Parenting Beyond Polarity – Introduction

 

When I was young, one of the most dreadful experiences I had was being shouted and yelled at. My father could get really upset, scream, yell and pull the most frightening faces that I would sometimes pee my pants. I absolutely disliked any form of shouting, even a raised voice or loud sounds would send shocks of petrification through my body, even when the situation I found myself in wasn’t meant to be scary. I created an absolute aversion.

There were more traits I really disliked about my father, but for brevity’s sake I won’t mention them all. You could say that his general behaviour and demeanour was that of a dominant type personality.

When I got to the stage of being a ‘grown up’ myself, I would at all cost try to avoid being anything like my father.

Having attached a negative connotation to several of his traits, and judging them extensively had the unfortunate side-effect that I wouldn’t do or behave in a way that would even slightly remind me of him, even when I was in a situation that actually necessitated it. In my head, by mere associations, I would be ‘just as bad’ as him.

The first time my opinion around raising my voice and shouting was challenged was when I moved to the farm where I currently live. The farm I live on is set up for community living, and there’s always other people around and many animals. One day one of the dogs started chasing a chicken that got herself over the fence, when someone stepped out and in a booming voice shouted, “HEY!! STOP IT!!” whilst sternly and authoritatively walking towards the dog.

As usual, I experienced the ever so familiar shock of petrification run through my body. Simply by associating the sounds and body language back to my emotionally-laden memories. Although my rational self understood that the dog was about to at least harm the chicken, I couldn’t help but react and condemn the shouting and stance of the person. I felt bad for the dog, who’d stopped her actions and came running back with her ears slightly lowered, reminding me of my own experience of self-diminishment whenever I got shouted at.

Now that I look back at it, it’s quite astounding to see to what extent being around various different animals on a farm assisted and supported me in opening up my aversion towards what I perceived to be, dominance and other emotional issues I struggled with. How each and every single animal relationships was a stepping stone and learning experience that prepared the way for myself as a parent today. (But that will have to become a series on its own!)

One day the dogs had been restricted to the house because some people who were strangers to the dogs had to get some things done in the garden area. This was causing some frustration for the dogs as they are used to having their space to roam around and being apprehensive of “those people” outside which they didn’t know. The same day some people went to do shopping (who mainly took care of the dogs), which added some restlessness to the dogs’ behaviour. When they got back and reached the gate, the dogs got overrun with excitement. At that time, we had a few small dogs who had past leg issues, and were very protective about their ‘behind’. The bigger dogs were pushing into them to get to the door which they hoped would be opened for them so they could run off and greet their persons. The tension was rising and the smaller dogs started snarling at the bigger dogs, which was a recipe for disaster. There wasn’t much time before it was going to escalate and in one moment I stepped forward and with a loud, low (pitch wise), booming voice told them to stop it.

In a single moment, the tension was discharged between the dogs and created a gap in the tension that was building where I could get in between them to create more space among the dogs and keep them calm.

It was then that I realised that there’s more to ‘shouting’ and ‘yelling’ than I had previously thought. I realised that shouting/yelling, purely from a sound perspective – as with the dogs, sending a sort of ‘shockwave’ through them to snap them out of their particular state – was an effective tool.

There had been no meanness, no anger or desire to diminish them, only the directive to prevent a harmful situation.

Within my past experiences however, the yelling and shouting had always been fuelled strongly with anger, frustration and a certain desire for diminishment to ‘keep me in my place’.

Because of the emotional load that got transferred in each of those moments, I created the belief that any shouting/yelling/raising of one’s voice was irrevocably abusive and damaging. Just the sight and sound of it, I would already make up my mind. I only ever looked at the form/manifestation ( = shouting / yelling / raising voice) and wasn’t able to differentiate what was behind it as the expression/substance (whether emotional or directive). If I was in a state of self-victimization and diminishing myself, someone would raise their voice at me to ‘snap’ me out of my emotional state from a directive starting point, I would within myself still paint it off as being menacing.

More on this topic, in blogs to come

Advertisements

Co-Sleeping and (In)Dependence

cosleeping

This blog is a response that was written for someone asking for perspective on co-sleeping, more specifically whether or not co-sleeping leads to (in)dependence – translated from Dutch.

Personally I have found that it provides a good foundation from which my son can explore the world more independently. When children/babies are very small, they have so many needs – both psychologically and physiologically; where within meeting these needs you in essence create an environment of “you’re welcome here”, “you’re being supported”. Which rests the child assured and nurtures self-trust. Versus the scenario where you are very small and at your all-time most vulnerable phase, not having your needs met with a response – you’re creating an environment which begs the questions “why am I not being supported?”

Where we as parents, are essentially ‘Gods’ that have all the power to meet their needs or not; and when we don’t, the conclusion forming in the child easily becomes “it has to be me, there’s something wrong with me, I am at fault”.

This type of environment or atmosphere breeds distrust in the child. This can later on manifest itself in dependent, insecure behaviour but just as much in ‘confident behaviour’, but where this confidence is more a perversion of actual confidence. In the sense that the inner angst gets balanced out through a big ego, where one utilises superiority to hide/cover up the actual experience of inferiority. From the outside as an observer, the parents are rest assured because from the outside ‘it all looks okay’, but on the inside there’s all kind of things going on which will tend to come out / channelled through in more secretive behaviour.

I don’t see co-sleeping in itself as a guarantee, but more of a ‘symptom’ of a more conscious perspective coming from the parents towards the needs of their child(ren); where sleeping together is only a single aspect of daily life where this kind of conscious awareness is taking place, but where there are so many more moments/aspects in every day life which require conscious awareness in your presence and response as a parent – where if this is not in place in all the other aspects, you can still facilitate dependent behaviour.

On the other hand I have also found that children have a lot more needs than what I was personally aware of before I had my son. I was really baffled that this wasn’t part of my reality and that this was ‘known’. Within this context, it can be quite scary to see this sort of ‘dependent behaviour’, in the sense that it’s easy to think that “Shit, I must be doing something wrong, because this isn’t normal right?” Where it’s not that the child is being ‘extra dependent’, but that we, overtime, have forgotten what it entails to raise a small child and what it takes to really be involved and present in raising your child. Where the dependence is not the say, detrimental kind, but simply a fact of inter-dependence and inter-connectedness.

The child is not at fault here, but our conception of what is considered ‘normal’. What is normal, is to produce a good, obedient working force to keep the machine that is our society running, and in the light of this: personal involvement and presence of parents in tending to children’s needs, is well, inconvenient and cumbersome.

Going against the current of what is considered normal can arouse fears as the bulk of information that’s being produced is to maintain the status quo – not to change it. Our own conditioning, having internalised the outer precepts as our own, is very skilful at stirring doubt and leading ourselves to think that we’re being irrational. That if we persist with x, y, z (fill in whatever your parents, teachers, media etc have presented as the worst case scenario you’ll manifest should you continue with this other path, to strike fear into your heart in the hopes you’ll give up).

It’s not a simple matter, and there are many dimensions that come into play once you start opening it up!

Co-Sleeping en (On)Afhankelijkheid

cosleeping

(***English translation coming soon***)

Deze blog is een response naar iemands vraag toe over co-slapen, en meer specifiek of dit naar (on)afhankelijkheid leidt.

Persoonlijk heb ik ondervonden dat het een goede fundering in plaats zet waaruit mijn zoon meer zelfstandig zichzelf in de wereld kan verkennen. Wanneer kinderen/babies heel klein zijn, hebben ze zoveel behoeftes, physiologisch en psychologisch, dat het ontmoeten van deze behoeftes in essentie een sfeer creëert van “je bent hier welkom”, “je wordt hier ondersteund”; wat het kind gerust stelt en zelf vetrouwen ontwikkelt. Versus als je heel klein bent en het meest kwetsbaar en je behoeftes geen response krijgen, krijg je een sfeer van ‘waarom word ik niet ondersteund?’

Waar de ouders in essentie ‘God’ zijn in dat ze alle macht hebben om die behoeftes te ontmoeten of niet — en als ze dit niet doen, is de conclusie snel “het moet aan mij liggen, er is iets fout met mij, ik doe iets verkeerd”.

Dit soort milieu broedt angst en wantrouwen in het kind. Dit kan kan dan later manifesteren in afhankelijk, onzeker gedrag maar evenzeer in “zelf zeker gedrag”, maar waar het eerder een soort pervertie is van zelfzekerheid. De inner angst wordt uitgebalanceerd met een groot ego, waar men superioriteit gebruikt om een gevoel van inferioriteit te bedekken / verschuilen. Aan de buiten kant zijn ouders dan gerust gesteld want aan de buiten kant ‘ziet het er allemaal oké uit’ , maar binnenin is er heel wat mis en komt dit uit in meer geheimlijk gedrag.

Co-slapen is geen garantie in zichzelf, ik zie het meer als een symptoom van een meer bewust perspectief van de ouders af naar de behoeftes toe van het kind, waar samen slapen enkel 1 aspect is van het dagelijkse leven waar dit soort bewustzijn in gebruik is, maar er zijn zoveel meer moment / aspecten in het leven van een kind dat bewustzijn eisen, en als deze niet in plaats zijn kan je nog steeds afhankelijk gedrag bevorderen.

Aan de andere kant heb ik ook bevonden dat kinderen veel meer behoeftes hebben dan wat ik persoonlijk gewaar van was voordat ik mijn zoon had. En hier , het zien van dit soort ‘afhankelijk’ gedrag kan wat schrikjagend overkomen in de zin dat het makkelijk is om te denken dat ‘shit, ik doe iets mis, dit is niet normaal toch? ‘. Waar het niet echt is dat het kind extra afhankelijk is maar dat wij zelf overtijd hebben vergeten wat het inhoud om een klein kind te zijn en wat dit juist inhoud om als ouder echt betrokken te zijn in het opvoeden van een kind. Waar de afhankelijkheid niet echt een ‘slechte’ afhankelijkheid is maar een feit van inter-depentie en inter-connectedness.

Het kind is hier niet in fout, maar onze conceptie van wat ‘normaal is’. Wat normaal is, is om goede werkertjes te produceren om het machine dat onze maatschappij is continu te laten lopen, en hierin is betrokkenheid en aanwezigheid van ouders in de behoeftes van het kind, wel, ongelegen en lastig.

Tegen in gaan in wat algemeen aanvaard is als ‘nornaal’ kan makkelijk angsten opwekken want het bulk van informatie dat wordt geproduceerd is om de status quo te behouden, niet om het te veranderen. En onze eigen conditionering is hierin heel goed om twijfel in te brengen en te denken dat we niet rationaal zijn, dat x,y,z (vul hier in watook je ouders, onderwijzers, media hebben gezegt als worst case scenario dat je gaat creëeren moest je het in je hoofd krijgen dingen anders te doen om je schrik aan te brengen in de hoop dat je je idee opgeeft).

Het is geen simple matter en er komen heel veel dimensies mee te spelen.

Losing Sight of the Small for the Big

tomato post

A few weeks ago Gian bought some more seedlings to plant as part of the eco-tunnel we are busy setting up and the adjoining areas around it that will also be developed for sustainable food growing. We suddenly got heavy winds, the plastic sheeting from the tunnel blew off, and we got scorching sun and no rain.

The tomato seedling in the picture is one of six that were in a tray outside. They had become frizzled, brown and lost most of their leaves. One day, as we were walking around the tunnel and talking about future plans and all the amazing things we want to create, I saw the tray with the seedlings on the ground. While I was enjoying talking about the project when it will be big and nice, something was crunching in my stomach, seeing the little dying plants from the corner of my eye.

The next day I walked into the tunnel area and stopped by the seedlings. It was still hot and the plants were all still in shock from the plastic being gone that used to provide them some shade. I picked them up and put them in shaded area. Gave them some water. I started checking up on them twice a day to see how they were doing and if they needed to be moved to the sun, shade or needed some water. Even though they had looked like they were definitely going to die and that it was not worth spending time and energy on, five out of six came back beautifully even brighter and bigger than they had been before.

A few days ago I planted them into bigger pots, so they can start expanding their root system and grow up.

When many things have gone wrong, it can be easy to go into a mode of giving up. They seedlings had looked horrible, yet there was a small potential they could make it. My first instinct was to look at all that was going wrong. The frizzle, the brownness, the dead leaves.

It can then also be easy, to only look at the bright future. The big ideas you want to manifest, and how things will only be awesome once condition, x,y,z have been met – out there, in the future.

In focusing on only the bigger picture and all the things that still have to be done – I was missing the things I could do right here and now. Instead of focusing on the potential that was right in front of my eyes, it was easier to focus on all the things that were going wrong, ‘the bad’.

In the end, it’s all the small steps we take, the small actions, the things we do day in and day out – that accumulate to the bigger picture. It’s not this ‘one big thing’ that suddenly happens to us or manifests over night where only then things will be different. We have to implement changes and different approaches in the small moments we have, planting the seeds to eventually come together as a big change. The ‘big change’ not being the goal itself, but a side-effect of doing all we can do in what we have available for ourselves and others.

This reminded me of how I also tend to look at myself. Playing around with the idea of my potential, out there, in the future – where I focus on all the things I can do then, rather than working with where I am now and doing the things I can do right here. How I tend to only see all the lacks, flaws, mistakes I make – and disregard my gifts, the ways I have already grown and the potential that is already here to be developed and nurtured.

How we treat ourselves ultimately becomes how we treat others and our environment. How we treat others and our environment, ultimately becomes how we treat ourselves. On the Desteni Farm we focus on changing Nature, both within and without. As long as we don’t change and expand, we’re not going to find lasting, sustainable solutions for ourselves and the world. We’ll just be repeating more of the same, as our perception of was is possible is limited by our personal lense.

To find out more about the Desteni Farm and updates, visit and Like our Desteni Farm Facebook Page.

To support what we do, please consider becoming our patron: https://www.patreon.com/destenifarm

Children and Food

We all want our children to grow up to be healthy individuals. But do we really know what is healthy for our children, let alone ourselves? With so many horror stories of ails, conditions and illness – fear may clutch our hearts where we desperately want our children to make healthy food decisions, but we may end up paving the way to hell(th).
Using coercion, manipulation or persuasion – we may comfort ourselves for a moment in the knowledge that we’re ‘doing the right thing’; while creating long terms consequences in our children’s psyche in relation to food. I share my own personal story of my emotional and traumatized relationship to food and how I currently work with my son when it comes to eating food.

If you liked this video, please like, comment, share – and don’t forget to subscribe!

You can support Parenting for Life by becoming a patron @ http://patreon.com/leila_maite

 

Need a Break from the Kids!

Do you sometimes take a break from your kid(s), loving the peace and quiet only to get all worked up again once they’re back in your space? In this video I share some dimensions I uncovered for myself when I feel the urge to ‘get a break’, so that I can be more stable and present, whether my son’s around or not.

 

When Nature Strikes

When Nature Strikes
With hurricane Harvey having passed around, and reading some of the experiences of people in what has transpired I started to ask myself some questions.

When it was announced that a hurricane would be on its way, people made preparations.  People evacuated, some more luckily situated didn’t leave their homes for a couple of days and people stopped going to work. It reminded me of my own experience with severe storms (but not as extreme as a hurricane) or lengthy power outages where sometimes days on end you can’t get to doing your job and you are simply forced to go with the circumstances. When natural disaster strikes, we don’t fuss about our jobs, the entertainment were not getting to or other petty topics which seem to busy our heads any other day. What’s important is to be alive and well. For a moment, the capitalistic productivity machine stops running, because well, we have no other choice.

In the meantime though, when no major natural disasters are occurring, we do sit with chronic human-made disaster. Poverty, war, disease, animal and nature extinction, climate change. These are all a reality. And these conditions greatly undermine human, animal and nature well being. But it’s not happening in our backyard. Harvey was all over our backyard, all around the house for that matter. No escaping from that disaster. These other issues, well, they’re far away. They’re not my concern. I have a choice to not be concerned. I can keep going with my life, however unsatisfactory and regrettable it may be in the end.

Thing is, we decide whether we have a choice or not. We can decide that human made disasters are just as important emergencies needing our immediate attention. That for the wellbeing of others on the other side of the world, or even on the other side of town – we put a stop to all things non essential. That we collectively agree to continue tending to the essentials necessary for our wellbeing and living a dignified life. Having food, shelter, security. And that all non-essential pursuits are put on a halt – because others are having to survive in conditions that do not even provide the basic essentials. Yet we will spend 70% of our time chasing money, status and material wealth while others suffer. If someone had a luxury boat, a freaking Noah’s Ark steering around flooded neighbourhoods and saw people drowning and yet did nothing. You’d be angry, you’d be outraged. Because the blunt neglect is right in our faces. Yet, much of the industrial world is like a Noah’s Ark. We got lots of resources to go around, but it’s not being shared. It’s not being distributed.

Where there is a will there is a way. If we decide that our will is to no more have choice about these matters, and tackle them with the urgency they deserve, this world would transform very quickly.

Related Support:

 

DIY Parrot Foraging Toy

One of the many perks of living on a farm and the wide variety of tasks that are done overtime – is the nice collection of random tools and materials that start making its home in the workshop shed. When an idea comes up that you’d like to realize, the chances are pretty big that we’ve got most of the tools and materials necessary.

One of these ideas is this Parrot Foraging Toy:

Parrot Foraging

Foraging Toy with seeds and nuts on the inside. While they work on their long term project to reach to the inner treats, we use the holes to put other food in to keep things interesting.

About once a year the men go through the trees on the property to see which ones need pruning. When this happens, I tend to come tip-toeing around the cut-offs to see if there’s any pieces I can use for the parrots or crafting. Last pruning session, we had some nice guava logs that I dragged away from the pile designated for fire-wood.

Not all wood is safe to use for Parrots, so whenever I find something interesting pieces, I check for their safety here. After I’ve gotten a nice collection of wood, I leave them out to dry. Once they’ve been thoroughly dried, I also give them a diluted vinegar scrub, rinse,  and bake them in the oven to make sure there’s no critters lefts alive in the wood.

Next, I basically get Gian involved to do everything else – as he’s more experienced in what tools to use and how to use them (I may or may not have set wooden pieces on fire in the past with an electric drill…), and I stick around to watch and learn and give input on the way (which sometimes comes through as me checking Gian every minute to make sure he’s not “doing it wrong” – we’re working on my control issues).

Step 1

This is what the log looked like before we took off the side branches and cut it into smaller pieces (minus the blurriness, you’ll have to use your inner-Photoshop to get the picture) .

Once in the shed, Gian broke off the smaller side-twigs, cut the log in smaller pieces and cut off the ends to make them level and easier to work with. We couldn’t use one giant log as our drill bit that hollows out the wood only reaches so far.

Step 2

Gian using a mitre saw to cut the wood to size and leveling it out

3

Tada! A Smaller log

4.jpg

Clamping the log pieces one by one to hollow them out

5

Getting started with hollowing out. Once in a while taking a break as it gets very heated in there and might catch fire

6.jpg

To get right down in there close to the bottom, and keeping the pressure nicely vertically directed – a change of position may be necessary

7

Woohoo, it’s getting there!! It’s so exciting when you see something you conjured up in your head start taking shape in matter! This space will hold the seeds and nuts that the parrots can gnaw out through side holes.

7a

Gian drilling the holes on the sides through which the parrots can gnaw. There are also 2 smaller holes on the top through which we will pull wire to 1) hang the toy and 2) to keep the parrots from cheating through the bigger hole 😉

8

Smoothing out the wood shards that were left on the inside

9

Filling the toy with seeds and nuts, with some peanuts sticking out so the parrots can ‘get the picture’

10

Seeing how much wire we need

Parrot Foraging

Tada!!

The Parrots have mostly been chewing away at the bark. The guava wood is pretty dense and it takes them quite a bit of effort to chip away at it. If we make it again I think we’ll go for wood that is a bit easier for them to chop away at.

I hope you enjoyed this little update.

If you like what we do and would like to support us in our endeavors with the Parrots, please consider becoming a patron for Desteni Farm.

A Parenting Perspective

I wrote the post below in response to a parents asking for perspective about his daughter’s behaviour, who started homeschooling for the past few months, wanting a lot of one-on-one attention, seemingly being okay as long as she has other kids to play with and spending a lot of time watching YouTube on her tablet and going into tantrum-like behaviour. The context of the question is not so much relevant (and personal information has been omitted), as I mostly suggested points to ponder on. Either way, I believe they may be of support to others, and so here is my share:


sarah-mak-54250.jpg 

I don’t really have an answer for you – as with these type of situations there’s so many variables to consider, and since it’s impossible for me to establish exactly all the multi-dimensions of your reality and what may or may not be the cause / contributing factors to your daughter’s behaviour – I can only provide you with points to ponder, points to check from which you can draw your own conclusions. You and your partner know your daughter best, and it will be up to all three of you together to ‘put all the pieces together’ and find ways of directing the situation.

She may simply be transitioning from one phase into another. From going to school where everything you do is dictated from outside of yourself to being at home and being able to do ‘whatever you want’ type of thing, where there may be overindulgence in ‘doing all the things I wasn’t able to do before’ and yet having to find a balance.

It may also be that while she is with friends/other children – that she looks alright because in participation with others, there’s the possibility that she’s distracted from things going on inside herself / points she is processing. So just because things look ‘okay’ in that they don’t cause you to react into any particular point, doesn’t mean that everything is actually okay. Not saying that this is the case, but this can be a point to look at / take into consideration. Often when we become irritable or go into some kind of mood – whatever brought up that experience, was already running in the background before, and so her particular state at ‘home’/’away from kids’ doesn’t have to pertain to only that space where she displays that particular behaviour. Think of having a busy day where you don’t have time to think about anything because you are sooo busy – but then when you get home suddenly all these experiences come to the surface and you feel awful. This doesn’t mean that those experiences are ‘new’, but simply that in being busy and distracted, you didn’t notice they were actually already there.

In terms of her playing or doing things ‘since she was 5’ – if I look at myself, I played with Barbie dolls and other ‘childish things’ till I was like 12 or something and I probably would have done it longer if I didn’t fear other people’s judgments so much. So here, I wouldn’t necessarily look at ‘what’ she plays with and how that fits into say, the mainstream idea of what play is ‘age appropriate’ – but rather look at who she is within it. Is she nervous? Anxious? Does she seem directionless? Or is she simply having fun?

In terms of showing her books and other activities and her not being interested – here you also have to look at: who am I in showing her? In today’s world, we have placed so much emphasis on having to learn, having top grades, being ‘the best’ – in fear that we/our children won’t be able to compete ‘with the rest of the workforce’ for a good living. We fear that they’ll ‘fall behind’ and ‘miss out’ and have a horrible future. We then present our children with material such as reading or other activities, where the movement behind it is fear (but this fear can be dressed up / interpreted by yourself/the mind as ‘this is good for you!!!’ because we manipulate ourselves in believing that a negative fear experience is actually good and in our best interest). So here I would check my starting point. Am I showing her books/materials/activities because I judge what she does otherwise as ‘not good enough’ and ‘lacking educational content’, because I fear that she is going to ‘mess up’ in this world? When we approach our children in this way, they can feel and sense the fear, the judgment – and they are naturally inclined to resist and be repelled by this type of behaviour because they KNOW it’s not their fear, their judgment – it’s yours! But if we keep repeating this behaviour, then they will start to believe that the fear, the judgment is a reality. They will believe they are inadequate, not good enough, not smart enough and only do the proposed activities to alleviate themselves from these self-beliefs for a moment, which actually only integrated and penetrates them deeper. Looking from the outside, you’ll then be happy that she is ‘doing all the right things’ – but on the inside, she’ll be miserable and broken – which is bound to create dysfunction later in her life in one way or another.

Another aspect to look at can be – am I just giving her materials/books/activities because I want her to be more independent? Because I am so occupied with other things that I actually rather give her things that she can do ‘by herself’ – because then I can feel comforted in having my own time and space, and I can be comforted in knowing that ‘she can be independent, and being independent is a critical survival skill in this world! (= FEAR!!)’
I’ve been there, wanting my son to ‘just be on his own already’ so I can get on with things and be comforted in the knowledge that ‘he’s all normal!’. I’d spend time with him, but I wouldn’t be HERE with him, genuinely expressing me – genuinely being HERE – genuinely having FUN. Because sure, I am playing with him, I am spending time with him – I am giving him attention right? Nope. Because the whole time I’m just wondering ‘when is this going to be over already’, ‘when can I get to my own thing’ – and even if I spend hours with him, he’s still not satisfied because our time together is not SUBSTANTIAL, it’s not SUBSTANTIATED by my presence, in truly being here with him. While my body is with him, in my mind I’m with all the other things ‘I could be doing’. Quality vs Quantity.

So here you have to ask yourself, to what extend am I approaching/offering/suggesting materials/books/activities because I want to honestly/genuinely explore different things with her, which she may or may not take interest in – because she finds value in them, and because it assists and supports her in developing and growing her own expression?

