Self Government

Today I was very fortunate to catch two seminars at the local family festival that is going on.  I am posting the 1st half today and the 2nd half tomorrow.

The first seminar was by Nicholeen Peck who writes a blog called Teaching Self Government.     I have read bits and pieces of her blog before and was excited to hear her speak in person!  My main reason in wanting to attend was the correlation between self government and wanting my children to be independent learners.    Her principles apply to every family, regardless of the challenges they face.  Don’t let her description in the side bar scare you away!  These principles are necessary for healthy, happy, adjusted children too!

I’m going to put some of her thoughts in bullet points as I’m still working through these in my own mind.

  • Successful children are able to determine the cause and effect of any given situation and possess the knowledge to make correct decisions. YOU have to teach them these skills.  They will not magically appear.  Children need you to model this behavior, and discuss the why/how of the decisions you made.
  • Our goal is to raise our children to be adults who know their mission in life, who can’t wait to fight for it, who know how to create deep relationships with others and have their own  personal relationship with God. I love this and want to incorporate some of it into our family statement (okay, all of it!)   I see  the “who can’t wait to fight for it” in our “deeper, broader and faster” approach.  I do not want to hold my children back from their future in any way.
  • One of my favorite things she talked about was family activities.  She talked about the importance of creating memories and that memories happen not when things are spur of the moment (though this is important in family culture too) but activities that are planned and anticipated.   I know a lot of parents don’t tell their children about an event planned in the future because they think that children can not handle the wait.  I have always done the opposite.  I love to tell my children of our plans so that I can watch them plan, dream and anticipate the event!  I felt very validated!
  • Acceptance~~Home should be the safest place to make mistakes.  (No shame!)
  • Trust
  • Family Economy~~Consequences, Rights and Privileges.  Spend time with your kids figuring out what is a consequence, a right and a privilege.  For example, a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat are rights.  T.V., video games, treats and time with friends are privileges.  Consequences should be natural, you make a mess, you clean it up, you break a family rule, you accept the consequence that has been pre-determined in family meetings.

So much of this fits with the way we run our family!  I’m looking forward to incorporating more of what I learned today into our family system!

2 Responses

  1. Angela says:

    These are great points- I am going to head over to her blog right now. I need to work on the acceptance part, I am much to harsh when the kids make stupid mistakes at home. I have got to get better about a real mistake (because you didn’t know how) and a screwing around mistake 🙂

  2. Marmee,

    I just happen to be surfing around today and found your write up of my class. Thanks for the great review! I hope you have been able to improve self government in your home since your attendance. My book is almost done, so that should be an additional help to many people. Last night our BBC documentary aired in Britain too. Raising children is a hard thing to do in these troubled times, so your post here can really be helpful to many struggling families. Thanks for sharing!