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Old 03-06-2008, 05:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DesertMommy View Post
*What is TCS?
It stands for Taking Children Seriously. My family probably looks a bit like the TCS thing... but to be honest I am not really sure. There's a fair amount of overlap between RU and TCS maybe?

*
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It wasn't like riding a bike either I had to consciously think about every thing I needed to do for that babe. Are some of you with older kids forgetting about daily struggles with wee little ones? (bedtime can be bliss when you are really frazzled parenting a younger child)
I can't say that I forgot about how it is with wee ones, but I can say that I am a bit out of practice now that my kids are teens. Many of my friends still have younger kids and we babysit often. It keeps me in tune so to speak. Of course the hard part then is that those children are not coming from a RU environment and are totally not used to the approaches and situations that come up when staying at my home. It's interesting for all of us that's for sure.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:27 AM
 
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OK, granolapunk, wonderful definition. Cuz that is what I've had in my head as my focus and goal. I don't like to label myself (RU, CL, TCS...) because I think that I'm simply trying to enjoy life and help my child enjoy life and also learn to live with others, including her parents.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:16 AM
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Karen, it sounds as if you've had to deal with some difficult stuff!

Although I am not so keen on labels either in general, I would say that I can identify with ru. That said, my life will not look like anyone else's.

I have been a parent with a child who could by someone else be described similarly to what you describe, Karen.
My ds has had issues with gluten intolerance that has made him at times really really easily angry and also sometimes pretty oppositional.
But, it doesn't give me any more right to deal with it with force.

This has resulted in some major clashes with others.
It's pretty hard to deal with when I can't use any form of force, manipulation to change the behaviour. I have to rely on explaining other people's reactions and feelings and consequences.
And, maybe most importantly, my empathy for what ds is going through.
If I have needed to physically intervene, I block. That drives my ds nuts if he's in the middle of the anger, but to make sure everyone is safe, it's a necessity.

Mostly we have ended up leaving. I tell him *I * am uncomfortable with the situation and that I am not sure how to deal with it. *I * need to leave.
If he is ok with that, we leave.
Sometimes he does not want to and I explain that for us to stay and interact everyone needs to be and feel safe. I ask if he can help with that.
And again, mostly we find a solution.
He might not for instance want to leave the park, but he doesn't want to be with the rest of the gang, so we just hang out somewhere else.

It's kind of hard to explain,. I don't know if I am doing so well.

These days it's totally different. Ds has *matured * and the gluten thing is not so much of an issue.
We do talk about effects *on others * when he does eat gluten...and what we can do if he feels angry and out of control.


I have felt soooooo misunderstood in the past when dealing with issues like the above.
My ds is sweet, kind, compassionate and social (esp with people he knows and likes), but he has had difficulty controlling his anger. I have felt so many times that people think this is MY fault because I *don't do anything *.

What they don't see is that I DO do something, I just don't force and manipulate, and that talking, explaining and *practicing * takes a long time.
Sometimes the result is not immediate.


Last week we were at the park and ds wanted to sit at the end of the slide. Not really my place to question why. Anyway, some younger kids with their parents came over and *prodded * him to move so the kids could go down the slide. Ds reacted by saying that he wasn't ready. The parents came over to me to ask me to tell him to move.
Which I did. I asked him if he was willing to sit somewhere else so that the younger kids could slide.
He said no.
I asked how long he needed to sit.
He said 5 to 10 minutes.

More parents appeared....I felt they were ganging up on me. And the said that he had to move. Now.
I asked again suggesting that we go somewhere else.

In the end some father came along and told me he HAD TO move. I said I couldn't force him. (My ds is 9 btw) He said that HE could.

I said he could not lay a hand on my ds.

He said that a few times. And then he said if I didn't move my ds he would call the police.

I told my ds that the man is threatening to call the police, could we just leave. Ds got up and we left.

This problem could have been totally avoided if the parents could have accepted that what my ds wanted to do was just as valid as what their children wanted to do.
And then been open to finding a solution that would work for all.

Ds and I talked for a long time about it afterwards and he said that you call the police if it's something criminal. And that what he did was not criminal.

This incident made me really

Ok, I am rambling.

