Monday, June 21, 2010

Respecting Kids, fulfilling ourselves?

Unschooling parents ask, "Can we satisfy our kids needs and fulfill our own as well?" This was the topic of discussion on an unschooling list I'm on.

A woman wanted to do theater and her 8 year old had a very hard time with it-separation anxiety that lead to hysterics, really not wanted her to do this.

Was this child being manipulative? Shouldn't she have to toughen up and stop being a baby and let her poor mother have a thing of her own?

It's complicated. The comments and advice were thoughtful: some urging the mother to go ahead and audition for upcoming plays since she expressed real happiness and passion for her newly discovered interest. A few voices told her she should respect the child's wishes, (it was a bit more complicated then that-but that was the basic idea), children are small for a short time-they grow up so fast and then you'll have time for your interests.

My thoughts? What is fulfillment anyway? It's a tough one.
I know that i have 'put my 'career' on hold -Wait! What career? It never really took off-for my kids. Was it a sacrifice? Not really. I never thought of it as that. I never thought that what i was doing was stopping me from doing other just as important things. Until they started to get older, and i felt that I had 'put in my time.'

As a matter of fact, even when they were very small I made sure I had some time carved out for my interests. And my daughters are not an easy ride either.
I always took a course at the local community college- photography, singing, guitar (as well as volunteering, and i included the kids in all my volunteer work).

These courses required very little time commitment overall, but at the time, I felt the need to get 'my mental health' time, to feel that i was doing something for me.

Now thinking about it, not sure what really was the motivation behind it. Perhaps I was motivated to take time away so that I would be appreciated more; or to really feel like i was a multifaceted person (but I all ready knew that-grin!). Or to keep a foot in the potentially working world.

Far too often, unschooling mums don't get time for 'changing their focus/ideas' to translate from the French (changer les idees).
Sometimes though, a child' has serious anxiety separation and it would be hard on the child to simply be toss her concerns aside.

Other times, the timing is just not right. I got accepted into a Masters' program at York but when it really came down to it, there was no way in hell I could go full time (as the program required) and still unschool my 10 year old.
I couldn't put her into school just because I wanted to fulfill my need to get this masters. I figured, it could wait. I didn't do it. And now even if I had the time and resources, the program i wanted to do wouldn't be my first choice after all! So-in the end it was a win win for both of us.

I think being sensitive to what is really being communicated is what is important. Evaluating the situation carefully and really listening to what is being said without clouding the true motivations behind the emotions and the words with 'i deserve' or 'it should be like..' type of thinking.
What about you? What are you thoughts on the issue?


Anonymous said...

Oh my God. The world should not revolve around kids -it is really unhealthy for everyone-parents and kids alike. Putting kids first breeds resentment in theparents. Youahve to have a balnce, Besides,kids are resiliant.
You are already unschooling and giving all you time as it is. What more do they want?

rfs said...

@Anon-I understand your sentiments. It is frustrating when you feel that you are already giving enough-and then you are asked to give more. Someone suggested 'rushing' straight at the issue-embrace it rather than try to get away from it. Before you know it, they feel secure and are eager to spend time away from you!

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