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Old 08-22-2008, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. I have read alot about unschooling and am not radical. I tried it for awhile and it drove me absolutely nuts. I have 4 children 7,6,3 and 2. I did the choose your own bedtime thing. I just don't know how you guys do it and not get overwhelmed and burnt out. I am considering going radical again. But wonder how to set my own personal bounderies with the little ones, especially since I am going through a divorce and am single parenting now. Also, how does it work if I do radical and ex does not? Lots of questions.
I come here with open questions and hope I dont get attacked like I did on some other unschooling groups. Some one actually told me that I had too many children too soon and am not able to give them the attention they need. I cant change the fact that I have 4 children. The last 2 were actually suprises from birth control and a vasectomy. But I am really considering this. I know I have alot of unschooling to do myself. But am open to information and opinions. Please I know that someof you feel very strongly a/b this, I am kinda afraid of the responce Im going to get b.c of past experiences w/ radical unschoolers. I went looking for help and answers and was pretty much accused and told I was inadequate. I think it's more hurtful to the unschooling community to attack and turn someone off instead of politely informing them.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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I don't have a clue how someone does it with 4 kids!! One, sure, but even with my two, I find some situations to be impossible to solve without someone getting upset/frustrated. For the bed time thing, maybe a personal boundary would be that at X hour YOU go to bed, and no one can bug you unless it's an emergency? That way, you get your need for sleep and they can stay up a little later and regulate? I don't know...

Also, I'm so sorry that people were unkind to you before, I hope it wasn't here!

Hey, I'm in FL too, what area are you in?
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply! No it wasn't on here where people were rude. I live in the Central Fl area.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:21 AM
 
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There was a time, between when my kids weaned and when they wanted to stay up without me, were *I* often needed to go to sleep before they did. At the same time, they didn't want to be up without me.

The arrangement was, that they would come into the bedroom with me, I would sleep, and they could look at books, draw, play quietly, etc. When they got older and didn't mind being downstairs without me, they stayed up with the agreement that they weren't so loud or wild as to wake whomever was sleeping. Early in the a.m. (when I get up) I would do likewise--not run the vaccume or play loud music, keep the dog quiet, etc. while they were sleeping.

I think sometimes people misunderstand RU to mean that the kids get whatever they want at the expense of those around them. That doesn't happen here, or with any other family I know. We don't make bedtimes or other rules for the kids, but we do try to find a way for everyone to get what they need.

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Old 08-22-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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Although we don't have bedtimes (and I just have one child), I do initiate bedtime by getting myself ready for bed. Ds invariably joins me after a short while. And half the time, ds tells me it's time for bed, too.

My sister has 4 kids (ages 9 thru 1). Her dh will lie down with the older ones and read to them and she'll put the youngest to sleep when he seems to need it.

It's more like a "let's get ready for bed and have a pleasant time together" than the parents saying "it's 8 o'clock you need to go to bed." And because it's always been like this for these kids, staying up isn't anything special. Nothing exciting is happening after they go to bed. The parents aren't breaking out the forbidden ice cream and watching interesting movies.

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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I have 3 kids, and I unschool. I found RU didn't totally work for me. So I just aim for being respectful. I try hard to avoid forcing the kids to do stuff. With bedtimes, I lead the way as they exhibit signs of tiredness. Often that means pulling out some story books and reading to help them relax. Then I lay down, and often the twins will then want to lay down too. However, there are days when I am tired, and the kids are still into playing. I have had sometimes where I lay down in the kids' room and fall asleep while they play. Then if something gets out of control, I am right there to wake up and deal with it.

I think that is a bit of baloney about not being able to give children the attention they need. I had read Aldort said that 7 years is the ideal spacing, which I thought was pretty out there. Sure it is tough in the early years, but as they grow having siblings is such a blessing to them.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think sometimes people misunderstand RU to mean that the kids get whatever they want at the expense of those around them
I love how you clarified that. I think that was one of my big misunderstandings with RU. But Im still trying to figure out how to implement that. For myself and others. I think thats why I would end up feeling burnt out after a few days...
Thank you ! What a great reply!
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:15 PM
 
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I totally know where you are coming from.

