Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm still new to this particular forum, but it's where my heart/brain are leading me. DD was in a hip pre-K program until we pulled her out at the beginning of March, and we are thrilled that we did it. It was the absolutely right thing to do. We're sticking with homelearning now, and are definitely more unschooling than not.

I am still trying to wrap my head around some RU philosophy so I was hoping to open up a little discussion.

What do you do if a child's learning interest is in contrast to your family's values?

This hasn't come up, but I am just thinking aloud. We are adamantly TV free in our household. There are far too many reasons why this is the right decision for us, but since we adults have made this decision, I guess it means we are not truly potential RUers because DD would simply never have the option to just watch TV, if that's what she wished to do. (truthfully, DD shows no interest in TV so this isn't a real example, just using to explore this topic.)

I'm just wondering how RUers handle situations like this---not the TV example in particular but rather any situation in which a child's learning interest is in conflict with the family's decisions/values.

Holli
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
I am not really a RU but do consider myself an unschooler. I have three criteria for my kids making choices.
  1. Are there safety or long term health concerns? (ie: seat belts)
  2. Will this decsion adversely affect other family members? (ie: someone wants a pet that others are allergic to or constantly leaves messes in common areas of the house)
  3. Can the results be easily undone if my concerns prove to be true? (ie: piercings are easily undone, tatoos are not )
The first of these is non-negotiable for me- I consider it my responsiblity to oversee the health and safety of my kids until they are mature enough to see long term results and realize they are not invincible. Period. I do explain the reasons for these decisons, I still say these things with respect. But the car doesn't get turned on until everyone is wearing their seat belt.

The next two criteria would give me pause but are negotiable. We would discuss things as a family and see if there was a compromise to be reached.

We consider saving, frugality, simplicity, and a life without debt to be important values. Our kids get an allowance and are encouraged to follow these values but ultimately it is their money and they will have to learn to respect it on their own. My ds spent nearly half his birthday money on things for Webkinz which don't even really exist, they are virtual pet accessories. I felt this was frivolous but also that it was his money. It didn't affect his health/safety, it didn't affect anyone else in the family. It couldn't be easily undone though so it warranted a discussion. We talked about the things he wanted that he could actually touch and keep for a long time if he saved that money, discussed why we think saving is important, and let him know that when the money was gone we wouldn't be giving him more for the things he was giving up. He decided to buy the virtual stuff anyway. Disappointing but not devastating. So, I guess he went against our values and we let him, but not without consideration and forethought on the matter.

I would say if your dd gets old enough to ask for a tv she would have to be old enough to pay for it, pay for any services or antenna necessary for reception, etc. Choices of that magnitude come with responsibilty, IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,753 Posts
Obviously one can't have values and RU.


JUST KIDDING!!!

Umm, I guess I don't see things like watching tv as "values". To me, values are more about respecting other people, ourselves, and the environment. So if my ds is interested in watching tv, it is respectful (and fitting my values) to facilitate that. I can't really relate to the concerns I've heard expressed about kids watching too much or to the exclusion of other activities because that isn't something I see in ds.

Tv is more of a life style choice. I don't see it as being a ton different than reading. As a parent, I do try to role model and encourage a well balanced life. But I don't lay down the law with rules about how we spend our time. And I am respectful of ds's interests and don't put judgement on some of them as being bad, a waste of time, or anything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post

I'm just wondering how RUers handle situations like this---not the TV example in particular but rather any situation in which a child's learning interest is in conflict with the family's decisions/values.

Holli
To me, a "family value" or "family decision" would be one that we all made together as a family--something we've all come to an agreement on. If something like existed and a family member changed their position on it, we'd talk it over and figure out a way for everyone to get what they want. I wouldn't see it as a conflict, but just individuals having different interests.

