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Hi, everyone. I just had a very interesting time at a local homeschooling get together. It was my first time meeting with this particular group of people and in theory they are the closest to my mind frame as far as homeschooling goes. However, I ran into a problem that I don't know how to address. Several of the children involved were, in my opinion, completely undisciplined, mean, and unruly. I was honestly embarassed to be associated with these other children (and their mother, who is a leader for this organization). Let me explain. We met at the zoo and from the very beginning several children were climbing onto the fences, throwing food at the animals, and running off without supervision. At one point a few children jumped into the duck pond and a zoo worker came over and asked us to please remove them. I was absolutely mortified. While I believe in letting children be individuals, having fun, and learning at their own rate, my children certainly know not to go jumping into duck ponds without permission!! Their mother was very relaxed about the whole thing (and several other mother agreed with her).
Has anyone been in this kind of situation? I really liked everyone and thought I'd found a wonderful community just to discover that our parenting styles are definitely not in sync. Being that I'm new to the group I didn't feel like it was my place to say anything. I don't want to completely disregard this group but I can't be a part of it with that kind of behavior. My kids were upset with me because I wouldn't let them go swimming. What does anyone think? Disregard this group? Say something? If so, how to be tactful.....
Any advice would be appreciated!!
Oh what a difficult situation. Jumping in the duck pond at the zoo is most defiantly NOT ON! Are there any other nearby homeschool groups you could try out? I think what you tasted at the zoo will be the way things are at each and every outing. As you said absolutely mortifying. You said serval other mothers actually agreed with her, so it does sound like a parenting click. Were there other families with better behaved children there as well that maybe you could try and establish contact with outside of the group? Although you might have to be careful what you say if those moms are loyal to the leader it could open I think I would be looking for another group.
"Cats are keen, cats are great, cats are clean they lick your plate."
Oh man... I read that to my husband and he and I are in disbelief that those kids were getting away with that kind of behavior. Call us strict, but we would NOT stand for that kind of behavior from our (future) kids. I definitely agree with the others. This must be some kind of parentin "clique", and if thats true... I'd get far away... fast.
I woud find another group if it were me. Things like that really damper making a friendship. I"m sorry , i Hope you can find a new grou psoon. I've had that same problem with playgroups (haven't gone to any homeschooling groups yet), but a lot of the women who said they subscribed to a particular type of parenting (not mentioning names of this parenting style, lol) seemed to believe that you'd damage a child by saying no and setting boundaries- not for me and my family.
Oh my goodness! I would have been so upset! I hope there is another group in your area that you can join, as I agree that future meetings would likely be filled with the same kinds of experiences.
That's one of the reasons why I homeschool: so that my son doesn't get exposed to as much of the unruly behavior that I have seen exhibitted by many public schooled children with completely uninvolved parents. Luckily, my homeschooling group has mostly very mellow, respectful children that have lots of fun together... which is a good thing as I live in a small town and it is the only homeschooling group in the area!
I had similar experiences at the zoo this summer. We were looking at an enclosure of pot-bellied pigs with a couple of signs saying very clearly "Do not feed, on a special diet"... and this one kid was chucking food at the pigs. So I said to the mother, "Those pigs are not supposed to be fed by zoo-goers" and she just shot me a dirty look, laughed & said, "Oh yeah, I know you're not supposed to, but..." and she left it at that. And then at the duck pond, there was this one child running around scaring the birds and their parents just said in this sing-songy voice, "Maybe you shouldn't do that, honey."
When did saying "No" become such a bad thing to so many parents? How on earth are children supposed to learn right from wrong if no one tells them? I mean, I'm not one for beating children or stifling their creativity, but if my son does something that is out-of-line, I tell him and if it's bad enough, I will remove him from the situation and make him have a time out. Parents who do nothing drive me crazy!!
at least around here I find the opposite to be true
going to the zoo with my homeschool group is the most pleasurable experience, for us and the kids because everyone is safe and happy.
now going with a group of parents from my town where most of the kids are public schooled, I thought that was awful. and you can't even say anything to the kids because the parents get mad at you.
Just an update. I recently checked our local on-line post and several other parents complained about the lack of structure, discipline, and supervision at our meeting. I checked the history of the group and have determined that I've walked right into a power struggle between some very unstructured parents and others who share the child-centered learning approach but would never allow out of control behavior. This is a very hard situation to be in. This seems to be the only secular support group in the area and we really need people. My 8 year old was very upset about leaving his friends in our old town and I'm trying to make the transition easier on him by finding other friends. I'm very tempted to disassociate with this group and watch what happens: maybe the more structured mothers will assume contorl of the group and we'll be okay. In the meantime I don't know what to do for socialization.
Thank you all for your ideas. It is nice to know that others thought the whole situation was ridiculous!! I was starting to feel too strict
That actually could be good news! Perhaps you can talk to the other more structured parents in the group and form a different group with them. That way the power struggle ends... the parents who want to allow their children to be unruly (excuse me... "free spirited") can do so without getting in the way of the families who want to raise normal members of society (ha... sorry... that probably went too far... but they seriously drive me nuts! ).
That actually could be good news! Perhaps you can talk to the other more structured parents in the group and form a different group with them. That way the power struggle ends... the parents who want to allow their children to be unruly (excuse me... "free spirited") can do so without getting in the way of the families who want to raise normal members of society (ha... sorry... that probably went too far... but they seriously drive me nuts! ).[/b]
I agree. I know it's not politically correct now a days to seperate anyone, but really, having a big group for paretns who have oppostie parenting styles (especially different parenting styles like this) just doesn't work- hence this power struggle.