I think RU is going to look different in a large family. You have more people's needs to consider and accomidate.

It is a tall order to try and find what works for everyone.

Did your ex dh support unschooling before? Does he support you homeschooling?

It can be difficult if you are not on the same page. My son's bio dad and I have been having some issues regarding Dom's "schooling".

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the supportive comment. I think it is boloney too, lol. I just remember reading that and thinking "Wow, that's helpful" (sarcasm).
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He already says he wanted the kids to be homeschooled. And we already unschool. But he doesnt agree with the radical part. At least when we were together-it was mostly b/c he wanted us to have our time together when the kids went to bed. The bed time thing was the biggest issue. So I think now, that we aren't together anymore, that part won't bother him as much.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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That is good that he is mostly supportive. That will make things ALOT easier.

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

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Old 08-22-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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I unschool but we definately have set bedtimes as well as restrictions on how much computer/tv time. My kids are only 5 and 2 though. I can't imagine not having set bedtimes at that age. My son will stay up as late as we'll let him - but wake up before 7am no matter what. Having a set bedtime helps my kids. If they were big nappers, which they've never been, then I can understand not enforcing bedtimes as much. If you have a child who will get enough sleep in 24 hours, then I can understand not putting restrictions on it. But both my kids don't nap and I'm even incapable of napping myself, even if I'm sick or up all night due to a newborn. Letting my kids pick their own bedtimes is not benificial to them in anyway. However, if I had a child who could sleep in or would nap, then it would be different. You need to take your individual child's needs into account.

I don't think of radical unschooling as a free-for-all. It's more about being respectful to the individual child. Some young children are quite capable of getting enough sleep without any help from their parents. But some are not. It's not about setting a random bedtime "just because." But doing it because your child won't get enough sleep otherwise. I've heard of RU who don't restrict computer use either and their kids get enough of it and then get off. I didn't start restricting my son's use until a few months ago, because it started getting to be too much. Young kids are learning to self-regulate but many need help in certain areas. On the flip side, I find both my kids do an excellent job when it comes to mealtime and how much to eat and making sure to eat healthy foods. Eating healthy comes naturally to DD. We did have to work to teach DS about it and now he's usually the only kid at parties making sure he eats something healthy though he loves sugar!

*About giving kids attention, DH worried that we wouldn't be able to give our second child as much attention as the first. I figured two kids wouldn't be a big issue and it would be fine. However, it was even better than that. I found that our second child got more overall attention than the first at the same age because she doesn't just have two parents, but she has an older sibling too. Kids can give each other attention too!
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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How can this thread have over 9000k viewings?

Very odd.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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The arrangement was, that they would come into the bedroom with me, I would sleep, and they could look at books, draw, play quietly, etc. When they got older and didn't mind being downstairs without me, they stayed up with the agreement that they weren't so loud or wild as to wake whomever was sleeping. Early in the a.m. (when I get up) I would do likewise--not run the vaccume or play loud music, keep the dog quiet, etc. while they were sleeping.
I'm enjoying reading the responses, too. Wow, such a simple idea, but it never occurred to me before. It makes so much sense!

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Old 08-22-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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How can this thread have over 9000k viewings?

Very odd.
Um, yeah, weird!

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Old 08-22-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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My dc are younger than yours, and we can hardly say we unschool, because it isn't something we 'do' at all. I don't think anything will change from the way things are now as regards our education. That is, we all learn and we all support one another in learning and living. It really isn't any different from newborn to adult; we're all just living, and learning isn't distinct from living.

We have four children who are close in age and it is challenging. I am currently not capable of total RU because I haven't figured out how to do it with so many people. I think it's possible, but like my dc, I am on a journey and striving daily to understand and act more according to my faith and beliefs, and my ever-forming, ever-refining philosophy of life.

