Monday, February 2, 2009

relinquishing control

This strange thing is happening at my house. We are relinquishing control!
TV? Okay.
Candy? Okay.
Batman Lego video game? Yes.
Eat again? Okay.
M&M's? Okay.
Watch this, mom! Sure.
The dictatorship is being overthrown by the dictators themselves.
How can it feel equally strange, gentle and powerful?

I can see now that this change has been coming for years. Primarily, I have been shocked at the bitchiness that's in me, and exhausted by the battles being fought in our "house of love".
"How did this happen? This isn't me!", I said so many times with sadness and dismay.

The expedition began sometime back, winding along our attempts to parent wisely, and our failings.
Our emotional lives seemed to implode a few times leading us to new thinking about who we were. These dramas came out of hiding and into relevancy as we searched for new meaning as parents. Slowly, Mike and I learned that we wanted something different for ourselves and our kids. It was a slow shift, lined with other major changes and loads of personal issues.

Reading the thoughts of John Holt, Charlotte Mason, John Taylor Gatto, Alfie Khon, Rebeca Wild, and others have helped us see the new road before us. Natural family learning and discovery is the basis of our control relinquishment. At first, more questions than answers flooded our minds. We decided we would try it (
let the children learn freely as they experience for themselves, including self-regulated learning). After all, what could be worse than the battles we were having and feeling like we were being mean all the time.

My experience so far has been terribly difficult and personal for me. I am realizing how control-oriented I am, mostly for reasons like; wanting to be seen as a good mom, or because that's how things were done when I was a child, or simply because life is easier for the leader in a controlled environment. It is strange how relinquishing these controls is nearly paralyzing for me. I don't know what to do or how to react in most situations. I'm realizing that maybe having all that control gave me a sense of accomplishment or meaning.

I was inspired by Sarah Parent of to "let go", welcome asking myself the question, "why not?" and to say "yes!" more. In one or more of her podcasts, she suggests that when you release control, the pendulum will swing in the opposite direction and eventually the children will begin self-regulating and figuring out for themselves what is best. We're curious to find out.

We are on a path that is unique to us, thus we advocate only finding your own way in love.
NOTA NUMERO DOS: The photograph above encapsulates how I've felt for sometime. Mike is actually most the laid back and "nice" one in our family.

1 comment:

Seda said...

This is a very interesting post. Gatto, Holt, and Kohn led us in the same direction, along with Nonviolent Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg and Inbal Kashtan. How is it going for you? It was much the same for me, the loss of control was scary! But the rewards - in ease, in peace, in connection with our kids, in seeing them develop self-regulation - are well worth it.