Re: Questions


I'm quite in sympathy with the perspective you've shared, Karen. It sounds like we had similar experiences growing up. I was a highly sensitive, conscience-driven child, a real people pleaser and peace-maker, and my parents expectations (and therefore my own of myself) were unreasonably high. As a result, I grew up with a tendency to feel guilt way out of proportion to whatever wrong I committed, and that reflex followed me well into adulthood and messed up my early parenting by prompting me to set my expectations too high for myself and children, and not being able to feel patience and compassion for my and their imperfections. 

Unschooling, and more to the point deschooling, has helped a lot with this. But I would not encourage a sensitive child, who typically shows himself to be caring and sweet, to be hyper-vigilant about his every word and tone, or focused on analyzing and judging his every word and deed for its acceptability. So, if I were standing in line and my 12 yo was wondering what's taking so long, I might make up possible scenarios that are sympathetic to the people in front of us, or else look around for a place for him to sit down, or give him my phone to take pictures or play games, etc.. I would not call him out for his feelings or his expression of them unless he was being notably rude. And I wouldn't encourage a habit of him replaying and second-guessing his every"negative" thought or word.

It may be that I'm reading more into this particular situation than what's really there, but the son being so often "disappointed" in himself, combined with the mom's statement of her "hoping though that we can find a way that he does not change" [from his previous perpetually cheerful, positive self] sounds like a lot of pressure on a young soul to only EVER be kind and other words, to NEVER make a mistake. That doesn't sound healthy to me, either.

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