Monday, 10 August 2015

All arguments are NOT created equal!

Just a quick thought really (I'm sleepy).

Not all arguments are created equally.

Sometimes my kids and I argue/bicker/fight/disagree and any other adjectives you can think of for being of opposing views.

These events can manifest in many different ways. Shouting. Stomping. Slamming. Throwing. Screaming. Stand(ing) off (or is it stand offing). Hitting. And probably more I'm sure. You get the idea right?

But sometimes, just sometimes, they (we) are arguing in a way that is different to the ways listed above.

They (we) are actually having a discussion about something outside of their (our) own lives. It is incredible to witness (be part of) and I am sure that these discussions become more coherent and more structured the more of the 'less desirable' types of scuffles they actually have! To have a discussion, the more information you have to draw from, the better things are for you. My kids are learning this as they move away from violence and frustration towards discussion and negotiation.

It is more than just opinions, gossip, finger-pointing, name-calling, childish disagreements etc. It is 'grown-up' (eurgh) and 'mature' (eurgh) arguing!

I'm not sure whether or not this phenomenon (at ages 8 and 6) is brought about by us being in a different environment to most (accepting, familiar, comforting, safe, loving) or whether or not most 6-8 year olds do this too? I sure do hope they all do! It is so interesting to be a part of and really bodes well for the future.

But, when my middle two children disagree, it can go every which way and therefore, sometimes, thankfully, does go the way of adult (eurgh) discourse (picture Sorkin, the Wachowskis etc). It is civil, structured, to the point, well reasoned and interesting to listen to. They ask one another poignant questions. They use persuasive language. They negotiate every little detail. They are always on the lookout for the catch!

I'm not sure any of this will work in their favour in the short-term to be honest, given how patronising adults are in general towards children, but, for the time being at least, they are articulate and curious and learning lots...yay!

Maybe that is why we love our unschooling so much? Having got rid of any preconceived ideas that because I have been alive longer, I know more, the children's arguments all become 'valid'.

By the time my kids make their way out properly into the world they will simply have learned to accept and be themselves because they have been allowed to be (without fear of further reprisal maybe because my house does not endorse 'punishment' for punnishments sake)?

My house teaches you that no one knows more about you than you do.

If you know yourself, you're more than capable of disagreeing calmly and patiently and this is because you do not feel threatened in any way. You know who you are and you are competing with no one but yourself from yesterday.

You are not attached to the thoughts/opinions that you may have formed over the years. You understand that they are transitory.

You are simply attached to your right to have those thoughts and opinions and your right to articulate them.

If new information arises, great! More to think about and consider. Win win situation so long as you are not too attached to your existing thoughts.

So in my opinion, all arguments are not created 'equal' but they are all valid forms of expression which clearly serve a purpose.

They move you towards self-knowldge.

Food for thought.

N x

PS - Just in case you are going away with the impression that my kids (and I) argue a lot, let me put it into context.

We are together pretty much 24/7.
We are awake and co-operating for approx 14 hrs per day. every day.

The things we do change. The people we see change. But, we mostly do things together, barring the times D does not join us (he needs far more quiet time than us as you already know).

There is a fight of some description probably every day, yes.

There are 5 of us in our house (one of them being a 6 month old baby who is obviously always reasonable and easy to deal with), plus a carpet-destroying cat (don't even get me started) and an incontinent elderly American Bulldog (urgh..laugh if you like but you'd hate it too). Things can get hectic!

But, I reckon, if you a divided the number of fights by the number of hours spent together, and then compared that number to a more typical population, we'd look pretty impressive.

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