Raising the Free – Part 1: Follow Your Heart

You will often see me referring to my son Kruize as a ‘free spriit’. This isn’t because its cute, or ‘on trend’ but he truly is the epitomy of the words. His soul is gentle, but wild. He is emotional, extremely intelligent, very literal, has a strong connection with nature, bugs and animals, he is impulsive, determined, defiant, fearless. But most of all, he is the sweetest little boy, with such a loving heart.

Take me back 5 years and I NEVER would have thought parenting would be this hard. I have no doubt for one minute that many mothers’ journeys through parenting is alot easier than mine, and while yes, there are days where I feel frustrated, and slightly jealous of the activities/outtings other mothers can enjoy with their children that I can only dream of doing with Kruize, I’m forever reminded that we only given what we can handle.

My main focus in life is to guide and teach my children to become beautiful, strong, kind but resilient adults. To teach them to fight for what they believe in, and stand up forwhat they don’t. To be genuine, honest and humble, regardless of who they are or what materialistic things they have. I want them to be proud of themselves and work hard for what they want. To never use other people as rungs in a ladder. But most of all I want to teach them to love, with all of their souls. We live by these principals within our home. I give my children a voice, the freedom to make decisions, but ultimately I am still their protector.

But today I failed Kruize, and my heart hurts. I knew it as I drove away from kindy drop off. My strong willed, intelligent and free spirited little boy, is as equally misunderstood as he is incredibly anxious. Toilet training hasn’t been an early or easy feat for us. I haven’t pushed him, and have waited until he was ready before moving forward. About two months ago he decided he was (finally) ready to wear undies and he hasn’t looked back. However, he still wears nappies to his daycare. This too, is something that I will not force. I strongly believe there is a coexistence between toilet training and trust/comfortability. Unfortunately within the current environment at daycare, Kruize isn’t feeling 100% comfortable, and subsequently his objection to wearing undies there is strong. The majority of the staff at daycare have been understanding and supportive of my wishes to refrain from forcing this on him, however judging by Kruizes’ resistance (and discussions I’ve had with him) there has been attempts to cooerce him into wearing undies. I suspect this is purely from one person, as his feelings, body language and relations are completely shut down toward the staff member.

I am not sharing this story on my blog to shame ANYONE, Β but merely to share a message. Mummas PLEASE trust your instinct, your gut, your heart. You are your little ones voice, their protector, their provider, their guide. YOU know what is right for them. Please do not let anyone shame, force, talk, or coerce you into anything that you do not want to do. I have spent most of today feeling sad for my little guy, and incredibly guilty that I’ve left him at daycare today. He has some of the most amazing educators at his daycare, and it absolutely breaks my heart that he is feeling anxious and uncomfortable due to one persons actions.

For children with personalities such as Kruizes’ (strong willed, determined, defiant, anxious) tough love, forcing them into things and time outs, do not work. They need gentle reassurance, they must feel in control of their own decision making (even if you ultimately are the one making the decision) but most of all they need unwavering love – in the toughest of times. In my home we do not do time outs, I do not force the eating of foods, and I don’t believe in ‘tough love’. From an outsiders perspective it may come across as ‘push over parenting’ but this is very much not the case. I am in control of the things that count – his safety, his wellbeing and the way he treats others (when he is disrespectful there are consequences). But the insignificant inbetweens – are just that – insignificant. We need to stop ‘throwing’ the children in our society into one basket. What works for one, doesn’t work for another. There should be less comparisons and time limits on achieving things, and more love and acceptance of differences.

I will not sit here and pretend that my grasp and understanding on how to parent a ‘free spirit’ is a perfectly mastered one, as that is not the case. But what I do know is, as he grows and develops I certainly have learnt that his needs, wants, desires are far different from any regular childs. This does not make him more important, of higher authority or subject to special privledges, but merely requires an alternate method of parenting, teaching and learning. Over the coming months, I will share with you all, my thoughts on teaching a spirited child in today’s education system (FYI my background pre kids, was as a primary school Teacher), things that work for us and suggestions that you may wish to implement in your own home. If you are raising a spirited child, you may find this series I am sharing of benefit to your family. At least I hope you do, as I have previously struggled to find alot of support surrounding this subject.

I would love to hear your thoughts below, please feel free to share any similar experiences.

Peace and Love

 

Disclaimer: Please note – The issue with the educator / daycare is something that I will obviously be dealing with, with the centre. Unfortunately it couldn’t be dealt with straight away this morning, but it will be, and if this behaviour continues he will be removed as I cannot have Kruize having anxiety over a place that generally brings him alot of happiness. I don’t want to delve too deep on the blog about this for obvious reasons.

** (update since writing this earlier today) Upon collecting him from daycare this afternoon, I have now been informed he is refusing to drink water there, as he “does not want to wee”. FML – this is WHY you do not push an anxious child!!!**

Author: Bec Crombie

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  • awww hugs to you both! He will always come out on top with a beautiful and caring mother like you guiding him.!! such a special message to all parents. i 100% agree with you. Our children are all different and the way they process things/ learn can differ from child to child and it is so important for us to acknowledge it. i really hope your little man starts to feel himself again soon!! sending you all postivie vibes xx

  • My heart breaks for you and Kruize. It sounds like you and I parent the same – gentle parenting with positive decipline. It hurts knowing that people think that tough love parenting is going to raise confident, emotionally stable children and adults…

  • Hey Bec, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in feeling like you have failed your son in some situations. Like you, I have a spirited child and they are HARD work but oh so worth it. And for a long time I could accept he was different from the regular kids. Many of my friends could take their kids to various outings because their child would sit quietly and occupy themselves however my son was and is not like this and prefers to explore areas and interact with adults a lot and in general was seen as “naughty/disruptive”. I am only recently in the last year or so starting to recognise how wonderful his ‘not the norm’ personality is, and he is already way more intelligent than me (in some areas). I wish I realised this was all ok when he was Cruise’s age and not been as harsh on him but I guess it’s all meant to be.
    Anyway, you are doing an amazing job. Keep up the good work.