Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Musings of a careworn mama

Without doubt, one of the things that I find most challenging about parenting is the way in which it's forever changing. Just when you think you've reached the top, you spot another hill to climb. It certainly keeps me on my toes! Also, as the children get older, far from needing less input in social situations, I think they actually need more.

We live in a society of peer orientation. By and large children look to other children as role models and as a source of guidance. They're leaning against other young shoots as opposed to great oak trees. Is it any surprise that many fall?

Thankfully Hermione loves to spend time hanging out with other children and adults together. Last night was a fine example. We met with a friend and her son and we went for dinner followed by a guided ghost tour around town. It was great fun and we had a wonderful time all chatting and laughing together. This is what I want for my children. I don't want an adult/child segregation; I want us to come together.

Of course, all this is not to say that I don't want the children to spend time alone with other children. I do want that and will continue to facilitate it. What I don't want is for my children to grow up feeling that parents, (and adults generally), signify rules and control, whilst their peers signify fun and wisdom. I can do fun too; whats more I can throw in the benefit of experience also!

Something I am noticing is that when children are small and they meet in group situations to play, the parents tend to be quite active in that play. They remain very connected to the children. As the children grow older the tendency seems to be for children to go off and do their thing and parents to chat together. I am beginning to question whether this is for the best. At what stage does the parent-child attachment dynamic change in social situations? Why does it change?

The local home ed community to which I belong has been presented with an opportunity for growth recently. It's exciting but scary. It's also very tiring as I toss and turn pondering balances and dynamics.

Do you go to a home ed group or other family group? If so, what is parent-child interaction like there? Do the children do their thing while parents do theirs? What do you find weakens or strengthens your community?

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