An example of what I mean is bedtime. Our dc are in bed by 9:30pm. They fall asleep by 10pm usually, and they do so peacefully. There is never any objection to bedtime from them. When we were sending them to bed a 8pm, there was 2 hours of protesting and loud playing in their room which was very trying at that time of day. Our dc don't nap, and they only sleep 10 hours, and have from the womb. So, now, since I've learned, I don't force them to bed, but you can see that I do choose their bedtime; they happen to agree, but honestly, I am choosing it, and if they protested, I would either require them to at least be in their bed with the light off, and/or I would go to bed-- at this point. It may be that by the time they would want to choose their bedtime, I will have gained more understanding and wisdom about how to negotiate it with them. I don't know. I'm just as much a work in progress as they are, and I try to remember that, and I am very open about that with them.

There are times when I've said to them that I am not able to negotiate such and such simply because I am very tired; it would help me enormously if they would just do as I asked and not require an explanation until I have had more sleep. When I have been honest with them this way, they have always been willing to just go with what I want. They do want to be helpful too, and are very merciful toward me when I am not in good form. I am merciful with them too. Some parents have been aghast at my 'lenience' in some situations, but I don't see the point in having my way or forcing a child into something when he's too tired/hungry/upset to negotiate anyway. If I can just give him what he needs, then I do, even if it requires self-sacrifice, and I have seen that in doing so, my dc are equally willing to do the same for me and for one another as well.

Anyway, I am not RU, but my ideal is that we will all grow together into a consensual way of living and being together. This will take time, and my dc would probably be better able to do so now if I were, but as I wrote, I am just working through it as well, so their understanding is going to be somewhat hampered by my own and that I haven't been able to live that way entirely while they are living out their days now.

Btw, having four children is a blessing and until recently in history, your family would have blended in, not stuck out. We don't 'know better' now, and no amount of technology or money or political agenda can replace the love of a family full of people who are all paying attention to one another, all loving one another, all supporting one another, you get the idea. YOU don't have to pay as much attention to each one as you might if you had only one. One child with one mama has one person paying attention to him/her. One child with one mama, one daddy, and three siblings has 5 people paying him/her attention and receives constant feedback because while you are making supper or reading a book, there are four other people around/available to talk to, play with, sit next to, etc.... People who say such things as you wrote don't have the experience to qualify their comments. If they were one of a large family in which they were neglected, that still doesn't reflect on yours. You are not neglecting your children so their experience has no bearing on yours or your children's. Honestly, that sort of ignorance is my bane : and I hear it all the time, as you may have guessed.

Rejoice in your family, mama!!!

ETA: I just wanted to be clear that a family of one mama and one child is also beautiful and can function with love and support and be a well-spring of joy and success in life too! There is just so much more understanding for and support of families with few children that I wrote it as a given- something we all accept while so-called large families do not have the same acceptance in spite of being also capable of enormous love and joy, not from mainstream culture anyway.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 08-22-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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Btw, having four children is a blessing and until recently in history, your family would have blended in, not stuck out. We don't 'know better' now, and no amount of technology or money or political agenda can replace the love of a family full of people who are all paying attention to one another, all loving one another, all supporting one another, you get the idea. YOU don't have to pay as much attention to each one as you might if you had only one. One child with one mama has one person paying attention to him/her. One child with one mama, one daddy, and three siblings has 5 people paying him/her attention and receives constant feedback because while you are making supper or reading a book, there are four other people around/available to talk to, play with, sit next to, etc.... People who say such things as you wrote don't have the experience to qualify their comments. If they were one of a large family in which they were neglected, that still doesn't reflect on yours. You are not neglecting your children so their experience has no bearing on yours or your children's. Honestly, that sort of ignorance is my bane : and I hear it all the time, as you may have guessed.

Rejoice in your family, mama!!!
Woohoo! Love it!!

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Old 08-22-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Hi. I have read alot about unschooling and am not radical. I tried it for awhile and it drove me absolutely nuts. I have 4 children 7,6,3 and 2. I did the choose your own bedtime thing. I just don't know how you guys do it and not get overwhelmed and burnt out. I am considering going radical again. But wonder how to set my own personal bounderies with the little ones, especially since I am going through a divorce and am single parenting now. Also, how does it work if I do radical and ex does not? Lots of questions.
I come here with open questions and hope I dont get attacked like I did on some other unschooling groups. Some one actually told me that I had too many children too soon and am not able to give them the attention they need. I cant change the fact that I have 4 children. The last 2 were actually suprises from birth control and a vasectomy. But I am really considering this. I know I have alot of unschooling to do myself. But am open to information and opinions. Please I know that someof you feel very strongly a/b this, I am kinda afraid of the responce Im going to get b.c of past experiences w/ radical unschoolers. I went looking for help and answers and was pretty much accused and told I was inadequate. I think it's more hurtful to the unschooling community to attack and turn someone off instead of politely informing them.
Well, I don't think you have too many children. I think you have just the right amount, and a great spacing. Then again, I'm not the person to ask about that, I'm biased in favor of "the more, the merrier!" I'm so sorry you had a bad experience with others judging you and just generally being completely unhelpful. I have no idea how that was supposed to be constructive?

I am an RU mama of four ages 5, 4, 2, and 7 mos. I do sometimes feel inadequate, confused, overwhelmed, at a loss, tired, irritable. I sometimes feel like a goddess. All normal parts of mothering, IMO.

All the kids go to bed when I do (we have a family bed)... I try to make it a nice time for everyone. I decided that bedtime with my kids is my Favorite Time of the Day. (And my policy is to make every moment my personal Favorite Time - from meal prep to clean up to playing to reading to watching TV... it makes for a really nice day! I found that idea really helpful in shifting my perspective and changing the atmosphere.) I start getting ready about an hour before I'd like everyone to be asleep. We have a TV in the room, and we watch TV or a movie together, or read, or the kids play with Barbies or color or something while I read a little. Basically just an unwinding time. At some point we turn out the light and either finish watching our program or talk/tell stories in the dark for a while. If I'm feeling very tired and irritable, I let them know that I'm not up for chit chat. I make suggestions that I would feel comfortable with - maybe they can watch the television with the volume low while I go ahead and go to sleep. Maybe they can talk to each other. Maybe I have a reason for needing more sleep, and I explain that to them. We're big on "ideas"... if someone wants one thing, and someone else wants another, we all try to come up with ideas that might work.

And before it seems that this is a lot of "explaining" and negotiating and coming up with ideas - it really is no more work than trying to make kids go to bed with "Because you have to, that's why!" or bribery, or punishment, or yelling. I just choose to invest my time and energy making it nice and consensual for everyone. The reason it seems like "more work" is because it takes an intentional, conscious shift in our thinking. (Which becomes easier and easier.)

Dh wants the computer... I'll pop back in later!

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Old 08-22-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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Two books that some of you might find interesting are With Consent: Parenting For All to Win by Jan Fortune-Wood, and Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled Life by Rue Kream.

The first is heavier on theories, with much to think about. The second is a quick read in question and answer format and the author shares a lot of personal experiences with her own kids--for me, it was one of those books where it seems someone else has gotten into your brain and explained what you sort of already knew but had never expressed, kwim?

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Old 08-22-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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<I decided that bedtime with my kids is my Favorite Time of the Day. (And my policy is to make every moment my personal Favorite Time - from meal prep to clean up to playing to reading to watching TV... it makes for a really nice day!>

Thanks, Colleen, I'm going to use that! What a simple way to gently shift an unhelpful attitude!

