“I’m not your waitress!” I said, grinning at my youngest and handing her the drink. She does the cheeky grin. I love it.
And love having her back in the house for a term break from Uni.
We fall back into that old way of giggling and raising eyebrows at each other round charity shops and she falls back into that old way of getting me to wait on her. I fall back into doing it.
I’ve noticed though that she doesn’t say that to me as I get her to return the favour and bring me a cuppa – perhaps she’s more gracious than I am. Or perhaps it’s because she hasn’t had nineteen years of doing it! Mainly, though, we just have easy fun times together really. No resentments. No deceits. Continuing as we always did to be honest and open.
I used to worry that home educating might make the kids even more sick of their parents than young people tend to be. But I think it’s had the opposite effect. There is more communication. More teamwork. More friendship and more rapport than I could have ever wished. I’m their best friend they tell me. Aw!
It did take work.
To achieve continued communication it is necessary to practice the opposite; shutting up and backing off some of the time…much of the time actually. To be mindful of when to butt out, when to leave them to find out for themselves, when to make a decision about not imparting advice even though you know something and they don’t and are going to make mistakes because of it. Unless it’s life threatening those mistakes don’t matter and anyway, they want to make them as part of wanting to find things out for themselves and not be told. Wanting to be independent, learn independently.
I can remember feeling just the same. It does us good to remind ourselves about the things we didn’t like in the way we were parented or educated, and omit them from our own parenting, rather than slipping into old but familiar acts.
I still have to remember to do that now.
When our kids are small we are in charge of everything. As they grow you have to leave go that charge and allow them to graduate to their own learningful independence.
I think the biggest thing that helped our relationships was to always maintain that we were a team; family-wise and educationally. And as a team there was no need for bossing – encouragement definitely, but that’s different from bossing. We were all on the same side, working towards the same aim. Schooling sometimes interferes with that sense of pulling together and there’s little opportunity for independent learning.
We’re still a loving team despite all those years of home educating – it didn’t ruin it. We still have that sense of pulling together and always being on the same side. Even if waitressing does sometimes slip into the equation. But as long as it remains mutual it’s fine by me.
Now, where’s she gone; I need a cup of tea!