This week, we’re going alllll the way back to episode 7 to revisit a wonderful conversation I had with Anna Brown about parenting. I had been inspired by one of Anna’s conference talks and was so excited to dive deeper into these concepts with her. We talked about uncovering underlying needs during conflict, validation and empathy, assuming positive intent, letting go of set outcomes, noticing our triggers, the 90-second rule, and finding trust in our children and in unschooling.
These are powerful tools and strategies no matter where you are on your unschooling journey and no matter the age of your kids. In fact, these ideas can help create a strong foundation for any relationship!
Questions for Anna
The first question I’d like to ask from your talk is about finding the underlying needs when a conflict arises. We’ve probably all experienced times when just asking hasn’t worked—often even adults aren’t good at verbalizing what real needs they are trying to meet by engaging in a conflict. How do you go about discovering the underlying needs at play in a conflict?
When your child’s upset about something, it’s not very hard to feel sympathetic, to acknowledge their feelings. But often we jump from there to trying to fix things, and then we wonder why they stay stuck in the upset. As part of my book research, I’ve been reading more about empathy. Empathy is about feeling with a person—acknowledging their emotion, and then connecting with the person on that level, helping them feel heard and understood where they are. It reminds me of how in unschooling circles we talk about validation, that step of acknowledging a child’s feelings as real and valid, connecting with the child where they are, and then moving forward when they are ready. How do you see the process of validation playing out?
What is the 90 second rule?
Another thing you mentioned in your talk really stood out for me because I also found it to be such a helpful way to approach things. It was to recognize that everyone is doing their best in this moment. Can you talk about that?
When you and your child are at odds, it can be tempting to try to maneuver things to get to the outcome we think is best. Even if we don’t come right out and say it, kids can often sense our agenda, can’t they? Yet that can get in the way of their learning and undermine the trust in your relationship. So how else can we approach those moments?
One of the most empowering ideas on my unschooling journey has been the realization that everything is a choice. Really, everything. Was that a big one for you as well?
An important part of deschooling is developing trust: in the process of unschooling, in our children, in ourselves. Why is that so valuable?
Sometimes we are reminded that we’re doing something very unconventional and find ourselves feeling anxious and unsure. What helps you move through those moments?
We all have hot buttons, things we react to almost unconsciously before we even realize what’s happening. Yet on our unschooling journey, as we gain more self-awareness, it’s pretty common to begin to see those automatic reactions as over-reactions to the actual situation at hand. And we don’t want to do that to our family. How can we change things up?
Links to things mentioned in the show
Anna’s website: choosingconnection.com
Have a question about unschooling?
The Living Joyfully Network community
The Network is a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our shared goals are to embrace lifelong learning, develop strong and connected relationships with our children, and cultivate a thriving unschooling lifestyle in our families.
This month, our theme is Navigating Conflict and we’re looking through the lenses of curiosity and connection. If you’re curious to learn more, click here!
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