Friday, September 24, 2010

Introspective Parenting Post Alert!

My friend Jeanne forwarded this video on unschooling to me and it's very timely. Occasionally, I go through episodes of doubt and self-questioning about certain decisions that I for the most part made (Mark generally agrees, but he's still learning about these things, which is largely a manifestation of trust and confidence in my judgment). I suppose the doubt and the questioning are good things, right? Introspection keeps me on track or at the very least, honest. Why am I exactly going for these alternative ways? Do I honestly think they are best for our family, especially Marguerite, or is it borne by a lifelong habit of just going against the flow? Homeschooling, positive discipline... I'm already feeling the strain and this is only the beginning. Marguerite is being compared and labeled. I shouldn't stand for it. They can just take their inaccurate adjectives and shove them. Comments sting and can erode my resolve if I let them. Am I wrong to let them give me a pause to really study the situation? And am I objective or just defensive in my analysis? I'm new at this. Advices come from people of all kinds - veteran parents (who may have raised happy/unhappy/adjusted/spoiled... children), childless adults, people who know us, people who don't know us but talk like they do... What can I do, right? Pray for guidance, read up, go with my gut... Maybe I just need a thicker hide. So, Marguerite is not like the other kids, but isn't that what I was going for anyway? It's early days. Maybe this is what that grown person in my mind go through in childhood. I want a child who is different, who is not easily affected and yet sensitive, who is free but gently guided and trained, molded by example and not by force. I'm not always on top of the situation. As a parent, I'm probably pretty lazy, but I refuse to spank. I can understand the philosophy of spanking without anger to let children associate certain behavior with pain (like lab rats - I obviously do not subscribe to the idea). I wouldn't trust myself with any permission to hit. The desire ever only comes when I'm furious. In moments when I can keep my head and give my complete attention, I can find other ways to deal with the situation, a teachable moment, I'm sure. How easy it would be to say "It's wrong to do that. Here's a swat to help you remember." Can I be certain that children would be mature and magnanimous enough to understand that it's for their own good, that years later when they remember that time, it would be the guiding love of the parent that would stay and not any feeling of hurt and resentment? Would they understand that punishment was done out of concern and not out of anger and vindictiveness or could it be a moment to demonstrate patience, empathy and true control? Admittedly, I need a lot of work. I do a lot of snarling and Marguerite has already gotten my angry face down pat. Do I dare let myself spank? Even if spanking (the anger-free kind - I have yet to see an example of this) was really the way to go, it still wouldn't be for me. Anger is already something I have to deal with; compound it with the guilt and I'll just be pure misery. Also, with my campaign for a positive life, I can't reconcile spanking with positivity. Then again, what do I know? I'm just a rookie mom. I need the experience to really know.
I know I completely went off tangent there. Hi, this post should have been about homeschooling, another alternative option this deviant mom loves.  Maybe I'll talk about that when I have a video on positive discipline, lol.
Here's the video I was talking about (hope the post didn't sound too hurt, hee!):

Learn Free from Lillian Mauser-Carter on Vimeo.


Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I think that your serious self-examination will keep you making good decisions all along. I'm not sure of the need to never spank... but I respect your decision. If you were in the US, Marguerite would be different from most other children just because she is a nice, polite, educated child.

spinninglovelydays said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sharkbytes. The spanking tangent actually stems from pressure from other people to spank to keep my daughter in line. At 3-4, she's too "untamed" and strong-willed for other people's comfort and the only remedy they can think of is spanking. I'd be more comfortable with a more docile child, but I'd probably be perpetually wondering about her self-confidence and then the self-blame on my part would follow. Like I said... rookie mom. :)