Showing posts sorted by relevance for query /control. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query /control. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Trees and Plants

Here is another change in my life, from years of unschooling:

I even garden differently than I used to. I certainly didn't expect that. I have let trees grow their own way without frustration on my part, and appealed to my husband not to prune so much. I have found things for vines to grow on that aren't fancy or store-bought. The vines are going to cover it up anyway. I've let native plants go ahead and grow, if they don't have stickers. Some of them are really pretty, and they want to grow there. If I destroy them and put in some foreign plants, will the neighbors be impressed?


Considering what is natural in my children, and what I can't control and shouldn't even try to control, has made it easier for me to look for what's "natural" in nature. That seems pretty obvious, written down that way, but many people want to control trees, and grass, and flowers. I don't mind influencing them and encouraging them, and nurturing them, but "to control" them? I don't even "control" tumbleweeds. I pull up any I find and put their little carcasses in the compost pile. That's tumbleweed euthanasia, maybe, but not "control."

The quote is from page 278 (or 321) of The Big Book of Unschooling,
and you might want to look at some tumbleweeds I've touched.
photo by Sandra Dodd, and it's a link
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The awful control beam

If the "control force" is great with you, maybe use it to control your own clutter or organize your papers or rearrange your books or clothing. File your photos and negatives. Scan some stuff. Don't turn that awful control beam on people you love.

SandraDodd.com/control
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Thursday, February 17, 2022

Discernment

Control implies one KNOWS the right answer and if he's not "out of control" or "lacking self control," there will be no choice; he will control himself.

Decision making requires lots of data and thought and freedom and discernment.

SandraDodd.com/control
photo by Holly Dodd

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spontaneity, more than control

If you want to make the sun come up, first see what time it's expected to rise, and command it right at that moment.

If you want to make children do what you want, find out what they want to do and would enjoy doing, and make it seem like you've provided that thing or opportunity, if you want, at first, if it makes you feel like you made the sun come up. But those who insist that they should and can and will control another person often end up alone, emotionally if not physically.

To have a life of learning and joy, spontaneity is more important than control. Acceptance is more valuable than resistance.

The quote is from page 29 (or 32) of The Big Book of Unschooling but this link will work: SandraDodd.com/control
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Real decisions


I think it's as important to turn away from "self control" and "self regulation" as it is to turn away from schoolishness itself.

When people have the opportunity and encouragement to make real decisions for real reasons, and they know why the're doing what they're doing, and they're not doing things that don't seem to have a purpose, then "control" and "regulation" don't factor in at all.

I know it sounds crazy, and I also know a LOT of families who thought it sounded crazy and now have that same feeling about serious discussions of "self control" or "impulse control."

Choices, choices!!!!
photo by KathrynRobles
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ease into change

Instead of just going from lots of control to "do whatever you want," a really sweet way to do it is quickly but gradually. Quickly in your head, but not all of a sudden in theirs. Just allow yourself to say "okay" or "sure!" anytime it's not really going to be a problem.
If something isn't going to hurt anything (going barefoot, wearing the orange jacket with the pink dress, eating a donut, not coming to dinner because it's the good part of a game/show/movie, staying up later, dancing) you can just say "Okay."

And then later instead of "aren't you glad I let you do that? Don't expect it every time," you could say something reinforcing for both of you, like "That really looked like fun," or "It felt better for me to say yes than to say no. I should say 'yes' more," or something conversational but real.

The purpose of that is to help ease them from the controlling patterns to a more moment-based and support-based decision making mindset. If they want to do something and you say yes in an unusual way (unusual to them), communication will help. That way they'll know you really meant to say yes, that it wasn't a fluke, or you just being too distracted to notice what they were doing.

SandraDodd.com/eating/control.html
photo by Julie D
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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wrapped in thought

"Self control" is all tied up with being bad, and with failure. Choices, though, are wrapped in thought, power and freedom!



SandraDodd.com/control
photo by Elise Lauterbach
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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Learning what's important

In 1997, someone asked how unschooling moms stayed patient.

Other moms have told me they think I'm patient. It makes me feel guilty because I have the internal list of all the times I've blown it, but a few things have helped me.

The biggest was Adult Children of Alcoholics, an al-Anon group. I went to meetings for four years and learned a lot of calming and encouraging things. One of those is to remember what I wanted and needed as a child. Then I try to give those things to my children. I don't mean toys or books. I mean listening, and smiling, and joking, and letting them climb on stuff even if it made me nervous, and not making such strictly-to-the-minute rules like "be back at 5:45 or else" and other arbitrary control-junk. One of the quotes/sayings from that learning-time is "How Important Is It?" and thinking that little mantra can help a ton all by itself. If we waste our energy and our relationship with our children on how they wear their socks and where they keep their toothbrush between times, there's nothing left for important things. I try to save it for important things, and I try not to be the defining judge of what's important. There are things the kids consider very important, and I force myself (at first, until I calm myself and remind myself to give) to pay attention to their stuff too. No "That's nice dear" while I ignore them. When it happens, occasionally, that I've done that, I feel bad and I sometimes go back and say, "Tell me again about that game. I'm sorry. I wasn't really listening."

