Parenting <ul><li>In the Montessori Tradition </li></ul>
Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html
There is nothing as exciting, fulfilling and joyful as becoming a parent for the first time. First time parenthood however, can also be fraught with tremendous stress brought about by anticipation, preparation and caring for a little creature who can’t tell you what he needs or wants. For people who have actively sought parenthood however, it is probably this additional aspect of stress and tension that makes parenthood such a wonderfully strengthening and humbling experience. http://www.parenting-resources.net/index.php
The way we raise our children is undoubtedly changing, and has been changing and developing for a considerable time. The days of children being seen and not heard are long gone, and although it is a fact that there are still children who are vulnerable and disregarded by their parents, the majority of us try hard to achieve a parenting style that is balanced and fair.
The primary objective of any parent is to keep their children safe, secure and exposed to positivity. This way, our children grow and develop into bright, well balanced young adults who have much to offer our family community and the wider social communities that we live in.
Children who grow up in severe, strict and harsh families and who are ignored, unstimulated and rarely praised for their achievements, struggle to thrive and grow as well as children who receive lots of love, attention, affection and encouragement for their achievements
There is a huge focus on parenting in modern society, and consequently we are over exposed to information that tells us the right way to bring up our children. Previous generations have relied on relatives to guide them in the right direction, and to some extent this is still valid today. However, there are now many support groups for parents to provide ample opportunities for them to share their worries, experiences and expectations with other parents who are in exactly the same situation as them, and who have children of the same age.
Learning from our forefathers is fine, but life and society has changed enormously-even in the last 30 years, and for that reason it is important to recognise that the way we parent our children has changed too.
Discipline is one area of parenting that has seen a massive change, and these days we like to explain to our children why they are being told off rather than just shouting at them and sending them to their room.
Parents employ different techniques for dealing with unacceptable behaviour, such as insisting that children take some ‘time out’ and are removed from the group if their behaviour is negative. We are discouraged from using the word ‘naughty’ and instead encouraged to describe behaviour as unacceptable or challenging.
There are schools of thought that claim children today are allowed far too much freedom, and that they are allowed to rule the lives of their parents who are continually put under pressure to give in to their demands rather than risk having to deal with a temper tantrum in public or in front of family and friends.
Children who display these traits can be very stressful to be around, and at one time such behaviour would have resulted in the child being severely punished or smacked. We are discouraged from using these methods to control our children’s behaviour today, as research has shown that hitting children does not encourage good behaviour.
Parents today will take time to explain to their children why they are being punished, and children are made to understand that negative behaviour will lead to them being put in time out or having certain privileges removed for a specified period of time.
Parenting methods have changed, and today we are exposed to a wealth of information thanks to the mass media. Programmes such as Super Nanny, have had a huge impact on the way we manage our children’s behaviour and demonstrate clearly that sorting out problems can take time and often involve the entire family before any significant and positive changes can be fully appreciated. The days of the short, sharp, shock approach of parents of days gone by are well and truly over. http://www.parentingstyles.co.uk/how-parenting-styles-have-changed.html
Being a parent and bringing up children is not an easy task, in fact in many ways it is the hardest job you may ever have because there is such a wealth of conflicting advice and information available. http://www.parentingstyles.co.uk/parenting-styles-introduction.html
Family Advice You may well find that friends and family all want to share with you the benefit of their advice, gleaned from many years of experience of bringing up children, but ultimately the way you raise your children and help your family to grow and develop is up to you, your own standards, boundaries, ideas and plans for the future of you and your children.
It is often difficult to know exactly what parenting methods and styles to adopt and you may find that you are questioning yourself on a regular basis about certain aspects of your children’s development! This is never helped by spending too much time with competitive friends who may appear to be well meaning with their tips and advice, but who can also make life even more stressful!
Parenting Has Changed There is no doubt that the way we bring up our children is definitely changing, and while your parents and grandparents may have had one style of parenting, this may not fit in well with the expectations you now have as a parent yourself. One of the best known specialists in parenting styles is Diana Baumrind and she had four distinct categories for describing the ways that people parent their children. So are you a permissive, authoritarian or assertive-democratic parent?
