Re: A dad angry about kids making messes


CASS KOTRBA
 

-=-  My questions and concerns were... OUR children being allowed to throw their trash wherever (and yes we have trash cans throughout OUR home). Our children not washing their hands after going potty. Our children being able to eat food and candy wherever they want. Our children cruising the house with messy hands. Our children getting and doing what they want when they want, like going to the bowling alley and spending money on frivolous throw away games and toys. -=-
 
-=-I was wondering if this is accepted behavior with unschooling families because to ME it seems unhealthy, rude, disrespectful, a lack of discipline and a way to set up for bad behavior down the road and a way to create stress now which is what we are dealing with. I would not like for my children to behave the way I have described in someone elses home.-=-
 
You are asking us what the inside of your home "should" look like and we can't answer that for you.  We can tell you that life and creativity are often messy processes.  In my house I choose to think of it as a "creative and/or joyful mess".  You can choose to look at your wife, children and home with a critical, judgemental eye or with a loving, compassionate, joyful eye full of gratefulness.  How wonderful that you have 4 beautiful, healthy young children running around your home creating happy messes.  How blessed you are to have this bright & brave woman in your life providing all these rich, memory making experiences. 
 
Changing over to unschooling is a BIG change for all of you.  Not to mention the added challenges of  your wife being pregnant with your fifth child.  Switching from a traditional parenting/schooling perspective to an unschooling one is wonderful & very much worthwhile but it is by no means without it's challenges.  It can be a messy deal.  Working through those challenges takes time, love, patience. 
 
When you have an employee or a work situation it is ok to have expectations and standards that they are required to meet.  But families don't work well under that type of top down management system.  A strong family is a team.  You are a member of that team.  You are not the coach or the manager.  You are there to play & work, just the same as everyone else.  If you come into the game & see that your pitcher, quarterback or whatever is struggling, what do you do?  Do you beat that person down or do you try to help out where you can to try to keep the game going in a winning direction?  What is best for the team?  How can you help improve the things you are unhappy about in your home?  To what extent is this an actual problem and how much a lack of perspective on your part?  Can you find a way to see your wife in a more compassionate, loving light?  Have you yourself ever spent a day caring for the 4 children either in the home or at an event?  Do you think such an activity might give you a different perspective?
 
A lot of what you are worrying about in the statements above seem to indicate a fear that you are losing control.  Where does that worry come from?  Do you really believe it's good to try to control other people?  Children learn kindness, patience, generosity & respect by being treated (& seeing Mom & pets treated) with love, respect, kindness, generosity & patience.
 
You are upset about a bowling trip where family funds were spent.  Was it money you could not afford to spend or is it the way in which it was spent that you object to?  If you had been included in the trip & had been wrapped up in the fun & excitement of the moment with them do you think it would have still seemed like a waste?  Have you ever gone to the bar to have a few drinks when you could have stayed home & drank them less expensively?  Would you enjoy it if they could try to include you in some of these fun type of family outings? 
 
Think about what you are really upset about & why.  Do you think that being grumpy & cross with your wife will help you guys come to a better place or make it more difficult?  Are a few dollars and a bit of stickiness/untidiness worth ruining relationships over?  How much would a divorce cost?  How messy would that make life?  Can you find a way to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem?
 
-Cass
 
 

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