Growing into "Little Men"!
I cant believe that is has been so long since I posted. I know its only been a few days, but that’s long for me. I have really been working on some stresses that I have, and some behavior problems with my girls (a result of the stress)! So right now I am realizing that I have let Bunny get away with alot of stuff because I want her to have the freedom to grow, but I realize that I have not given her any real boundaries. This has lead to my darling girl turning into a rather angry and selfish girl. Soooo….I need to really crack down and set some clear boundaries. It is not ok to grab things from her sister, or scream when she doesn’t get what she wants…..you get the idea. How did this happen I ask myself. I think that I have gotten confused about what freedoms are good for her and which ones are for me to have until she is ready! Maria Montessori was all about children becoming little men. She thought that they should be working toward independence and that they should always be treated with respect. In my quest for that I have not required her to respect me! She is able to decided too many things and she thinks that she has the power to tell me what to do. She is getting SO bossy, especially to Pup. So I need to show her how to respect, how to care, and how to handle the power of choice she does have responsibly. How do I plan to do that? By giving her the chance to be responsible within her set of boundaries. I have struggled with this plan because I don’t want to go against the beauty of Montessori. Then I found this amazing passage in the Montessori Method.
“As to punishments, we have many times come into contact with children who
disturbed the others without paying any attention to our correction. Such
children were at once examined by the physician. When the case proved to be that
of a normal child, we placed one of the little tables in a corner of the room,
and in this way isolated the child; having him sit in a comfortable little
armchair, so placed that he might see his companions at work, and giving him
those games and toys to which he was most attracted. This isolation almost always
succeeded in calming the child; from his position he could see the entire assembly
of his companions, and the way in which they carried on their work was an object
lesson much more efficacious then any words of the teacher could possibly have
been. Little by little, he would come to see the advantages of of being one of
the company working so busily before his eyes, and he would really wish to go
back and do as the others did. We have in this way led back again to discipline
all the children who at first seemed to rebel against it. The isolated child was
always made the object of special care, almost as if he were ill. I myself, as I
entered the room, went first of all directly to him , caressing him, as if he
were a very little child. Then I would turn my attention to the others,
interesting myself in their work, asking questions about it as if they had all
been little men. I do not know what happened in the soul of these children whom
we found if necessary to discipline, but certainly the conversion was always very
complete and lasting. They showed great pride in learning how to work nd how to
conduct themselves, and always showed a very tender affection for the teacher
and for me.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, Chapter 5
It made me feels so much better about setting the boundaries that Bunny needs. She is a child that wants her world ordered and controled. She needs those boundaries. So I will help her become the “little man” she wants to be by allowing her to have control of the things that she is ready to control, and when she is ready for more, I pass those things to her then!
July 8, 2011 @ 7:03 am
Well done, Stehaphnie. I find it very hard to stand back and take a reflective look at what is happening with my family. I find that my empotions often get the better of me.
I found a time out area for me was very useful and althought the area is now used for something else the concept remains and the children know to leave me alone sometimes.
The other thing I have found helpful, although entirely counter-intuitive, is to hold a mis-behaving child close. This is true for both home and school. The more a child is mis-behvaing in some way (not being extra lively, that is probably a sign that you need to go to the park!) it is often a sign that they feel they need your atnetion and are not getting what they need. Separating your emotions – she is behaving like a selfish beast and doesn’t deserve and attention until it stops; and your intellelct – recognising that she is behaving in a way that says, I feel left out somehow, is very hard, particuarly with your own children.
Bringing the child close, is a way of giving that child support, it reduces the amount of freedom they have, which may have been too much at that time. It is important to remember that the right amount of freedom is the amount that is comfortable for the child. It can change from day to day.
Not really all that helpful!! sorry.
July 8, 2011 @ 4:17 pm
Thanks Anna. It is harder to see it in your won home. Its right under my nose, but I still didnt see it till it was to this level! You are so right though. I think that I will be bringing her closer and paying more attention to her. I think we may even stop some school work here and work on being together as a fmaily. I hoping that by tightening her circle of freedom and responsiblity it will allow her to normalize back into the nice person she is! 🙂 I think I gave her more freedoms then she was ready for! Ahhhh…the challenges of being mom!
You really are helpful! Your support means the world! Thank you!
July 9, 2011 @ 1:12 am
I do catch myself being a little to lenient with Froggy Boots at times. But, I feel that my many years of experience as a preschool teacher has taught me a lot about discipline with young children. You are very correct that all children need and even want boundaries. Boundaries not only keep children safe & teach appropriate behavior, they also make children FEEL safe.
One of the most important things I try to remember as a mom and as a teacher is to be consistent. If kids know what to expect, they are more likely to have less issues that require discipline.
July 11, 2011 @ 10:11 pm
I love that passage from The Montessori Method. That is still my favorite Montessori book of all time. I re-read it often and always still learn more. We use a Peace Table in our school room to teach conflict resolution. Pass a flower back and forth allowing each child to discuss their feelings while holding the flower. We also use time-out if the Peace Table doesn’t help. 1 minute for every year the child is old. If those two don’t help (and there are days when they don’t) we change the scenery and go on a walk or go to the library. Sometimes getting out of the house makes a huge difference. You are a wonderful mom to take the time to reflect and plan on how to help your daughter continually improve herself. She’s blessed to have you. 🙂
July 13, 2011 @ 1:14 pm
Mieke~ thats for the support! It mean so much to know that I am doing ok! 🙂 I really agree with you that consistencey is the key to good parenting. I an working on giving that! Thanks for stopping!
Lori~ Isnt that passage awesome! I love it too! I want to reread the Montessori Method again too! I love the peace table idea, but it seems that in our house it jsut isnt enough to calm the screaming girls! 😉 So I do what you do, I start with talking to them (since Pup cant always say what she thinks) and getting them work things out. Most of the time it works, but sometimes it just leads to more screaming! That is when I use time out too! I love that we work sort of the same way! I am thankful that you stop by my blog! Your support is so wonderful to have and I love ti hear what you have to say! Thanks!