Can your kids trust what you say about school?

“You look like you’re in an institution, mum,” she giggled as she snapped this picture on the slant! 010

I wasn’t, we were just sitting next to a beach volleyball court when my daughter took this.

We’d walked along the front together and found a little cafe to have a drink before walking back. It seemed like summer and it was only last week. Now I sit and write this with woollies on and showers lashing the windows.

It was so lovely seeing her again. We manage it every couple of months as she miles away now where her work is, but share daily texts. I get twitchy when we’re not in contact for a few days.

It’s half term and the town is full of parents and kids in proper contact but many seeming not to enjoy it half as much as we do.

We spent almost ten years enjoying being together when we were home educating so you can imagine the distance is taking some getting used to!

People often ask how we managed. Saying how grateful they are that their kids are off their hands all day and what a trial these term breaks are. But the thing about home educating is that we had the opportunity to grow a different kind of being together than when the kids were in school.

I talked about this before in this September post. But what I forgot to mention is the idea of trust.

It must be so hard for kids to really trust their parents when they uphold that school is good, when to some kids it just seems like torture. It must be so hard for kids to trust that their parents know best when those same parents seem to spend an awful lot of time complaining about school. And it must be horrid if the kids get the idea that really mum and dad just want them off their hands.

How do you build a sense of trust, an essential part of respect, in that scenario?

We originally asked our kids to trust what we said about school being right for them. We maintained it was worth a try. We suggested there would be things about it they might really like and enjoy.

When that started to go wrong, when it became apparent that school clearly wasn’t right for them, that they weren’t enjoying it and they’d given it a fair trial but were still unhappy and unwell, we stopped selling it to them. We no longer asked them to trust things we didn’t even believe in ourselves any more. We talked about home educating, about them learning at home, and we watched them explode with delight.

And the delight continued, despite the challenges. But those challenges were overcome by the fact that our relationship was built on that position of trust – the kids trusted that we would not uphold false stories.

I don’t think that would have been the case if we’d left them in a scenario that no one trusted any more. They’d have known it was a lie.

We cannot lie to our kids. Agreed, there’s a few ‘stories’ we occasionally tell them; Father Christmas for one! But kids know the truth, despite what you’re telling them. They have to trust us, trust what we say, how we behave. Once that trust is in place the relationships follows.

And a good relationship with your kids is truly worth putting yourself out for as it pays a lifetime of dividends. As I enjoy now despite the distance!

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