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#61 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 06:25 AM
 
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tiffani, the mama duck thing has really helped me find a different way to take the lead in the family too, miranda great to see how it is playing out. i know neufeld does say that teenagers need to be led MORE, not less, and it is certainly interesting to see how that might look.

i know a lot of dads that find the intensity of mother + children's days difficult to participate in, sometimes some established routines work better for us. here's an example of what that that looks like just now: when everyone is energetic and daddy is home at bedtime, pillow fights are on, and so is reading their book. if he is home on a saturday morning, i have one child and he has the other, and we take them to their football practices. that's the default position and we arrange what we can to make it happen. perhaps it might be useful to have other responsibilities or dates set up that way? then it avoids the asking/rejecting part.

ksenia, i just saw your post...well, exactly

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#62 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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(I shall admit now that dh had said to me that he thought he would have to move out if things didn't change)


Miranda
This statement does not sit well with me. The idea of a man threatenning to move out if he does not get his way seems a little .... off.

With the exception of the chore thing (I do think they should do their share), there is nothing they were doing that was so unacceptable. Gaming too much? Being a night owl? Running off to computers rather than socialising? You could argue these are not great things but they are not deal breakers.

There is nothing ethically wrong with computer usuage and going to bed at 4:00 a.m.

He has basically asked them (ordered them?) to re-arrange their lifestyle because he does not like it.

I am glad the changes are working for you and your kids at this point in time. I am glad you and your children are doing this for your DH - it really is a gift - they are doing things they did not choose in order to make their father happy. I hope he now steps up to the plate and takes responsibility for his share in having a happy household and enacting changes. He should not retreat to the office or shop if he has issues with family interacton time. We have to be the change we wish to see. It is not fair (long term) to expect other people to change to fill a void for you - particularly when what they were doing was not so wrong in the first place.

Obviously, I do not know you and if I am wrong please disregard the above. I mean it only as food for thought.

-----------

On a practical note - I am wonderring what structure or system you have in place so you do not slide into your old ways? I want to work with my kids on academic stuff and I want to insist they have chores - yet when our lives get busy these things fall by the wayside- and I think my life is slightly less busy than yours!. It is hard and I often feel like I am starting from scratch.
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#63 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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i didn't read dad as threatening - if i don't get my own way then... [i am probably projecting from my own father, who has seasonal affective disorder, (& also a doctor actually) & who feels things very deeply, especially with his relationships with his children.] i understood him to be saying that the tone, the feel, of family interactions, with the children absent, not participating, not saying hello when he comes home or whatever, is deeply affecting his emotional life.

(back to lurking. very interesting thread)
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#64 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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i didn't read dad as threatening - if i don't get my own way then... [i am probably projecting from my own father, who has seasonal affective disorder, (& also a doctor actually) & who feels things very deeply, especially with his relationships with his children.] i understood him to be saying that the tone, the feel, of family interactions, with the children absent, not participating, not saying hello when he comes home or whatever, is deeply affecting his emotional life.

(back to lurking. very interesting thread)
He told his wife he might leave if changes were not made and threw out putting the kids in school. He may not have been serious about either - but he said them.

Another intersting question: When we are unhappy do we have the right to ask others to make changes to their lifestyle, particularly if their choices - staying up nights and using computers - do not affect us?

In general: we may a vision of family life - but if our children aren't matching our vision (as long as they are not doing something dangerous or unethical) that is just tough. We don't have them for our own reasons. We all have socialising needs - but that may be a need he has to fill with his wife and community at the moment. I do not doubt the kids will eventually want to socialise with their parents, but it isn't today. I love my mom - but when I was a teen I hid in my rrom and read Harlequins. Now, whenever I am near her, I follow her around - I cannot get enough of her! Parents need to be patient.

I also understand the father is very concerned over the choices they are making and feel they needed guidance - that I can understand and support.
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#65 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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in many family situations kids would be naturally pushed to do more simply because parents simply wouldn't have the physical energy or time available to do work that children are capable of doing.
yes, that is how it was for me, growing up as the eldest of three, i was naturally expected to help with dishes, laundry, trash and could be called upon for other small tasks as needed. I dont remember any force or argument used in getting me to do these things, though i knew other kids who didn't have to and I often got tired of having to do it, etc. I also don't think I had the option of outright refusing - I mean if there was a reason like too much homework or not feeling well that would obviously be respected, but I couldn't have just said, I am watching TV or going to my friends' house - I knew that I had to do these things. Of course my parents had no concept of CL / RU / or anything else, but I feel like my awareness that "I have to do these things" is not very different from the awareness an adult has of having to do things. So I guess that is an example of learning through life, and I agree this kind of life-learning does not begin at 18 ...