But kind of what I would like to say is that what is really important to me is that regardless of the situation, I need to make sure that we solve a *crisis * with my connection to ds intact, and that emotionally ds is good.
If that makes sense.
It's for me to look out for my kid, be his advocate. Of course I am going to step in if someone or something is being hurt, but I can do that without force.

Rambling over.
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:12 AM
 
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The guy threatening to physically move your son or call the police was WAY out of line. But I don't agree with this:

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This problem could have been totally avoided if the parents could have accepted that what my ds wanted to do was just as valid as what their children wanted to do.
He was blocking the slide. The slide is meant for sliding. If I feel like sitting down in the middle of a crowded sidewalk and reading a book, I am inconveniencing others who are using the sidewalk as intended. I think your son was doing the same thing, and I think at 9 he should be able to understand that.
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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~ nasty name calling - both to children and adults.

~ continually ignoring the needs and requests of others -

~ destroying other's property despite being asked and then told not to

~ hitting and kicking children, adults and hurting animals (kicking a dog, pulling the cat's tail, throwing stones at birds and squirrels)

~ ignoring the rules of the location we are in -

~ ignoring common social conventions and cues around things like personal space, respecting other children's attempts/requests to stop a particular behaviour (ie stop poking me), not overstaying welcomes
My kids have learned social conventions by seeing myself and other adults model them. I don't know any families like you describe, Karen, and if I did I'm sure we wouldn't be hanging out with them because none of us would enjoy it.

RU is not, to me, any one individual getting to do whatever they want *at the expense of others.* I do want my kids to get what they want/need but neither I nor they want to hurt someone else in the process. So, while I stress that their bodies are their own and no one will force them to do something they don't want to do, they also respect that others have that same right (animals included.)

Their needs are not MORE important than others' but equal. They don't want their belongings destroyed and wouldn't purposefully do that to someone else's. They know that public places often have rules because I explain the rules to them. We cannot change the rules, but they can choose to go to that place and abide, or not go to that place, or sometimes take their chances with a rule break, knowing they could be asked to leave, or quiet down or whatever.

Fairness is a big deal to us.

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Originally Posted by DesertMommy View Post
Three quickies:

*What is TCS?

*The RUers and not so radical unschoolers we know IRL behave way better than the school at homers we know. Well except the TJed kids we know who are kind of their own ball of wax.

*I think age is a huge deal when defining the radical in RU.
I gave some links about TCS in a previous post--scroll back a couple of pages.

What is TJed?

I think RU looks different at different ages, but those older kids you speak of were younger once. The life that we live now grew out of the way I treated my babies/little ones. By meeting their needs to be held, to sleep when they needed to, to be nursed on demand, to co-sleep, to not be left with sitters, etc. a foundation of respect (there's that word again) was built.

I met their needs when they were small, and as they grew, they learned to meet their own and realized that others' have needs too.

RU looks different when they're younger because there's more of a burden on the parent to figure things out. But ALL parenting looks different at different ages, no?

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Originally Posted by Jenniey
hard for me in the real day to day (not in theory but in practice). I wonder if this is true for you (and/or others) as well or if it used to be an ideal and is now easy, or if it was always second nature?
I do have an ideal in my mind, but I don't always meet it. I think it gets easier the longer you do it, the more used to thinking in these terms you are, the more second nature it becomes. But in the day to day, some days are easy and brilliant and others take more effort and on some days I (or one of the kids) looses it.

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Old 03-06-2008, 09:37 AM
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The guy threatening to physically move your son or call the police was WAY out of line. But I don't agree with this:



He was blocking the slide. The slide is meant for sliding. If I feel like sitting down in the middle of a crowded sidewalk and reading a book, I am inconveniencing others who are using the sidewalk as intended. I think your son was doing the same thing, and I think at 9 he should be able to understand that.
I understand what you're saying, but to me the point is that it's really not for me to judge what he is doing.
I try to help him see other people's point of view, but at the end of the day I cannot force him to move OR to think that what they want is any better or valid than what he wants. I rely on his willingness to co-operate. He needs to feel respected for his choices just as much as the child who wants to go down the slide. Just because it's not what the slide is commonly for doesn't mean that it's not valid.

I try to avoid thinking that there is anything that *he should be doing or understanding because he is 9*. He is still learning and *this * is his pace.

Doesn't mean that we doen't talk about all the things this situation involves. We sat for more than an hour on a bench later in the day just talking about the different aspects of what happened.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:36 AM
 
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RU for me is about children learning, as early as possible in life, about the power inherent in their natural abilities to choose and to act. When their needs and wants are considered as equally as the adults in the home, they experience, very intimately, the pros and cons of getting what they co-create and/or work toward on their own, which is the purest education there is -- it's about cause & effect. This style of living keeps the power of their *self* inside them and conveys that the adults choosing to raise them in this way know that it is simply impossible to take that power away from them in the first place. Of course, this would also be the rightful experience of the adult, equally, so there is no hierarchy of needs & desires going on. Human power, when supported equally, IS equal, I've found, and abuse & misuse only happen when there is confusion about this.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:18 AM
 
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I understand what you're saying, but to me the point is that it's really not for me to judge what he is doing.
I try to help him see other people's point of view, but at the end of the day I cannot force him to move OR to think that what they want is any better or valid than what he wants. I rely on his willingness to co-operate. He needs to feel respected for his choices just as much as the child who wants to go down the slide. Just because it's not what the slide is commonly for doesn't mean that it's not valid..
I am glad you shared this situation, pia, because it involves a lot of the questions I have about RU.

In regards to this: "but at the end of the day I cannot force him to move OR to think that what they want is any better or valid than what he wants"

is it considered against RU to share a judgment about one want being more valid than another? For example, to explain that the slide is made for specifically for sliding, while benches are a more appropriate place to sit if others are asking to use the slide?

Is is against RU to nicely state "Honey, these kids are wanting to use the slide. You need to move so the others can slide now." (different from asking if he is willing to move).

And a question about respect--in my gut, I feel that would be more respectful for me to actually pick dd up and move her than to stand next to her in a situation where a group of adults were growing increasingly angry with her to the point of threatening to call the police (although neither are desirable, of course). That is just my gut--and maybe an issue of my social anxiety. I have seen CL people explain that it is more respectful to grab a child dashing in front of a car instead of letting them get hit, because they obviously don't *want* to die. That is a pretty extreme example, but I come to similar conclusions in less extreme circumstances. Where do RU people draw that line?
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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I don't see how parents could not talk with her kids about these things, honestly, unless they're just ignoring the kids. We all live in this world, and I do think it's unfair to kids to not share information with them about what's acceptable behavior in different situations.
But very young children don't learn just from talking and conversations. A three year old learns largely from imitation. Yes, part of that is imitation from the parents, and I know that parental modeling is of prime importance... but part of what they pick up is imitation from other things, such as TV, as well. Granolapunk stated that I was doing a "good job" when she presumed that I don't ask my three year old to not watch TV programs/episodes that I don't approve of. But, seeing as at this developmental age, what he watches (over and over again) directly influences how he acts, talks, and treats others, in a way that my talking to him and asking him to not behave such ways does not, why should I not prefer him to not view certain episodes and redirect him to others? If watching certain episodes of Thomas would influence him to go around calling people "Stupid engines", or they model/introduce the wonderful moral values of competitiveness, spite, and revenge, it makes it a lot harder to guide him to respectful and kind treatment of others than if those episodes weren't being played over and over again before his eyes and subsequently over and over again in his mind.

He's not watching those those Thomas episodes because of the rude and cruel behaviour; he doesn't even understand that what the characters are doing is rude and cruel behaviour. He watches and loves the show because it has anthropomorphic trains in it -- it's as simple an innocent as that. But regardless of if he's watching out of original affinity for the rudeness and pettiness of the characters or not, especially at this highly-imitative age, he'd still be influenced and learn from those rude and petty behaviours. So why would it be wrong for me to instead direct him to watching episodes of Thomas that don't happen to have them saying things like "Stupid engines; I'll show them!" or "Get Percy back! Get Percy back!"... episodes that both satisfy his desire to see and delight in anthropomorphic train engine characters, and yet don't have those beloved characters (and role models) treating each other in inhumane ways?