Gypsymama4, you and I are in the same boat. My kids are 10, 7, 6, and 4. They're not so little anymore, and that makes a huge difference. I left my husband a year ago, and over that time we've slowly inched our way towards RU more and more. I think that's the key, slowly making changes here and there instead of just trying to be RU all of a sudden. Also key is looking at it as an inner process first. If you can't imagine it, you can't do it! I've done lots of reading, read lots of posts on yahoo lists like unschoolingbasics and alwaysunschooled. I'm on a new one now, shinewithunschooling, which seems similar. And if you haven't found it yet, go to http://familyrun.ning.com. It's a social site for radical unschoolers. Those are all places where I have found people to be very thoughtful and patient, and very helpful and accepting, too. As long as people are sincerely asking for information, and not attacking, everyone on any of those lists/sites is really helpful.

RU is so much about changing your entire paradigm. It takes time, and I don't think any of us are there yet- we're all on the journey together! The great thing about it is that you start to see a dramatic drop in the number of spirit draining conflicts you're having with your kids- that puts you more solidly in your comfort zone so that you are that much less likely to feel overwhelmed and burned out.

I know that sometimes RU's come across as total saints who have no end of patience. Also, a lot of families that practice RU have one or two kids and partners, and they don't get how much more challenging it is to have a passel of kids and to be in the on position 24/7. You see that everywhere, not just among RU's. I think you should hang in there, continue asking your questions and seek the advice of people you find helpful.

Good luck, mama!

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Old 08-22-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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Um, yeah, weird!
lol so yeah, nobody but us thinks it's odd-o that this header has gotten ten thousand hits in so little time? Something's up. Somebody is fishing.

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Old 08-22-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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lol so yeah, nobody but us thinks it's odd-o that this header has gotten ten thousand hits in so little time? Something's up. Somebody is fishing.

what does that mean?

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Old 08-22-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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what does that mean?
It means what is up? Here we are taking the bait and all for whatever the set up is. So, yk, cool for them to get us going.

Go look around MDC and see if it's common to get 10k hits in 24 hours.

Maybe it's an MDC gltich.
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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Maybe it's a counting glitch on MDC's part. Of course, my twisted, wicked side wonders if this is linked to some anti-unschooling website or the like? And if so, fine, and good for them for playing. But know you might not be answering a genuine poster.

But, : That's entertainment.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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The topic seemed too banal (no offense, OP!) to be fishing so I was assuming it was just a glitch. I would have agreed it was odd but I didn't want to increase the post count.

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Old 08-23-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
The topic seemed too banal (no offense, OP!) to be fishing so I was assuming it was just a glitch. I would have agreed it was odd but I didn't want to increase the post count.
Since I've already clicked it on to read your response, here's a lol.
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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My children are all very strong personalities, so we would have a terrible time trying to control them against their will. For me practicing RU and consensual living is self-preservation. Seriously, I can't even imagine the stress of trying to institute a set bedtime. As it is, our bedtimes are very peaceful, and we all go to bed at pretty much the same time. But we do go to bed with them. (I need less sleep than they do, so I get my quiet time in the morning.) There's nothing for them to react to or rebel against, and nothing they feel they're missing out on. In fact, they'd be missing out by not going to bed with us. They want their snuggles, they want the focused attention, they want their bedtime stories and songs. It makes them feel secure and happy to participate in this routine, so they want to participate. It wouldn't work that way if they had the perception that they were being forced into it against their will. For it to work it's necessary to reframe the entire situation.

By the way, I have four children too, and at one point they were all 7 and under. I certainly can give them all the attention they need, but it does mean that that's my life. I am here for them right now. From experience I know that harmony in our lives is completely dependent on that. So, I try to make that choice as much as I can. Not everyone wants to make that choice, and for them, obviously, having a large family would be a mistake.

Although, as someone else said, it's not like I'm having to give 100% of my attention to each child 100% of the time, because they have each other to give to. In a 3-person family there are three unique relationships. In a family twice that size there are five times as many unique relationships.

ETA: Has anyone alerted a moderator to find out where those views are coming from?
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! What a helful responce! Thankyou. I will be thinking about this for awhile! <3
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a beautiful post! Thankyou!
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