Very middle? Still just beginning? Near the end?
I am in the middle of a personal transition from being a controlling father always on the verge of shouting, or worse, to bcome a father that doesn't do those things.
I'm blaming it in part on "those unschooling women" as I put it to my wife. She sees what I'm trying to do, and we are still both coming to terms with it. We need to discuss it and come together on it, but we have time.
I wrote about limits recently, and part of the philosophy behind unschooling is removing limits. TV is not inherently evil and doesn't breed zombie children. Candy isn't a drug and will not make junkies out of children. These are not the only limits parents tend to place on kids, but these are the two that seem the hardest to get passed for people new to unschooling.
As part of our/my transition, we have had total candy days lately. We stopped saying NO to The Boy when he asked for candy. We offered other options and prepared other options. He was able to eat what he wanted. Big Brother has had the same removal of limits and has enjoyed some candy. His big thing has been Pokemon on the Gameboy for days (weeks?) and stopped today to watch a movie.
Basically, I've decided that rules won't make us happy. They are basically an invented reason to fight your kids. We have decided instead to follow a couple of basic principals. We respect each other and we don't tear up the house. Those cover basically anything that we are truly concerned about without having a whole list of unreasonable demands on the boys and what they do with their time.
The hard part is what Sandra Dodd refers to as voices. We all have those voices of parent and grandparents telling us what we should do, how we should parent. Sometimes those voices are actually physical, maybe over the phone, maybe just memories. Those voices might also just be other homeschooling parents telling us about their "right" way. Wherever those voices come from, they often tell us things that are incorrect, unhelpful, or worse, damaging to our relationship with our kids and family.
The hard part is stopping what you did do, how you were, in order to do a better job. I see the importance of what I'm doing, but that doesn't make it easier. I've never been one to listen to those voices, but some of them have slipped through and seemed to make sense. In addition, some of the tools my parents used were tools I didn't want to use. I did use some of them that I didn't take the time to consider.
So I'm basically at a point where I'm reassembling my tool box. I have to rethink so many actions and reactions and decide each time how I really want to behave. Nothing can be allowed to just come out or just happen. Nothing just happens as a parent, though we often don't take the time to think about what we do.
I'm no longer a reactionary parent, and each time I think through something, I find that I and my boys are happier for it. I can't help but wonder about the transition. Will I ever be through it? or should I just stop looking at it as such? I'm guessing that what I'm doing now is just the opening bell of what's to come. Instead of finishing the transition, the transition will just open up into the rest of our lives.