Permissive Parenting If you basically allow your child to have a lot of freedom, consult them about everything that is happening in your household and make very few demands on them when it comes to helping with chores, then you are probably a permissive parent. This style of parenting became popular after the war when children were first encouraged to think for themselves, and the old ‘children should be seen and not heard’ approach started to change.
Although children raised in this style can be creative and original, they often have trouble fitting in because they lack boundaries and in basic terms have been allowed to get away with bad behaviour. They often struggle to fit in at school because they have little or no idea about the real difference between right and wrong, and often have poor social skills because other children find their behaviour difficult to cope with.
Authoritarian Parenting Authoritarian parents on the other hand, adopt a style that involves having too much control over their children. Their focus is often on ensuring that they display positive behaviour at all times, and are actively involved with helping around the house. Children are kept firmly in their place, and there really is no room for arguing. In this case, the parents’ word is law! This extreme approach to parenting is very traditional and now considered to be largely outdated and unnecessary.
Assertive-Democratic Parenting Assertive-democratic parents however, spend their time working hard to make sure some basic boundaries are established for their children and they actively encourage them to take responsibility for what they have done, while at the same time giving them lots of opportunities to make their own independent choices.
Bad behaviour is usually dealt with by using time out, and saying sorry and making up are all part of the process. Assertive-democratic parenting is the best for today's children as they learn to accept responsibility, make wiser choices and cope with change really well. This is because they have basic and simple boundaries in place in their lives.
Baumrind also idenftified neglectful parenting in her research - in other words parents who either do not wish to interact with their children, or who simply, for whatever reason, cannot interact - instead simply managing to fulfill basic responsibilities and duties of care, but with little concern for the development of their child.
Loving, Secure Parenting Although parenting styles may have changed over the years, the basic job of parents remains the same, and we have a responsibility to ensure our children have loving, secure homes in which to grow and develop into well balanced, adjusted, reasonable, sociable and happy young people who have much to contribute to society.
Teaching your children how to be more responsible is difficult if you don’t understand how they learn responsibility…
What do most people do when raising their children? Most parents bring their children up the way they were brought up , even if it is something they never wanted to do! This is not any fault of the parent – they are simply teaching the children what they have been “programmed” to know .
For those parents who are trying hard to raise their children in a way different than they were brought up, they find themselves relying heavily on teaching through trial and error without putting much thought into the everyday things happening around them that will ultimately mold them into the adults they will become. http://guidingmychild.com/?gclid=CL6q_8KPuJoCFQUwpAod_Tewcw
Parenting may well be the hardest, most demanding and certainly the most emotional thing you will ever have to do, and over time you will find that the style of parenting you use to help your children to grow and develop, will change and evolve-just like your children will. There may well be a lot of help, advice and information available about parenting and parenting styles, and you will also receive lots of advice, help and ideas from friends and family, but there really are no hard and fast rules. It is a good idea to try to accept the fact that although the way you bring up your children may well remain the same, the methods and styles that you employ will probably change. Over time you will find that the style of parenting you used when your children were tiny babies, may not work quite as effectively as they become toddlers or preschoolers.
Babies and very young children require a lot of nurturing and pastoral care. They are given lots of allowances and flexibility when it comes to their behaviour patterns because they find it very difficult to understand what is right and what is obviously wrong. Young children, as with all children, need to feel very secure and loved and this often means that parents find it incredibly difficult to discipline their children and maintain a consistent pattern of parenting style. It is very hard to make a young child understand that they cannot simply get what they want by throwing a big, dramatic tantrum, but this is what they will naturally do and parents find this type of behaviour particularly exasperating.
It is all too easy to simply give in and let your child have their own way, but allowing small things to pass you by when you child is just a toddler is one thing, while still allowing them to behave unreasonably once they get to pre school is quite another
Parenting can be a lonely existence, and parents who are struggling to find the right parenting style while realising that something has to change can feel isolated. In this case it is a good idea to seek out some toddler groups or other casual social gatherings and share your worries and concerns with other parents who have children of a similar age.