This thread got me worrying whether I was failing to share responsibilities with my daughter (6 yo) so yday I asked her to peel some garlic so that I could make some hummous. She didn't peel it, I didn't make the hummous. I didn't make a big deal of it, we just ate rice for lunch and got on with our day. But I am going to try to raise my expectations for my daughter so that she has the opportunity to grow in this vital way. Like many 6 year olds, she generally loves work - but can easily get bored of it if it gets old. So I think I need to help her build on her interest in doing things and being helpful and help her appreciate the role of working together even when the work itself becomes routine.

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#66 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 01:02 PM
 
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He told his wife he might leave if changes were not made and threw out putting the kids in school. He may not have been serious about either - but he said them.

Another intersting question: When we are unhappy do we have the right to ask others to make changes to their lifestyle, particularly if their choices - staying up nights and using computers - do not affect us?
I don't know how it is possible to suggest their choices were not affecting him. It sounds like they were dramatically diminishing the quality of the relationships in the family and quality of life in the home. Also, it seems it may have been affecting the way the kids felt about themselves.

One thing that seems to be missing in some of these posts is that it is a reasonable, natural and positive thing for a spouse to want to see their spouse happy and treated with respect. It is reasonable for parents to want to see their kids are growing up into considerate, healthy people. From how Miranda describes her feelings now it is clear that her husband keying in to feelings she'd been pushing down. This makes perfect sense because often it is a person with a tiny bit of distance who can see situations most clearly. Hopefully part of a trusting relationship is the ability to be honest like this.

The family needs to work for everybody in it. If it gets way out of balance it needs work. Sometimes that is going to include considering every option on the table (including radical changes like leaving or school). The fact that some of these options are undesirable doesn't invalidate the need for change.
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#67 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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I don't know how it is possible to suggest their choices were not affecting him. It sounds like they were dramatically diminishing the quality of the relationships in the family and quality of life in the home. Also, it seems it may have been affecting the way the kids felt about themselves.

How is going to bed late and using the computer a lot (unless they only have one computer, or poor sleep habits make them grumpy) affecting him? They are not crossing boundaries, or disrespecting him, etc.

One thing that seems to be missing in some of these posts is that it is a reasonable, natural and positive thing for a spouse to want to see their spouse happy and treated with respect. It is reasonable for parents to want to see their kids are growing up into considerate, healthy people. From how Miranda describes her feelings now it is clear that her husband keying in to feelings she'd been pushing down. This makes perfect sense because often it is a person with a tiny bit of distance who can see situations most clearly. Hopefully part of a trusting relationship is the ability to be honest like this.

Oh, I agree. When I first read this post I wonderred if her DH was frustrated by how much work she did and how little work the kids did and was wanting to protect/defend her.

My only concern with the situation is that the father has expressed he might leave if things do not change - and expressed that the status quo was leaving him unfullfilled. I think threatenning to leave seems a little out of whack with what is going on and I do not think our children are obligated to arrange their lifestyle to make us happy. That is it. I may be misreading the situation - it is a long thread and things get murky.

.
Kathy
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#68 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This statement does not sit well with me. The idea of a man threatenning to move out if he does not get his way seems a little .... off.
No, you are mis-interpreting. He is a highly introverted guy suffering from depression and occupational sleep-deprivation, feeling the need for a calmer oasis free of the chaos and night-time frustrations in order to improve his ability to cope. It was not said as a threat. Totally not. If you knew him that interpretation would never have entered your mind.

Miranda

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#69 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With the exception of the chore thing (I do think they should do their share), there is nothing they were doing that was so unacceptable. Gaming too much? Being a night owl?
We are six people in a small house -- probably laughably small by most people's standards. It does make it difficult to sleep. The microwave beeping, dishes clanking, computer game noises, laughter, thuds, bathroom doors banging shut at 3 a.m., bunk beds creaking as kids flop into them at 4 a.m.. He sleeps with ear plugs but the kids' night-time activity still awakens him. It awakens me too, but I don't have the same difficulty getting back to sleep.

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On a practical note - I am wonderring what structure or system you have in place so you do not slide into your old ways? I want to work with my kids on academic stuff and I want to insist they have chores - yet when our lives get busy these things fall by the wayside- and I think my life is slightly less busy than yours!. It is hard and I often feel like I am starting from scratch.
We're only doing this as a 2-week trial, so we haven't tackled those kinds of long-term issues. But at this point the back-sliding prevention strategy is the rule that no one uses the computer until the other stuff is done.

Miranda

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#70 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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No, you are mis-interpreting. He is a highly introverted guy suffering from depression and occupational sleep-deprivation, feeling the need for a calmer oasis free of the chaos and night-time frustrations in order to improve his ability to cope. It was not said as a threat. Totally not. If you knew him that interpretation would never have entered your mind.

Miranda
Fair enough. The internet has limitations in communication.

I do remember a picture of your hubby from your blog - he is on the couch with one of the children sitting on him and you are all watching a movie as a family. It was a great picture and everyone looked really joyfull and content.

I hope you get there again. Hugs!

Kathy
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#71 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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GREAT thread...such wisdom and insight, Miranda! Thank you for sharing your experiences...
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#72 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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We are six people in a small house -- probably laughably small by most people's standards. It does make it difficult to sleep. The microwave beeping, dishes clanking, computer game noises, laughter, thuds, bathroom doors banging shut at 3 a.m., bunk beds creaking as kids flop into them at 4 a.m.. He sleeps with ear plugs but the kids' night-time activity still awakens him. It awakens me too, but I don't have the same difficulty getting back to sleep.
That is tough! This must be really hard for him. I'm a light sleeper and when we lived in a house with the bedrooms and kitchen close by it was difficult to sleep.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#73 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 08:48 PM
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I was just thinking that at least a good bit of this is probaby more related to the large family thing tha the unschooling thing... in our tiny family of two things necessarily work very differently. OTOH, one of my close radical unschooling friends went through basically the same crisis when her kids were about the same ages (I think they were 14, 12, 9, and 6) and in her situation it was also the father who finally said, "Hey, this isn't working for me."

It turned out to be a good thing for their family in many ways, IMO...

 
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#74 of 129 Old 11-19-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I am enjoying reading this thread, feeling many commonalities with your family as we are a family of 5 with kids aged 9, 6 and nearly 2, living in a tiny rural community in Australia where I am the on call doctor and my partner is homeschooling thekids. Our 9 yr old has been facing some of the challenges you are noticing with your older children and we have been struggling with this. I also understand where your husband is coming from as someone who works similarly ridiculous and anti-social hours, putting enormous pressures on my partner.

Thnk you for sharing your very personal struggles here - your thgouhtful approach to parenting your kids is inspiring.

Anna, in South Australia
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#75 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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Another long-time follower of your blog, Miranda, saying Thank You for your honesty. This thread has been amazing and I've been riveted to my screen reading it all.

It is timely, as I have been going through a period of self-doubt regarding my parenting. I've realized that it is VERY hard for a person who may be naturally inclined to be a pushover (for lack of a better word) to recognize it when its happening. For example, I often allow my kids to do something that my inner voice really doesn't want them to do (get a treat at the grocery store, buy a toy, have another cookie after already having 3) but I find good justifications for it (if I get a treat they'll be quiet during checkout and if I don't they'll scream and cry and I'm really too tired for that today; this toy could be educational and I'll use the learning funds to buy it; heck, I've already had 4 cookies and will probably have more so who am I to limit their cookie intake?). All along I've thought that I've been excellent at avoiding the Knee-Jerk "No" and now lately I'm thinking that I am just avoiding conflict because that is part of my personality. I'm struggling to figure out how to be objective about imposing limits and structure on my children. Just because it feels so wrong inside myself to set rules and limits, doesn't necessarily mean I'm going too far, kwim?

The interesting thing is I find that, after an initial set of tears or tantrums, the kids do tend to respond well and generally accept a situation. Similar to your experience with your trial period. Coercion does not work well in this family because my daughter, exactly like me, is fiercely independent and stubborn. She does NOT appreciate anybody forcing her and will fight like mad. Unfortunately, I think I give in too often before she does, when holding out a wee bit longer might end up with her acquiescing. My non-confrontational nature makes these conflict moments very difficult for me. I worry about breaking her spirit, or damaging our relationship, but maybe she is needing those limits from me? I confess I honestly don't understand that concept at all, being one who absolutely hates limits that are imposed upon me for reasons I can't understand. But I hear it often enough to wonder if it's true.

