Modeling and Expectations vs Rules and Regulations

July 19, 2010 § 5 Comments

I have to admit that when we started homeschooling/unschooling three and half years ago I was more than unprepared for the journey ahead.

Imagine being thrust into a forest with only the clothes on your back having no idea what direction you are facing, let alone where you are heading.  Which way should we go?  What lies up ahead?  How will we live?

This adventure into the abandonment of school, questioning shoulds and have tos and of accepting that I never really had any idea what I was doing has felt very much like above scenario.

We have been merely moving from day to day, exploring and examining, observing and trying to appreciate.

Without rules or restrictions we forge into the next moment and try to understand all there is to know right there and then.

Despite my 22 years of parenting, it’s in these last years that I have come to be firmly convinced that modeling is the most powerful tool in teaching children appropriate, acceptable and desirable behaviour.

Whether it’s from their parents, their teachers or their peers, children inevitably learn more from the actions of others around them than by any other means of obtaining information.

So we abandoned our preconceived notions of what it meant to “parent”; like enforcing a random bedtime, scheduling meals, specific chores without reason.  Instead we opted to just trust in her abilities to manage herself and banked on modeling expectations.

The difference is that if a rule is broken, a consequence ensues and this leaves room for little else.  However, if an expectation is not being met then a relevant discussion ensues where guidance and support are offered without any “punishment”.

Without trying to be glib, I do love the expression (especially in reference to parenting), “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Raise your kids with confidence, patience and love and they will thrive…despite your inevitable mistakes.



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