Articles by Freya Dawson

Dealing with your child’s unacceptable behaviour.

Has your child ever done things, repeatedly, that you find completely unacceptable?

Maybe your child has a habit of hitting you, masturbating in your presence, swearing at you, listening to loud music that you hate, throwing food on the floor, refusing to wear clothes or wash, stealing money from you, exploding in rage, self harming, stimming in ways that alarm or offend, pooing their pants or biting and scratching their friends?

Or maybe you’ve got your own horror story about what your child does that you can’t stand?

I’ve found myself in this situation a number of times with my two sons – them doing something on repeat that I thought I couldn’t live with – and I’d like to share an insight that helped me to move from a state of frustration, rage and panic to one of calm acceptance and peaceful solutions. 

What “type” of child have you got and what values drive you?

I assure you this insight I’ll be talking about isn’t a magic solution. If only!! Instead, what I’m hoping is that I can help reduce the terrible frustration and anger that you’re experiencing and in doing so, clear the way for a fresh and creative solution to appear – one that is respectful and compassionate for both your child and yourself. My aim was to have a peaceful and respectful relationship with my two “highly spirited” children. 

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What to do when your husband is freaking out about unschooling.

A partner who is freaking out is something that many home educating parents (mostly mums) face. It’s something I faced too; not just once, but many times during our 15 year unschooling journey with our two sons. There is no doubt that unschooling or self-directed learning is still considered a very unconventional, even a radical path, so it’s bound to raise some fears and concerns, not just with husbands but often with members of our extended families too.

How did it come to this?

Home educating our sons was was my idea (my sons idea, really) when my eldest was just 4 years old. I’d had the benefit of meeting other homeschooling families, seeing their children learning at home and together in groups and being able to ask the parents lots and lots of questions. My husband hadn’t had those experiences and the whole idea was completely “out of the blue” for him. Added to that, we had both been educated up to our eyeballs in the school and university system and were both then working as university lecturers. It was understandable that he had some fears about stepping away from those institutions and that familiar approach to education. Frankly, so did I.

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10 reasons not to limit screens or gaming

Worried parents are told that limiting their children’s screen time is essential.

“Experts” advise restricting access and most parents go along with this.

I understand why. There are so many scary stories going around about gaming addiction, technology that’s designed to manipulate our minds and harm done to children’s brain development. 

If you are looking around for justification for restricting screen time or gaming, you’ll certainly find it.  

So parents go ahead and take away their child’s device, ban the game play or make strict rules around screen time. 

But there’s another radical option. 

It involves having a connected, respectful, cooperative relationship with your child.

To have this kind of relationship means focusing on trust, support, encouragement and play. It also means being willing to question those scary stories about screen time.

I’m not saying limits are wrong, but I’m going to invite you to consider some different points of view. 

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Would you like to be immune to insults?

Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.” 

Let’s skip over the “sticks and stones” bit for the moment. That’s for another day. 

Names can never hurt me.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to live? 

That’s how we all used to live when we were very young, before we learned a language. There was awareness and perception of sound, light, touch and physical sensations. There was crying, shaking and smiling, but no words and no emotional pain. They might cry at the loud noise of a shout but a baby can’t be offended or hurt by the words that are spoken. 

Then we learned our name and were taught that we are separate from everyone else. We were taught the meaning of lots of words and which ones were supposed to hurt us. 

Then one day someone said something to us and this thought came into our head: “They said something nasty. They hurt me.” Then a surge of emotion begins. That is the beginning of emotional pain that can visit us again and again; sometimes for a lifetime. I’m sure you recognise it. 

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