If DH and I go out of our way to not swear, call people names, etc., in order to not teach our very young children to say and do such things (before they're even old enough to understand the implications of what those words mean), why should I be neutral about sitting them down in front of programs that teach them the very things we've been striving to avoid? Yes, with enough patience and modeling in our own lives, we may be able to counterbalance the effects of the program introducing such negative behaviours and concepts... but why give ourselves such an uphill (and potentially losable) battle instead of just not creating the problem in the first place? Is the trade-off of us not imposing our parental will for the few seconds of malcontent when we ask our little one to not watch episode A, only to have him happy again when he lets go of episode A enough to re-realize that he likes the episode B that we're offering just as much, really that important?

It's entirely different from not judging when a teenager watches what you may consider to be way too much fluff or Reality TV. Watching reality shows isn't going to cause your teen to start acting in the ways that she sees people acting in the program. But for a three year old, it does.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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I cannot force him to move OR to think that what they want is any better or valid than what he wants.
I disagree. I think that a group of children's desire to use the slide IS more valid than your son's desire to sit at the end, blocking their passage and disrupting their play.

The slide is there for everyone's use. Most people in this situation wanted to use it. There are lots of places your son can choose to sit. There is only one place other children can choose to slide.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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I think what pia is saying is basically this in a nutshell:

Quote:
I cannot force him to move OR to think--

And that's all. She can't force him to move. She can't force him to think a certain way. She can't force him, it's against what she believes in. He is not an extension of her, he is his own person, and it's not up to her to MAKE him be pleasant. Also, at 9 years old, it's a little late for snatching him up or grabbing him by the arm and saying, "We're leaving NOW." If she let that be an option he'd resist everything about her all the way through his life.

Now, I'm sure a boy sitting on the slide when kids are trying to go down it is really really annoying. I applaud pia for standing her ground and being rooted in peace. I think I may have not been so peaceful. I think I may have lost it with all those parents ganging up on me. How surreal that must have been, what symbolism in how alone us RUer's are, to have a guy threaten to call the police because your child is sitting, not causing any harm, just being a mild irritation.

I think he was most likely testing his boundaries with the outside world. It had nothing to do with testing his mother-- it had to do with testing the crowd. To see what they could do. Children do this. Sometimes they test us, sometimes they test others, it's their right. They're finding out about the world we live in and the only way they can do that is to test it.

And it's not up to us to FORCE them, unless it involves physically blocking due to TRUE safety concerns.

As for the other talk about these other RU families that other people know in real life:

In my group we have a few families that identify as RU, and they are the greatest kids I've ever met. They are kind and sweet and they have the most awesome relationships with their parents. Some of them are teens or in their early teens, and I look at them and I think, wow, those kids really have an awesome relationship with their mom. I want that.

Nobody forced them to be that way.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:44 PM
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-=-The difference is that I don't see the RU parents address it in a meaningful way that helps the kids understand what is acceptable and what isn't-=-

This type of parenting is referred to as "Un-Parenting" in the Radical Unschooling community. It usually means that the parent doesn't fully understand RU and is in the process of learning about it. They are only half-way there. The parent has learned that they don't want to parent traditionally, meaning using rewards, punishments, setting arbitrary limits etc...but they haven't learned what to do in place of all of these things, so they do nothing in the place of traditional tools. It isn't the child's fault that no one has taken the responsibility to share with them what is and what is not appropriate in the situations Karen describes. Maybe one of these parents in the group Karen describes is the one "modeling" what they think RU is to the others and this "hands-off" approach is being perpetuated because of lack of understanding?

We see this type of parenting at conferences often. It is usually only a small percentage of the participants that fall into this category. They are often times very frusterated and confused as to what their role is in the parent/child partnership. Radical Unschooling is a philosophy which takes time to learn about. It has taken me years to fully understand this philosophy and I am still learning and growing.

It seems that Radical Unschooling is becoming a "hip", "alternative" way to live I think this is great, but I also think that there are many parents who may use the label without fully understanding or taking the responsibility to continue learning about the philosophy in order to live a peaceful, respectful life with their children and society.

-=-Their behavior reflects their lack of understanding about limits or the need to behave appropriately in society.-=-

It is part of my role to discuss what is and what isn't appropriate in society and quite honestly, my kids want to know about these things! Who wouldn't? My children are so receptive and appreciative that I share with them about what is appropriate. They often ask me about it before we go somewhere. They look at me as their partner in life in this regard. This is all part of my responsibility as an RU parent.