Next biggest influence was La Leche League. There I learned that children have within them what they need to know, and that the parent and child are a team, not adversaries. It reinforced the idea that if you are loving and gentle and patient that children want to do what you ask them to do, and that they will come to weaning, potty training, separation from mom, and all those milestones without stress and without fear if you don't scare them or stress them! Seems kind of obvious, but our culture has 1,000 roadblocks.


From having studied meditation and Eastern religion, I learned the value of breathing. I think what it does is dissipate adrenaline. I remember in the 1960's and early 1970's it was Big News that yogis could *actually* slow their heart rates at will! WELL duh. People had been doing it in church (those who cared to actually "be still and know") for hundreds of years, but nobody thought to wire up contemplative Christians.

When people (parents or kids) are agitated and are thinking for a moment that something has to happen JUST THIS WAY and RIGHT NOW, breathing helps. Deep breathing, slow, and full-as-possible exhalation. This is, in Western terms, "count to ten." Calm down and let the adrenaline go. Some people have biochemistry that's not easy to control, and some people count too fast.

SandraDodd.com/parentingpeacefully
(read aloud as an intro, in the recording at the bottom of the page)

photo by Sandra Dodd of the neighbor's tree seen through an inch-thick piece of ice from a bucket of water on a cold day
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Enough to learn


[Some people say] "I used to control this (or that) and now that I don't, and I told them they can do whatever they want to..."

Too big a jump.

If your kids ask for another one (potato, cookie, peanut butter sandwich) I think it's helpful if you just say "Sure!" and make another one, even if you don't think they'll finish it, even if you think they'll be too full or whatever. As long as they're not eating someone else's share (and even so, if the other person agrees), it's not a big deal. If they don't finish, save the leftover for someone else. If they do finish and they're "too full" that's how they'll learn their capacity (which will change anyway as they get older).

SandraDodd.com/eating/control
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Ease into change

Instead of just going from lots of control to "do whatever you want," a really sweet way to do it is quickly but gradually. Quickly in your head, but not all of a sudden in theirs. Just allow yourself to say "okay" or "sure!" anytime it's not really going to be a problem.
If something isn't going to hurt anything (going barefoot, wearing the orange jacket with the pink dress, eating a donut, not coming to dinner because it's the good part of a game/show/movie, staying up later, dancing) you can just say "Okay."

And then later instead of "aren't you glad I let you do that? Don't expect it every time," you could say something reinforcing for both of you, like "That really looked like fun," or "It felt better for me to say yes than to say no. I should say 'yes' more," or something conversational but real.

The purpose of that is to help ease them from the controlling patterns to a more moment-based and support-based decision making mindset. If they want to do something and you say yes in an unusual way (unusual to them), communication will help. That way they'll know you really meant to say yes, that it wasn't a fluke, or you just being too distracted to notice what they were doing.

SandraDodd.com/eating/control.html
photo by Julie D
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wrapped in thought

"Self control" is all tied up with being bad, and with failure. Choices, though, are wrapped in thought, power and freedom!



SandraDodd.com/control
photo by Elise Lauterbach
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lack of control

playground equipment with flags and a monument behind

You don't need to control yourself to keep yourself from being controlling. Make generous, kind choices, over and over, as often as you can.

SandraDodd.com/battle
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Life-in-progress

The structured homeschooling that involves buying a curriculum and teaching at the kitchen table on a schedule is not the control group the school system needed. Those who practice “school at home” serve to reinforce the school’s claims that they could do better if they had more teachers and better equipment. When a structured family has high test scores, the schools say “SEE? We could do that too if we had one teacher per three or four students.”
. . . .
Scientifically speaking, my children are not a control group. They’re not isolated and kept purely away from school methods and messages. But what is unquestionable is that there are now thousands of children who are learning without formal teaching. They are learning from the world around them, from being with interesting and interested adults doing real work and real play. Instead of being put away with other children to prepare for life, they are joining life-in-progress right at birth, and never leaving “the real world.”

SandraDodd.com/thoughts
photo of Holly Dodd and Adam Daniel, by Adam's mom

Repeated, photo and all, from October 11, 2011. Holly is twenty-four years old now, and Adam is ten.
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Still candy left

Since my kids were little they could have all the Halloween candy they wanted, and since they were little that has been no problem at all, because by the time they gave away what they didn't like and traded for favorites, and saved it and shared it with kids who came over for the next few weeks, there was still candy left.
. . . .

We were confident that it was control, not access, that made kids eat, do and want "too much" before we ever considered unschooling. Others come to the idea the other way around—unschooling first and releasing other control-urges later.


SandraDodd.com/eating/halloween
photo by Pam Sorooshian
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Patience

In 1997, someone asked how unschooling moms stayed patient.

