less fortunate, less free and less tolerant places do.
I realize there are degrees of oppression, and agree that those of us who live in America are extremely fortunate, generally have lots of freedoms, and most of us can find some degree of tolerance for our personal uniquenesses.

But I disagree with your assertion that there's no oppression here. It's true that if I had to choose between martial law and having my mother choose what combinations of clothing I could wear -- I'd go with the latter 'cause clothes are just one avenue of self-expression and I could find other ways to express myself. And eventually move out and choose my own clothes.

Still, to a child with very controlling parents, I'm sure the situation doesn't feel much different from living under an oppressive government.

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#27 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 02:51 PM
 
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Sure, very controlling parents can be seen as oppressive, but I doubt that many parents try to exert that much control, especially parents here at MDC. Oppressive parenting isn't anywhere near the norm, even by parents that are more controlling.... and I think it's an exaggeration to suggest that the average american child is oppressed by his or her parents or society. I would rather find a positive term to define my parenting style than unoppressive, it doesn't feel like a good fit for me.

That said, I'm interested in the topic. Having been raised by an overprotective mother who made recommendations I didn't like, (don't go to college, get married and be a secretary -- was the biggest offense, although I did go to college), I think I know what not to do.

I plan to listen to my kids wants and encourage them to have their own style and opinions, etc. I will also freely express my opinions and let them know that's how I feel and they can choose different. I agree with someone else who said they would talk through the pros and cons and tradeoffs with different choices.

I do have some basic expectations for my kids, and we'll instill our basic values to be honest, generous, kind, helpful, etc. etc. I think that's part of being a good parent, and I plan to do a lot of leading by example.

I want the kids to have as positive of a childhood experience as possible, and so that's where I'm coming from as my vision / goal. Maybe that's why I reacted to unoppressive -- it's such a negative term.
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#28 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 03:51 PM
 
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Well I'm still constantly learning about the depths of my own "oppression" - reading the works of Alice ******, Derrick Jensen, and so on and learning more about "anarchist" thought has given me tools to constantly see the way in which society (and capitalism) has "colonized" my thoughts...it's really the work of a lifetime, I think.

That said, I think the most important tool we can give our kids to resist oppression is to teach them critical thinking. They need to see and understand the box before they can think outside it...which, to me, means teaching them what the social norms are and how to follow them before they flout them. Then teaching them what the "box" is and to see it's outlines clearly. And maybe think about how you could change the shape of the box. It's like any creative endeavor - if you can learn the 'discipline' and master it, then you can bend the rules and change them with full understanding of what you are doing...

Sorry I'm rambling, but as my son is sitting here banging his train on my computer, do I just let him as part of his "self-expression"? Or do I show him "trains go on the floor" and therefore "oppress" him? (I'm just thinking about the boots at the funeral example that was in the article Pat posted...) My instinct is to teach him that trains go on the floor (or boots are for rainy days) but once I'm sure he understands the rule, then view "breaking" of it as being self-expression....in fact I've done this with my DD quite often with the whole boots thing....at first I stressed "boots are for rainy days". But now that she is older (4) I will remind her "boots are for rainy days - are you sure you want to wear that today?" and if she says yes, well then she gets to wear them.

Anyway, this is all very interesting to think about...here's another question. Is it oppression if they *like* doing it? (I'm thinking about traditional schooling but it could apply to anything I suppose).

peace,
robyn
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#29 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 05:32 PM
 
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If my child were banging her train on my computer (and indeed I do see more of these types of behaviors when I'm online or on the phone) -- I think I'd ask myself what it is that she wants.

Of course, when these things happen I DO explain that banging on the computer can damage it (just as climbing on the computer-table is not a terrific idea for the same reason). But chances are, it's totally possible to satisfy my child's wants without letting the computer get damaged.

In my own case (I can't answer for everyone else) the computer-banging stuff is often just an attempt to get me to get off of it, and get me to spend some time with my child. If she's wanting to climb something and jump off of it, there are plenty of ways to satisfy that need without it having to be the computer table. She's on the computer table to get me to focus on her and spend time with her.

Once I get off the computer, she's perfectly happy to go with me and do her climbing and jumping elsewhere.

So ... while I don't see it as oppressive to redirect my child's banging/climbing explorations AWAY from expensive merchandise, I do see it as oppressive if what she's really seeking is my attention, and I'm not giving her that, and I'm also denying her every avenue she can think of to express that desire and try to get my attention.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#30 of 89 Old 11-25-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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subbing, this is something i want to learn as well too.

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