Maybe opening your heart and coming to a place of understanding with these parents on their RU journey would be helpful? Also, if someone was in my home doing the things you describe I would have no problem at all sharing what is and what's not appropriate, and then let the parent know that I need them to make sure their child doesn't jump on my couch, for example. I would make sure *I Was There* also in the room the kids are playing in so I could make sure my needs are respected in this way, rather than placing myself in a helpless, victim role. (which is a common cultural role passed down to many of us).

I would work in a partnership with these families and be honest about what I was feeling. It seems that your group has an "Us" against "Them" mentality with the self-proclaiming RU'ers which when focusing on the negativity of these families may make your negative perception of them magnified by the group as a whole. Maybe next time you are all together discussing these families you can share the qualities you admire about them and focus on those. You'd be surprised how these qualities will grow!

These are suggestions that you can take or leave. I'm not in your shoes, only going by what you posted, so if my words don't jive with you, just ignore them.

~Peace & Love, Dayna
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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I think what pia is saying is basically this in a nutshell:

Quote:
I cannot force him to move OR to think--

And that's all. She can't force him to move. She can't force him to think a certain way. She can't force him, it's against what she believes in. He is not an extension of her, he is his own person, and it's not up to her to MAKE him be pleasant. Also, at 9 years old, it's a little late for snatching him up or grabbing him by the arm and saying, "We're leaving NOW." If she let that be an option he'd resist everything about her all the way through his life.
But there's a middle ground between "Would you like to move? No? Okay." and dragging your kid off by the arm. How about saying something along the lines of "Honey, please move off the bottom of the slide. The other children are having their trip to the park ruined and are really upset because they can't use it. I know you'd like to sit here for another 10 minutes, but 10 minutes is a long time to ask very young children to wait, and some of them might not even have another 10 minutes left to stay at the park before they have to go home, so you blocking the slide is preventing them from having the opportunity to play. Perhaps you could sit on the bench instead, or come back and sit on the slide later when there aren't a bunch of children waiting to use it."

I know that pia likely addressed all those concerns with her son in her conversation later, but by not doing so at the time, a bunch of little kids' trip to the park was spoiled, as was her and her own son's experience as well.

Also, while she may not believe in physically forcing her son to comply with her wishes, that is effectively what her son was doing to the other children in the park. By refusing to move, her son was physically forcing the other children to not use the slide.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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Exactly.

While I'm not a radical unschooler (or indeed any kind of unschooler), I am certainly not ton-of-bricks with my child, I don't physically force her to do anything, and I certainly believe in respecting her choices. But if her choice was to play, AT THE PLAYGROUND, and some kid was "choosing" to ruin her experience, you better believe I'd be annoyed.

There is a lot of talk about "mutually agreeable solutions" but there is nothing mutually agreeable about the slide situation from the point of the view of the other children. To me that is not teaching a child to respect others the way that they would like to be respected.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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Also, at 9 years old, it's a little late for snatching him up or grabbing him by the arm and saying, "We're leaving NOW." If she let that be an option he'd resist everything about her all the way through his life..
Is this a commonly held belief for RU parents? Or maybe a common childhood experience for people who come to RU?
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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My experience is my like Karen's with RU's. It wasn't just a family here and there, but a group of them. Their children were rude, beligerent, hurtful. Their parents were not any better therefore making their children's behaviour acceptable. My children were hit, called names, and just plain being disrespected. The parents' just said that that is their children's right to behave that way.

As for Pia's post.

You said that you couldn't force your son, basically imposing or forcing your will on your child, but wasn't that what your son was doing to others? Where is the respect in that? You cannot impose your will on your son, but he can do it to others? What if another child came down the slide and hit him in the back hard and injured him? Would you get angry at the other child?

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Old 03-06-2008, 02:52 PM
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-=-It wasn't just a family here and there, but a group of them. Their children were rude, beligerent, hurtful. Their parents were not any better therefore making their children's behaviour acceptable.-=-

I've had quite the opposite experience with the Radical Unschooling families that we have spent time with. I have found them to be the most kind, loving, respectful, peace-loving folks!

I guess no matter what the label, there are people on every end of the spectrum. Maybe the "hurtful, rude Unschoolers" attracted each other because of their similar dispositions. That's the Law of Attraction at work!

