Da Ladies #2 - Unschooling and Parental Judgment
🗓️ Recorded July 24th, 2023. Wigston UK
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About this Episode
Join us for an in-depth conversation on the complexities of unschooling and the role of parental judgment, featuring Cecilie Conrad, Carla Martinez, Sarah Beale, and Luna Maj.
We delve into real-life scenarios like encouraging good oral health without coercion and explore the delicate balance between setting boundaries and allowing freedom.
Our discussion also tackles the challenges of parenting in public, managing judgment from other parents, and navigating difficult conversations with our children.
We'll examine the impact of social expectations, accountability, and self-awareness in unschooling and discuss how to make value-based decisions free from judgment.
Tune in for a transformative conversation that will reshape your approach to parenting within the unschooling realm.
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Luna Maj Vestergaard:
Watch the full interview on YouTube
0:00:11 - Cecilie Conrad
Welcome to the Ladies Fixing the World. I am Cecilia Conrad. Together with three of my girlfriends, I've started this podcast where we talk all things unschooling, and I just love to talk to Carla Martinez from Tenerife and Sarah Beale from Australia and Luna Mai from Copenhagen-Benmark. So please join the conversation, listen to the podcast and let us know what you think. Welcome.
0:00:36 - Sarah Beale
Our conversation started. I think it's something like how deep does this stuff go? Is there ever an end to questions like I would never let my kid, you know? And maybe when we had toddlers, or even before we had children, we imagined things like I would never let my child eat on the sofa or in the bedroom, I would never give my child chocolate to keep them awake so that they can have a nap. When we get home, Do a U-turn on a road trip to get to the other side of the motorway, to the McDonald's, to get the caramel frappuccino that I promised them the day before. That was yesterday.
And I guess the glue that holds this conversation is around judgment, self-judgment, and I see the reflections of judgment as being a foundational piece to unschooling living, because even though this is a long introduction, sorry even though it's changed, even though the stuff that we're going to encounter on the surface looks different, like as kids get older, it seems like the things we're questioning get more weighty. But that foundation around judgment, around having a framework through which to question everything, that is important, work and that's like the key piece that doesn't change. I think, Luna, you said Still asking myself these questions.
How am I going to respond if my child says, oh, I want to try cigarettes, like that hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure that will happen? How are we going to respond if we have a teenager who says, oh, I want my boyfriend or girlfriend to sleep over? We haven't had that conversation, we're not there yet, but I have done this work where my kids said stuff like and I eat in the bedroom, and it's the same kind of those. You know who are we, what makes us tick as parents? How are we going to have conversations with our kids about what's important? What is important?
0:03:09 - Cecilie Conrad
I think so. My oldest child is 24 now and as I'm 48, I've been a mother for half of my life and I think we just talked about this morning how it's important to try to remember how it was before, before we became unschoolers, how life, what perspective we had. Because it's so easy to agree between the four of us, we can be very much in agreement, but sometimes the things we say then it ends up being a discussion of the good old toothbrush question which will be misunderstood and in a way I'm trying just because I could come up with a few things. I would still say that's a no go, we're not going there. But maybe it would be more interesting to try to think back. Which ones did I have before or in the beginning? Where were my? I'm never doing that and when did they change? But I'm just struggling. I can't really remember. It's a very long time ago.
0:04:12 - Carla Martinez
I know that. Yeah, kali, I know before I had kids I always thought the kids would will do what I say yeah, it's like yeah, because I'll be the mother, and then you have kids, as you say. And then I remember having conversations with someone in my job okay, at university that has kids also, more or less the same time, and about the toothbrushing, because I couldn't make my kids clean his teeth. So one day I asked him, like how do you do that to make your kid clean her teeth? And he said in English I think obligar, like oblige, oblige, yeah, it's fine, the word is okay.
0:05:21 - Cecilie Conrad
I don't get it.
0:05:22 - Sarah Beale
Yeah, so obligate. The translate would be obligate, but I think in English, yeah, obligate, there would be some sort of coercion. Yeah, yeah, he maybe offered her a reward for brushing her teeth or something.
0:05:39 - Carla Martinez
No, it's only the word like obligate. I don't know in English, okay, but he, but I was. My question was like but how? I mean there is a point I can tell him you have to. But then the next point is physical. So this is not a line for me.
So it's like, and he says one day, like because I make her be in her room. And I was like, but how? Because my kid, when I go with him into his room, I go out and he comes with me and I can't close the door. If I wanted to close the door, and he's like, this is not possible with my kid, maybe not? And he said, no, my daughter, she's sit in the bed and stay there. Yeah, that's not my kid, he's like to me. And then I can't.
So then it's like, okay, I don't know if it's the conversation like, okay, what are you gonna do if you want your kid to make something? So then it's like you make, like this, like no, I can't do that, I'm not going to do that. So you have like kind of surrender, I think, or like so now what? Right? And it starts with the brushing the teeth. How is it Clean the teeth? And two years old I was. I have my like, very like, oh my God, I can't do it and I surrender and I try other things, I don't know, but that was a really like a hard point. I remember that.
0:07:26 - Cecilie Conrad
Maybe the toothbrush is not that irrelevant anyway, because it might be one of the first ones where we realize there's something wrong with the. I would never idea.
0:07:38 - Sarah Beale
There must be a reason. The toothbrushing comes up, comes up all the time. Because we do say like, why are people so obsessed with toothbrushing? Why is this the thing that they ask?
But you're right, it's like when, when your child starts to realize that they're separate from you, and that's kind of somewhere between, like, say, one and two, they realize they can walk in a different place to you. They don't have to stand next to you, they're not attached to you physically, they're starting to, they're weaning, they're eating more food. Maybe they roll away from you in the middle of the night that it needs your body in the same way. Then they're like, oh, what else can I do? I can. I can refuse to brush my teeth, I can refuse to go to sleep, I can refuse to eat the vegetables that mum's put on my bowl.
I can say words that get a reaction from people Like it's the. It's like, oh, I'm testing and. And some parents then go oh, my child's testing me and I need to show them who's boss. And I can see that that does work for some kids and other kids and and maybe some of us have got one or two of these kids in our family that they don't play that game. They're like, no, I'm in charge of my own body. And then we've got to find other ways to navigate life, which and like you, carla, for me a lot of that has been finding the space that's in surrendering, which people find very challenging because they think that you have to have a fight for everything. Yeah.
0:09:17 - Carla Martinez
One day this is not too long, like this month, because, yeah, we have like here to go to the dentist and everything that now we are in, like where I was born, in Tenerife. Okay, so, yeah, my daughter has a lot of how do you say holes when you have teeth. Yeah, yeah, so, seeing, if you don't clean your teeth, you will get more of this. Yeah, so then it's like okay, one day I say, like you are going to pay the dentist, greta, to my daughter, if you don't clean your teeth, you will pay the dentist. So then Roberto, my other son, say this is like no, it's not a black male, is a male other way, like a treat, yeah, yeah. And I say no, it's like if you want to have a good teeth, you take care of them. If you don't take care of them, I don't take care of them. I don't know if this is right or wrong. This is what happened.
0:10:41 - Cecilie Conrad
Well, it's fair enough point, but the thing is now we're walking right into that red zone of where I know a lot of people would think that we're just being irresponsible. Yeah.
0:10:54 - Carla Martinez
I know, but this is what I say, this is my explanation for what I said, but I'm not going to let that happen. I don't, I don't know, and yeah. So then we are like you're everyday that I go clean your teeth, we help her, I clean your teeth and I clean her teeth because I don't want her to have, and every day we have these. I'm fine my husband is not that fine but so, but what happened then?
0:11:31 - Luna Maj
So you said, if, if you don't want to clean your teeth or you don't want to take care of them, or whatever, I don't want to pay the dentist. So what happened then after that?
0:11:45 - Carla Martinez
Then Roberto said that yeah, and then I explain, and then I don't know, we keep on talking because I always I'm very. How do you say like, say, speak the truth. And I say I don't want you Like speaking with you guys. It's like you understand that I don't want it and I say I am responsible of you because I'm your mother, I have to show you how to take care of you and how more or less the world, as I know the world works, and your body and the dentist at your teeth, and then they know they are different because she's very she, she has, it's very easy, has this thing in her teeth. But Roberto don't have, and maybe he he doesn't brush the teeth and he said but I don't have this, I'm okay. And sometimes I I talk to him like, please, like, if you clean your teeth, Greta will clean her teeth, so maybe we can make it together. He goes and clean her teeth, you know. So it's like, okay, we do it together because it's something good for our head.
0:13:05 - Cecilie Conrad
I don't know. But the core of this is the toothbrush always comes up and I've actually baffled. We even talk about it because we just said this morning we're so bored with the toothbrush. But I think I had the realization now that the reason one of the reasons might be the reason it comes up is because it's one of the first times we really feel real resistance in our children. That's very hard to come around and we feel very obliged to brush those teeth at least twice a day and we have the fight and if they have cavities we feel guilt. And this is really a dance.
And it's not about whether we spend a lot of time convincing the children to brush their teeth or not. It's about the quality of the conversation. How do we do it? Why do we do it? Do we talk to them or do we just force that thing inside them out? That's really what the difference is. It's not. I mean, we wouldn't. None of us would say we don't care about the teeth or about the toothbrush. It's just that we wouldn't use the force, as you said, not using physical force. I'm not doing it.
0:14:21 - Sarah Beale
Yeah, I think this because teeth are you can see people's teeth. It's on our face right, so it's a very visible, I don't know. It's almost like a metaphor in some way for other things that could be going on in our family and probably, like you, we have had big things in our families smack us in the face that have given us cause and cause to ask really big questions about whether something here happens and then something over here definitely happens because of it. And people say things all the time like if I don't make my child brush their teeth, they are going to get cavities. If I don't do this, this will happen. And people talk in these like absolute terms, and I mean I don't personally hold that belief and probably that's a.
There's a lot of reasons why we each hold the different beliefs that we hold, but some of the things that have happened in our, in our life have given us these reasons to go oh, is that really true? This thing that everybody says and I'm not actually experiencing that? That's definitely true. So how much time am I going to invest fighting with my child over something that may or may not be true which doesn't mean, by the way, that other people's experiences haven't happened to them. My children had whooping cough. This is one of the things that happened in our family, my children had whooping cough.
So then of course we're like, oh my God, is it because we didn't give them the vaccine for whooping cough? Like that's big. And when you've got a child who's very sick and you're like shit, should we be going to the hospital? We spent several weeks thinking about these things and we had to really dig very deeply into our values as parents. If this thing, if this decision is made, doesn't mean this thing's going to happen over here, really, we came to no.
There's actually often very little truth in these things that we think are absolute, and to me, the teeth brushing thing is that same conversation. If I don't force my child to brush their teeth, are they going to get cavities? And I know that that's true and I know people who've had cavities and the belief is that it's because they're in brush their teeth. I also know people whose children have had cavities and it's nothing to do with teeth brushing or diet, because they happen to have really bad genetics and everyone in their family has got terrible teeth. I was very lucky. This is strange.
My mum took medication when she was pregnant with me and because she had really bad asthma and they thought she was going to die, so in utero she had a quite heavy steroid use, so she didn't die. And when I had my adult teeth come through they were quite badly stained all over and ironically the dentist always thought it made my teeth really strong. And I never had any cavities until I was in my like, maybe 40. Like I had one cavity. I've had one cavity filled my whole life and it's not because my parents were obsessed about tooth brushing, it's not because we didn't eat sweets Very run of the meal childhood.
So I don't have the personal experience that validates the belief, if you know what I mean. And I think that the heart of so many of these things that are issues for parents, they already hold a belief. Some of these beliefs are given to us from outside and then they start looking for evidence to support the belief and that causes them pain Because then they hold on to this idea. This is true, this is absolutely true. So when my two year old doesn't want to brush their teeth, I'm being taken to this place of having to have dental surgery for my 18 year old and they're going to hate me and they're going to say why didn't you make me brush my teeth, mum? And they're just too.
0:18:46 - Cecilie Conrad
But it's also fear, isn't it?
Yeah, absolutely, and I'm just all with these ideas about how the world works and what we're supposed to do and fear of failing. In a way, there's that. There's the fear of failing, doing it wrong, because we love our kids and we want to do our best parenting them, but there is also the fear of social judgment, like what would other people think. We have this beautiful example. When my now 11 year old son was I don't know four maybe, he liked to wear dresses and we didn't think a thing of it. It was just. You know, he has an older sister and when she grew out of some of her clothes, he liked them and put them on. And we didn't even have, we had personal clothes, but we also had a lot of shared clothes. You put something on. If it's clean, we're happy. It was not that important and he had a few dresses that he really liked wearing, and he also has this big blonde hair and he also has very long eyelashes and big brown eyes. Everyone, of course, would think he was a girl dress or not. Sometimes he would get a little annoyed with that and the only thing I told him about the dress situation was you know, if you're wearing a dress, it's not fair to be annoyed with people if they think you're a girl, just be. You know you're four years old, your hair is big, your eyelashes are long and you're wearing pink dress. This is what they will assume. So we had that life.
And then one day we had to go to my mother and lost birthday and we put on nice dress. We all had a shower and you know it was a nice situation. We had to dress up for it. He put on his nicest dress and that day my husband just couldn't have it. He was like I can't, how can I? My mother, what will she think? And her friends and at the restaurant. And so sometimes, even when we are really free and open-minded and not really caring about these boxes, sometimes the judgment or the idea of other people's judgment really come back at us. And we are social creatures and maybe one of the things we have to explore with our onion again of de-schooling is how can we handle our fear of other people's judgment? Can we dare do say, think something that will piss people off or annoy them or maybe hurt them? That's one of the risks we really do take by living this way. We can't I can't fake to believe in things I don't believe in.
0:21:45 - Sarah Beale
There it is and in the midst of that there's a misinterpretation, because it's very triggering for other people. If you appear to be moving through your life freely, without worrying too much what others think, that's very triggering for people. If people think that I don't make my kids brush their teeth, then they extrapolate that to I don't care, and it's different. Not caring what other people think is not the same as not caring for other people. It's different, I believe, and you can care deeply for other people, humanity, your community. You can care really a lot for them and not really care what they think of you.
0:22:35 - Cecilie Conrad
Yeah, yeah. But there is also this you know you can be the red cloth that the fact that you're not doing it is questioning whether it's worth doing or not. I think especially the homeschooling or home-based children don't even have to talk about unschooling, just the fact of not letting go of them. It can sometimes be really hard to even talk to people because all they need to do is to explain themselves and defend themselves, and I understand it, because it's painful to open that box and see, oh, I could have done something completely different and maybe I should have. And maybe you're 10 years down the road, maybe it's too late, maybe your kids are adults, maybe the window is closed.
And I find very often myself in a situation where if I say what I'm doing, if I say what I think, then it's just shut off, I can't, and there's no contact, which is another kind of social judgment that we have to live with. Sometimes people just turn their back, go away. And are we afraid of that anymore? About you, luna? Well, I'm afraid of what other people think ever.
0:24:09 - Luna Maj
Now I'm just sitting thinking that it's also like because it's kind of like the crossroads between because it's not all about fear, it's also about what Sarah was just saying caring. It's also the aspect of not needing to upset other people, like not needing to put other people in a place where they will feel bad about themselves or they will be upset, like it's a line, isn't it? To walk and to like, yeah, be free and speak your truth and all that. And I mean case in coin, not about toothbrushing, but about some other stuff that we've been talking about. So around diagnosis and things. And I mean it's interesting because I have quite a strong viewpoint on these things and I'm not saying all of it.
It's like on social media and stuff, I'm not always saying all of it and sometimes I read something and I get super annoyed or kind of pissed off and I'm what a load of crap. I mean sometimes some things to me they come across like that to me. It's like what a load of crap and I want to say something and I do it, but then I don't hit post because that's something I've learned over the years. I used to be, when I was younger, much younger, needing to always express and needing to always say it, and so I sort of learned that sometimes I only just actually just need to get it out of my own system, yeah, so. So it's not because I'm afraid what other people would think. It's like more like, do I actually need to say this? Do I actually need to go there right now? Maybe I do, sometimes I don't, and so it's also like, for me at least, like there's this balance in yeah.
0:26:22 - Cecilie Conrad
What about your self-judgment? That was actually maybe the more interesting element of this conversation. We still have areas where we would say I would never go there or I couldn't. I don't think I have personally.
0:26:38 - Luna Maj
No, no, really, because I've really learned that it's so depending on context and it's so depending on personality, and we're always moving, we're always evolving and yeah, so so no, actually, those words always are never. I mean, it's like I have stuff where I'd say, oh, I wouldn't do that. I just want to sort of leave out the never, because it's like where I am now, now I wouldn't do that. But I mean, am I in five years, 10? Am I thinking differently? Yeah, so yeah.
0:27:25 - Sarah Beale
There's this, a nuance, I guess, between judgment and like reflection or accountability, and I think that that term judgment to me, whenever I hear or imagine judgment, there's a weight to it. That's not, that's a heavy energy, and there's usually some shame attached, like if I'm judging somebody else. That goes beyond just having an opinion. It's like, oh, I think that the thing they've done has good or bad attached to it, and so if I'm thinking about myself, it's going to be the same, like if my and I have been through that for sure where something would bother me about somebody else, which was usually actually a finger pointing back at myself, and there was some shame attached.
Right, and I've done a lot of work on this myself and I and I wouldn't say I never do it but I think that there is a difference between looking at something like critically maybe it's something that you're doing, or one of your children are doing, or something that you want to change in your family or in your dynamic or in your own life and you can go oh, I don't, I'm not happy with that anymore. I actually want something different now and I'm going to move towards it. But there's no shame attached to it. I'm not saying that anything's bad or wrong or evil or undesirable. I'm just ready for something new and to me that's got a different energy and is much more helpful than judgment where there's shame, because I think that the judgment can be really paralyzing and often is linked to some kind of fear, and it feels much healthier to go oh, how about we think about doing something different? Now we're ready for a new, we're ready to open up a different kind of space, you know.
0:29:36 - Cecilie Conrad
We have a frozen, sarah. Oh, we do, and I have to say that again because you froze. Now you're free again.
0:29:48 - Sarah Beale
Oh, so Luna and I both at the same time, and I can't remember whether this was planned or organized, but both of us, I think have this idea that we'd like to increase our health and well-being and fitness.
So Luna started getting up in the morning and going for a run and around the same time I decided I was going to do a yoga and I did it three days in a row and then something interrupted it. So judgment this is just an example. Judgment would be I'm a terrible person. I can't stick to a routine. I'm like unfit and unhealthy and awful and I need someone to like you know, like it's just a heavy, whereas I'm able to go. That happened. Am I going to choose something else new? I don't know.
That remains to be seen but I feel literally no shame about deciding to do yoga and then forgetting that I decided that and then just going back to sleeping in and drinking more coffee. There's no weight there for me. There's no energy of self abuse or judgment, which doesn't, by the way, mean that I don't still think I should be healthier and maybe I could incorporate more exercise into my life, but not with any shame, not with any self-flagellation. I think that it's different. I don't know if I've expressed that very well. Do you know what I?
0:31:12 - Cecilie Conrad
mean, yeah, I think I hear it, but I'm just thinking we talk about judgment and self-judgment and in a way there's also a good judgment, having some values and being able to choose between options based on those values, judging one option better than the other. So maybe it's more about can we have good judgment and choose between options, strategies, situations based on values, without the shame thing? Can we? I'm not sure Could shame be useful If it's my values.
So last time we spoke we talked about how a lot of ideas about parenting and life in general is installed from energies not coming from within ourselves, from situations in our childhood, from little broachers we get at the doctor, from I don't know authorities trying to teach us how to live our lives, from being brought up in a school system where you're always measured against the curriculum, there's always some kind of standard and you have some percentage of perfection. We come from that. But it's not my standards, it's not my curriculum, it's not my broach, I didn't write it. So peeling off those layers is kind of a simple thing to do and all the shame that follows those layers. We don't need that because we didn't choose it. But what about the things we choose ourselves?
0:32:58 - Carla Martinez
I would like to share a story that is happening to me right now. I think it has to do with judgment, because now I am at my parents. We are not new at being together and with our style of educating and living, but still there are some things that, yeah, I think the worst thing, the worst. I mean the part where we have more different ways of doing it, because it's not this wrong or bad. But usually in my, when I live with my parents and I guess in most of the families, when you go it's time for lunch or dinner, everybody sits at the table and you eat. So, yeah, my kids, maybe they are with the phones or they eat and they just they live and they don't talk or they don't whatever, and it's more or less fine Because we are like us in our family. You learn that we are all day together so we don't have to be talking more during the lunch because we have been talking the whole day. Okay, and with my parents it's okay because we are here the whole day. So it's more or less okay, more or less. The phones in the table is still my mom, a bit like her, but they were fine. But now my nieces I said, right, my nieces, yes, yeah, they arrive, yeah, only without the parents, but they have more structure things and they have to eat some things that my kids don't eat. And my mom always is saying things, you know, even if she let us do our thing, but she has something to say, always like you have to look after this because she's not eating vegetables and you have something to look with this phone the whole day or all day, and yeah, yeah, yeah. But then now they came, my nieces and also they have to. They have some from the school when they have work to do homework. They have homework. Yeah, so then she has homework. So then it's like, you know, in my something behind my conscious thing, my unconscious, it was like thick, thick, like filling up with things.
And then I found myself myself going to my son that he's gaming on the computer like most of the day, like you need to do something. Yeah, because he, they, we come here and they wanted to do some activities like biking and climbing, but then Greta is going to everything because she's like that, but my son is not like that, and he went one day and then nothing else, now he don't want, and then. So I found myself like talking to him, but he has his answers and I couldn't fight. So I went to my husband because this happened before, not with them, but with me, like what I'm doing, like my job, all that. So I thought this is the same and I went to David and said I think I have a crisis on needing to fit, fit, need to fit it in. Yeah, yeah, I need to fit. I have a crisis on fit him because I recognize, like, like they are doing all this and I have this in my programming, even though, so, this is very something I wanted to share with you.
Because then, talking to David, before talking to him, I thought what if it's, instead of being here at my parents with my super school at Nises, I would be with you guys? How would I feel? And I was like I would be okay. Or if I was alone with my, with David and the kids, we will be fine, like yeah, okay, we propose some things, or what are we going to do? Yeah, but I wouldn't. I wouldn't feel this push from somewhere, like yeah. So I think that has to do with the judgment of the other and my own judgment, saying what are you doing? Because I was like what are we doing? My kids are doing nothing. But then, when I'm in that point, david always come and say everything is fine, like they are doing the and it's that, like you know, when you are in one side, the other one puts you like and say you're the thing you always say. They tell you all these things.
0:38:29 - Cecilie Conrad
They feed it back to you. But I think it's a very valid For me. It really resonates with me that story because I feel it still and I normally consider myself very, very well rooted in my unschooling lifestyle and my trust in the process and joy with the freedom we all have. But then sometimes if I hang around someone with more structure or where the kids accomplish things or I mean sometimes I look at it, I'm like maybe they should study something or maybe it would be better if I maybe didn't exactly push but at least had more conversations about. I know how this feels, that you share this.
If I'm deeply inside a situation where people live in a different way and it's people I love, because otherwise obviously I wouldn't spend time with them then I get kind of uncomfortable for a while with what we're doing and I talk to the kids mostly about it. They just tell them now I'm uncomfortable, please help me. And then they say mom, just breathe and have a cup of coffee, it's okay, and make a cake. They always take the chance to say make a cake, then it'll be all good.
0:40:05 - Sarah Beale
Yeah, some of these reflections, though, can they can be really helpful because, well, first of all, you have an opportunity to dig more deeply into your. What are your values or what are your desires as a family. So it's a little bit like checking yourself, like, okay, are we still good? Are we still good where we are?
Yes we are, or and this comes up a lot in the unschooling world I'm going to say something controversial. Sometimes it's not okay. Sometimes, actually, there is something else required. Maybe there is not in your example, carla, but I'm saying this is this, is a, this can be a chance for us to go is everyone okay? Oh, maybe someone's actually not okay, maybe one of my children is telling me that they actually do want something else, and then that's my job as the parent to go okay, what's going on here?
So I don't think it's always a negative thing which is what you were saying before, cecilia like around using our discernment and I still don't ever think shame is helpful, but certainly there could be a little voice going actually, mum, you've missed something, something's going on with one of the kids and we need to, we need to dig into it a bit and how we respond, I guess, as an unschooling family is a bit different to how another family might respond, because it is just usually going back and like talking to our own children, which lots of people forget to do. You wouldn't believe how many people this would happen with all of you, I'm sure. Contact me and say this is going on and I'll say have you spoken to your child? And then they'll say oh no.
0:41:58 - Cecilie Conrad
So I just heard a parent a few days ago about the screen time thing and this parent said we agreed on XYZ rules. And I said who agreed? Who made that agreement? Clearly not the children. We agreed. It's very often the parents make a rule and then they tell the children this is the rule and then we agreed, which is not having a conversation. So I agree that the conversation. You're also right. You're very often right, sarah. I mean, what can I do? What can you do about it?
Just shine, Just shine. No well, we just had actually something very close to what you had, Carly. We spend some time with a family that used to be unschoolers and now the kids are in school because they're in a country where it's just too illegal and impossible. So the kids are in a very nice school, but so we had a lot of talks about schooling and not schooling and being unschooled, and the kids are more or less the age of my children, so they're quite old before they started having a school experience, and so the whole thing came back up and I had this in the back of my mind Is it all right? Should we study more? Not from a point of view where I decide we have to study, but because we actually like doing things that looks like academics.
And I talked to my children and one of them said the problem is not that I don't want to study. I do want to study, but we're so busy doing day trips and moving around and I never know where I'll be tomorrow that I cannot find the space for it. If I have the space for it, I would love to start a math course. I would take up Shakespeare again. I would enjoy doing my chess class that we actually paid for and it's right there for me, but I don't have the bandwidth because we're road tripping all the time. And then I sat down counting and realized we've been road tripping since February 1st, which is kind of now in the middle of July, a very long time to just keep going.
And so in this case, in my case, it was not just me feeling pressure from the outside, it was the pressure from the outside resonating with something. There was something wrong, wrong, not wrong. They said we love the road trip but it has to stop at some point. We have to have like a break so that we can do other things that looking at landmarks and meeting people and going to festivals and climbing mountains. If we are to read Shakespeare we need to sit still and we like reading Shakespeare, but it takes time and space and silence, which we don't have.
It's a very good conversation that came from my we could be, we can be, could have been too sure of the unschooling strategy and not had that conversation. Just saying, but I did it because I don't like feeling insecure or when there's a little alarm, there's a reason and sometimes it's an irrelevant reason that I have to peel off the stems from my childhood or my upbringing or some weird old idea. That's not even mine anymore, but it's still there because I forgot to throw it out. But sometimes it's about something real, so there's no way around all this talking to the kids all the time.
0:45:44 - Carla Martinez
Now do you check? How do you check things? I mean talking with them. You have the alarm, but I don't see other way if you don't talk to your family and me and the kids, yeah, yeah.
0:46:04 - Sarah Beale
So this morning Peggy wakes me up. Peggy wakes me up every morning If she wakes up first. So 50, 50, we wake up around the same time and she wait. If I'm asleep, she wakes me up. I hate being woken up. I just like to gradually, and for some reason I've never actually thought to ask her why do you wake me up? I just get annoyed. I might say why are you waking me up?
But I don't really want to know. I'm just annoyed that she's waking me up. And this morning I'm like why do you wake me up? What's that all about? And she said, oh, and I want to know that someone else is going to be downstairs with me If I go downstairs. And I misinterpreted it initially. I'm like why can't you go downstairs, are you scared? Because we have lived in big houses, right when actually she didn't like to walk from her bedroom to downstairs because it took about six months and it was too big for her. But smaller houses, she's fine. And she's like no, I'm not scared, I'm just there's nothing to do If nobody else is awake. What's the point in me going downstairs? So I just want to know that you're awake and then we can talk about what we're going to do. I'm like, oh, that makes so much sense, but for some reason, even though I'm so used to talking to my kids, I just forgot to actually ask her. Even me, I forgot to ask. So, yeah, it's like sometimes this is just accountability, isn't it?
To ourselves and to our kids Like, oh, are we still this is what we're doing? Are we all still okay with this or not? Where do we need to tweak it? Because you know, this is the other thing about living in a vacuum. It's great to hang out with like-minded families, of course, but if you only ever hang out in your comfort zone, right, and you never have any cause to push up against that discomfort of maybe somebody judging you, we don't have as many opportunities to then go, oh, is this actually still what we want? Like, maybe it's not and maybe we need to find space for something different. So I definitely think accountability in our families is really important in the unschooling world for sure.
0:48:19 - Carla Martinez
I have this last summer, not this summer. Last summer I have this thing like I was at my sister for three weeks and it was for me it was like a really good time because I realized how much I loved my life. We were good together. We even we wake up in the morning and work with the girls to school One of my, with Toreta we work my nieces to the school, and then we go and my parents it was my mother bought something, so we have like this breakfast in a bar or something and they then go home and then pick up the girls in the school. You know, we were like having these two ways of life in only one house, with there were some rules in the house. So I took a look with my sister to see, okay, how can we do that? Because you don't want your kids to eat before they have dinner. But then my kids always have something else before going to bed to eat, but not her kid. So then it's like, okay, we can wait till the girls are going to bed. So then I tell, so I speak with my kids, like we have to wait, so because they don't eat another time after dinner. So it was kind of, you know, like a challenge for me my sister, my mother, the kids, everything. But also I was like I don't like this life, like what they are doing, you know, like waking up in the morning, the pushing in the night so they have to go to bed, so the next day they are, you know all this. So in that last summer was like this, like I love what I'm doing, and even my mom was kind of like agreeing a bit of like we were not happier but calmer in life, like we can choose, we can all that, yeah, but it's. But still now this summer is different when you are at your parents and then, yeah, because I see, I think sometimes depends on how are you, how is you, don't have always the same energy. So when you have to, you have to be like you need strength. Sometimes, like today.
Today we were having lunch outside, but Greta, they have all the food, they are going to dance, dancing something. So when she's tired, she doesn't care about the world, she doesn't mind anything. So she's in the sofa with the phone doing her things and, greta, we are going out, we, we, you need to go out, we are going to have lunch. So she came, but she almost didn't eat. She didn't want anything that there was prepared, so I hid something that was already from the other day. She didn't eat it, so she went inside again and I have this like the idea of the judgment of the others in, you know.
So, yes, I finished my food and I went to her like okay, because I want her to eat something, not because nothing else. Like okay, greta, you need to eat something. What do you want? Do you want this? So she said yes, and I prepared that and I told her you can sit here in the kitchen. And she was alone in the kitchen eating and I was like I know the others, like my parents, can't understand that, but for me it's like she was the whole morning socializing with a lot of kids dancing, and she was. And she said like, but I don't want to be with the others, I want to be here. And I was like, yes, sit here and eat. And then my mom came and say something and it's like okay, that's like that really highlights that, the freedom that we're talking about.
0:52:56 - Sarah Beale
On the outside it looks like the freedom to travel, the freedom to sleep in, the freedom to stay up all night.
That's what it looks like, the freedom to not brush your teeth, whatever.
But actually really what we're talking about is the freedom to listen to yourself, and our kids are learning by living what that really feels like.
The freedom to have a feeling that I don't want to eat or I do want to eat or I want to be by myself or whatever the thing is the freedom that they can express that and be listened to and not made to be wrong because of how they're feeling. That, as they get older, becomes mastery which you know, if you're looking outside at the world is severely lacking, like mastery of your emotions, mastery of expression, mastery of relationships, mastery just like having a sense of yourself, how that then relates to other people, how we move through the world confidently with all of the pieces of humanity, all of our human instincts and emotions embedded in this notion of confidence. And this is what we're fostering in our children. I don't want to eat in a room with other people right now because I'm tired. It's so simple and so hard for other people to understand that that's what's going on. This is about a child listening to themselves and being heard and supported in that, and then actually understanding what that means.
0:54:37 - Cecilie Conrad
I think this exact situation the eating, social eating situation is one that comes up very frequently. It's almost like the toothbrush, but just more interesting, very much more interesting. Actually. It's a whole ritual to share meals and it's a beautiful one when you think about it humans sharing their food with each other and their moments and their poses and their laughter and the relaxation and the whole thing, and people preparing food for other people, spending their time and energy and resources to make other people feel comfortable or happy. It's a beautiful thing and it's many different things. It can be a lunch at your mother's place in the summer break, or it could be a restaurant, or it could be someone's birthday party. It could be just Tuesday night at home. It's many different things.
And as we move around all the time as I said, we've been on a road trip for I don't know forever We've been at so many dinner tables, cafes, restaurants, people's places. We very often have to stop and talk about it even before we enter. Who's actually hungry? Who can handle the situation right now? Are you hungry? But you don't want to talk to anyone. But we arrived now and it's your grandmother and she hasn't seen you for eight months. It's hard to get around, at least saying hello.
So we've had in the hundreds of conversations about what's the social code here. How do you feel With what you feel? Handle the social code to some extent? Or can we just talk about it? Walk into your grandmother's house, talk about it. I'm exhausted. We drove for 10 hours. I love you, give me an hour. I need peace and I need to eat my food by myself because I can't handle it and, of course, grandmother will say sure. So I found my way around the social judgment and the social code and all the trauma of dinner tables solved by hand.
Same thing in conversations. Just talk to the children about how they feel and what's going on, about what I feel. And with the boy wearing the dress at the party at the restaurant, my husband just had to come out and say it I'm sorry, son, I can't handle it. It's not about your dress, it's not about you. I'm wrong, but please help me and put on a shirt and a pair of trousers, just for two hours. You can have your dress back on. And so it's a complex thing, isn't it? Because I think, yes, it's great to feel who you are and where you are and do what's right for you, but sometimes it's right to do what's right for grandma and put down that phone and sit at that table and pretend you eat something or eat something.
0:57:59 - Luna Maj
Just to be. Then the interesting thing is, can we let our children reach that understanding themselves? There's something that's like a double echo.
0:58:11 - Cecilie Conrad
Yeah, something's wrong with the sound. Should I call the engineer?
0:58:15 - Sarah Beale
I don't know I had some interference and it's gone now. Okay.
0:58:22 - Cecilie Conrad
Yeah, the first thing, one, two I don't have it anymore. Now I had it. I don't have it now, okay, I think it's gone.
0:58:32 - Luna Maj
Yeah, okay, go again.
Luna, where was I going? Yeah, can we let our children reach that realization themselves? Because I think that leads us back to the whole paradigm of it being our responsibility to make sure that our children listen to that, and that ties the knot back to the toothbrushing. If we don't make them, then this or they will never. These are that. It's been interesting for me to work with the idea that my children are their own persons and they can actually face the wrath of grandma themselves. I don't have to take it for them or I don't have to protect them from grandma's reaction before it happens. I don't know if you see what I mean, but it's like, say, the grandma's, maybe that's actually a very bad example. I'll take something.
0:59:44 - Cecilie Conrad
It's another example, because I was not thinking about my mother-in-law when I saw this thing.
0:59:48 - Luna Maj
No, no, it's, it's, she's listening in.
0:59:50 - Cecilie Conrad
She thinks it's her, so let's say someone else.
0:59:52 - Luna Maj
Yeah. You're very good, also because the grandma is just always a very complicated issue. I'm so unfair.
But anyway say the whole, because we've been talking about that before, the whole thing, parenting for other parents, parenting for the general public you know how, when you're out and about, you'll make sure to tell your children, oh, don't do this or don't do that or that, and you say it out loud so that everyone can see you're saying it, because it's very important that you know I'm, I'm in charge, I'm in control, Don't worry. And so say you're in a train, right, and on a plane it's something that people often complain about They'll have a kid in the row behind them, kicking their seat, for instance. So obviously you will tell your child oh, kicking the person, like the seat in front, that's maybe not very nice for the person, blah, blah, blah. But maybe you didn't see it or maybe, or maybe the kid goes okay, and they could title know.
Whatever my point is, it's for me it's been interesting to work with the idea that it's also okay for the child to experience that other person's reaction. That other person gets up, turns around and goes hey, buddy, that's actually not very cool, I don't like that, Please stop, or whatever. They'll say, right, and even if they'll say it in a way that's maybe not super nice or whatever it's like that's actually. That's a real life experience of how my actions impact others. If I do this, someone else will feel like this or they will react like that.
So I'm not saying not to not intervene, to not give our children information about how their actions will impact others or anything. But we can also get to a point where where we intervene too much and we don't actually let them have their own experiences. I don't know if you see where I'm going, but I think I think a lot of times parents have like a a screwed vision of our role to make sure of something, rather than like accompanying our child, our child or our children in a situation and helping them guide it. And I don't know, I can see on your faces that I'm probably not being very clear.
1:02:20 - Sarah Beale
No, I get, I completely get it, I get it.
1:02:24 - Cecilie Conrad
I'm just thinking something because there is also, I agree. I agree we, we cannot and should not protect our children from everything. I mean the the more experiences in many ways, the better, and and I'm happy they have them while they are still my children and I can be the one and be the one to work with it afterwards. Okay, that was shocking. How can we handle that next time? And you know, maybe we should have done or should not have, or whatever. So I agree, but at the same time, I was just thinking if I looked confused, it was because I was thinking about this thing don't tell my child what to do, don't interfere with my parenting, which is also a thing that's not true. I know that's not a good thing.
1:03:14 - Luna Maj
A child kicking the seat in front, that's him invading someone, bothering someone else.
1:03:20 - Cecilie Conrad
So I know but there is a social code. Yeah, maybe that person on the seat in front of you would not tell your child off out of respect for your child, maybe being shocked by being told off by a stranger. And he would turn to you and say can you please make your child stop kicking me? The person could say nicely or not nicely, it doesn't really matter. But there is a social code there and I'm I don't really know where I stand with it. Maybe I just stand in a flexible.
Sometimes it's okay to say something directly at a child stop throwing stones at the slide at the playground. It's annoying sound for everyone else. That could be a thing, and sometimes I would go and tell the parent could you tell your child to move from the end of the slide because no one can actually use it as long as he's sitting right there digging his holes. Sometimes you can't talk directly to the child. That would be a little overwhelming. And sometimes you can't talk directly to the mom because that would be interfering with parenting. It's really complex, isn't it?
1:04:31 - Sarah Beale
Yeah, and you know we started out this conversation by going like how deep can we really go? And this is this other layer around, for me anyway erosion of community and the lack of interconnectedness. And even in the unschooling community, maybe especially arguably, in the unschooling community, we are overwhelmingly nuclear and so we've got our mom and dad or whoever's in your family and our children and this is it, and then we're shutting the doors at night and we're in our little, this is our little pod of safety, and actually our relationships outside of our home, in our community, have become so fractured and so eroded that I actually think people have lost a sense of what could our social code actually be. So the story around parenting for probably two generations is that the parents of the family are responsible for everything about their family. Everybody else can tell their children off. Grandma can't have a say, grandma's not allowed to even say what goes on in her own home because the parents are in charge now and of course we're responsible I think we all agree for kind of setting the steering, the rudder, steering the ship, so to speak.
But actually we do live in communities and I want to live in a community where I can talk to people outside of my home, and I love seeing my children talk to people outside of our home, and I love talking to other people's kids outside of our home, in the park or people's kids that I know well, and. But definitely there's also some times that I'm thinking of where people have, even when I've been right there, feeling like I'm involved in the situation, somebody else has come in and approached my children or a child that I'm with in a way that feels undermining or aggressive. But is that only because I too have fallen into this idea of thinking that it's only me that compare it with my children? Because, in terms of like how our human race thrives, I don't think that's actually the way to do it. I actually think we want to invite other people into our families and our home and our communities, and if we really do want to, then surely, yeah, we've got to be okay, or we've got to ask ourselves how can we be okay with those sorts of natural consequences that you're talking about, luna, which means we've also got to be okay with other people holding our kids accountable if we don't or can't or aren't there or choose not to, whatever the circumstances are, so like, that's a really like deep kind of question, like are we okay with that?
If we're not okay, why Is it? Because our communities are so broken down and we really don't think anyone can look after our children as well as we can. So then there's also this feeling of like, well, what if we're not right about everything? What about other people having a say? What about other people being able to say I don't agree with that, I actually don't think your child should be allowed to do that. That is having an impact that's negative on other people and we should be able to say that and that's quite uncomfortable for parents.
1:07:58 - Luna Maj
And there's also that self-judgment again, because that person in the front row, turning, talking directly to my child, will then make me feel like, oh shit, I should have done something, I was a bad parent. That whole, oh that person's look on me. That person is judging my parenting right now. It's just there's so many layers in it and, yeah, it's just really interesting. So it's not the oh, we should let other people do this or that, or we shouldn't. It's more like the whole conversation context thing again, like just being aware and evolving and judging the situations as we go, because we can't set a rule that is, oh, it's better that they hear it for other people, or it's better that they hear it from us, or like we can't make some sort of like fixed rule. Right has to be like yeah, it's always in the context.
1:09:03 - Carla Martinez
Yeah, I remember like talking about this, I think, with you guys in when we were in Normandy and I have like a different point of view, like because I asked something was happening and I said why don't we say something to some kids? I don't know, and I think it was to see you told me something like no, here, like you cannot tell directly to the kid Maybe it wasn't you, I don't know, but I, when I talk to the kids, I mean I am also like in the unschooling world when we talk all the time about conversation and talking to people of different ages. I don't care the age I can be. I don't talk the same way to a kid, to an adult and, depending on what is happening, and I also can evaluate and say, okay, I talked to the kid or I talked to the parent, but I'm not afraid of talking to a kid and I'm not afraid that someone come and talk to my kids. And even what you were saying before, luna, about like, like here in my house, in my parents, since always sometimes my mother taught me something about the kids Tell him like don't tell me, it's your rule, it's your thing. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe then I have to go and explain and try to make him understand that here this is what he, she, wants, or whatever, and I don't know what happened if we don't do it. You see, everything is flexible, I mean. But talking about community, I think everybody has like a role from everyone is a model. For the rest, I don't know if it's, even if it's not, inside what you think it's good for your kids. It will be also an example or something that after you can talk about with your kids, because it's also happened here for me with my kids.
Nobody like my father sometimes said something. This is also a story. Like Robert, it was like years ago, like he was like four, I don't know, and he wants popcorn, so we make one package of popcorn, and then he wants another packet of popcorn. So he asked my father and my father say no, you already have one. And then he was so like, but I want one, my one one. And I was like okay, is there more popcorn? And then I have to like, go, like I was like in between my son and my father they have this something like okay, you are saying no, but why? You need more popcorn. I can go and buy more popcorn if you need to have, you know. And then he was like okay, do what you want.
And then my son this is what's so I don't know interesting for me. So because I said, okay, let's go, we are going to make the popcorn. And then he asked me like, but did? He said yes, and I said no. I mean yes, but he was ironic, like he was like because with his tone and his body he was saying I don't agree, I don't want. But his words were like yes, like you can do it. And so I explained that like yeah, it's like he don't really want, but this he's saying do whatever you want, so we can have the popcorn, but he doesn't like it.
1:13:02 - Sarah Beale
Yeah, this is about the natural consequence which lies again, this is at the heart of a conversation around freedom. You have to understand how, when you do what you want, what's the consequence going to be? Maybe somebody else doesn't want you to do the thing that you want to do.
Maybe it's going to piss them off, maybe they're going to get angry. Maybe you're going to have an argument about it. Maybe you'll decide that you're never going to go on holiday with that family again, whatever. Like, but like that's, that's freedom. Like I'm going to do the thing that I think I want to do, and then there's going to be a consequence.
Some people are going to go that's stupid. Now we don't like you anymore. And other people are going to go. Yep, that's cool, and you can't always control that. But you have to be prepared for it, because you can't be free and show our children how to navigate the world in that way too if you're not also prepared to understand how consequences work. Like your dad was cross about that and then you guys had to navigate what that was. Maybe he didn't talk to you for the rest of the day. Maybe he got over it really quick, I don't know. I think you guys are going to be able to get a big bucket of popcorn next time you come to do that. But like there's a there's always a consequence.
1:14:23 - Carla Martinez
Yeah, but it's like this. I don't know if we are going out of the topic, but oh, I don't think we really have a topic, do we Never?
1:14:34 - Cecilie Conrad
We have a conversation. We're trying to learn something which is, by the way, illegal today, because it's learning today. You failed. Yeah, you told me about the ODD this morning, luna. I didn't know about that before, so I failed, yeah. Yeah.
1:14:54 - Carla Martinez
Yeah, okay, but I wanted to say something. Okay, like like, not with my dad, but with David. Sometimes he also gets, gets like hungry because someone else of our kids do something and he don't want. But my question always is but is he hurting you, offending you? He's doing something like about you and it's like I don't see. Why are you getting angry? He's doing, you know, like it has nothing to do with you. For example, if he ate a package of popcorn or whatever he does, he's not hitting you, he's not hurting you, he's not. Why are you so angry? I don't know if, if I can explain that it's like the popcorn with my father.
Why are you getting angry? Do you need the popcorn? Do you what? What it is? You don't like me to eat in popcorn. Don't look at me. I don't know what's the problem. Because you think that one package is the, the on the. You know the, the amount you need to eat, and you don't need to eat anymore. Because then what? I don't know. I think I'm concerned. No, no, no. Then you go to the place where then you are doing something. You know when you. I just explained that I don't. I can't explain it now Like you are making like a proof proving my authority. That's not the word, but it's like you are not doing what I'm saying. Yeah, no, because I said one, but then you say two, but I'm the adult I have to the thing. I guess it's also a lot of this. I think there is a lot of this.
1:16:46 - Cecilie Conrad
There's a lot of, because I said so out there a lot of it.
Yeah, yeah, and a lot of it is. I have this feeling that I should say that one box of popcorn is enough, and there's this very, very interesting idea going on out there that if I said it, I have to stick to it. Yeah, yeah, that's a really bad one, really toxic one, whereas I think we can agree that if I said no and my no is questioned, that's my space for growing. I have the chance to look at why. Why did I say no? Why did I? Why did I feel so strongly that this has to be this way? And maybe I can figure it out, and maybe I can't.
In my experience, maybe because my children are not small anymore, I actually get to say you know what, I can't handle this. Please, please, can we have more popcorn tomorrow? Because I'm not having this fight with my dad or whatever. I'm not having this social judgment that's clearly going on in this situation if you're having more popcorn. So what about? What about just giving in and allowing for other people's arbitrary rules to stand? We're in their house, we're in their territory, we can just leave, and then we can go and buy 1000 kilos of popcorn and eat them when we come home. Because I ask them that because I'm not, I don't know, don't have the bandwidth for personal growth, don't have the time in the situation, it's not. It's not, now is not the right time for a fight.
And they're really nice because, probably because they are used to being listened to and because they're not small anymore. So they know how to wait and they know, if I say you can have all the popcorn you want, just wait two hours, because then we're home and we can make all the popcorn we want. Sometimes I give in to that. Sometimes I don't want to grow or work with myself or whatever. Sometimes I'm like could we just have this coffee table with these people not sticking out too much? We're already. I'm so tired of growing, I'm so tired of growing and I'm so tired of fighting for my personal freedom and I'm so tired of being the odd one out and explaining. So how about we sit here with our knees touching each other, put out the pinky, drink the tea, have the conversation, say goodbye, that's it, and then we eat popcorn or whatever.
1:19:35 - Luna Maj
But it's not also like To me that's kind of the same thing that I was trying to say in the beginning about how you don't always need to go there, you don't always need to pick the fight or tell your opinion or whatever.
Like that's the hey, it's actually okay, we can actually just let this slide and then be wild and free by ourselves, because in our families presides to the same experience and our kids are the same age. So I think that's what people like. Going back to the thing in the beginning about if I don't make them do this, then they'll never do that, or blah, blah, blah. So people think if they don't regulate and make sure, say please and thank you and all that, well, they're never gonna learn to be able to be this way except they are, because it like just comes with time and maturity and practice and, like you said, most of all being listened to and being like. I usually say, the more kids are used to getting their way well, the less it's actually a problem when they can't. Cause that's the scarcity thing again. It's like when you know that, well, I can actually have all the popcorn that I want after, I mean, it's not such a big deal to let go of it. So there's a lot of like, yeah, just giving and learning that way.
1:21:08 - Carla Martinez
I was thinking when you go on, I think, yes, that I keep on coming to my head because you are saying Cecil and Luna have said several times like, or maybe I don't know. Okay, like, talk to your kid and say, okay, now you need to do that because I is the least they want. Having the problem. I cannot handle this, I cannot whatever. Okay, but if your kid is like now Greta, maybe because he's smaller, but he's like it doesn't care what you cannot handle, now I don't care. I mean it's like I can't do nothing.
