When a child's behavior disappoints us, we should, more than anything else we do, "assume the best". We should assume that the child means well and is only behaving as well as possible considering all the circumstances (both obvious and hidden from us), together with his level of experience in life. If we always assume the best about our child, the child will be free to do his best. If we give only love, love is all we will receive.
I have just found this quote on the joyfully rejoycing website as I was looking for guidance on how to deal with issues that came up over the Xmas Period....
Our planned Xmas day did not end up being the wonderful relaxing day we anticipated and after alot of reflection it's obvious I handled things very badly.
It started very early at 5.00am !!! Emily sleeps on a mattress at the side of our bed and reached up to hold my hand and prod me awake. It was futile to try to encourage her back to sleep, she was up and ready to go and even in my fuddled state her excitement was contagious.
Things went well initially and we opened Santa's presents and stocking and then some from family and friends, after a while we had a rest from opening presents whilst Al took Beauty out and I made Bacon Butties. We had said we would leave some to open after lunch.
On previous Xmas days we would then have got ready and taken more presents to be opened wherever we were going for lunch but without the distraction of going out Emily didn't play with the things she had got for long and just couldn't resist asking to open presents and I said yes to a couple of requests,then I began to feel annoyed and this is where I fell into the trap of not backing down and allowing her to open more presents.
Why? well I suppose old habits die hard it has traditionally been the way on Xmas day that the children wait and don't open all the presents at once and I was so tired and Pre menstrual and I will plead momentary insanity!!!
Any how she became sulky and more and more persistent and I became more and more determined that she would not be greedy and wait to open those presents. Alan was caught in a catch 22 as he didn't want to undermine me but didn't see where I was coming from. Even more insane on my part is that I realise Emily has real difficulty with controlling her impulses and showing restraint is hard for her to do at the best of times.
Alan took her to read a book and she managed to have a nap and we woke her for lunch. Emily carried the remaining presents through to the dining room .We did open the presents after lunch, right after lunch, as in at the table !!!
The afternoon went by in relative peace but was not very pleasant and I felt so bad. I did try to talk to Milly but it was too soon and she wasn't ready to listen
Why did I do it? Why did I decide today was the day to go against everything we were trying to do? What was stopping me backing down and just opening all the presents? What was I hoping to achieve? What was wrong in opening all the presents? Is it likely that she will grow up to be a greedy and selfish person just because she got to open her presents when she wanted to?
There was a voice in my head saying your spoiling that girl, look she gets to do everything she wants and she's still not happy, how ungrateful is she? She needs to be taught some control. I was only thinking the worst of her.Where does that voice come from, well I can only assume it is that part of me that felt out of control,I was allowing perceived outside views to infiltrate!!
I had allowed her to have later nights and her control and behaviour (as with us all) does deteriorate with tiredness and in hindsight I think I was feeling I had made bad choices and that this road I was taking us on maybe wasn't the right one.I was having a major wobble and it just so happened it coincided with Xmas day..bad timing......
Seeing it written down makes me feel even worse,.
I know I could of handled it so differently ,all I really needed to do was to talk it through and to take her needs into consideration, we could of come to a compromise, I did not have to feel I had backed down rather I had changed my mind and done something to make my daughter happy.It just isn't so easy to put into practice in reality even though you are full of the right intentions.It seems so petty on my part but I realise this incident was about much more than the Xmas presents it was about my lack of confidence in my ability to follow through this very different way of life
The reality is that we have always been parenting Emily in a very different way to the traditional, we didn't do alot of it through anything other than instinct and knowing that for us it wasn't an option to leave her to cry at night and not feed her when hungry and not carry her in the sling when she needed comforting during the day, I had never heard of attachment parenting but I suppose that in effect that is what we did by default.
So why am I having such difficulty with this unschooling concept now?
Why so soon after I had been feeling so positive about things?
Is it that in my mind it gives people a way to blame unschooloing for any challenging behaviour?
Am I blaming unschooling for challenging behaviour that crops up?
Am I not as confident as I thought I was that this is a good way to go.
Am I strong enough to make the decisions to live differently and accept that others will have opinions on what we are doing and they may not be favourable?
Should I allow more time for her to settle in to knowing her limits.
Was my tiredness and PMT playing a big part?
These are some of the things I have been asking myself.Some I have answers to, others are still playing on my mind.