I’d do it the same way again – and I am

My older three children are all grown up now, in their early twenties. They grew up with similar values to me, making similar lifestyle choices to my own, which surprised me. I think this is something I can pass on to other parents with confidence, because I wish someone had warned me about the extent to which we subconsciously influence our children.

Having said that, I’m very happy with my life and my choices – and they seem to be very happy with theirs too! So, having given it some deep thought I can say for sure that even if I’d have known how much of an influence I was going to be, I’d have done much the same thing anyway. This plan is still underway for me, and the others are as free to stay or go as they ever were.

There were other things I could have done, like trying to create artificial challenges for them when they were children, to spur them on to this, that or the other artificial goal. If they’d have seemed to need this, I’d have done it. But they didn’t. They seemed to need consistency, stability, access to things that interested them and space to figure out things for themselves.

I answered questions, every time – but as older children and teenagers they increasingly found their own answers, to their own satisfaction. I became increasingly a housekeeper, someone to bounce ideas off and process thinking with, and a taxi driver. It felt good at the time, and it feels good now. The best role model we can give our children is, I think, just to be our own authentic selves – the best version of that we can be! Anything else would seem false, and children do know the difference.

They’re all creative to some degree: the oldest has a business which no longer needs marketing and carries on by recommendations alone – something to be quite proud of, I think. The younger ones help with that and have their own plans underway. The actual, current children have up to four adults on hand most of the time, so it’s really good for them.

As a family, we are happy, productive, mostly amiable – and solvent. On balance, it seems like a successful outcome to me. And most crucially, the adult offspring agree. They want their younger siblings to enjoy the same autonomous education they had, and say they will educate their own children the same way.

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, Co-operating, Natural learning - how it works

2 responses to “I’d do it the same way again – and I am

  1. alliegreenhouse

    Good to hear that you feel that way. I reckon happiness is the best way to judge success. I wish I could know what is an artificial challenge really. Sometimes I curse the path we’re following and think its all silly hoop jumping and other times I think it’s really useful. Maybe another decade will make it clearer for me.

  2. Hi Allie, it’s been a process, shall we say, but I’ve finally come to terms – with a lot of help and persuasion from the kids themselves! – with the amount of influence I obviously had on them when I didn’t want to influence them at all. They’ve worked hard to convince me it’s a good thing, but I’ve still worried that I accidentally limited their choices somehow. (They see this as me being egotistical and insulting their integrity though! So I’ve shut up about it now.)

    By artificial goals I was thinking of parents who try to spur their children on to doing and achieving things even they themselves (the parents) don’t really care about, but think they should because everyone else seems to. Still trying to make sense of my own childhood I think đŸ˜‰

    Yep, hoping for more clarity here too a decade on! But so far, it’s all good.

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