I also trust that the children who share my life will learn things as they need to without being taught. Some people may say that children need boundaries in what they are allowed to say and do. If you have an issue in what a child says that is your issue surely and if it triggers something, then that is an opportunity for you to heal. As an example, I was sat in the car talking to the boy who shares my life, and he turned around and shouted “be quiet, stop talking to me” and it got louder and more angry when I questioned him. I normally would have gotten angry and not known what to do but yesterday I sat in it. I said nothing and I felt what he had triggered – it wasn’t really anger it was deep shame and self-hatred and resentment. Partly because he was just repeating what I had said to him(and really shouldn’t have). Manners are taught through being respectful. I have written about this before but I really believe that being told to say thank you, please etc robs a child of their ability to learn about gratitude, because they are being humiliated and shamed to parrot expressions!
I have been told that I need to push him to socialise. Well he is very chatty to people he meets that he instinctively trusts. When we go out and someone talks to him that he doesn’t want to talk to, I am not going to humiliate him and call him “shy” or push him to “say hello” because I trust his instincts. There are some people that we just get a bad feel for and I do not want him to loose his ability to know himself. I am there to talk to them and be the source of manners, and he will learn small chat from seeing me.
Another area of self regulation is with food – as a child we are told when and what to eat. What if we never were? People wonder why there are so many unhealthy people who overeat and have completely lost touch of what they need to eat, or to eat when only hungry, to distinguish thirst and hunger– well is it really a surprise when from an early age purees are shoved in unwilling babies mouths, babies are weaned before they are ready, children are coerced, forced, bribed to eat even just one more spoon or to try something, disallowing certain foods when someone thinks they have had enough. Imagine baby led weaning and trusting your baby knows exactly what to eat and when (I am not talking junk food which is in effect a drug and no-one is able to regulate because the hydrogenated fat and refined sugar is addictive). As an example, one of the baby girls in my life is going through a phase of just wanting to eat yoghurt, I trust that it is a phase and after a few days she will recognise that her body needs something else – so I’ll wait it out. Again my son was not baby led weaned, and I went through a naive period of using reward charts to get him to eat and now he has little self-regulation so I need to step back and let him learn to self regulate again before it is to late.
The difference being in the first list of imposed boundaries, to the second set which I do not impose which I have been told I should, is that in day to day life we don’t play on a road so neither will the children who share my life – it is always dangerous, we don’t play with chemicals – but we do have confidence in what our bodies can do and we do have faith in our ability to use basic tools.
- Aldort, Naomi. Raising our children, raising ourselves. (paperback)
- Aldort, Naomi. Trusting our children, trusting ourselves. (CD)
- Graham Brent. Teresa. Parenting for social change.
- Grille, Robin. Parenting for a peaceful world
- Jackson, Deborah. Letting go as children grow. (paperback)
- Jackson, Deborah. Three in a bed: the benefits of sleeping with your baby. (paperback)
- Liedloff, Jean. The continuum concept.