Sunday, 3 February 2013

Responding to criticism

Recent comments I have received regarding my parenting (and I'm always surprised when I get them as I think we are completely ok and why would anyone care...) include: 1. Children need guidance as they don't know anything 2. You can't let them do what they want 3. You have to cook for them at set times and they have to eat what you make, you can't run after them making them stuff when they want it, and 4. This type of parenting means more work for you as you never get a break.

Ok, I've been thinking about it all and without getting upset I think that:

1. I like to take the point of view that children know quite a lot about themselves, about what they like/dislike and about being hungry/thirsty/tired/whatever. I can't imagine that the human race would have survived if we knew nothing and needed to be taught everything, who taught the first humans then? I think children are excellent observers, little scientists who love to experiment until they find a good outcome and they do not need me to tell them if they are hot or cold. What they do need me for is to give them unconditional love and support, and lots of help when they need it, they also need me to be a happy fulfilled person, not a dictator obsessed with power struggles.

2. Why not? What are all these terrible things that they cannot do? In our family we like to live by consent so if one family member wants to do something that would cause problems to someone else we talk about it and try to find common good solutions. In this environment it is very rare that the boys engage in harmful activities (to us or themselves), they can make a big mess but if they have spent the afternoon exploring the properties of water who cares if the kitchen is flooded! We can clean up the mess together afterwards.

3. This to me seems rather disrespectful and maybe practical if you are feeding an army. We do prepare breakfast, lunch and supper and the boys choose what they want to eat, if I'm cooking for 30 minutes it makes no difference if I'm making one dish or three (and Martin is a former chef so he can whip up more in less time), but if the boys are not hungry it is not a problem, they can eat later. Reuben is very often hungry in the evening so I do find myself making spaghetti and butter at 10pm! As far as they can (as they are only young) they get their own food and they are free to raid the kitchen whenever they are hungry. This has meant that the boys are in touch with their body and their needs, it has not meant that they only eat chocolate (we have it freely available in the house), in fact they have quite a varied diet.

4. Having been a teacher for 10 years I know that engaging in power struggles and living by control instead of consent is very hard work indeed! A lot more than how we currently live. It may be inconvenient to cook at 10pm but I never thought that being a parent would mean that life would be convenient for me, it wasn't when I was working all the hours of the day, it wasn't convenient to get up at the crack of dawn to go to the British Council and lesson plan for the day. I got paid so is that ok then? Do I not get paid in love and all the satisfactions that come with having children? So I'm happy to be inconvenienced!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts