Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little Guy is Spirited not Strong-willed

I'm confining myself to the same strictures I put on my students and forcing myself to sit and write for 10 minutes straight.  Well, at least as straight as a parent who is home with a 4 year old can make it.  Right now, I'm up to about a minute of uninterrupted time.  I'm seriously impressed. 

Currently, Little Guy is ensconced in the hall with his cars.  I can't get him to finish his "brep-fast" of a banana on a hot dog bun smeared with peanut butter.  He asked for it and now he won't eat it.  Meals have become a battle ground.  Short of forcing him to sit, we're stuck with fighting him every step of the way to eat.  This has become the new "potty" argument. 

One of the things I have done recently is look up advice on "Strong willed" children.  I immediately decided I didn't approve of the group who had take "strong willed" as their banner phrase and instead decided to go with the parents of spirited children.  It may not seem to make sense, but I've discovered the advice on parenting "strong willed" children seems to advocate breaking their spirit and bending them to the parent's will.  Advice on parenting "spirited" children seems to advocate working with the spirited child and encouraging them to keep their sense of self while working within the bounds of society. 

I don't want to break his spirit or individuality.  He's going to need it as he gets older.  I want him to be able to make his own decisions and to be firm in his convictions.  I want him to not be afraid to stand up for the right thing, even if most people disagree with him.  I don't think that forcing him to follow a narrow path is the best way to do that.  Of course, I also have issues with society as a whole right now. I don't want him to follow the path that so many people seem to follow and be apathetic and content with the status quo. 

I think spirited children are our future and quite likely our only hope.  If we're so keen to make them fit into the cubby holes that society has deemed appropriate, we will never improve the situation in our country.  If Edison or Lincoln had done that which was expected of them, we would still be enslaving people by candlelight.  And, unfortunately, he has me for a mother.  I hate following the well-worn paths.  I'd much rather poke around and discover what I can find on my own.  I want him to feel comfortable doing that too. 

What this means for me, however, is a long period of time where I will be frustrated and irritated because my son has a mind of his own.  I just have to let him learn some things through trial and error.  Right now, we're not going to go outside because he hasn't finished breakfast.  Once he finishes breakfast, I will go out with him and turn on the sprinkler and let him play to his heart's content.  But he's being his spirited self and I suspect that won't happen before I have to get ready for work. 


Don said...

Hello Kitten,

Per your BE Forum post, check out Goes life tomorrow but you can sign in now!

Cute kid!

vivianv said...

hey kitten, check out
"summerhill" a radical approach to child rearing" i used that book and their tenets as the guide to rearing my kids and stilluse them with anyone i come in contact with. i would love to have the chance to either visit or send my kids there... a.s neill was the founder and far ahead of his time in the teaching of children with out breaking their spirit or bending them to anyones will, rather teaching them to love themselves and the people and world around them.

as for the commune i am trying to remember the name of one that started in the 60's and is still going strong...
ahhh here is the link it is twin oaks and has a sister commune in ontario i believe

they make hammocks for income, i read about it in a great book which i am also having a rough go remembering the name of and i also found it on the net 25 some odd years after the book that it was mentioned and the author had visited in the 60's during it's beginnings.
hang in there, communal living can work, :hug: