Still Looking…

So my last post was a rant about finding myself lost in my search for online Asperger communities – an unschooler in a world of school people. The same thing is happening with respect to parenting.

I’m looking for strategies to help my children. I understand that therapy will help them and me with it, but I am eager to learn all I can. Son has been having some really major meltdowns lately, more intense than ever, and I’m sort of feeling my way through them, trying different strategies each time and noting what seems to help and what makes things worse. I could really use some good ideas. So off I went in search of information.

Once again I’m a stranger in a strange land. The land of mainstream parenting. The autism boards are full of tips on how to apply punishments (they call them “consequences”, as if that somehow makes it different) and how to use the child’s “special interest” as a tool to manipulate behaviour. It’s basically “mainstream parenting Lite” where you don’t go overboard with the threats, scolding, etc. but you definitely manipulate your child. That is not an approach I would ever feel good about. All my experience as a gentle parent tells me that people tend to resort to the usual stuff rather than think outside the box, so I’m quite certain that there are alternatives out there. If nothing else, my own boy is quite immune to the power of rewards anyways. He’s turned down some pretty hefty carrots when he feels he is right about something.

I’ve put out messages on various unschooling and gentle parenting boards, but I’m not getting much in the way of replies. I know there are people in real life I can talk to; I do and I will, but what I really wanted was an online community. Perhaps I’ll end up having to start my own!

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Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Still Looking…

  1. You might find support on the Yahoo Group – PositiveParenting-Discipline
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveParenting-Discipline

    There are families there of all kinds but all are committed to being non-punative in their interactions with their kids (and everyone else, too). From what I’ve read in your blog, I think it might be a good fit for you =)

  2. Marilyn

    Hi Mariah,

    I’ve been greatly and quietly enjoying your blog since you moved away from Hula Hoot and our encounters there. Though I’ve generally just found myself too busy or with my hands literally too full to reply to a post (We have a little boy now too) I’ve been inspired, felt affirmation of my own beliefs and enjoyed following your writing. This post has really resonated strongly for me for many reasons. I don’t know if you remember but our oldest N (who used to like playing with your daughter) has issues relating to her stroke damage and a lot of it looks very much like asp. We tried occupational therapy a few years a go and it was so difficult (read impossible) to find someone to work with that was respectful to her. After two therapists I stopped trying. For physical therapy it was okay but still so disrespectful (albeit unconsciously) but inevitably they would do behaviourist things at the same time and it was so frustrating.
    I’ve found it more useful to spend more time working on my parenting than finding outside support. FInding an outside group for me has been great but I have only found it through similar unschooling/parenting approach mamas.
    I read a quote once that said something along the lines of “a diagnosis is only as good as it is useful.” My kids are who they are and how they are ad having a “diagnosis” for a particular set of characteristics only gives me another handle on how to think about them. I often find myself slipping into thoughts that there is something “wrong” or not normal causing the behaviors we deal with but I am trying to come to terms with that whatever the cause was this is her/our normal and I need to work with that reality.
    I like Naomi Aldort’s approach to living and learning. This year I was able to use some SD special ed funds to do some phone sessions with her and it is helping me recognize some of the misconceived thoughts that I have running behind a lot of my feelings/ actions/ reactions to what we deal with. It all involves peeling my onion layers and working on me. I already knew I can only change myself but it would sure be handy if I could easily influence some of the behaviours we have around here (but I know that doing things that way are not what I want for her in the long run). It’s such a long feeling journey.

    Anyhow, I’m not much of a writer (and I’m painfully shy about putting myself out here) and that was my long way of saying “I hear you”. And if you do start up or find that community let me know because I’d love to find that too!

    Take care and hugs to you.

    Marilyn (Mellifluousmama)

  3. FreeLearners

    Marilyn, thank you. I’m so very touched by your message of support. I’m slowly sorting through my thoughts and finding myself coming to a place very much as you’ve described. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom!

  4. Pingback: Finding our Path « FreeLearning

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