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Integral Parenting Thread!

Last post 04-11-2007, 11:13 PM by miriam. 161 replies.
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  •  07-16-2006, 4:54 PM 1506 in reply to 1473

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    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks, Lynne. I ordered that book, which looked great on Barnes and Noble. Customer reviewers gave it raves.

    And Turtle, thanks for sharing about the struggles of being a 1. This time your persistence with your POV did pay off for both of us. The idea of my setting limits for myself (which I clearly deserve to do) is so important in so many ways. I think it took a while for my situation to get clear enough for that issue to emerge.

    I have enjoyed hearing about how you handle children in your classroom, and I'd leave my kid in your care without a qualm!

    Robin

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  •  07-18-2006, 7:58 PM 1610 in reply to 1422

    Re: Integral parent education

    Honestly, I think sometimes we put too much effort into worrying about what to do with kids that we make ouselves crazy!

     

    holy moly, turtle!  you reminded me of things that i knew but must have forgotten!!  many thanks for your whole post.

     

    later,

    gene

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  •  07-18-2006, 9:02 PM 1613 in reply to 1506

    • lajla is not online. Last active: 03-12-2007, 2:56 PM lajla
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Hello! 

    and hooray, I've finally found you all!  As a mother to two young kids (almost 6 and 4 y.o.) and an avid student of Integral Theory in all its many aspects, Integral Parenting has been a concept I've been trying to conceptualize on my own for years.  Finding a group of others interested in hashing out what an integral approach to parenting could be is like a goldmine!  I've been inspired tonight catching up on your discussions, the topics popping up, the honesty with which you're sharing your stories.  So, thanks!

    I would love to get back to Cori's suggestions of looking at how the various AQAL elements relate to parenting, and generating ideas on how to encourage our children's healthy expression at each developmental stage.  
    (All due agreement with Robin - abundantly clear when I think of my own kids - that each child is an individual with individual needs.  Still, I wonder if some generalizations can't be made.) What sort of "authority" or "guidance" (loaded words!) is appropriate at each level seems to be particularly fraught, so I wonder if it couldn't be just as fruitful.  Anyone willing to get the ball rolling by putting her/his ideas on the table?

    Something I've noticed while contemplating SD in regards to my own kids is that my almost 6 year old seems to move at least superficially between purple and green (I know he's not "supposed to", but I do see bits of orange and green among the purple, red and his extreme blue).  Has anyone else seen this in children they know?  If he's got pieces from various levels in his "stack", as Cowan and Beck describe, that makes my job of encouraging healthy expression need particular flexibility, as in "what level am I talking to now?"  Or not?  This certainly must be true for older kids, teenagers.  While their center of gravity may be in one place, earlier levels of development still live within and can be mobilized by different external situations.  Does anyone have any thoughts on or experience with this?

    all the best,
    Rainier
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  •  07-18-2006, 10:08 PM 1614 in reply to 1613

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    Re: Integral parent education

    A couple thoughts about what encouraging healthy expression of purple might look like...

    Waldorf educators set up a pretty good purple environment for young kids.  To brainstorm: celebrating/honoring the 4 seasons with one's children, having specific traditions or rituals set up around them; perhaps establishing a "nature table" somewhere in your house; stories/puppet-shows/play-acting about elves, fairies, magic, etc.; folk tales, nature/animal myths (hero-myths might fit in better with the emergence of red)...

    Any more thoughts?  Thoughts on "authority/guidance", whatever one likes to call it?

    I'm sure there are more ideas lurking around in my head, but I'm starting to nod off at the computer, so anything else will have to wait.
    warmly,
    Rainier
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  •  07-19-2006, 7:24 AM 1618 in reply to 1423

    Re: Integral parent education

    What are some examples of

    healthy purple?

    pretending; rituals; hope; some fears.

    healthy red?

    saying what you think; believing you are as important as someone else; actively participating.

    healthy blue?

    following the rules; playing sports fairly; sharing (because it's the right thing to do); behaving; being nice when you don't want to; sometimes not saying what you think.

    healthy orange?

    competing; finding the best way; making things better.

    healthy green?

    sharing (because everyone is important); inviting others; focusing on commonalities instead of divisive differences; appreciating differences.

     

    later,

    gene

     

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  •  07-19-2006, 8:54 AM 1624 in reply to 1618

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    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks, Gene, this is great.  I had some thoughts in a slightly different direction while I was lying in bed this morning.  You offer examples of what healthy expressions of each stage would entail.  These elements are terrific to keep in mind, they're sort of like beacons in the daily muddle.  From there I'm wondering how we as parents can encourage these healthy expressions to emerge, be fully lived out.  Partially, I suppose, these stages are real, so they just arise naturally as our children mature.  Does that mean, if we're just open to the manifestations at each stage, all will be OK?  Hmmm.  I'm also aware that I tend to feel more comfortable with the cool colors, for whatever reasons.  Perhaps bc/ my own red wasn't well tolerated and my parents fit more into the "intellectual socialist" bracket, so I find it hard to get a good handle on much of my orange?  Perhaps b/c cool colors tend to encompass the "female value sphere" more?  Whatever, there are probably a jumble of reasons.  I guess all this in mind, I wonder, well, what do we do when we notice the unhealthy expressions of these levels in our kids?  Maybe this is why I keep harping on the "authority/guidance" piece - what would that/does that look like?  My husband and I have been reading Cowan and Beck's Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Change, etc. together. The authors say, for example, that at a social level, you can't negotiate, can't anything with RED.  It's either eliminate or transform.  Well, that doesn't help when we're parenting.  Our kids need to live this.  How do we encourage a healthy expression, and steer away from the more negatives?  Or don't we?  If we do, how does that actually look in real life?

