Posted on March 21, 2013 by The Shepherdess: A Guide to Mothering without Control
So often parents are incredibly fearful of the progressive approach to parenting. They commonly see the logic but express that they don’t think it will work for their children. Because their children are different. Their children are too wild and unruly and they NEED rules, otherwise there would be chaos. With their permission, here are some of their comments:
• If I let them they would live off chocolate and watch horror
films all day.
• My son would only eat bugs if I let him.
• My daughter would kill her sister and the dogs and the cat
if I let her.
• My twins would only play computer games all day and
never eat and never sleep if I let them.
• I know he would run in the road and disappear down the
street and get abducted.
• My boys are so lazy and rude that if I didn’t say anything
they would just play all day long.
• If I answered every question my son asked I would be
answering questions all day long.
• If he had his way all I would do is play with him all day long.
• If she had her choice all I would do is hold her 24/7 (this
was about a 6-month-old baby)
• All she wants to do is talk to me all day if I let her.
• If I let them do what they wanted the house would be burnt
• If I didn’t make them do chores my house would be
condemned, full of garbage and bugs.
• If they had free reign they would roam the streets, steal, lie,
hit people, stay up all night, eat junk all day long, swear
and get put in jail.
When we look closely at how we view our children it isn’t very nice is it?. The truth is that all children are capable and intrinsically motivated to learn generosity, respect, politeness, curiosity, gentleness, consideration, and social graces when given the freedom to do so.
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Posted on March 14, 2013 by The Shepherdess: A Guide to Mothering without Control
So often a parent’s attitude to parenting, childhood and life itself will be a huge barrier to successful child-rearing. Our children will not benefit from having a parent who is negative, pessimistic, cynical and critical. They will not benefit from a parent who is stuck around the ‘hassle of parenting’ or the ‘sacrifice’ of it all, rather than embracing parenting as a blessing and a gift. What they will benefit from is a parent with a lust for life, a sense of wonder and a positive, joyful outlook.
Negative thoughts affect the whole body and negativity is contagious and harmful to a child. Parents who have thoughts
that paint their life as powerless, who forget that parenting is a choice and a gift, who get drawn into thoughts of ‘I have to’ or ‘I am forced to’, need to refocus. Parents who feel hard-done-by, anxious or fearful a lot of the time will have a body, face and voice that will be saying to their child ‘I’m needy’ and ‘I’m a victim’ and ‘I’m scared of the world”. They won’t be able to support their child; they will drain them. If ever we feel that we don’t have enough – time, money, space, food, stuff – we need to think about how much we actually need to be a loving parent. We can and should make this change!
Think about it – how much money do we need to smile at our child? How much stuff do we need to play with them or speak to them warmly and hold them lovingly? How much space do we need to enjoy a game, a song or a tickle session with our child? We need to stop looking at what we don’t have or what we can’t do, and start focusing on what we do have and what we can do. Once we reframe our situation and start to see ourselves as rich in love and life only then can we parent successfully. What we choose to say and do and feel will affect how our child feels about themselves and about the world. We have the power to make our child feel as big or as small as we choose, and to see the world as either glorious or garbage.
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Posted on March 1, 2013 by The Shepherdess: A Guide to Mothering without Control
Progressive parents focus on listening to the needs of their child, validating those needs and responding. We shouldn’t judge what our child wants but accept it as valid and do everything we can to try and meet that need. We need to try and ‘find the yes’ in any request our child is communicating to us (in their words or actions). In our culture we tend to say no so commonly it becomes almost a verbal tic for us – but why don’t we make more of an effort to always ‘find the yes’ for our child? Why are we always saying no?
Of course, this can be very difficult in the real world and sometimes safety, nature and time stop us from saying yes. The point is, though, we throw around the word ‘no’ for arbitrary reasons all the time, or simply for our own convenience. I have often thought if mothers were given a set of 200 ‘no’ cards when their baby was born, that once they ran out of they could no longer use, it would be interesting to see how quickly they were used up. In two years? Three? How wonderful if there were still some left over when they reached adulthood.