I wish there was a tool out there to objectively measure a parent's degree of permissiveness. How to know when our children truly need us to step up to the plate (administering medicine is one thing, deciding what behaviours are unacceptable in public and which are "spirited" and "misunderstood" is another)? Whether it's setting bedtimes (which we do, btw, having learned that free bedtimes affects the whole family badly), or insisting on cleaning up messes (which I'm not so good at, being firmly in the camp of "if you want something done right, do it yourself"), I struggle to find the balance between letting the kids problem-solve and make their own choices, and providing the limits/guidance that my children need but are not mature enough to come up with themselves.

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#76 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 01:43 AM
 
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The family needs to work for everybody in it. If it gets way out of balance it needs work. Sometimes that is going to include considering every option on the table (including radical changes like leaving or school). The fact that some of these options are undesirable doesn't invalidate the need for change.
I really resonate with this. A family is a system, not just a collection of individuals. Our interdependence runs deep, and no one in a family makes choices in a vacuum.

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"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#77 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 06:56 AM
 
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He hasn't selfishly chosen this demanding career for his own glory.
I think the furor has died down, but I really wanted to say that as a society, we have come to think of medicine as a "career" when it is really more of a *vocation*, especially in a rural ER sort of position! And being the spouse of a physician is a bit of a vocation too. And anyway if one spouse is the main breadwinner, and this is part of the family's chosen lifestyle, it does behoove the rest of the family to help that person get to work!

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This is definitely part of it. One thing I do well is cope. I just manage. I'm not good at asking for help,
And this is such a common thing now. I think we didn't have models for asking for help as we were growing up, right? It just really diminished over time as our communities eroded. So asking our children for help (and expecting to get it) is also modeling this behaviour for our children in later life.

I also struggle (poorly!) with my 15-yo DD's screen time issues. In our home too, the computer/internet is a tool we all use, but she tends to get really caught up in cycles of watching/reading anime/manga/fanfiction to the exclusion of all else (especially schoolwork for courses she has chosen), and it gets to the point where it becomes a negative mental health thing. In her case it's also a physical health thing, as the neurological stimulation of the screen contributes to her insomnia which contributes to her chronic pain issues. Admittedly, we are not RU, but it's a similar age thing... So breaking the cycle, as you did, was necessary, and as you're seeing, your child is actually seeing now that the change is a good thing.

I also speak as the sister-in-law to two lazy bum brothers-in-law who live at home and do NOTHING. [long rant deleted...] I really feel that it's important for our children to learn how to live in a family, how to contribute to the group. Now making that happen, that's another kettle of fish, and an ongoing project in our home.

As for family relations...
At the BC Homeschool Convention last year, I went to see The Manners Lady because nothing else was on in that timeslot that I wanted to see and I was curious. I'm glad I did, because she had some really intriguing points that are particularly germane to this thread. She had done a workshop with the homelearning teens earlier that day, and one of the exercises they did was having people walk by each other at various distances and with various responses. How did people feel about people passing each other 6 feet apart without a glance? 2 feet apart? A foot apart? What kind of interaction is pretty much socially required at each distance? A smile and nod beyond a certain distance, but closer in, it actually feels really uncomfortable if the two people don't verbally acknowledge each other with a little greeting. Within a family, these passages (especially in small quarters) are mostly in the shorter distance and require acknowledgement. And the thing is, the teens felt the discomfort, but they hadn't realized what it was from or how to dispel it. (Neither did I!) I think I had more to say but I've forgotten what it was...

The other thing I wanted to mention...
Sometimes our kids notice us doing some work while they're doing something recreational. And they feel uncomfortable and as though they want/ought to help, but they're also sort of wanting to continue what they're doing. So unless something changes (someone says something, or asks them), they continue feeling that little tingle of discomfort. But they learn to suppress it. And it sort of makes a little brick in a wall of inertia every time it happens, until it takes a bigger intervention to break their inertia and get them to help. They forget or maybe don't even realize that helping would actually make them feel better. I think I've felt this happening within myself. I know it happens when I'm at my mother-in-law's house. I want to help her (especially after she's made us dinner), and I know I should, but I'm hesitant and shy and don't know where to start. All I need is an invitation, and a little direction (I don't know how she does things...) and I could be so much more helpful...

I'm really appreciating this thread, and I'm interested to see how this experiment is going to unfold...

Lori : mum to Emily (nov94) and Calvin (jul 03), : and : married to : Wes
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#78 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 07:48 AM
 
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We are six people in a small house -- probably laughably small by most people's standards. It does make it difficult to sleep. The microwave beeping, dishes clanking, computer game noises, laughter, thuds, bathroom doors banging shut at 3 a.m., bunk beds creaking as kids flop into them at 4 a.m.. He sleeps with ear plugs but the kids' night-time activity still awakens him. It awakens me too, but I don't have the same difficulty getting back to sleep.

Miranda
This for me would be the biggest problem and one that might have to have a more heavy-handed response from the parents. I am sure I've read an article by Sandra Dodd on this very issue. Something about older kids getting to stay up if they don't disturb those who are sleeping. If they can't keep their end of the deal then a new deal is needed.

I hope your DH can be more involved too. I'm sure that would help a lot.
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#79 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 08:33 AM
 
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piglet are you my long lost sister? We seem to have many of the same parenting issues.

(I am a very eclectic homeschooler to I follow many discussions of homeschooling styles.)

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#80 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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As for family relations...
At the BC Homeschool Convention last year, I went to see The Manners Lady because nothing else was on in that timeslot that I wanted to see and I was curious. I'm glad I did, because she had some really intriguing points that are particularly germane to this thread. She had done a workshop with the homelearning teens earlier that day, and one of the exercises they did was having people walk by each other at various distances and with various responses. How did people feel about people passing each other 6 feet apart without a glance? 2 feet apart? A foot apart? What kind of interaction is pretty much socially required at each distance? A smile and nod beyond a certain distance, but closer in, it actually feels really uncomfortable if the two people don't verbally acknowledge each other with a little greeting. Within a family, these passages (especially in small quarters) are mostly in the shorter distance and require acknowledgement. And the thing is, the teens felt the discomfort, but they hadn't realized what it was from or how to dispel it.
What a great way to learn about the role of social niceties! These little rituals and acknowledgements are part of collecting one another. Some people intuitively understand the need for them, others probably need coaching and feedback about how others feel about being ignored, not acknowledged etc.

from a site that reviewed Hold Onto YOur Kids
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Dr. Neufeld stresses that it is never too late to foster these attachments. He proposes that there are rituals of relationships that have eroded away in our culture; rituals we can bring back to life. He suggests that we “collect” our children to cultivate relationships. Whether your child is an infant, a toddler, a teenager or an adult, you can cultivate an attachment to them by collecting their eyes – by making eye contact. Warm eyes give an invitation to people to come closer. Once you have collected the eyes, collect a positive nod. Go for the smile. In a friendly way, get into your child’s face. Take the time to collect your children as much as possible. Before you give instructions and make demands, cultivate your relationship and collect before you direct.

Another ritual of attachment is “offer a touch of proximity.” Make contact with your child. Get close to him, touch him, talk to him, engage him, and listen to him. Invite your child to be near you. Instill in him the idea that he is always welcome to exist in your presence. He needs to know that you want him with you.[...]

A final, powerful ritual for parents is “to provide more for your child than what he needs.” Always give more time, understanding, appreciation, respect, support and love than what your child pursues. Hug harder and enable your child to rest in their attachment to you.
Moominmamma, I'm sure you're doing all the above, but maybe your dh could take more responsibility for cultivating attachment with the children, and maybe your children could also be coached in some of this stuff.

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"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#81 of 129 Old 11-20-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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This thread is such a gift.
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#82 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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Good luck, glad to see that your kids have supportive parents that want them to be free yet enriched!!
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#83 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Back from my two-day jaunt getting the kids to their music lessons in the city. Almost no snow on the passes, which was a bonus!

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Originally Posted by vancouverlori View Post
Sometimes our kids notice us doing some work while they're doing something recreational. And they feel uncomfortable and as though they want/ought to help, but they're also sort of wanting to continue what they're doing. So unless something changes (someone says something, or asks them), they continue feeling that little tingle of discomfort. But they learn to suppress it.
This is such a great observation. I'm sure this cycle is part of what has become entrenched here.