It seems to me that what you're talking about is when the child's interest is in conflict with the PARENT'S decision/value, which is completely different. That's not seen as a problem in our household--whether it's tv, or food, or activities, it's accepted that we're all individuals with unique interests, so it would be fine for them to do things that I wouldn't do, or have interests and values that I don't share. I don't expect that they'll grow up being just like me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
joy_seeker: thank you for sharing those criteria! That helps me a lot in getting a perspective.

4evermom: I really didn't want the TV example to be addressed specifically; sorry I wasn't clear. I was just using it as an example. For *our* family, TV is a value choice, but, again, I wasn't seeking input on that. I was really trying to get a broad perspective about how families handle situations in which a child wants to do something that is simply not an option in their family. The TV was an example simply because we don't even *own* a television!

To think more broadly, imagine a vegan family with a child who wanted to eat meat, etc.

Holli
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
To me, a "family value" or "family decision" would be one that we all made together as a family--something we've all come to an agreement on. If something like existed and a family member changed their position on it, we'd talk it over and figure out a way for everyone to get what they want. I wouldn't see it as a conflict, but just individuals having different interests.

It seems to me that what you're talking about is when the child's interest is in conflict with the PARENT'S decision/value. Which is completely different. It's really hard for me to come up with an example of that in our household--whether it's tv, or food, or activities, it's accepted that we're all individuals with unique interests, so it would be fine for them to do things that I wouldn't do, or have interests and values that I don't share.
Actually, I am thinking more in regards to something that simply does not exist in your family at all. For us, it could be TV because we don't own one, but it could also be junk food in the pantry. Things like that.

What do you do if a child wants to explore something that your family had previously decided was not going to be part of your family?

Do you try to explain why you made these choices for your family and try to get your child on board with these decisions? Do you ever just say, "sorry, but we made this choice and it's sticking."

I'm trying to really figure out where the line is between familial values and a child's interest. Mostly I'm thinking aloud on this..

Holli
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post

To think more broadly, imagine a vegan family with a child who wanted to eat meat, etc.

Holli
We're cross-posting, but this illustrates what I was getting at. *I* am a vegetarian. I wouldn't make the declaration that we are a "vegetarian family" because every individual gets to make that decision for themselves. (At the moment, we have one meat-eater, one vegan, and three vegetarians.
)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,753 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
4evermom: I really didn't want the TV example to be addressed specifically; sorry I wasn't clear. I was just using it as an example. For *our* family, TV is a value choice, but, again, I wasn't seeking input on that. I was really trying to get a broad perspective about how families handle situations in which a child wants to do something that is simply not an option in their family. The TV was an example simply because we don't even *own* a television!

To think more broadly, imagine a vegan family with a child who wanted to eat meat, etc.

Holli
I know. I understood that but couldn't think of a better example, either.


I can't imagine forbidding him from trying food in that situation. I may not buy it and cook it but I wouldn't stop him from eating it elsewhere. He has to make that choice. Just like I can't make him be a specific religion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post

What do you do if a child wants to explore something that your family had previously decided was not going to be part of your family?
People can change their minds. Again, we talk about it and find a way for everyone to get what they want.

Quote:
Do you try to explain why you made these choices for your family and try to get your child on board with these decisions? Do you ever just say, "sorry, but we made this choice and it's sticking."
*I* wouldn't say that.

Quote:
I'm trying to really figure out where the line is between familial values and a child's interest. Mostly I'm thinking aloud on this..

Holli
Again, a "familial value" to me, would be one the WHOLE family agrees on. Otherwise, it's YOUR value that you're trying to have your family follow. RU, to me, incorporates honoring the individual's needs and choices and interests, which seems hard to do while one person has the power to tell others they can't have a choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by SagMom

Again, a "familial value" to me, would be one the WHOLE family agrees on. Otherwise, it's YOUR value that you're trying to have your family follow. RU, to me, incorporates honoring the individual's needs and choices and interests, which seems hard to do while one person has the power to tell others they can't have a choice.
This is really helpful for me so thank you. So, does your family go with majority rules? If you cannot all agree on a "family value" but 2/3 or 3/4 of you do, do you go with it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,753 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
This is really helpful for me so thank you. So, does your family go with majority rules? If you cannot all agree on a "family value" but 2/3 or 3/4 of you do, do you go with it?
I can't think of anything that would be so all or nothing that a compromise wouldn't be possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
This is really helpful for me so thank you. So, does your family go with majority rules? If you cannot all agree on a "family value" but 2/3 or 3/4 of you do, do you go with it?
At the moment, I can't think of a time when we've done that. I don't like that the minority looses just because they're the minority.

It's hard to discuss this without examples--recently someone here suggested going out for pizza, and a few of us were on board, while another wanted Chinese and someone else wanted neither. Had we taken a vote, pizza would have won, but two of the kids would have been unhappy. After a brief discussion, we all agreed that 4 of us would get pizza, we'd do Chinese the following week, and one of us chose to eat in. Same outcome as far as what food was purchased, except that everyone was happy rather than having winners and losers.

That's not a "value" though--we all agree on some basic values--knock before entering a bedroom, don't hit, ask before you take something that isn't yours--but they're not even "values" more like "agreements for living together" lol.

I guess values are something I see as personal and individual. There are plenty of values that we don't agree on, but they're personal and it's accepted that we can hold different values.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
It's hard to discuss this without examples--recently someone here suggested going out for pizza, and a few of us were on board, while another wanted Chinese and someone else wanted neither.
That's a great example. A similar one: recently in our family my husband offered to take the kids out to dinner while I was working. The choices available were 2 for 1 steak night at the hotel (with nothing else on the menu) or the pizza place. Three people preferred steak, two the pizza. Pizza was the consensus, because everyone likes pizza pretty well, but two of my kids are vegetarian and would have had nothing to eat at the hotel restaurant. Majority rules is simplistic in a family setting. It doesn't take into account the past, the future, the weight of a person's commitment to his or her choice -- or their reasoning.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,962 Posts
My son really wanted a toy gun to play with.

I was really opposed to it, it was against my values.

I watched him for awhile playing with other objects and turning them into guns. I realized that it was a real interest at the time and knew there was a way to work around it.

I explained my point of view about guns. He listened. He explained that he thought they were fun and cool to play with and would never want to hurt anyone or anything intentionally. He just wanted it because he thought it would be fun to play with for awhile.

We determined that I wouldn't spend my money on a toy gun ever because that felt best to honour my values and then we determined that if he could acquire a toy gun another way (finding one for free, getting one as a gift from someone else, etc.) then he could have it.

The novelty wore off, he did get a toy water gun that he kept at his dad's and a year or so later he did get some kind of laser gun that he liked to play with for awhile.

I like to look at situations like this now and see them as opportunities to learn more than one perspective (for both me and the kids). There is so much to learn when values/interests/thoughts are opposed, so I welcome it now and trust we will find a way through it that works best for all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
I have had a million times where I was challenged to push beyond my own comfort level in order to honor my children's desires as we transitioned to RU from a pretty authoritarian household.

Toy weapons, TV, plastic toys, vegetarianism, 'junk' food, licensed characters etc. were all things my husband and I decided our family should avoid because it was against our values. We've come a loooooooong way since then. I finally realized that imposing my values on my children was doing nothing to help them find their own. Being raised that way wouldn't teach them that's the right way to live. They wouldn't automatically value the same things. We chose instead to accept, love and support our kids for WHO they are instead of supporting them only when they choose what we want them to.

This way we have a great relationship with our kids, they get to figure out who they are without pressure from us, and we can all feel respected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
Hi all,

I'm still new to this particular forum, but it's where my heart/brain are leading me. DD was in a hip pre-K program until we pulled her out at the beginning of March, and we are thrilled that we did it. It was the absolutely right thing to do. We're sticking with homelearning now, and are definitely more unschooling than not.

