Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Something Joyce wrote about controlling kids...

**She said that she thinks this happens in most families at one time or another and that it’s either nipped in the bud quickly or it’s allowed to grow like in her case.**

I was leading up to something in reply to this but jumped up to the next point.

Some parents can use authoritarian parenting and their kids obey. Most assume it's because the parents have some special trick. Or assume their own kids are defective unlike the authoritarian parents' kids.

But whole humans don't like being told what to do. It just isn't in most of our natures. So when we see obedient children it's

1) part of their particular personality, which counters what I just said. ;-) But for some few children, it's just how they were born and not something the parents did (other than supply the genes ;-) It's not transferable through authoritarian parenting! (Some of us whole people are easy going and may even like others to make decisions. But that's not the same as liking someone else to assume control.)

2) part of how they relate to authority. It could be they're fearful (naturally or because of how they've been raised) and feel comfortable having someone else set the boundaries. Or rules feel like love to them.

3) they're good at acting. Most have probably known kids who are obedient around their parents and horrors behind their backs.

4) something else their parents are doing that counteracts the damages from authoritarian parenting. If kids feel like they're loved for who they are despite the rules and punishments, they're likely to react to rules differently than children who feel the punishments and corrections mean their parents don't like who they are and want to change them.

No matter how much a parent feels their actions are out of love, if the child isn't perceiving it that way, then the parent's intentions mean nothing. No matter how much we say we mean something different, if the child is feeling something different from our actions, the actions override the intent.

.....More from Joyce here

Friday, May 29, 2009

How kids in school really feel

i fucking hate school it feels like prison but we didn't do anything fucking wrong ugggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i hate being forced to come here i hate being forced to do work i hate being forced to play football or soccer or baseball its all so fucking stupid life should be about fun not fucking learning a bunch of shit we'll never fucking use and then getting yelled at when its to stupid to remember and we fail a test or quiz. theres no point how many times in you life are you gonna be walking down the street and someones gonna walk up to you and start asking you questions about world war 2 and you'll have too sit there and answer them and if you get one wrong you get graded down 0 no not even once cause adults have freedom of speech but do kids not really they sit here teaching us that this country was founded on freedom you know what i say to that LIKE HELL IT IS if a kid wants to have sex its wrong even if you a as careful as can be if a kid want to drink beer its illegal if a kid wants to smoke its illegal but the thing that this stupid society doesn't fucking get is that the more they say no no no the kids or teens just say well fuck you ill go behinds your back cause if you can do it i should be able to too its just stupid this country was founded on freedom like i said before yet for almost 200 years we owned blacks they were property to people, same with woman but both f them had there day to free themselves from the hard ships men put upon them they had there day now when the fuck will parents stat to understand that. No i am not for smoking and drinking and you should all know i would never do any of that i just thought id make a point.


p.s. Sorry about all the spelling and grammar errors but it just proves what i learn in this stupid place.

and my reply...

I love your point! Minus spelling and grammar, it's very well thought! This is why I don't put my kids in school. Kids are the ultimate minorities! They only have the rights that parents extend to them, yet, here they are, when they reach teen years, capable of reproducing... HOW DOES THAT WORK?!!!! They don't get any say whatsoever, but yet could pop out a baby today if they chose to.

You'd like The Teenage Liberation Handbook, How To Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education, by Grace Llewellyn. I haven't mentioned it before now because I think your dad would really hate me for putting these ideas in your head, but damn it, they are already there, cuz you are a smart thinking individual!

and then the next reply...

i really would like to read that cause your right i do really think about it all already and i love hearing other peoples views that are similar to my own tis why i like talking to you about this subject.

.... I told Cyle I'd post a recent picture of him with this school rant, which he gave me permission to put up, even though he hesitated because of the grammar and spelling stuff.

Monday, May 11, 2009

road kill and caring


That photo was carefully and lovingly edited by my daughter!

The other day we were talking in the car about road kill, and Chamille said that she doesn't care as much about animals that have died along side the road. I asked her what she meant by that. She said that seeing road kill always caused sadness, because of the loss of life, and that sometimes it would just eat her up inside with all that sadness.

She was telling me that she's found a way to not let it bother her so deeply and was concerned that this might be a bad thing. So we talked about the inevitability of things that happen in life, that animals die, people die, sadness and bad things do happen in life. That if we let it kill us inside, then we can't be really truly useful people to help make life better for ourselves and those around us.

We talked a great deal about this. Chamille cares so deeply for all life and the suffering of others and how unnecessary it all is that humans do harm to others. I was overwhelmed with her amazing insight on how to keep herself from feeling overwhelmed by life and what it throws at us! It is such a fine balance to care so deeply for others and life, and to have that deep caring and not get crushed by it! This beautiful daughter of mine simply amazes me all the time!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

what to do now?

After our exhausting week, I'm left wondering what's next for us!

It seems to me that this isn't going to be the last time a kid shows up at our house needing love and help and protection. It's heart breaking, and at the same time heart opening. Chamille seems to attract broken hearted kids, kids with problems, kids that need help. I know why. Chamille is a secret keeper, a person with happiness in her heart, a person that is soft and gentle and kind, a person that will listen and give good advice.

