Radical acceptance

What is learning?

In the past seven days, my children have played many games of Bear Grylls survival outside, gone ‘camping’ in the backyard, made endless obstacle courses and ridden their bikes. My oldest has practiced some letter recognition and sounds but this is driven by a desire to read. My youngest has played with sensory materials for hours, played endless games of good car and bad car outside and there have been hours of Bluey episodes and breakdancing videos.

To me and many others, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to live as a child. But for others, it seems like the child has all the control and is learning they can do whatever they want. But the difference is very important. Our children are not disrespectful but they do understand boundaries. They are not rude but they can speak for themselves. They may not fit into a cookie-cutter life when they are grown, but childhood is more than an empty space before life begins. Childhood is important and it is life. It is special but it is their life. I believe children have the ability, intelligence, maturity and capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Obviously, guidance is important. They would cake all day after all! But there is something special about giving children autonomy and seeing what happens. Instead of saying no to everything and having strict rules, we say yes a lot. I have found that being more relaxed about food, bedtime, clothes and activities means the children actually learn to make an appropriate choice.

At the end of the day, for us, the proof is right in front of us. Children who fall asleep when they are tired, who eat food, and won’t hopefully develop poor body image issues and restrictive eating practices despite the challenges of sensory processing issues.

Our culture determines our values and the norms we follow, but more people and families than ever are determined to live by their own rules. This way of life is a form of radical acceptance where each person is treated as a unique individual with developing capacity.

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