sierraleone, on Jul 13 2003, 07:01 AM, said:
You and your kids do sound fascinating. I have got a question if you do not mind
I was reading a newspaper article on children who want to do things to seem *grown up* as in, for girls, wearing make-up, highheels, play with dolls and house. I could see how some kids would see this as the definition of grown up As they are not allowed to (usually) and adults are. It got me wondering if there are any positive (gendered bias or not) things they try to imitate? What do your kids (and those girls you mentioned) do when they want to feel or look more ¨grown-up¨? Especiallywhen you have been trying to keep gender roles and other such possibly negative influences from them?
To answer your question, the children aren't seperated from grownup work in the home - and when they want to feel mature they jump in and help out for as long as they like. My son will try to help me make baby carriers (a small home based business I have) or wash some dishes or start the car for me when we're going out or keep an eye on his brother for a few minutes.
The children don't seem to aspire to token symbols of being adult (clothes, mannerisms) very often. Perhaps because they have the regular opportunity to do real adult things they don't mistake the trappings FOR the real thing? I dunno. When they do play with things like make up, its clearly not to imitate the grown ups (we all most never wear it) but more like a war paint ritual They use make up the same way they draw on themselves with markers - to look like a stripey wild animal, or to look 'beautiful' or to look scary.
One of the primary tennets of our community is that the children aren't the center of attention - the adult work is. We don't hover over them 'enriching; their play by imposing adult rules onto it - we expect that their play is innately teaching & guiding them.....that they grow toward maturity every day w/o being forced to. We expect them to gradually join in the adult work because it is natural to mature into a person who WANTS to do join in the meaningful work that makes life happen. The children are near us constantly - they recieve our guidance if they are being destructive to eachother or things, they come to us if they want nurturing or support or to learn something specific.
These are all ideas from The Continuum Concept - some continuum writing is up at www.continuum-concept.org