I believe the key difficulty lies in that adults of this time and place try to relate to small children through words and through the perception that the small child should be treated the same as an adult- provide logical explanations, more explanation, more talking, more experiences – in order to make discipline go well. The fact that the child then does something that was never done to them (“Why is my child hitting me and biting me? We don’t do that to them!” or disappointment when “She could have cared less that she was being wild and disrupting the baby’s nap. Why can’t she have consideration for the new baby?”)
Disappointing indeed, to discover all those parenting books were wrong, and to discover the completely different consciousness of the child.
The child of birth through seven should be living in their bodies, and we should be able to hold discipline through rhythm, through using song along with movement, through silence and loving authority as we keep calm and carry on. Less words, more warmth, more work on our parts.
In order to help our children, we have to become agents of doing. This is what a small child relates to. When we don’t show our children any meaningful work within a meaningful consistent rhythm, they are rightfully confused. We have a generation of children know who don’t know how to use their bodies, who rebel against any sort of structure, who don’t seem to know how to do anything meaningful, who have many sensory issues (and not all of this is due to parenting! It seems epidemic due to an interplay of general pregnancy and birth, environmental, genetic and nutritional factors – but parents of those children who have sensory difficulties and difficulties on the autistic spectrum have told me the style of parenting I describe here has done nothing but HELP their child).
Craft a rhythm. Write it down and post it in your house, in multiple rooms if need be. Include copious amounts of time outside. But here is my challenge for the week: make certain it includes you, the adult, doing some meaningful work as a model for your children.
Here are some brief suggestions for meaningful work that you can do and show your child, meaningful work that a small child could relate to:
Inside: Washing clothes or dishes by hand, drying dishes by hand, mending, cooking, scrubbing, polishing, sweeping, fixing, handwork, caring for indoor pets and plants.
Outside: weeding the garden, turning a compost pile, organizing and cleaning tools, sweeping, sanding and sawing, splitting logs, hanging clothes out on a line, filling a bird feeder or bird bath, making bird feeders, planting seeds, washing outdoor toys or furniture
Please leave me a comment and tell me what sort of meaningful work you will include in your week this week. Perhaps you can pick something new to add to your rhythm.