Is it normal to feel like an irresponsible parent for not having structure and schedule like a normal public school format?
A: I think it is. Society is SO judgey about how we mother our kids! It's as if we've all been pit against each other, in some massive competition.
Then add to it this idea that the Overworked Mom is some badge of honor... some "martyr complex."
No wonder we're a mess for a little while.
But here's what I'd say...
Take charge of your life. Make the decisions you want to make.
I've talked with so many younger parents who haven't really broken free of the family roles they've outgrown. They're still trying to keep parents and siblings happy - even if it means denying that part of them that says, "I AM a grown-up now too!"
Sure, it's uncharted territory. But it's what we all have to work through. Interestingly, it's another one of those things no one preps us for. Standing on our own is easier for some than others. You may be someone who got into a bit of a rut because it was easier to agree with everyone than try to stand up to them. But you can work through that. Talking with other unschoolers who've been through this will help!
Your kids need you to be their Advocate
This may be the catalyst you need to break free from the dutiful daughter or compliant schoolgirl roles. Seeing that you are the person there to protect your child may be the incentive you need to get through the hard part.
Waiting for external approval may never come - so don't waste a day of your child's childhood doing that.
Learn more about Parenting
It's time to look at the ways you can connect more with your children and become the parent YOU want to be. Even with my own grown children now (26, 29, 31), I still think about ways I want to parent these young adults. It's an ever-evolving process!
While your kids are still home living under your roof, now's a great time to start exploring how to use the unschooling principles with your parenting.
- Listening more - and really hearing their perspective.
- Noticing when your own ego jumps in and wants to revert back to old familiar ways.
- Connecting with the kids, helping them see how much you love them and want to be their best cheerleader.
- Helping kids learn to trust themselves means letting them make their own choices. The more connected you are with them, the easier this will be.
Recognize that you may have to be the one to give yourself permission and approval to do what is resonating with you.
You're a Family not a System
There's a difference. Families can be tuned into the nuances of the individuals and the rhythms of the day. Whereas Systems are more concerned with keeping the wheels perpetually turning no matter what the wishes of the individuals are. It's more bureaucratic in nature, requiring changes to be approved from removed powers-that-be instead of from the adults who are right there in the thick of it.
That being said, instead of thinking, "We have no structure!"
Replace that with,"We have a rhythm that works for us... and we can change it when it stops working."
This flexibility is really awesome. Don't be afraid of it. There's no reason to duplicate a school schedule.
Seasons change - and so do the people in our families! As kids grow, interests and capabilities change too. What worked last week may not work this week. And the good news is that you're not stuck! You can change it up. All the more reason to keep it flexible and stay tuned into what everyone in your family needs.
You're NOT Alone!
While there may not be a lot of us parenting this way, compared to the mainstream crowd, you're not alone. Many of us have kids that lived this unconventional life and are thriving as young adults!
Read more about Grown Unschoolers
This is what "individualizing" really looks like!
Could you use a little more help on this?
Here's a free PDF that might help: A Realistic Approach to Structure
Get on the Waiting List for the Creating Confidence Membership group - you may need more support from parents and some inexpensive coaching from Sue Patterson!
Get on the Waiting List for Creating Confidence Membership group
- you may need more support from parents and some inexpensive coaching from Sue Patterson!