Other moms have told me they think I'm patient. It makes me feel guilty because I have the internal list of all the times I've blown it, but a few things have helped me.

The biggest was Adult Children of Alcoholics, an al-Anon group. I went to meetings for four years and learned a lot of calming and encouraging things. One of those is to remember what I wanted and needed as a child. Then I try to give those things to my children. I don't mean toys or books. I mean listening, and smiling, and joking, and letting them climb on stuff even if it made me nervous, and not making such strictly-to-the-minute rules like "be back at 5:45 or else" and other arbitrary control-junk. One of the quotes/sayings from that learning-time is "How Important Is It?" and thinking that little mantra can help a ton all by itself. If we waste our energy and our relationship with our children on how they wear their socks and where they keep their toothbrush between times, there's nothing left for important things. I try to save it for important things, and I try not to be the defining judge of what's important. There are things the kids consider very important, and I force myself (at first, until I calm myself and remind myself to give) to pay attention to their stuff too. No "That's nice dear" while I ignore them. When it happens, occasionally, that I've done that, I feel bad and I sometimes go back and say, "Tell me again about that game. I'm sorry. I wasn't really listening."

Next biggest influence was La Leche League. There I learned that children have within them what they need to know, and that the parent and child are a team, not adversaries. It reinforced the idea that if you are loving and gentle and patient that children want to do what you ask them to do, and that they will come to weaning, potty training, separation from mom, and all those milestones without stress and without fear if you don't scare them or stress them! Seems kind of obvious, but our culture has 1,000 roadblocks.


From having studied meditation and Eastern religion, I learned the value of breathing. I think what it does is dissipate adrenaline. I remember in the 1960's and early 1970's it was Big News that yogis could *actually* slow their heart rates at will! WELL duh. People had been doing it in church (those who cared to actually "be still and know") for hundreds of years, but nobody thought to wire up contemplative Christians.

When people (parents or kids) are agitated and are thinking for a moment that something has to happen JUST THIS WAY and RIGHT NOW, breathing helps. Deep breathing, slow, and full-as-possible exhalation. This is, in Western terms, "count to ten." Calm down and let the adrenaline go. Some people have biochemistry that's not easy to control, and some people count too fast.

SandraDodd.com/parentingpeacefully
(read aloud as an intro, in the recording at the bottom of the page)

photo by Sandra Dodd of the neighbor's tree seen through an inch-thick piece of ice from a bucket of water on a cold day
__

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Choosing to make choices

In response to someone talking about her children self regulating, I wrote:
"Self regulate" means to make a rule and then follow it yourself. They're not self regulating. They're making choices. It's different. It's better!
My friend Bela sent me the following story, which has a good description of mindful living:
One zen student said, "My teacher is the best. He can go days without eating."

The second said, "My teacher has so much self control, he can go days without sleep."

The third said, "My teacher is so wise that he eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired."


SandraDodd.com/control
Holly photo
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Slightly different

photo TVEvaWitsel.jpg

Stop thinking you know what they need and what you need. Try a new angle, a different trajectory.

. . . While you're playing, think about the huge difference made by a slightly different angle. Put your desire to control into that for a few days, therapeutically. While you're playing, think about what you can control, and why you would want to.

SandraDodd.com/change
photo by Eva Witsel
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Friday, October 10, 2014

More violent than games

Playing a video game is not violent. Playing a game is sitting on a couch with a remote control.

Shaming a kid who wants to sit on the couch with a remote control, or somehow
preventing him from playing, is closer to violence than a kid causing the
character he's controlling to shoot an imaginary weapon at some pixels.

SandraDodd.com/violence
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life-in-progress

The structured homeschooling that involves buying a curriculum and teaching at the kitchen table on a schedule is not the control group the school system needed. Those who practice “school at home” serve to reinforce the school’s claims that they could do better if they had more teachers and better equipment. When a structured family has high test scores, the schools say “SEE? We could do that too if we had one teacher per three or four students.”
. . . .
Scientifically speaking, my children are not a control group. They’re not isolated and kept purely away from school methods and messages. But what is unquestionable is that there are now thousands of children who are learning without formal teaching. They are learning from the world around them, from being with interesting and interested adults doing real work and real play. Instead of being put away with other children to prepare for life, they are joining life-in-progress right at birth, and never leaving “the real world.”

SandraDodd.com/thoughts
photo of Holly Dodd and Adam Daniel, by Adam's mom
__

Monday, October 31, 2016

Like magic

Since my kids were little they could have all the Halloween candy they wanted, and since they were little that has been no problem at all, because by the time they gave away what they didn't like and traded for favorites, and saved it and shared it with kids who came over for the next few weeks, there was still candy left.
. . . .

We were confident that it was control, not access, that made kids eat, do and want "too much" before we ever considered unschooling. Others come to the idea the other way around—unschooling first and releasing other control-urges later.


SandraDodd.com/eating/halloween
photo by Pam Sorooshian

This is a repeat from 2013
because the photo is great
with text from 2010
because it's still true.
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