The Free Range Helicopter Parent

posted in: Uncategorized | 19

Parenting. Everyone is doing it wrong.

It really doesn’t matter what you do, someone is going to cheer you on and someone else will be sitting there saying “tsk tsk tsk”

I was raised in an authoritarian home. It didn’t work for me, as the child, and I didn’t want to be that type of parent, but I didn’t know any other way. Over the years I have done my best to become a more peaceful parent. And of course, I am still working. There are many aspects to my parenting style, and I say my, because Joe does parent a little differently, as I think is the case in most homes, maybe not. Who knows. He’s a dad, he does dad things.

I remember setting up a crib for Jacob. It was Noah’s Ark theme. It was adorable. He slept in it twice. It was perfectly normal for him to sleep with us. I nursed him till he self weaned right around his first birthday. I did the same with all my other babies. I remember when Jacob was around 4 and Quinten was 2 they were fighting over a Thomas train. Jacob hit Quinten and went and stood in the corner on his own. I wondered, how am I going to discipline him? I thought discipline was punishment.

I think I’m a laid back parent about most things. I allow open conversation. If I make a request, and a child does not agree, they are free to express why. Their thoughts and feelings considered. I feel my children have quite a bit of freedom, more than most of their peers.

But yet, some will say we are controlling. Our children are brainwashed. Taught our beliefs and forced to follow our rules. Comments that we restrict their internet and phone use, social life etc. I think most parents do control a lot of their child’s life. From the meals the family eats to the clothing the child wears to friends and hobbies. Most of the parents I know dictate some or all of those aspects.

I would say about 30% of people ask me what if your kids want to go to public school would you let them?  I like to ask them if your child asked would you homeschool them?  Of course most won’t but they don’t see their choice to send their children to school as a restriction of free choice only the decision of homeschool is.  The irony is is that my children have far more choice over their education than just about everyone else we know personally. Although, we do have some unschooling friends who can relate to us. I always feel better when talking to people who understand me.

I know adult teenagers who still have curfew, still have to ask parents permission to date, use internet at home,etc. Some parents enforce dress codes, some don’t. Some parents give their children strict schedules.  We tried to charge chart schedules and it doesn’t work for our family. Some parents  force their children to attend church. Some parents teach several religious ideologies. Some forbid any religious instruction. Some find  that teaching religious ideology is brainwashing and at times, abusive.

There are some that think they have the authority to change how other people parent.  Some say if the parenting has a negative effect on a child we should intervene. Well what about “spoiled brats”? We all know a few.  Should we do something with those kids parents? Some critics say Homeschooling is fine as long as your child is up to the standard. What about public school kids who are failing? Do we charge the parents for not giving their child a proper education?

We all have our own paths. We all teach our children things we find to be important. Some people have religious political or philosophical ideas that others think are crazy, or even dangerous. If you haven’t seen it, find a vaccine or circumcision thread on FB. Or ask about dating tips for your teen. Or attend a political rally. There’s lots of parents doing things wrong.

So who gets to decide what’s right or wrong? Do we get a say in how another parent raises their child?

Are we trying to create a society of clones? Do we embrace individualism? Parenting 11 children sounds intimidating even to me. I was looking over one of our readers pages, and saw a photo of her 13 children and thought, wow, that’s a lot of people. I know it looks crazy from the outside. But I don’t look at it as a group. We aren’t herding cats. (Because that’s an accurate description if you were to try) we treat each child as an individual. We parent them differently. So even in our own family there is little conformity. How can you expect an entire society to conform? You can’t, unless you are raising a society of sheeple.

Unschooling is an aspect of parenting. And John Holt describes it perfectly. ” unschooling is allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.” This isn’t just in regards to education, this applies to all aspects of their life.

 

19 Responses

  1. Michelle

    I love many aspects of this post. It’s easy for some to pass judgements raising kids. Each child is different, I think at times there are those that forget that.

  2. Richelle

    Wonderful way of putting it. I was just thinking the same thing. Who is to say what is the proper way or right way. If and when we have our child we will be home schooling. I have been around the public education field enough to know that would not fit our family.

