Decision-making and deciding on rules isn't where I struggle so much. I hate having to come up with consequences for breaking the rules. Can't always come up with something that's logical. But more than that, what I am most perplexed about is that I still feel compelled to influence my children even in areas that " only affect them". Without my influence, Kenny and Jesse would watch tv from the time they get home from school for the rest of the night. They would also choose to sit inside all day on weekends, mostly watching tv. They don't ask to learn sports, even how to ride a bike. (Mark and I are always going out to exercise, even do our weight work at home.) They would choose other poor health habits, if I let them. They have a friend over and choose to watch a video- I ask them to "play" first for a while. I influence. Can't help it! I know I interfere a LOT less than non-Sudbury folk. I'm just wondering how pure I "should or could" be.
----- Original Message -----
From: Romey Pittman
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2001 8:58 PM
Subject: DSM: Re: Re: sudbury in the home
Romey at Fairhaven here. This is an ongoing question for me too. I have found, without really planning it, that the main distinction between my parenting and that of, say, my non-Sudbury siblings whose parenting style might otherwise be similar, is that I am very clear about what my rules are and don't arbitrarily make up rules on the spot, or just boss my kids around. Most (all?) of our rules were come up with in some form of informal family meeting, but I am definitely the primary enforcer (just like staff are at school, I guess). We have lots of rules in the house - no eating on the couch, at the computer or piano or in bedrooms, no junk food snacks within an hour of dinner, have to have baths at least once a week (gross, I know), change clothes (well, at least underwear) on school days, and have bedtimes early enough that they can get up without a fight or a lot of nagging to get to school for my staff shift, hitting results in having to go upstairs of a while, etc. But we somehow came to them by negotiating my needs (I don't want to cook a dinner no one will eat, or have to clean gross food messes in hidden places, nag grumpy kids to get up) against theirs, and some really basic healthcare responsibilities I think are mine until they are older (don't ask me when...) like having to take medicine, take baths occasionally, etc.. We sat down and talked about some problem I'm having (or they are having) and we figure out a rule or new practice to address it. It's definitely rule-based, but not necessarily democratic. Another major compulsion I struggle with but uphold is that they have to spend scheduled times at their Dad's house (we're divorced) whether they want to or not (mostly they do). I'm not sure I'm right and I don't pretend to have all the answers (to them or you), but those seem to be my basic operating practices...I'd love to hear where others draw lines between individual choice and group democracy and the kind of parental/property owner rights Alan spoke of.
----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Klein
Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2001 8:46 PM
Subject: DSM: Re: sudbury in the home
As a staff member and a parent at a democratic school, I never found this to be a problem. For me the key ingredients are clarity and respect. Specifically, I think it is important for parents to be clear about our own needs. As parents, we own the home and the property in it, except that which is personally the kids'. We do no one a favor by pretending that we will allow democratic decision-making to control OUR stuff.
Democratic decision-making, even at school, is only used for those decisions that affect the community at large and its property. Kids at democratic schools (and at home) make their own, independent, decisions all day in areas that only affect them. Respecting these decisions, in either setting, is vital.
Kids seem to be able to discern quite easily the expectations and rules that govern various settings, so long as we don't confuse them by telling them it is one thing, when it is really another.
----- Original Message -----
From: morticia crone
i've heard said that this list is meant to discuss the model of education that is sudbury, got that. for the record, in case this is relevant, i haven't read any sudbury books - my sm info comes from the net. so, assuming all families have internal discrepencies, disagreements, difficulties, and hoping that i'm not being too off-topic, here, i'd like to ask some sudbury parents:
whether and if so, how they *implement* democracy in the home? perhaps it's not too much to assume that no one attempts the sm in the home to a complete degree.
assuming this is correct, how do your children relate to non-democracy (partial democracy, whatever) in the home?
do you, the parents, attempt democratic solutions, and what are the results?
do sudbury kids expect life outside of school to follow the same lines as within their school? how is the differentiation explained to the children?
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