Sunday, February 24, 2008

But if I don't make them...

The mainstream response to many issues between parent and child. This is a little story about my always unschooled, never bedtimed little girl. This is not the first time this is happened and it won't be the last and 3 out of my 4 kids have done this, Jared hasn't only because he is 5 and is still attached to me.

We have all heard parents say "If I don't make them_____, how will they learn?"
Left intentionally blank because there are so many phrases I have heard and read online.

This is inspired by my little girl who usually is up until 3-4am and sleeps until 3pm. She is a night owl like me, if only I got to sleep that long...

Friday night she made plans to go to her friend's house on Saturday, we decided on 2pm. She has a hard time going to bed until she is good and ready otherwise she can't sleep, gee that's vaguely familiar. She knew she had to get up before her usual time, the issue with that is that she anticipates it and can't sleep. I am the same way, if I know I have to get up before my usual time, I can't sleep, it's really frustrating and causes exhaustion for me. She is 8 though so she bounces back much faster than I can.

So last night she went to bed around 3:30 am, I read her a story every night and tuck her in. I got online and was reading all your blogs :)

She came out at 4:30am, just when I was getting ready to go to bed and told me she couldn't sleep. It was obvious to me that she was asleep and woke up so I just told her she should just go back to bed.

Apparantly she woke up at 10am, she got herself dressed, she packed a bag of things she was taking, she fed herself and brushed her teeth. She did wake me up a few times but hey with the dogs barking since 8 am I wasn't really sleeping.

What's sleep? I forgot what it's like...

My point is that this child got herself up and ready to go without being told to do it. WHY? Well all her life whenever we go somewhere we get dressed, eat and brush our teeth, so she knows what to do before leaving the house. Simple? Yes! Model, live, this is real life ya know.

Now I was made to get up and go to school and I am 36 years old and I finally go to bed when I want. Don't call me before 1pm, don't make plans with me before at least 2pm, I haven't found anything important enough to get me up.

See the difference? When you force a child to go to bed, get up, go to school so that they learn how to go to work as an adult is really asinine. Force and coerision are counterproductive to real life, just set them up to be miserable and resent life, yep that works...


justjuls said...

I can relate -
My kids know what to do - they don't always do it when they should causing stress - but that stress is teaching them something - and in those times we talk about what could be done differently. But hey, sometimes I procrastinate too - and sometimes I forget stuff too - and sometimes I mess up too.
My girls seeing I was exhausted last night randomly cleaned the kitchen at 1 am! They even did the floors. I didn't make them. Imagine that?

Sarah said...

Society values the importance of boundaries, consistency, and rules. They give parents false sense of control. Most people go to work and know what it is like to do things they do not want to do. The idea that children can just do what they want and live passionate lives grates against the work ethic that has been drummed into most people from birth.

Another is a fear of permissiveness. Without rules children won't learn how to function in a hostile world.

Our kids go to bed early if there is early agenda next morning. They know they wouldn't make it through mid-day if they don't. DD#1 is great in getting her siblings to get on the bandwagon. I love that about her, my mother help.

Jenny said...

yeah, it's like one of the reasons homework is so asinine. Do children really have to "practice" doing something several hundred times so that they can "cope" when they finally have a reason they need to do it???

Kelly said...

I just found your blog and I'm so happy to hear of another mom who lets her young kids stay up until all hours. Often I go to bed before my youngest daughter, 9. My husband would love to have the kids in bed by 9:30 every night but he's given up on that. We just started unschooling this year and I'm loving it but still finding it a little scary since we're new to it.