It was also interesting you mentioning the Manners Lady. Some of what you wrote about that really piqued my interest. Because, see, as brilliant and creative and adorable as my kids are out in public they definitely have some social issues. Mostly the 15yo but also the 13yo. They are hypersensitive to social expectations, to the point where they can easily shut down. They hate being touched. My 15yo will instantly jerk, recoil and lash out if touched ... and has been like this from a very young age. These days she'll often apologize for doing so ("sorry, I can't help it, I'm weird like that about people touching me..."). She suffered from Selective Mutism as a young child. It gradually abated by about age 10. My ds will just go wide-eyed and stiff if touched unexpectedly or if someone stands too close while talking to him. My elder kids both have very strong senses of personal space, struggle with making eye contact and avoid physical contact.

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it actually feels really uncomfortable if the two people don't verbally acknowledge each other with a little greeting.
In my kids' cases, the "uncomfortable feeling" is so uncomfortable that they can feel a lot of anxiety, so much so that they find it difficult to speak, make eye contact, etc.. Which of course bears consideration as we look at solving the day-to-day interaction stuff in our family. They feel little of that anxiety in the family ... but they don't really have a template of normal social niceties that they're comfortable with out amongst others to apply to their interactions within the family.

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#84 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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You may be interested in The Manners Lady website. She comes from a very religious background, and she kinda freaks my socially-awkward self out, but she's very sincere. It's hard to tell from the website, but she has a curriculum/program thingy you can purchase to do with your own kids - there's a secular version as well as a Bible-based one. Really, it's mostly intended to be done with younger kids - I'm planning to get together with my sister and her 2 kids and my 6-yo and do it. Partly for the kids, but partly also for *me*! I would like to have social niceties explained to me in a way that is logical and memorable, and that's what she does. Some of it (maybe lots of it) wouldn't appeal to you - she tells kids to "obey right away without delay", etc. But maybe she has something for teens that would be of use to you and your older ones. Maybe they would find it useful to have these things explained... I've e-mailed her once or twice and she's very nice. She's also a musician... just throwin' it out there...

Lori : mum to Emily (nov94) and Calvin (jul 03), : and : married to : Wes
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#85 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You may be interested in The Manners Lady website.
Thanks, had a look at the website. Probably not our cup of tea, but kind of interesting anyway. My eldest's difficulty is with the anxiety borne of expectations, not lack of knowledge and sensitivity. She's actually almost too sensitive to social expectations out in public and in the past putting any specific emphasis on these issues has only heightened her anxiety, resulting in a lot of backsliding. These days she's doing pretty well overall. She smiles plenty in public and manages to make up a lot of ground non-verbally -- and she's actually working behind the counter at a cafe these days, verbalizing more, and customers seem to like her. Generally people think of her as very polite well-mannered teen. Speaking up with social niceties isn't natural for her, though -- she has to work hard at it.

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#86 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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Miranda, honestly it sounds like your oldest is just like me. I am the same way socially. I hate being touched. I can do eye contact, but I get tunnel vision and shut down in group situations. I really have no suggestions here for getting over this as it's still an issue for me. Having a job where I had to touch (in the hospital) helped get me a bit more "immune" to it, but I am still uncomfortable and almost panicky if someone touches me uninvited.

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#87 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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Oversensitivity to physical touch, anxiety, and difficulty with social situations...that was me as a kid. It wasn't until I spent a year abroad in college at 19, immersed in a foreign language, that I really developed some *functional* coping skills for those issues and came out of my shell socially. Sink or swim, you know? (Not necessarily the best way to go about it!)

Those are pretty common traits for a certain type of sensory processing disorder. The late teens and early twenties tend to be both a crucible and a blossoming for kids with SPD. Gaining independence and being out there on your own is a huge developmental leap, but for some reason it also seems to be the stage where kids with SPD "grow into themselves" and become more comfortable in their bodies.

That said, if that might be an issue, I know as a teen, my life would have been a lot easier if I had known that was what was going on. There are specific activities that can help the neurological system regulate physical sensitivities, and just knowing what's going on can really help with anxiety and not feeling crazy.

I might be totally off-base here. Just throwing out some info in case it's of help....
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#88 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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Instead of instituting formal instruction, why not address what seems to be the real issue, that the older kids aren't contributing to the household? I would probably introduce some consequences. For example, if your young teen boy wants to play games 14 hrs a day instead of help around the house, you don't have to enable him. Who cooks his food? Who washes his clothes? Who pays for internet access (assuming he plays online)? If he doesn't want to make his fair contribution to the household, why should he benefit from the contributions of other members of the household? Perhaps if he doesn't have internet access, a place set for him at the table, or anyone doing his laundry, he'll reconsider not wanting to help? I would introduce such expectations of his independence, if he's going to act independently.