By seeing other children ‘in action’ and watching how their parents deal with different situations, you will often find a way to change or moderate your own parenting styles and methods and this will undoubtedly have a big impact on your child. You will find that by modifying your parenting style and making some subtle changes and adjustments, life will gradually become less stressful, your child will be happier and you will have a proper plan in place that you can put into action when needed. http://www.parentingstyles.co.uk/how-adjust-your-parenting-style.html
Parenting is hard, but the only way through those hard times is to recognise that you need to make some changes. Look at those changes as a step towards becoming an even more accomplished parent and as a really positive influence on your child’s development, both in the immediate time frame and in the future. Do not be resistant to changing your parenting style, instead embrace it and acknowledge that your child is growing and changing too and that the boundaries and rules you used when they were very young, although useful to them at that stage of their life, now need to be adjusted to help them even further.
Every situation that a parent finds themselves dealing with on a regular basis is different, and therefore different parenting styles have to be adopted to ensure that children have clear boundaries, instructions that they understand, acknowledge and be able to respond to easily, and positive parenting experiences as they grow up. http://www.parentingstyles.co.uk/effective-parenting-styles-for-different-situations.html
Different approaches It is important to remember that every child is different and while your friends and family might adopt one approach for a particular situation with their own children, the same ideas may not work for your child so it is important to recognise that each incident of behaviour may well require a slightly different approach. However, parenting has to remain consistent at all times as it is vital that children do not get mixed messages from their parents. For example parents who allow their children to be badly behaved and get away with having tantrums one day, but who discipline them about the same behaviour when they display it the following day, will not generate any respect from their children and will find parenting difficult and frustrating.
Boundaries Children need boundaries, they are important for helping them to understand the difference between good and bad behaviour and the repercussions of behaviour that is unacceptable. Parenting can be very stressful and sometimes just giving in to difficult behaviour is the easy option because it means that as parents we can continue to get on with our day without any further aggravation. We can sit our children in front of the television while we chat to our friends on the phone, finish our work or get on with the domestic chores. The fact that our child may have had a temper tantrum about wanting to watch more television than we think is appropriate, soon gets forgotten in the heat of the moment and we basically let them have their own way to make our lives easier
Consider The Bigger Picture The result is that we often end up making our own rules and dealing with our children’s behaviour in a way that suits us and our immediate needs, rather than considering the bigger picture. It is never easy, and we all have lives to get on with and things to do, and after a hard day at work or a sleepless night with a poorly child it is very easy and understandable to adopt a more flexible approach to things than we would normally. To do this is perfectly acceptable, but on a regular daily basis when life is reasonably normal, it is better for you, your child and your family as a whole if you can try and stick to consistent parenting styles.
Changing Times As your children get older you will also find that different situations require different approaches. Teenagers have a lot of emotional and physical changes to deal with and growing up is tough. They have everything from raging hormones and peer pressure to coping with exams and massive physical changes. These major developments will lead to inevitable changes in their behaviour and, as such, your parenting styles will have to reflect these changes. Being overly permissive could lead to allowing your teenager far too much freedom that could land them in trouble, whereas very authoritarian approaches could alienate your child from you and create an uncomfortable and unhappy distance between you.
Communication Communication is key at all stages of the development of your child, and it is vital for positive parenting that we monitor our child’s behaviour and recognise that each situation requires a slightly different approach. By being able to talk to your child and explain why you have reacted in the way you have, you will be able to develop an understanding and open relationship that will make situations easier to cope with in the future.