  3. Adrian

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts! A child who has more control over things has some advantages in life that no one else will have. Each style has its attractions, but some styles don’t work for some kids and some won’t work for some parents. Each of us needs to find our own way and get the heck out of the way of others. If what we see makes us worried about possible abuse, we should get to know the situation better before making any judgment calls.

  4. Dr3@MGYRL360

    I agree on all of it. As a homeschooling mom of a happy and successful polygynous family, people say lots of things. We have one child who is recently out of public school and they let her get to 2nd grade without being able to read. I don’t know what the standard is in public school anymore, but the kids in this household can read by 6 or 7 — and that’s LATE for this household. Most of the kids were reading by age 5, and the circle of people we involve ourselves with, that’s the standard for us. So this child that’s recently coming out of public school is BEHIND for us.
    I don’t listen to outsiders about children who are healthy, happy, smart and good.

  5. Su

    Love this post.You keep on doing what your heart tells you!This brought back many memories raising my daughter. My motto was, “Use your better judgement.” When she wanted to do something and I questioned the idea. She’s grown into a wonderful human being. She learned from her adventures. I had naysayers too. There’s always “those” people who point fingers outward when their own home leaves much to be desired.

  6. Sue

    I am praying for you! With His help, may you rise above the judgment and opinions of others, of which you have been so focused on.

    And. With all due respect, you cannot compare the parental failure in raising spoiled brats, to be on the same level as, child neglect, or child abuse. That is silly. Rise up, mama bear! You need not defend yourself, or busy yourself, with the judgement or opinions of others – it doesnt portray you in the right light. But having been following you for so long, I see past that. You are SO blessed, best to focus on those great gifts from the Lord our god in heaven.

    God bless the Naugler family!

  7. Mary

    Very thought provoking. I think that needs to be put in the news paper that is lays bashing you guys before they even know all the facts…very well written as far as I can see.

  8. Jackie Dupree

    I like the comment “peaceful parent”. I taught school for over 33 years. I loved the students and tried to teach them as though they were family with me and their classmates. Today I am 72 and they still stop to see me and on FB they friend me and tell me they loved my class and me and still love me. I tried as often as I could to let them use their judgement, pick their on topics for assignments. I tried to let them be as unique and an individual. I help homeschool my grandson. He has a touch of Aspergers. You would never know it but we realize he is his own individual. We do every aspect of schooling that fits him and teaches him to think, make decisions and choices. Nicole continue to be a peaceful parent. Children learn more sometimes by what you do than what you say. If they have the Lord in their life and you tell them to think about a situation they will “usually” make the right decision. You and yours are in my prayers. Jackie Dupree

  9. Wanda

    You really need to get off of social media! Your children should not know what’s going on with you online. That’s absolutely the fault of you and your husband! Think about every wasted minute spent online could be a minute spent with your kids. Go together as a family and get them counseling. Start new, start living for them!

  10. BlessedLittleHomestead

    Yeah. I know. I spelled it that way for my friend Chopper Dan. I changed it. Crisis over.

  11. Ben

    If nosy people would mind their own business, we’d all be better off. This generation is full of programmed narks, and they will rat on anyone without knowing the facts. Many families have been separated (some permanently separated) because some gossiping tongue went flipping to the cops or to Child Protective Services about something they knew absolutely nothing about.

  12. BlessedLittleHomestead

    Why should I have to leave social media and why can’t my children know what’s going on in our life? Wasted time? Who are you to decide what is a waste of time and what is not? I think tv is a waste of time. I think sitting in bars is a waste of time. Certainly not going to go around telling people that.

    We have a good life. But you know what’s wrong with it? The few idiots who cause trouble. That’s who needs to be removed.

  13. Rita Brooks

    Wanda, who are you to tell someone to get off social media? Who are you to tell someone what to do with THEIR children? Start new, start living your own life for yourself. What the Nauglers do is not your concern, PERIOD.

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