As parents, you have to feed them, but can do that by giving them access to food they can prepare themselves. You have to put a roof over their heads, and provide for their education. You don't have to provide internet access for gaming or enable other problem behaviors.

I'd consider directly addressing the problems, rather than blaming unschooling and changing the way they are educated.

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#89 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravin View Post
Instead of instituting formal instruction, why not address what seems to be the real issue, that the older kids aren't contributing to the household? I would probably introduce some consequences. For example, if your young teen boy wants to play games 14 hrs a day instead of help around the house, you don't have to enable him. Who cooks his food? Who washes his clothes? Who pays for internet access (assuming he plays online)? If he doesn't want to make his fair contribution to the household, why should he benefit from the contributions of other members of the household? Perhaps if he doesn't have internet access, a place set for him at the table, or anyone doing his laundry, he'll reconsider not wanting to help? I would introduce such expectations of his independence, if he's going to act independently.

As parents, you have to feed them, but can do that by giving them access to food they can prepare themselves. You have to put a roof over their heads, and provide for their education. You don't have to provide internet access for gaming or enable other problem behaviors.

I'd consider directly addressing the problems, rather than blaming unschooling and changing the way they are educated.
I've honestly never understood this way of thinking about things. How is it better to act this coldly toward our offspring, rather than insisting that we've got to get out of this funk and start living a good, real, full life?

"Do it my way or you're on your own, buddy" just doesn't seem to communicate the kind of values I want in my family. I always feel like I must just be misunderstanding when I read posts like this.

Can anyone explain it to me?
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#90 of 129 Old 11-21-2009, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Instead of instituting formal instruction, why not address what seems to be the real issue, that the older kids aren't contributing to the household?
I don't think that's "the real issue." There are several issues. It's getting easier to enumerate them as this thread evolves because I've done a lot of thinking and processing in the interim. The first issue is the fact that the kids seem unhappy (especially my ds) when their screen-time escalates -- withdrawn, grumpy, resistant to the family activities we undertake. Ds has some strong features that suggest a kind of addictive compulsion, but to some extent this unhappiness-as-screen-time-escalates phenomenon is true of all of my kids. They have things they intend to do that make them feel productive and accomplished -- including academic work -- and when they instead wile away their days on the computer they feel cruddy about themselves.

The next issue is that the extensive screen-time in this family is preventing my dh from feeling like he's a part of our family, since he gets very limited opportunity to interact with the kids. The third is the lack of contribution to household upkeep. And the last issue is the small-house / night-time habits interfering with other people's sleep.

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I would probably introduce some consequences. For example, if your young teen boy wants to play games 14 hrs a day instead of help around the house, you don't have to enable him. Who cooks his food? Who washes his clothes? Who pays for internet access (assuming he plays online)?
This has already happened, as I mentioned earlier in this now-massive thread. He doesn't play on-line much and he buys his own games and computer upgrades. He wears the same clothes for days and weeks on end rather than washing them. He prepares his own meals, except for supper, which for us is family time.

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I'd consider directly addressing the problems, rather than blaming unschooling and changing the way they are educated.
See, I don't really see the separation here between living and learning. We're not "blaming unschooling" as much as we're saying "This whole-life unschooling loosey-goosey approach to living doesn't really seem to be making any of us very happy. Let's try something different." We've reached a point where some imposed structure seems a worthwhile experiment. Structure surrounding sleep/wake schedules, structure concerning family time and family interactions, structure in housework and chores ... and I don't see why learning-related structure is some special area that should be excluded. To my mind scheduling "walking the dog" is all that different from scheduling "practicing viola." Sure, one would normally fall under the realm of household duties and the other under education, walking the dog is educational too -- as is learning to manage various other household tasks. I'm really looking at education holistically here. The structure is designed to help them learn to take responsibility, treat others considerately, get a sense of gratification from pulling their weight, sort laundry, develop efficient approaches to tidying and cleaning, plan their use of time ... and factor an algebraic expression. All of which are things they are actually interested in learning to do. Just because one of those things is normally taught in a classroom doesn't make it categorically different to my kids.

Academically this is not the sudden imposition of a total new set of materials and subjects. We're taking the things that my kids always hoped to "get around to later" (though, like helping around the house, they rarely actually acted on their intentions) and putting them first in the day, to make sure that they actually do them. There is nothing that I am asking them to do in the mornings that is not on their self-designed learning plans.

Miranda

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