When a child is being defiant, it does not indicate that they are bad nor is it a sign of poor parenting. It is a completely normal and natural urge for a child to want to assert their autonomy. Doing the opposite of what they have been asked to do is the perfect way for them to take control of their independence. Resisting our requests is a part of a child’s development, the same way that learning to walk and talk is. Punishing them for wanting to do this, therefore, is like punishing them for existing. Instead, it is important for us to show acceptance; not of the behaviour, but of the child.
Chores – it’s a bit of a dirty word, isn’t it? There are not too many people in my circle of friends who get excited at the prospect of completing chores around the house so it’s not surprising the children aren’t entirely thrilled when they are handed a list they must complete. So what is it about chores that makes it such a dirty word and how can we get kids to do chores without resorting to bribes and threats?
We have been officially schooling for two weeks now and yesterday I let my daughter have the day off. No, I’m not trying to be rebellious nor do I think school is not a good place for her to be. I love her school and have placed tremendous trust in them to keep my daughter’s love of learning alive. But, I also think that it is important for kids to be allowed a break once in a while.
Over the past three years I have made an extraordinary effort to become a respectful parent for the sake of my children. This style of parenting does not come naturally to me and I have certainly had my fair share of slip ups and regressions as I tried and failed to get it right. But I recently figured out where I was going wrong.
We hit day 5 of Prep (school) today, the 4th consecutive day this week. I have been astounded at how calmly my nearly 5 year old, L, has been accepting this significant change in her life. I mentioned in last week’s post, my nervousness for her starting her schooling year and she blew me away by the confidence she showed me on her first school drop off.
Each day since has been much like the first, with L walking (no, skipping) me to the school gate to wave me goodbye before running off with her new friends. That is, until today. Today was different. Today was the first sign of emotion she has shown (unless you count the time her Dad packed celery with peanut butter in her lunchbox when it is a nut free school, and the offending item had to be removed – that did not go down too well but that’s another story).
Holding tightly to my mother’s hands, I walked nervously into the school yard. I heard my name being introduced to my teacher and an explanation that I was a shy child. I clutched at my mother’s legs as she tried to leave. I begged her to stay with me. I couldn’t be left there on my own. I was scared. I was going to be sick. She prised herself away from me, told me I would be okay and left.
Through days 9 and 10 of the RIE foundations course we examined the ins and outs of conflict. It was both a challenging and moving lesson for me to hear that how we feel about conflict and our experiences with it, are going to have a bearing on what we do in managing children in their conflict.
It is Day 8 of RIE Foundations today and as I begin anticipating the end of the course I am left with mixed emotions. I feel complete and utter sadness that I will be leaving this safe RIE bubble that has been created for me by our facilitator, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and her intern Michelle along with the 7 other women who have together made this experience an altogether enriching one. But I also feel excitement at what lies ahead when I return to my homeland with newly acquired understandings and a massive spring in my step.