It's like at the beginning when I say, well, how can I oblige my kid to clean her teeth if I don't like make something physical? She doesn't mind, she doesn't care what she needs to do because she's a kid and still I have the conversation, but she will like cover with a blanket and put her mobile inside and don't talk to me. I have the patient and then I keep on talking to her, but not to make her fit in whatever. No, I would never, I cannot. I mean she's not that way. So I try to make her food or whatever she like basically needs for her, but I cannot make her yet.
I mean, maybe at some point she will choose other things. Is this something I can make my Okay with my other kid. He's more rational, I can talk like he can understand if you do A, you will get B here in this situation with people. So yes, more often I can get with him with this, not always because he's free and he wants to eat upstairs in his computer, but sometimes I talk to him like we're here, we're all together, you're at your cousins here, it's your grandparents, please Be for a moment here. And I'm doing this for not tell you know, like my family, my this social code, whatever, yeah.
1:23:41 - Cecilie Conrad
But I'm not. I cannot force my children. I would not force my children to do things they don't want to do. I'm just being honest about it. If there is something I can't handle, or if there is some, let's say we have rules in our family. For example, we have the rule that if we do sit down and have a meal together, like everyone, at the same time at the same table, we put down the phones no phones Then it's a moment for conversation and we can take them out if we need to Google something, to figure something out. But usually we avoid that. That's like a family rule. It's not a rule where you get a punch in your face if you do it anyway. It's just like hey, please remember.
It's nice to have some moments where we're actually looking at each other's eyes, not the phones, and we usually do that when we together. I have we have the same rule and it's not like I've made it up. We talked about it. If we go to a restaurant, especially if we go to a restaurant with other people, we don't bring the phones. No one's playing Minecraft or watching YouTube whilst sitting at the table If they need to do it, if they're like. I'm done with this conversation. I've had my food. It's nice, thank you very much, but I can't. This is not interesting. Then just go somewhere else and do it.
And in some situations, if they're like highly formal maybe we're having a lunch at a restaurant with some business partners and our kids are there I just have to prepare them and say you're not doing it, you're sitting there.
I have to ask you to sit there. You eat your food, you don't pick your nose, you use the napkin, you drink the water from your own glass, not from the bottle, and when you're done, you say thank you and then you can go sit in the van and play whatever games you want and eat all the popcorns you feel like, or whatever. But this is a situation where I need you to behave in a specific way because I just need that. But we can talk about it, sometimes like for three hours beforehand. So everyone are in agreement that this is what we're doing. And if they don't wanna do it, they can just not join the lunch. But sometimes, yes, I asked them to do something and I would be very pissed if they took a blanket over their head at that restaurant and sat with their smartphone. I would. But there's something very, very important.
1:26:10 - Luna Maj
those Sicilian. This isn't there Because I was waiting for that. I mean, I know you, so I knew it was coming. But it's like you said it If they can't do that, they can just not come to the lunch. Well, there you have it. That means that if they choose to come to the lunch, they are choosing to comply, abide by, live by the rules that count in that particular situation. So it's completely normal to expect someone to go by those rules when they know in the beforehand that they choose to come.
1:26:44 - Cecilie Conrad
I also tell them to hush at the library.
1:26:46 - Luna Maj
Well obviously I mean yeah, but I think the tricky thing sometimes is like not tricky in that sense, but is that people miss that very, very, very important, essential part of its choice to go there in the first place. It's not. You say you have to come and, by the way, you also have to do all this because I want you to do that and you can't have popcorn.
Yeah, I mean that's just super important, because I really think that's the crux of many of the things with parents is that it's because people are like, well, how's that ever going to work? Because they think, inside the framework of the framework of I'm telling, I'm wanting my kids to do this particular thing or behave in that way, or whatever, whatever, whatever, how's that ever going to work with all the freedom you're talking about? But that's because the basic thing isn't there, like the choice from the kids side. But I mean, it's five, five minutes to five, and this is a whole new. We probably should.
1:27:55 - Cecilie Conrad
We could now Maybe just find the whole new. Then we have the starting question for next conversation, and I have just one more question I would like to touch upon today. But you do it, luna. What are we talking about next time?
1:28:09 - Luna Maj
Oh sorry, what am I doing? What are we talking about?
1:28:13 - Cecilie Conrad
It's five minutes to five and this is the whole new conversation. What whole new conversation.
1:28:20 - Luna Maj
I don't know if it's a whole new con. I just thought, you know it's something that we can dive into again. But I just, I guess just the basic paradigm of like can kids actually have the choice about everything?
1:28:33 - Sarah Beale
Like yeah, and I think that we've been talking about this a lot lately, luna and I, you know, over coffee in the mornings around like setting our kids up and ourselves up for success and how, because our children are older now and we've been reflecting a lot on when they were little how did we navigate those early years so that they actually understood how to dance with freedom?
when they were smaller, in a in a maybe they had this. Can you see they had that? They didn't have the whole paint pot, right, we did not give them the whole paint pot when they were one, we just gave them a little bit of paint and then they got to know how to manage that amount of paint. And then they got older and now they're allowed to pour their own paint. But my children did not pour their own paint when they were two, because I didn't want to clean up paint from the walls, so they just had the small and then they gradually learned how to manage more. And that's a bit that is often missed in unschooling. And then it's unfair on children who then do things that people are not comfortable with. Maybe they were given the whole paint pot. They couldn't manage the whole paint pot yet, and then everyone gets crossed with them.
So I think there's a lot of value in in talking about how we can create some of these foundations, because it does. It is important. I think it is important and it helps our children learn how to navigate the freedom gradually as they build mastery over time so that when they're older they actually understand the way of some of these conversations in a way that they can't when they're younger. Like, I wouldn't ask my nine year old to do the same things as I would ask my 15 year old, for example, because her, the way she can hold freedom, is different because she's younger. She hasn't got there yet. Did you like my paint analogy? That just just came to me.
1:30:37 - Cecilie Conrad
It took a while for me to hear that it was actually paint, not pain, which was quite confusing. But that's my bad.
1:30:47 - Sarah Beale
So pour their own pain, okay, that's right, I need to have got the bandwidth.
1:30:58 - Cecilie Conrad
Coffee I didn't make in the beginning of that conversation, so can I know we spend all the time. But now I'm going to ask another question anyway, just a little tiny one Maybe. Maybe it's too big and we have to think about it until next time. But I have one here, noted, about judgment. I think it's real that parents judge other parents by looking at the children. I think we all do it, and I think we do it the four of us as well. We cannot take ourselves out of that equation. We look at parents, we look at the children, we think about how those parents did the job of parenting, family life, living, and we judge it, hopefully, based on our values, our ideas about what is a good life. And so what is my question? So my base is this is real, we do judge each other. I actually think we should judge each other because I think we should have values. If we don't have values and we can't stand by them, then what are we? But shadows? Then it all evaporates into nothing.
But how do we manage judging other parents without being judgmental in the bad way, and how do we manage being judged by other parents? We all have a lot of years of experience of not giving a fuck about what other people think. Because we have to, because we live in a way where 98% of the other parents at the playground will think we're completely insane. So we have to get over ourselves with that. But there are some parents that could be our siblings, our best friends, our neighbors, some parents in our circles where their opinions matter. They do touch us, we do feel this or, you know, we have to navigate it in some way. We can't just not give a fuck. I think these are very relevant questions and I think they are very scary questions for newcomers to the unschooling idea. How do I handle this social judgment and how do I not become one of them? Can you come up with like a two minute answer to that? I don't know. A two minute answer? No, no, no. Let's say a 40 seconds answer.
1:33:44 - Luna Maj
I mean, I think about the judgmental part really. I mean, to me it really does come down a lot to the whole. I don't need to say this I wrote this post. I don't need to hit post. I can't actually save it in my you know, whatever that's called, the can't remember the English word. But when you write a post and you have it in that section where you haven't posted it, what's the name? Press on a bike the drafts. Thank you.
