Do you extend the principles of unschooling (trust, freedom, etc) into any other areas of your child's life?
That's the question of the month for the Unschooling Voices Blog Carnival. I'm almost afraid to answer. I'm afraid I'd fall short as an unschooler and frowned upon by a "rules" parent. Up until last year I didn't even know principles of unschooling applied to anything but education. I tried to follow the parental textbooks after the third one came along, strict bed times, regular eating schedule, behaving just so and all I did was drive myself crazy trying to be perfect . I hated trying to be someone I wasn't and that's when I decided to seek out other unschoolers. I found my people! I also found a better way to parent, a way that was in our nature to be but I hadn't trusted in us enough yet. Now I try to use the trust and freedom principles in every aspect. No more fighting with bed times. They, like myself, go to sleep when they're tired and wake up when they, well....wake up. They play to their hearts content, including not limiting video games. Video games used to be a source of contention for us, but now it's a complete non-issue. Hallelujah!
We've never had rules, I've always thought that was so stupid.
If they're not up for the conversation of the moment, they're free to move on. I no longer struggle with them not eating what Ive slaved over the stove to cook for them. If I know they won't like it, I'll make them something else in advance, rather than bitch about it. They don't mind having a messy room, and I've finally chilled out and decided I was the only one that didn't like it, so I clean it myself....and no longer throw toys in a fit of anger. (Not my proudest moment.) I even get Thank you's and hugs for it now, along with their help!
Just because we don't have rules doesn't mean that we have wild children with bad manners, that are malnourished, sleep deprived, unkept and dirty with rotten teeth. They're quite beautiful in fact. We still guide them to make good choices and because of all that freedom, they actually do! Just the other day my 4 yo was holding the kitten in a way that her Dad didn't think was appropriate and he told her to put her down. She put her down and asked, "How do I hold her right?" I know other 4 year olds that would react much differently, but she knows we're coming from a good place, not a controlling one. She trusts us, as much as we trust her.
We're not perfect, we're still learning everyday, but at least our days are much more peaceful now. We feel like we've found a pot of gold in unschooling and want so badly to show everyone how it really works, but for some reason it's hard for a lot of people to grasp. The only thing I can think of is that those parent's will feel they've lost control, but jeesh...don't they remember what it felt like to be controlled?