I'm a little of the same, although, I've never really been a secret keeper, Chamille is really showing me how to do that better.

So, lately, I've spent a lot of time online researching the current thoughts on teen behavior. Things that parents are reading and trying to implement because of their troubled teens. It's extremely discouraging! Website after terrible website is giving really bad information to parents with troubled teens.

It's all about control and manipulation, fixing the child, finding ways to get the child to do what you want them to do, and when they don't, punish them, take away their things, their friends, their lives, make them go to counseling, and if all else fails send them away to boot camp or boarding school. Unless of course your child has become a run away, then the advice is to try to be more communicative. It's so infuriating, I want to run down the street yelling loudly "BE NICE TO YOUR KIDS!"

It's really that simple and so hard for parents to grasp! Make your child's life wonderful and sweet and fun and full of joy, be their partner in life, help them get the things they want out of life. If parents could get this from the beginning, and be kind and gentle and loving and open and honest about communicating with their kids then perhaps kids wouldn't need to run. How do parents get to this point with their kids? Why does the burden end on the shoulders of the kids? Parents need to BE different with their kids.

The more I read, the more frustrated I am by this culture of meanness that we live in. As a culture, we are really mean to kids, especially teenagers. These "broken" kids end up at our house and I see beautiful people, where their parents see kids that they may love, but are not measuring up. Why why why? That is such a horrible place for kids to live in the hearts of their parents, to never measure up to perceived expectations. More thoughts on this here from someone else who really "gets" it!

I want to rescue them all, all the broken hearted kids and love them up and show them how special and wonderful they are.

Here is the letter that Chamille wrote to the mother of her friend that ran away after we received this lovely email, which was sent to me and the parent of another kid that had been involved...

Thank you for your thoughtful words and efforts yesterday with ***. I am sure all of you can relate to the struggles of balancing limits and freedoms with our teenagers. *** is very sorry for the turmoil and hurt she caused, I am happy she is home and we are talking. Please share with your kids that as a result of ***'s actions she will be off line (email, text & IM) for a while. I hope during this time we gain a greater understanding and appreciation for each other. Attached are some things that come to mind with what I know of my daughter and some of her strengths and struggles. One of which includes striking a balance between being a unique individual vs. rejecting social norms and average people. I am sharing this with you incase you can relate, I firmly believe we grow from every challenge we are faced with. I also want to return the offer that if any of you need/want someone to talk with I am hear and nothing shocks.
thanks again,
God Bless

(It's long and you may need tissues, I did! The woman's reply follows.)

I dont understand why you're doing all of this, your making all the mistakes a parent could make and you are trying to find someone to blame besides yourself and I'm the blame, I've been through this before, your just like Emilys dad george except he never told me what a horrible person I am to my face.
It really hurt, hearing what you said to me about *** running away, sure I can understand that your in pain about it, but cant you see that aly was in pain too? why else would she have run away?
kids dont just run away for no reason.
I dont do drugs either and I'd very much like you not to believe so, *** probably looked "stoned" to you cause she was CRYING.
because she is SAD. do you get that shes SAD?
do you even CARE?
because it really really seems like you dont care about her happiness at all.
the only reason I helped her was because she was either going to be safe with me or she was gonna go downtown where she'd be away from everyone.
she was SAFE WITH ME!
I was with her almost ALL day!
I only lied cause I wanted her to be able to trust me!
I didnt want her to run away from me too.
I really dont want her to run away, I didnt want her to run away in the first place. I tried really hard to convince her not too.
but I couldnt do that.
I cried for hours for her.
I dont want her to end up having to sell herself out with sex for food, I dont want her to be homeless.
I didnt want her to get raped, I didnt want her to be unsafe.
thats why I was with her, but you dont think I'm safe.
which I dont understand why.
Is it because of the way I look?
do you really think I'm that bad? what have I done to make you think I'm so horrible?
Up until now I dont think I've done anything wrong or to make you think badly of me.
and another thing, you dont get *** at all.
you really dont.
and I really wish you did so you could help her.
she doesnt need to go see special docters, she doesnt need to be changed.
you need to learn to accept her for who she is.
inside and out.
just because she dresses out of the "Norm" whatever the "norm" is, doesnt mean shes going to hate everyone, it doesnt mean shes gonna do drugs and have sex.
*** is one of the most anti drug and sex person I have ever met.
and I respect that about her alot.
*** is very very very smart...
and I wish you could see just how wonderful she is, and how smart she is and how kind and truthful she is, and can be. if only you would accept her, I'm sure she could trust you.
I honestly dont know what I could possibly say to make you believe how good of a person *** really truly is.
I think your too sucked into what your church has to say rather then what your daughter does, and that makes me sad.
I've cried so much for ***.
and another thing.
about what you said to me.
"Did *** tell you she has an abusive home? do you think its fair to help a child from a good home to run away?"
I think that its not fair, but shes obiviously unhappy where she is otherwise she wouldnt be running away from home, right?
nobody would run away from home to go do drugs.
thats just stupid.
and when you said it was tourter for you because of her running away.
do you think it wasnt hard for *** too?
do you think she wasnt in pain too?
I have never seen someone so sad and broken before.
I have never had someone hold onto me like that before.
and cry like she did.
I was only trying to help *** you know?
I just want her to be happy, and I would do almost anything to help her be happy. I really truly would..
I just wish you could understand that I'm not a bad person.
and another thing,
I saw this coming from the start.
I knew you hated me, I always knew it.
I could tell that you did..
most parents do you know?
they always believe alot of stuff thats untrue, like me being a bisexual child molester out to get people...
when I was only 13.
is it even possible for someone that young to do that?
It hurts so much I can barely hold myself together anymore. please think about what I said even though you probably will take everything the wrong way, I'm sorry I lied to you. I know you were worried, but you shouldnt have done what you did.
you should have given her more freedom and trusted that she would do the right thing.
you could search our whole house if you want, you will not find any drugs. I'll even give you pee tests for the rest of my life if I need to.
I dont do drugs, never have and never will.
I could go on and on about alot of things but I think I'm done for now..
I'm sorry.
I dont care how stupid this message sounds and how immature it is or anything, I'm a kid what can you expect?