Progressive parents try not to use ‘no’ as their default response and say yes more – or some form of yes. It can be helpful to think that unless the request is a genuine safety issue then why not? Progressive parents see their role as doing their utmost to ‘find the yes’ in any request – putting their child’s needs before what’s most convenient for them and dropping arbitrary rules for why they can’t do something.
‘Yes’ can come in all forms:
Yes, we can do that when I have finished this – if you help me we
can do it even sooner.
Yes, you can have that – let’s look at ways to help you save the
Yes, we can do that later as I am tired or busy right now.
Yes, you can jump up and down, but how about we take it outside?
Yes, you can draw or paint on walls – but how about we do it on the
garage walls, or in the yard?
Yes, you can eat in the lounge – let me get a blanket for you or a
Yes, you can do some hammering – let’s move it outside and get
you some things you can smash.
Saying yes and affirming our children as human beings is a gift to everyone involved. So go ahead, say yes to your kids!
Filed under: Children's rights, motherhood, Parenting, unschooling | Tagged: finding the yes, Progressive Parenting, unschooling | Comments Off
Posted on February 28, 2013 by The Shepherdess: A Guide to Mothering without Control
Conventional mothering wisdom is all about restriction and control and rules. Time-outs, smacking, punishments, shaming, yelling, rewards, consequences, restrictions and limits are common parenting tools to encourage ‘good’ behaviour. These all cause considerable damage to the child and the parent-child relationship. But what exactly are the alternatives? Is it really possible to raise happy, well-adjusted, socially acceptable children without any control measures at all?
I realise that what I am proposing is very hard to grasp when the only models you have experienced are either rules or no rules. Of course, our children do need help figuring out the world. They can’t do it alone and they don’t want to. Parents who don’t give their kids any guidance or feedback or help in making decisions aren’t being progressive, or kind for that matter. Progressive parenting is about being their support and information system as they navigate the world. It is a rejection of the traditional power-based relationship we commonly have with our children, replacing it with a partnership based on love, trust and mutual respect.
What is Progressive Parenting in a Nutshell?
Progressive parents use no form of discipline at all and focus on principles rather than rules. The focus is on
continuing the attachment built up in the early years, by using gentle guidance and support rather than conventional practices. Conventional parenting is conditional. It focuses on the destination whereas progressive parenting focuses on the journey. Conventional parenting is goal-orientated – it’s about ensuring our children have the best behaviour, get into the best school, best university and ultimately get the best job. Progressive parenting is all about enjoying our children ‘in the now’ and guiding them on their journey to becoming their true selves. Progressive parents know and trust in their child’s innate ability to learn everything they need in life to become whole, happy human beings.
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Posted on February 21, 2013 by The Shepherdess: A Guide to Mothering without Control
It is extremely important to question what you feel your natural instinct and your heart is telling you as a mother. When we aren’t mindful, it can often feel instinctual and natural to shame, belittle and hit our kids because we are damaged and hurt from a life of pressure, shame, rules, and “have to’s.” From a wounded place, our intuition and instinct are wounded too and, if we listen unthinkingly, it will feel like our heart is saying, “It’s what was done to me, and I turned out fine.”
So often what we think is our ‘natural instinct’ or our first instinct is in fact something else entirely. Usually it is the voices of our own childhood and of society we hear loudest, but those are the ones that come to the surface when we are tired, stressed out, sick, or unhappy. Some parents believe following their heart or instinct means they should trust their urge to hit and shame and discipline and control their children. When a person yells at, or hits their child, they are not following their true natural born maternal instincts or intuitive nature because they have been obliterated by social conditioning, cultural environment, and fear. Question your ‘instincts’, and if what you are doing in any moment isn’t creating more peace and harmony in your home – don’t do it! – Chaley.
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