Explain Your Motives - it helps!
© Beverley Paine
I always say 'drive carefully' or 'be safe' as my now young adult children drive off, and then one day it occured to me that I was kind of making a statement by my consistent insistent behaviour (exhorting my young people to 'do' something I felt to be valuable) that they weren't naturally capable of doing this without a reminder from me!
I looked into my need to say these words and realised that I believed that I was warding off potential disaster - indulging in a bit of superstition. I had to smile. I still smile. And I still say 'drive carefully' or 'be safe'.
I personally like the 'be safe' statement better. My children react better to that one. I've also talked to them about why I say it - talked about my fears, my insecurities, the superstition (touch wood) aspect of saying it aloud. They didn't like the thought that I wasn't 100% confident in their driving ability, and I hedged by saying that most accidents are caused by the 'other' guy on the road.
The more experienced they get with driving the more they understand that most accidents are really caused by inattentiveness and overconfidence (in ones's driving ability and in the car's ability to perform perfectly in all situations, or to simply hang together).
Whenever I remember I let my kids know why I say or do the things I do. Most of the time we simply assume that we know why our family members or friends say and do things, and sometimes this is accurate but sometimes it's not. I find that being clear about motive diffuses a lot of relationship issues based on miscommunication.
This is particularly gratifying as a parent of older teens moving into adult life. Most parents bemoan the deterioration of their relationships with their young adult children, shifting the blame to the children or to 'the generation gap'. I believe I've found a way of bridging that gap and maintaining the closeness we enjoyed while the children were young. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to homeschool them as I believe this gave us the time needed to discover these insights.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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