I am still trying to wrap my head around some RU philosophy so I was hoping to open up a little discussion.

What do you do if a child's learning interest is in contrast to your family's values?

This hasn't come up, but I am just thinking aloud. We are adamantly TV free in our household. There are far too many reasons why this is the right decision for us, but since we adults have made this decision, I guess it means we are not truly potential RUers because DD would simply never have the option to just watch TV, if that's what she wished to do. (truthfully, DD shows no interest in TV so this isn't a real example, just using to explore this topic.)

I'm just wondering how RUers handle situations like this---not the TV example in particular but rather any situation in which a child's learning interest is in conflict with the family's decisions/values.

Holli
(bolding mine)

Okay, I've been giving your post a lot of thought over the last couple of days. Honestly, I cannot come up with one single learning experience that my child might want to have that would be in contrast to our values. My son (5) has asked about the war before...and rather than give him graphic, horrific details about war, I answered him in an age-appropriate way, while still conveying the ugliness of war. Same with questions about sex, religion, or whatever. But really, I cannot think of a single thing my child would want to learn about that I couldn't find a way to teach them.

Now, if you're talking about day-to-day experiences (t.v., vegetarianism, etc.) I think that in each situation there is a way a compromise can be reached. I wish you would give a better example of something you're concerned about, but I'll give you an example of an issue we encountered recently.

Connor (my 5yo) hasn't had a bedtime in quite awhile. But, for a few weeks recently, we realized he was being REALLY awful to his siblings, nasty with DH and me, and just generally pretty foul. DH and I realized that it was correlated to the fact that he was staying up until after midnight every night, and had been getting up at 7:00 every morning no matter how late he was up. So, we sat down, after a few days, with Connor and talked to him about things. He agreed he was way overly tired, and so we reached a compromise: He would go to bed between 9 and 9:30 every night, except Wednesdays, since that was our special hang out night with him. In turn, DH and I agreed that we would spend time deep-cleaning his room for him so he had a peaceful/restful space to go to.

I didn't FORCE a bedtime on him. We talked about how much sleep most people need, why it's important, and what we could do to help him sleep better, which in turn would help his mood be better.

I don't know if that helps at all....but I do think every situation has a compromise. Even t.v.!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,481 Posts
Could you compromise and let your child watch TV shows online? Or rent them from the library or Netflix? This is what we do. DH and I do not want television in our lives. We don't censor other media, though, so dd watches stuff online or we rent it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,057 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
Could you compromise and let your child watch TV shows online? Or rent them from the library or Netflix? This is what we do. DH and I do not want television in our lives. We don't censor other media, though, so dd watches stuff online or we rent it.
I think this is what we will do. I haven't had a TV since I was 18, and don't want one; every time I have seen what's on them I feel confirmed in that decision. But it wasn't until recently I've been coming to the conclusion that, while I can make this decision for myself, it's somewhat coercive to make that decision for anyone else in the family. I can't see buying a TV, but I think the online option should work out for us.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,072 Posts
We have unlimited access to tv and often it isn't turned on all week. There is no limit or restriction, never has been. Some months we've had a lot of tv viewing, other months little.


We have tons of alternatives and tv is just a tool to explore the world outside our house. We do that too.


ETA: btw, we had no cable for years, and dh and I didn't watch tv. Ds liked some of the PBS kids and Nick. videos, so we had cable installed for him.


Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks, all!

My apologies, again, for using the TV example. It's not an issue for us at all, and I only included it as an example of something that we do not have in our home at all just as an example. DD actually has no interest in TV so it's not something we are facing right now.

I really was just trying to get a sense of the philosophy of RU so I could think about how I would deal with some of these issues if/when they do come up. I'm really trying to just find my path as a unschooling/homeschooling mama.

So, thank you for sharing your experiences!

Holli
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top