Look directly at your child

I was working on a Just Add Light and Stir post. I thought there had been a page about seeing a child directly, but I didn't find one. What I did find was several good uses of the idea, on different pages, so I thought a collection might be worth having.

The idea is mine; the quotes are mine unless otherwise indicated. I say so because there's been some plagiarism lately, and I don't want these things lifted and claimed by others. I DO want them used happily by parents to make their children's lives better.

Turn away from the school and look directly at your children.

(2009 Interview, "Unschooling")

Look directly at your child. Practice watching your child without expectations. Try to see what he is really doing, rather than seeing what he's NOT doing. Just look.

A Loud Peaceful Home

Look directly at your child without filters or labels.

Doing Unschooling Right

Jill Parmer:
A huge shift for my deschooling was that I wanted my kids to be like certain kids I was reading about on the old unschooling.com message boards. And when I had that thought, it shocked me. I realized I was not seeing my kids as who they were, that I was still wanting them to be....something else. That shock was enough to make me banish that thought and look directly at my kids and play with them and have fun with them.

Deschooling Chat

I tell them to look directly at their child without overlays or filters or labels—to see who he is, right now, and respond to that.

Why I Unschooled My Three Kids

Photos are links, both to this text by Karen James:
Living in the world peacefully and respectfully are good places to begin to focus when new to unschooing. The best advice I was given was to look at my son. Not at ideals. Not at freedom. Not at school or no school. Not at labels. Not at big ideas. Look at my son. Be with him. Get to know him deeply. And, then to read a bit about unschooling. Give something new a try. See how it goes in the context of our real day to day life.

I still do that. I'm still learning.

First photo by Karen James; second by Julie Daniel

Debbie Harper wrote:

Sometimes parents get tangled up with a particular issue, and lose sight of the child.
. . . .
Embrace the child - listen to and be receptive to him. Help him with things that matter to him, help him feel whole and cherished as he is, help him feel content and fulfilled at the end of each day.
—Debbie Harper, about anxiety

Sometimes people have a sort of social hypchondria—every problem that's described, they identify with, or fear the danger will get their children. They would do much better to spend more time and attention with and on their children so that they see their wholeness, rather than imagining their vulnerabilities.

Fear, overcoming


Turn and softly look at your child to see what is fresh and new. Look at your child with awe. See your child with curiosity. Admire your child. You will be amazed.

Turn and softly look
photo by Joyce Fetteroll

Pam Sorooshian, in a 2009 chat/interview, wrote:

Every time someone starts thinking they should do something because someone else said it was a good idea, they should stop. And they should think right then about their own child and about whether it is a good idea for that actual real child. When people call themselves experts, warning lights should probably go off.

Real expertise shows itself by the good ideas, the modeling, the understanding you get from them. Real experts don't need to call themselves experts or promote themselves as such.

—Pam Sorooshian


Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life

Thoughts on Changing