I always enjoy the Live and Learn and Northeast Unschooling Conferences because of how accepting and kind everyone is....including the children.

I absolutely love our life as Radical Unschoolers. I love how living this way promotes peace, love and acceptance to everyone we know. I have received nothing but positive comments on our family. I guess if someone has it set in their mind that because we are RU'ers we are a certain way, then those negative lenses may be what they choose to see us through. It's only human nature. Most people do this to some degree or another when they have pre-conceived notions about a certain group of people.

~Peace & Love, Dayna
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe opening your heart and coming to a place of understanding with these parents on their RU journey would be helpful? Also, if someone was in my home doing the things you describe I would have no problem at all sharing what is and what's not appropriate, and then let the parent know that I need them to make sure their child doesn't jump on my couch, for example. I would make sure *I Was There* also in the room the kids are playing in so I could make sure my needs are respected in this way, rather than placing myself in a helpless, victim role. (which is a common cultural role passed down to many of us).

I would work in a partnership with these families and be honest about what I was feeling. It seems that your group has an "Us" against "Them" mentality with the self-proclaiming RU'ers which when focusing on the negativity of these families may make your negative perception of them magnified by the group as a whole. Maybe next time you are all together discussing these families you can share the qualities you admire about them and focus on those. You'd be surprised how these qualities will grow!

These are suggestions that you can take or leave. I'm not in your shoes, only going by what you posted, so if my words don't jive with you, just ignore them.

~Peace & Love, Dayna
Thanks for your input.

I just want to clarify that I don't play a helpless role. I make the expectations for behaviour in my house clear for my own children and our guests. I do think that at the age of 8 a child should be able to accept my request not to rearrange and walk on my furniture without becoming rude, and beligerent.

Our family has decided that we are not interested in interacting with these families and have for the most part decided to avoid them as much as possible. My children are not interested in exploring relationships with these children and I respect that. These children are no longer welcome in our home because they are unable to behave in ways that are appropriate. I don't see it as my role or my children's role to put themselves in harms way in order to "work with" these families. Other families in our group have come to the same conclusions for the same reasons. It's not an "us or them" mentality but logical consequences of the choices made by these families and their children.

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Originally Posted by rupestur View Post
She can't force him to move. She can't force him to think a certain way. She can't force him, it's against what she believes in. He is not an extension of her, he is his own person, and it's not up to her to MAKE him be pleasant.
But she can teach him. And this is where I disconnect with RUs because this is often the end of the story. The children never get the message that there is a cultural expectation that they will move off the slide (as an example - sorry Pia - I'm not wanting to focus on your example but it is a good one) and that there are valid reasons for that expectation - safety, courtesy, cultural norms around communal property). The children don't get the message that their needs can't and shouldn't outweigh the needs of those around them and that attitude is played out ime in almost all their interactions.

The point of children testing their limits is to find those limits. If the adults around them - specifically their parents - don't assist them in realizing when they have hit a limit (a societal one, a familial one) then the children don't have a framework for understanding how to function in their world. My experience when the RU children come up against a limit that they aren't willing to recognize is that the RU parents I know will give the "I can't make him" speech or the "I don't want to impose my values on her". But they also don't take their children out of that particular situation - which means that the RU parents ARE imposing their will on the people around them.

I don't know about Dayna's suggestion that one of these families is modelling for the others and therefore we have a cycle of unparenting happening. These families don't seem to enjoy each other's company either.

I'm glad to know not all RUs are like the ones I know. But I am still not convinced that it is an effective way to help children grow, given my experiences.

Thanks for your input everyone
Karen

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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Old 03-06-2008, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess if someone has it set in their mind that because we are RU'ers we are a certain way, then those negative lenses may be what they choose to see us through. It's only human nature. Most people do this to some degree or another when they have pre-conceived notions about a certain group of people.

~Peace & Love, Dayna

But what I am saying is that it isn't a preconceived notion. My concerns with RU are based on watching it in action with children I know and have known for years. I may live in the vortex of un-parenters marauding as RUs but I doubt it because others I know have similar experiences with RUs in other areas.

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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Old 03-06-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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I honestly do not think a 9 yr old sitting at the bottom of slide while people around him fester with anger is something a kid 'wants'. That seems a whole different plane than RU. I've never known an RU child to do something like this. To me, that seems a cry for a parent to step in and...parent. Everyone needs a little help sometimes to get out of something they did not mean to get into.