The Montessori Approach to Discipline http://www.montessori.org/story.php?id=230 This article was first published in Tomorrow'’s Child magazine Upon visiting a Montessori classroom for the first time, one might wonder what magic spell has been cast upon these young children making them so calm and self directed. Another person might look at that same class and be confused by the children'’s independence, wondering where'’s the discipline, these children just do as they please. Visitors commonly issue such comments as, '“I'’ve heard Montessori is too free and chaotic'” or '“I'’ve heard Montessori is too structured.'” It does not seem possible that these two extreme opposites can both be true. Montessori is, however, all in the eyes of the beholder. This method or philosophy of education varies in interpretation from school to school, teacher to teacher, and parent to parent. There are certainly some Montessori classrooms that are very rigid and adult controlled, and there are also classroom that are disorderly and anything goes.
Montessori when done well, however, is a beautiful blend and perfect balance of freedom and structure. The best Montessori teachers or facilitators understand that maintaining the delicate balance is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of their job. It is on that foundation of freedom and structure that the child builds discipline. Freedom is not a word that is traditionally associated with discipline. Parents are often concerned that the Montessori child’s freedom to choose activities presupposes that discipline is something alien to our classrooms. Does freedom mean license to act as he or she chooses or does freedom of choice carry with it certain responsibilities in the classroom community? Are we, as some would claim, a place where children can do what they like or, as a young Montessori student once told a visitor, a place where children like what the do?
To have any meaningful discussion of these questions, it would seem that our first priority should be to define this thing called discipline. Montessori herself held that discipline is '“not ...a fact but a way.'” True discipline comes more from within than without and is the result of steadily developing inner growth. Just as the very young child must first learn to stand before she can walk, she must develop an inward order through work before she is able to choose and carry out her own acts. Surprisingly enough, Montessori found that it was through the very liberty inherent in her classrooms that the children were given the means to reveal their inner or self-discipline. Independence did not diminish respect for authority but rather deepened it. One of the things that aroused her greatest interest was that order and discipline seemed to be so closely united that they resulted in freedom.
But, many people assume that discipline is something that is imposed from without by an authority figure who should be obeyed without question. Discipline in the Montessori environment is not something that is done to the child; nor is it a technique for controlling behavior. Our concern is with the development of the internal locus of control, which enables an individual to choose the right behavior because it is right for him or herself and right for the community.
If discipline comes from within, then what is the job of the teacher? Inner discipline is something, which evolves. It is not something that is automatically present within the child and it can not be taught. The role of the teacher, then, is to be a model and a guide while supporting the child as he develops to the point where he is able to choose to accept and to follow the '“rules'” of the classroom community. This level of obedience is the point where true inner discipline has been reached. One knows this level of discipline has been reached when children are able to make appropriate behavioral choices even when we are not present.
Discipline presupposes a certain degree of obedience. Before the age of three a child is truly unable to obey unless what is asked of her happens to correspond with one of her vital urges. At this stage, her personality hasn’t formed to the level where she is capable of making a choice to obey. It is this level which Montessori termed the first level of obedience. A toddler can obey, but not always. The second level of obedience is reached when the child is capable of understanding another person’s wishes and can express them in her own behavior. When this second level of obedience is reached, most parents and teachers would think they had reached their goal. Most adults ask only that children obey
The goals of Montessori reach beyond this, however, to the third level which Montessori called '“joyful obedience'”. At this stage the child has internalized obedience, or we might say, had developed self-discipline where he sees clearly the value of what is being offered to him by authority and rushes to obey. This is not blind obedience at all, but is a fully informed choice by a personality which has grown in freedom and developed to its fullest potential. This is what we want for our children. With this level of obedience or self-discipline comes a degree of self-respect in which a child cannot help but respect the rights and needs of others alongside her own. She is then able to learn and grow freely in the security of a community of respectful individuals.
This of course, is a wonderful philosophy, but can Montessori truly deliver these results? Montessori can only benefit children when it moves beyond philosophy and takes a practical application. This involves the careful preparation of the teacher and the classroom environment. The teacher should be a specialist, trained in child development, as well as Montessori Philosophy and methodology for the age group with whom he or she will be working. Equally important, these adults will need to possess robust enthusiasm for learning, a deep respect for all life, kindness, and the patience of a saint.