Being Partners With Your Child

Written by Amie on October 27, 2008 – 6:43 pm -

We unschool our kids. Many people don’t know what this term means. I didn’t know what it meant either. I knew that when my kids were toddlers that I could not stand the thought of sending them to school. I did not want to be away from them, nor did I feel it was an idea that they would be happy about. We had so much fun being together, that my husband and I really didn’t want to have someone else raising our kids for a chunk of our day. We parented our kids with attachment style parenting, which helped pave the road to unschooling.

Many people are confused by the term unschooling. Some think it means un-parenting. It does not mean to just let your kids go without being a partner to them, without helping them find the things that interest them, and journey with them down many different paths. It does not mean to be submissive and just basically ignore your kids. It means to “BE” with them, be present with them, help them find things that they are interested in, do things with them, be very involved with them, but follow their lead.

I have been thinking a lot about how unschooling has been the most rewarding experience. The relationship that I have with my kids is incredible. There is no punishment/reward type behavior. We talk about everything, we negotiate with each other trying to find solutions that will make everybody feel heard. I look at my kids as the human beings that they are. I don’t treat them like I am in control just because I happen to be older. Imagine if you had to ask your spouse/partner/friend every time you wanted to eat something, or go somewhere, or do something. Imagine if you had no choice on what to do with YOUR life. It is a frustrating way to live, and it DOES NOT have to be that way. My wish for every child is that they have freedom to choose how to live their lives. Some people assume that kids will just go wild and do really stupid things if they are able to make choices for themselves. This is simply not true. If a person learns to think for themselves, and they feel like they have control over themselves, they live more authentically, they learn to live from their heart. When kids are treated disrespectfully, they learn to find ways to get some freedom, which means learning how to be sneaky and doing other potentially  harmful things in order to get their needs met.

Parents do not have to be authoritative in order to have kids that are respectful. Kids learn by how they are treated and what they see, not what a parent “tells” them. If they are treated with respect, they give respect.

I feel joy everyday with my kids. Is it perfect? No, nothing is, but I truly feel blessed to be able to share my life with them. I could never have imagined a relationship so open and so loving with my kids. I trust that they will learn everything they need to learn in order to be happy, healthy adults. School does not teach this. School teaches kids that they must do what the authority tells them to do, when to do it, how to do it, how much of it to do, and when to stop. It teaches them when they can eat, when to use the restroom, and that they can’t speak when they want to. It teaches them that other people will tell them what they need. Suppression is a huge lesson to learn from school. Suppress your anxiety, suppress your anger, frustration, your urge to use the restroom, the need to speak your mind, your hunger, the need for healthy connection with all age people, the need to learn things that interest you, the need to just stay home and rest when you want to without getting behind, and suppress your innate needs and desires.

School does not prepare kids for the real world, school prepares kids to learn how to become robotic and how to suppress their aliveness. If kids had a choice about when and whether or not they want to go to school, our world would be a much healthier place!

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