The few truly RU parents (not just those who say they are and abdicate their responsibility) I know are very thoughtful and their children tend to be as well. I do see a lot of people saying they are something when they really are not. It's why I don't say I am 100% an unschooler. Why do people want to say they are something they truly are not? I strive everyday to be a thoughtful human being and worthy adult to my children and others. I know what I am and what I am not.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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But what I am saying is that it isn't a preconceived notion. My concerns with RU are based on watching it in action with children I know and have known for years. I may live in the vortex of un-parenters marauding as RUs but I doubt it because others I know have similar experiences with RUs in other areas.
but have you never met an AP parent that didn't do things the 'right' way? have you never met a regular unschooling family with kids that didn't behave nicely? have you never met a mainstream family that didn't have problems? i just don't see how you can take the entire philosophy and say it's not an effective way to raise children when there are thousands of families that it works for. there are bad parents everywhere, i see more of them than good ones, it doesn't mean all parents are bad. i'm quite baffled by your conclusion

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Old 03-06-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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But what I am saying is that it isn't a preconceived notion. My concerns with RU are based on watching it in action with children I know and have known for years. I may live in the vortex of un-parenters marauding as RUs but I doubt it because others I know have similar experiences with RUs in other areas.
In the past few years I have seen RU tunr into a front for not being a parent at all. I would not call these folks RU, kwim?

I know I am not totally RU because I don't have the patience...but I know I am parenting with great respect and I have met many people who say they are RUing when, in fact, they are simply neglectful and lazy. RU is the new Parenting Du Jour for those who would rather not make an effort.

Imo, a child needs and wants guidance. They want to know things, they want to understand how the world, in all it's glorious imperfections, works. A toddler doesn't want to be hit by a truck etc. People who actually and thoughtfully practice RU theory get this, ime.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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but have you never met an AP parent that didn't do things the 'right' way? have you never met a regular unschooling family with kids that didn't behave nicely? have you never met a mainstream family that didn't have problems? i just don't see how you can take the entire philosophy and say it's not an effective way to raise children when there are thousands of families that it works for. there are bad parents everywhere, i see more of them than good ones, it doesn't mean all parents are bad. i'm quite baffled by your conclusion
I know someone who threatens her kids with abandonment etc. She tells everyone she is RU, but that all of her kids are 'special needs' so she has to act a certain way. Um...no...her kids are probably biologically healthy...but she has created confused children who act out because there are no clear quidelines for anything. There is nothing of substance they can sink their needs into. She can call herself RU all she wants...but she is doing little of what any RU worth the theory would embrace. If she posted here, she would call herself hardcore RU.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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This type of parenting is referred to as "Un-Parenting" in the Radical Unschooling community. It usually means that the parent doesn't fully understand RU and is in the process of learning about it. They are only half-way there. The parent has learned that they [I
don't [/I]want to parent traditionally, meaning using rewards, punishments, setting arbitrary limits etc...but they haven't learned what to do in place of all of these things, so they do nothing in the place of traditional tools. It isn't the child's fault that no one has taken the responsibility to share with them what is and what is not appropriate in the situations Karen describes.


It seems that Radical Unschooling is becoming a "hip", "alternative" way to live I think this is great, but I also think that there are many parents who may use the label without fully understanding or taking the responsibility to continue learning about the philosophy in order to live a peaceful, respectful life with their children and society.



~Peace & Love, Dayna
I don't know how old your kids are-- meaning not sure how long you've been in the parenting community, but my oldest is 19 and I have to say you've hit the nail on the head. I have seen so much in these 19 yrs, and 'unparenting' is a perfect word. There have always been those who don't parent, of course, and some of those types are currently calling themselves RUs. I hope that as people learn more and experience more they can be the adults their kids need. Adults want to know more, to understand better, just as children do. It's a journey that is better taken together. Having children is a profound gift...
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I honestly do not think a 9 yr old sitting at the bottom of slide while people around him fester with anger is something a kid 'wants'. That seems a whole different plane than RU. I've never known an RU child to do something like this. To me, that seems a cry for a parent to step in and...parent. Everyone needs a little help sometimes to get out of something they did not mean to get into.