Where you explore and discover together, for the sake of exploring and discovery. Not because “she needs to read more because she needs to get educated in this world” or “because she needs to be able to be alone and not bother us” or … the negatives can go on. Identifying these points can be tricky, because we’ve so conditioned ourselves in believing that these are the ‘right’ and ‘logical’ things to do – and because they ‘sound logical’ we won’t move ourselves to actually investigate the fears and judgments that boil underneath them.

So here you can also investigate and evaluate all the things you’ve labelled as ‘educational’ and all the things you’ve labelled as ‘entertainment’ – where they can only be one or the other. Have a look at all the things you’ve ever done ‘for fun’ and what you actually learned in the process of doing them, even when ‘learning’ in itself wasn’t the purpose or starting point. Learning happens everywhere, all the time. Just because they don’t contain books or exercise sheets – doesn’t mean that learning is not taking place or that it is not valuable.

Sometimes Cesar will want to binge watch things and I’ve found that when he is busy processing particular points or experiences, that he used watching movies or cartoons to go into a sort of ‘hibernation’ where he is more introverted and uses this as a ‘time off’ to process things.

I will also watch things with him on YouTube, from which we source to then play or make things with his toys. In that sense, YouTube, tablets, screen-time – they are not ‘bad things’ in and of themselves. They are merely tools – but how we use them/wield them will determine the effect they create.

If she likes dolls and dressing dolls – that’s great! Watch videos on YouTube on how to make dresses or clothes for the dolls. This takes creativity, math, planning, fine motor skills, perhaps allocate her some monies for buying fabric – now she needs to calculate how to spend her money – there’s learning happening right there! But you don’t want to make these things the focal point. They’re just a natural part of being and engaging in this reality. There’s so many ways you can make things interesting and fun – having all the ‘educational benefits’ without the seriousness of it.

Also realise that children don’t just learn what their interests are ‘all by themselves’. Or that they have to find out RIGHT NOW what they want to do with their life. Some children will know what they want to do, other children will be very versatile and will play and test out many things before they make up their mind, or perhaps will always remain doing multiple things. In terms of homeschooling (and unschooling), it’s up to us the parents to facilitate this discovery process in a unimposing manner, where we expose them to many different things to help them find their way without their being pressure to do so. I’ve found that the key here is to keep things light and joyful – then things such as ‘focus/concentration/passion’ naturally develop and follow. They are not goals on their own, but consequences/outflows of the natural process of exploring and discovering things.

Here you can then also have a look at to which extent you have been stressing/worrying/thinking about her education and future instead of LIVING and being an example of natural flow and discovery, trusting that she will find her way.

Often when Cesar is all over the place and without direction – it’s because I, myself, and/or Gian (my partner) are all over the place, stressed and anxious about things. Again, children can sense and feel this – and when the two people they depend on the most are ‘all over the place’ within themselves, then they will assume that things are ‘terribly wrong’ and get all nervous and twitchy for no reason other than that we are doing it! If we’re feeling like headless chickens, something ‘must be going on’/’going wrong’ because us adults, as examples, are supposed to ‘show them the way’. Then they go into that same energetic signature without really knowing why, only because we’re doing it so it seems ‘the thing to do’.

Have a look at her moods, the energy she is in. Do you recognize this energy within yourself? Within your partner? Your relationship(s)?

Maybe she needs more time with other children, maybe she doesn’t. Test it out. Perhaps she can join some type of extra-curricular activities that school going children would do – so she can be with other children during after school hours.

And lastly – talk to her. Have you asked her why she is in x, y, z mood? Why she watches things so much? Why she needs attention? What she would like to do, what she would like to explore? Children are a lot more aware and adept in seeing what is going on inside themselves than we give them credit for.

So, again – I don’t have any answers for you. There’s a bunch of things you can look at and play with, let us know how it goes!

If you haven’t already – check out these EQAFE interviews:

Children and Isolation – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 79
Parent and Child Communication – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 80
Emotional Addictions to Technology – Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race – Part 75
Gaming and Reality (Part 1) – Life Review (here you can look at gaming in terms of say ‘being on a tablet’)
Gaming and Reality (Part 2) – Life Review
Tracing the Source of Tantrums – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 72
Timeline of a Tantrum: Parents – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 73
Stop Tantrums by Changing Yourself – Perfecting the Human Race – Part 61
Raising a Destonian Family – Desteni Farm Discussions
Raising a Destonian Family Part 2 – Desteni Farm Discussions