Camille & Jenny,
First let me say that I do not hate either of you or think Chamille is a 'horrible person' as she says. Additionally I am not looking to blame anyone, Chamelle included, for *** running away. I know that you both care for *** and I trust that your intentions are in the right place. I have thoroughly read both of your emails and they will weigh on my heart. I hope you understand that right now I am unable to engage either of you in a discussion along these lines as my first priority is ***. Regardless of your beliefs I too love ***, appreciate her and know her as only a mother can. I am doing everything I can do to help her.

Shocking! A one paragraph note sent to both my daughter and myself after Chamille poured her heart out and I wrote a nice and detailed, full of good information, yet loving email.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Running away

Wow, what a day yesterday! A friend of Chamille's decided to run away from home. Chamille has been talking her friend out of it for a little over a week now. The problem is, that the friend decided to go ahead with her plan anyway. Her plan was dangerous and the only person she was informing was Chamille, whom she specifically asked to not inform me.

That must have been incredibly difficult for Chamille, because she generally shares everything with me, especially something big like this. Chamille offered a safe haven for her friend, because she recognized that the alternative was a really bad idea and she really cares about this friend and her safety. So, yesterday, she harbored a friend without me knowing. She let her in through a bedroom window early in the morning and let her drop off stuff and hang out for a while, then her friend left for the day. Chamille met up with her later to check on her and make sure she was safe and had food and to offer moral support.

I'm so proud of Chamille and how she handled a very difficult situation. It spiraled out of control, as these things do tend to do when you have a frantic parent involved looking for their kid. When this kid found out that I knew, she ran and became unfindable and discontinued contact with Chamille. It was very scary for all of us.

The mother of this child handled everything the wrong way and although it is understandable to not always do the right thing in a stressful situation, she really showed her true colors in all of this. Once again, Chamille was right about this person. She kept telling me, and I kept giving this mom the benefit of the doubt, thinking that surely she isn't as bad as Chamille says. It's not as if she's physically abusive, it's more that she's really extremely judgemental and controlling and really doesn't listen to her daughter at all, but she talks different than she acts.

We've become the scape goat here, but the girl is home and safe and Chamille and I have learned a lot together about helping others. In hindsight, I wish that I would've stood up to this woman more on behalf of Chamille and her friend, but not really knowing the full story, it was hard to say much. She will believe what she will believe. Her daughter may run away again if she doesn't change the way she deals with her child. Statistics show that kids will run farther and longer each time they do it. Chances are that next time she won't tell Chamille and that she won't be safe when she goes away. Right now, we are the bad guys because the mother is unwilling to place any blame on herself. Chamille has been accused of being a liar, encouraging her friend to rebel and break rules and to run away, and basically being the whole reason this kid ran away and that otherwise she would be happily and safely at home, and worst of all, she was accused of doing drugs with this friend and giving her drugs.

Despite everything that happened, I'm really proud of Chamille! She tried very hard to prevent all of it. She tried to reason with her friend, encouraged her to talk to her mother, encouraged her to not run away, and to just follow her mom's stupid rules, to get along and get through this really hard time that she's dealing with. How really difficult it must have been for her to not tell me, and to not tell me the full truth when it all came down. She wanted so much to do the right thing and in a situation like this, it's really hard to know what the "right" thing to do is. Her friend doesn't trust anybody, and Chamille showed her without a doubt that she is someone to be trusted. You can't dislike that! She is completely trustworthy, even in times of turmoil and at a sacrifice to herself.

We discussed our "don't ask don't tell" policy, and in a circumstance like this one, it's better to tell me if I ask outright. I told her that it would've come down on me instead of her if she had told me, and that is exactly as it should be. She doesn't need to be the "bad" guy, I can do that for her and protect her from that as much as possible. All in all, I think Chamille did a good thing for her friend. She really truly is a good person who really tries very hard to do what is right in all situations and I love that about my daughter and I wouldn't change that for the world!