The few truly RU parents (not just those who say they are and abdicate their responsibility) I know are very thoughtful and their children tend to be as well. I do see a lot of people saying they are something when they really are not. It's why I don't say I am 100% an unschooler. Why do people want to say they are something they truly are not? I strive everyday to be a thoughtful human being and worthy adult to my children and others. I know what I am and what I am not.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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but have you never met an AP parent that didn't do things the 'right' way? have you never met a regular unschooling family with kids that didn't behave nicely? have you never met a mainstream family that didn't have problems? i just don't see how you can take the entire philosophy and say it's not an effective way to raise children when there are thousands of families that it works for. there are bad parents everywhere, i see more of them than good ones, it doesn't mean all parents are bad. i'm quite baffled by your conclusion
Sure I have met parents who do things I don't agree with who fall under other 'labels' but those are balanced by experiences with other families who are thriving (whether they self identify as AP or mainstream or whatever label we are talking about).

I am saying that the sum total of my IRL experiences with RUs has be overwhelmingly negative and that I don't think that those negative experiences are unique or isolated cases. I disagree fundamentally with a parenting philosophy that takes parental influence and responsibility out of the equation, which is how RU is IME. It's one of the reasons I wouldn't call myself an unschooler.

If RU works for you - that's great. I don't see it working with the RU children I know. I am open to the fact that I have only encountered poor examples of RU in action - but that doesn't change my experiences.

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Old 03-06-2008, 04:14 PM
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Rupestur, thanks for your support and clarifying a bit!

Maybe I wasn´t clear in my post, but yes, I did ask my ds all the questions you suggest I ask. It´s pretty obvious to me to ask those questions, as is gently sharing my opinion and suggestions. And that was at the slide, not afterwards.

But no, I will not forcibly move my 9 year old from the slide. So, yes, it takes time to find a solution that meets everyone´s needs - including my ds.

I would never get angry at another child for going down a slide - even if my ds got hit in the back. Why should I??
A child wants to go down the slide - what´s to get angry about?
I would comfort my ds if he was hurt.

I believe in modeling the behaviour I like to see from my child. My aim is to be as gentle as possible with my child and everyone around me.
When my child feels he is being respected, that´s how he learns to be like that with other people.
Pretty simple.
But - I am not my son. I don´t control him. So sometimes things don´t work out in an optimal way. But I really don´t feel I have any more right to physically move him from a situation like the slide, just because *I* or someone else doesn´t like the situation - or because I have the strength to do so.

Of course I would have preferred for him to move immediately.
That´s why I suggested a gazillion things. Because I could see the situation was uncomfortable for everyone.
I can totally empathize with the other children. And I think my ds can too. But in this particular incident, his own needs and wants trumped anything else.

I didn´t model this particular behaviour. This is my son - in all his complexities.
I breastfed him for 4.5 years, he co-sleeps, I have always been gentle with him....yet, he does things sometimes that baffles me, shocks me, surprises me, things I wouldn´t do, things neither I nor others like etc etc.

But I still feel very strongly that he deserves the same gentleness and respect that I give him when he *behaves well*.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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It seems in this situation no solution was ever found, however. And the only person whose needs were met was your DS.

Doesn't sound fair to me. I have to say, if I were in a situation where one person willfully and deliberately ruined my enjoyment of an experience, for no other reason than his own desire to do so, I'd be angry.

Sorry to keep coming back to the slide example, but this is fascinating to me.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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It's not the least bit disrespectufl to say to a nine year old 'Hey, babe, this sitation isn't working out at all. Let's get out of here now". To protect my child from a mob, I would have held her hand and walked away, but I also know my child -- nursed until age 6.5 and still in the family bed- would have grasped my hand and followed, grateful to be out of such a situation. Sometimes too much talk is the worst for sensitive kids. They need us to help them, sometimes by our gentle actions, more than by our endless talk.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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I agree. With a toddler, I would gently and cheerfully explain why it's not a good idea to sit there, take him by the hand and get him involved in the next playground activity. With a 9-year-old, I'd first make a mental note to wonder why he's engaging in such extreme testing behavior, and then I'd be his buddy and do exactly what UUMom describes.

No one has to be forcibly dragged away from anywhere. It's not either/or. There is a *very* respectful middle ground.
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