1:34:13 - Sarah Beale
1:34:13 - Luna Maj
And now I feel so ashamed that I couldn't remember that. Anyway, she taught new English. But but no, seriously, because that is something I have personally had to learn over the years that I don't need to speak up always. I don't need to say something, and, particularly if it's like to someone in particular, I don't need to voice my opinion or come with my assessment or whatever if I'm not asked. Like, if I'm asked, it's different. Don't ask me because I will tell you. But yeah, so that's the judgemental part.
1:34:53 - Cecilie Conrad
And then so your rule of thumb is don't say it.
1:34:58 - Luna Maj
It's not really. It's actually just something that's become second nature. I actually just don't feel the urge anymore to always say things I mean I use. When I started being on Facebook, I used to be all the time in discussions with like perfect strangers also because you know the mean someone's wrong on the internet can't go to bed. Someone's wrong on the internet, right, that type of thing. That's what you never said Well, yeah, no, but I mean just yeah, and over the years, that's just, it's just not something I mean that's one good thing about becoming an old woman said I just don't, honestly, don't feel the need anymore and I don't have the time to argue with.
I mean I like conversations where you exchange and you might learn something and you might not teach, but you might like influence someone, like like, it's an exchange and there's actually maybe room for some actual like something's going to happen with that conversation. But just arguing for the sake of arguing with someone who's like not at all, he says not, I don't need to do that and yeah, anyway. So just, you know, looking at people and going, oh, I mean I can still look at something that someone does and think, holy crap, I mean that's whoa, you know, but that's just my, that's my value, my judgment, and I just keep it to myself, and then actually no harm is done, because the harm really comes when you voice it and put that weight on the other one's shoulders, right? So I don't know. Yeah, I don't find that particular one too difficult.
The other one, about other people judging me, hmm, oh no, I don't feel it too. I mean, I know it's, it's, it's really not something I think too much about anymore. I mean, like you said, it does happen from time to time that you feel like a oh something, but it's, it's not a lot really, it's not like in general, it's just. Yeah, I don't know, it's not, it's not something that I too much struggle with. It was relation to my parenting there could be other stuff.
I guess that wasn't a very helpful answer.
1:37:27 - Cecilie Conrad
If you don't, feel you can't answer it. That's very easy.
1:37:33 - Carla Martinez
I can say something like about judging other parents I'm okay. I mean, I'm okay judging, because I'm just watching and you have to evaluate who I am, who they are, who, how do they do things, how I see it, and you always have a reference, the things you know, and then you put the other in somewhere. Is not that I? I'm going to say I don't know, is what Luna says. I just observe and, of course, you judge, because it's, if not, how, how you put the things in your information of the world and the and the behavior and the society and everything. You just take the input and that's it. And then you can decide, oh, I want to talk to them or I don't want to talk to them, I don't know, whatever, I don't. I don't see bad in that, it's what I mean. I mean sometimes you see things that you say, oh, you feel pity or you feel I don't like it, and it's also give information about you. So I think it's fine, I don't, but keeping for you, I mean not to go in and do something, try to fix something or change someone. No, and about judging me, I don't know the people that I love is all the work I have done since I have kids to that now it's my family and I'm fine.
Also, I think it's when you are new in some, in something you are more pro act. How do you say that you want to defend and not this is what you do. And with time, in everything and with time there is room for more things. And now you don't need to explain yourself, explain what your, because your kids do this or not, or what are you doing or what you are not doing, and you just let the things be and if someone asks, you answer. But the answers are different depending on the person who asked that. Sometimes you just say like yes, and that's it. Yes, yes or no, no, no, yeah, yeah, yeah, we are here, yeah, and if they are in there, you know that. If they are curious, then you explain a bit and then you see and then you get. And if someone came like more aggressive or questioning, there is a point where you know how. Now you know how to answer like just like a certain no.
1:40:45 - Cecilie Conrad
Yeah, I think so I'm not made to a certain yeah.
1:40:54 - Carla Martinez
And it's a process and it's a path. Everyone has to walk and it's easier when you have people next to you and you can see how they do it. But still, you in your own process, you're going to feel the inside, and now one is going to take this part from you. You have to like walk the path, because everyone has his own, also relations with the people and your own like security, self, you know self security, yes, it depends. And also the people who, if you have people that support you, support you or not yeah, this is a point or not, if you're alone or if you're not.
1:41:52 - Cecilie Conrad
It's dependent on the situation, like everything, and I think it's just about judgment can be a really bad and judgmental thing, and judgment can be a room for improvement, whether I'm being judged and I feel it and I get to think about why am I reacting in this way, why is this even important to me, that this person thinks this thing, or I think this person thinks this thing about me. It can be, on the other hand, a very beautiful, just mirroring. Looking at the world around me and if I see something and I feel that person is stupid or that person is doing it wrongly, and then I I have the room for for figuring out why do I think one version is right and another version is wrong? And I think that's why we're so aggressively judging or in explaining in the beginning, because we need to understand what we're doing, and now it's more like less important because it's it's it's interesting to talk to you women about it, but it's not really a thing I think about all the time.
1:42:59 - Sarah Beale
On schooling, yeah yeah, I think it's for me thinking about judgment, or when that word is used, it very much, the energy of a very much becomes about assigning rightness. So, you know, with the, with the example of, you know, debating people online, you know someone says something, do I need to prove that I'm right by coming back and saying something else? Or actually do I not really care about being right or wrong, like that's just not something that's important to me. And then there are times where, where yet smacks me in the face, I'm like, oh, I still have this knee, I'm still holding on to something here, I'm holding on to some to be right about this thing. What is that about? I'm not going to judge me, or self judgment, or even perception of judgment from others can be really useful in, in going deeper into that accountability, like do I need to be right? Or actually am I really happy to just move through the world causing no one any harm?
And when I, when I look at somebody else and perceive that they're wrong, it's the same thing. It's like all that person's doing it wrong, that family is doing it wrong, that mother's doing it wrong, and it might as well be the finger pointing back, of course, and and it's just a I don't fear judgment. I guess it's one of those things that I used to think oh, I don't want to be judgmental and I don't want to be judged, and really what I've done is let go of that paradigm, but of course it still comes and hits me sometimes. I don't need to be right, doesn't bother me if somebody else is right. It's being the role of like an observer, as opposed to being pulled into these debates. And if I was to strive for anything although I guess I don't love the energy of the trying, but it would be that like being able to like observe these things without any like weight of needing to say if it was right or wrong, yeah, so for me it is probably continued opportunity for deeper reflection and deeper accountability, because you know what happens if.
What happens if something in our family is presented to us and we do actually decide, oh, we actually don't want that, we don't want to go past that line. You know we were talking before about having teenagers and we just haven't got. We haven't got there yet. You know, are there going to be some things where we go no, that's actually not right for our family. And is there a role in judgment, or maybe it's discernment, then like no, we actually don't want to go over that. Yeah, I'll keep you posted on that one, my oldest. But you know and I guess I hope that we will continue to navigate those things with grace and thoughtfulness which feels nicer than judgment and making people right or wrong, but it's hard.
1:46:24 - Cecilie Conrad
It's as if it's complicated Like most other things. I'm afraid we cannot land this conversation with some beautiful little, but our time is up. I think we need our coffee. Any famous last words or?
1:46:44 - Luna Maj
should we do like a poll, like for the audience. I want us a brain is the best coffee, oh yeah, and then. Then we can finally figure out who's right or wrong.
1:46:59 - Cecilie Conrad
It has to be the in Spanish Cafeteria I don't know what's the English word the Italian mocker thing, because you called it espresso machine this morning. The mocker machine Mocker pot Me Me. So the grain depends on the machine.
1:47:23 - Sarah Beale
It's about the appropriateness of the grain, the grind, yeah, yeah. Well, there's only, there's only one right way.
1:47:37 - Cecilie Conrad
Okay, okay. I think we had a great conversation and, just like last time, I am. I am here one and a half hour later and I think the brain is completely. I mean no more battery anywhere. I don't have any extra power banks anywhere. I can't even finish this in a beautiful way. I just have to say thank you. It's always very nice to talk to you women. You are so smart. I'm not a big fan of growing. I even like failing. Learn nothing. They on purpose, because I talked to you. It's always a pleasure and I can read out loud because I took notes we have. How do we create foundations for personal freedom when our kids grow up? And that's the theme for that time. That's next time, just so you know, we have a big one. Oh, thank you, and yeah, thank you.
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