    Ack, kids fighting over Play-doh!  Gotta run!  Great example of my beloved red at work - ; )

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  •  07-19-2006, 9:08 AM 1625 in reply to 1624

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    Re: Integral parent education

    All that said, skip RED, and a quick two seconds before dashing off to swim-lessons brainstorming about parenting BLUE:

    rules; structure; daily/weekly/monthly rhythms and routines; morals; manners; "values"; "right" action and behavior; clear limits

    I can't even really figure RED.  I'm not happy with the way I deal with RED/egocentric aggression, for sure.  I notice I tend to overlook it until I get so frustrated that I yell and/or send "guilty party" to room.  Ugh.  Again, my nagging question: how can I be a healthy "authority/guider" with RED, with BLUE?  (Got some ideas about BLUE I can share later - now must run...)

    Is this all too reductionistic?  It's kind of supposed to be.  Just quick keywords.
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  •  07-20-2006, 8:39 AM 1654 in reply to 1625

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    Re: Integral parent education

    Again, finding myself earlier this morning upon waking contemplating IP:

    Sometimes the AQAL approach seems so simple, sometimes so complex.  I guess right now , in grappling with various ways AQAL parenting could look,  I'm first trying to form a simplistic view of "all levels".  I don't want this to be rigid.  Obviously, levels overlap and "unfold fluidly in waves", but having a basic ground of what parenting at each level could be (everyone has different takes!), even just general keywords, is useful for me.  Thus, my brainstorming - which I'd love if others wanted to join in.  I'll probably do something similar, if only in my head, with the quadrants, too.  Then, some kind of framework in mind, come the more complex, interesting and creative aspects in combining levels and quadrants.  It just seems that in not making a basic framework for myself, it's easy to get lost in the art of interpreting what the multifaceted AQAL view of parenting might be.

    Does anyone else see any use in this?  I'm feeling a bit alone here; wondering whether this is the right place for me to explore these ideas...
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  •  07-20-2006, 12:42 PM 1673 in reply to 1654

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    Re: Integral parent education

    Can't seem to keep quiet! ; )

    I think I may even have a more basic question than the ones I've been asking. 

    And that is, What IS Integral Parenting?  I seem to be trying to figure out some sort of definition, and I bet that I could get as many answers as people who're curious.

    Is IP (1) a matter of taking the best from various parenting philosophies (e.g., "Attachment Parenting", "Common Sense Parenting", "Positive Parenting",  "Love and Logic", etc) and amalgamating?  Is it (2) its own separate discipline (like Integral Ecology) or style (like Attachment Parenting) based on AQAL theory?  Is it (3)  for those attempting to live an integral life who want to apply AQAL solutions piecemeal to each discrete parenting challenge as it arises?

    I suppose IP can be defined in all those ways and more.  I think the aspect I'm trying to zero in on here is #2.  If Integral Parenting is it's own thing, its own parenting "style" based on an AQAL model, how does it look?  "All quadrants, all levels" - how do those apply to parenting in general?  How can we, as parents, nurture healthy development in each of those areas - for ourselves and our kids?  Obviously everyone will have their own take, but there will also be commonalities.  And my question is, What are those commonalities?  How do we apply the AQAL model to the "practice", the "discipline" of parenting?  Are there some basics, and if so, what are they?  (I don't think any of us know definitively yet, this is all new and emerging, right?  So, I've been brainstorming.)

    Anyway, is this of interest?

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  •  07-20-2006, 6:38 PM 1694 in reply to 1673

    Re: Integral parent education

    i think if you find a parent doing one sort of parenting over several years even as the child has progressed through the levels, or one sort of parenting when the child is exploring different lines, then it might not be integral.  integral is flexible and meets the child where s/he is in order to establish a "we" space. turtle might say it's "collaborative". help the child explore horizontally the space where s/he's at. explore different perspectives there. when s/he's ready s/he'll transform.  keep the horizons healthy by keeping all options open. i don't think integral is it's "own thing", my belief is that it selects from first tier what is appropriate for the situation. i don't mean selecting as in "pre-planning", what i mean is that an appropriate response comes naturally because every level is alive in the parent.  what does "nurture green" mean if your child hasn't made it to blue yet?

    if you keep spiral dynamics or some such in mind too strongly then i doubt any interaction can be spontaneous because your mind will try to force fit the interaction into levels/analyis/etc.

    later,

    gene

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  •  07-20-2006, 8:09 PM 1700 in reply to 1694

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    Re: Integral parent education

    Glad you wrote, Gene!

    I wholeheartidly agree about "helping the child explore horizontally where s/he's at".  I wouldn't want to "nurture green" if my child hasn't "made it to blue yet" either.  Many parents intuitively "see"/"feel" where their child is, and that's when I wonder, "in what ways can we nurture/encourage your present horizontal health?"   Meeting what arises, definitely - with certain cognitive AQAL concepts in the back of my mind.  Intuition and intellect.  I think a general framework can be quite valuable, keeping individuality (of persons and situations) in mind.  One certainly doesn't have to stick to a framework rigidly. 

    Despite not thinking of Integral Parenting as "its own thing", your insightful explanations ("meeting the child where s/he is at", "when she's ready to transform, she will", "keeping horizons healthy" by being "flexible") seem to speak as if IP were "a thing". 

    On her "Next-Step Foundation" website, Miriam Mason Martineau, helping to found the Integral Education Center at IU, asks:  "How might we relate and accompany a child from birth onwards so that foundation is laid for integral consciousness and life? What needs to happen, what content will meet the child’s intent, so that each developmental stage is fully reached, lived and moved through, thereby increasing the chances of optimum and integral development? In addition, the absolutely critical and transformative role of the parent is explored: what does it mean, both practically and spiritually, to be integrally informed and infused, authentic and present, open to transform and evolve in the parent-child relationship?"  and "We are interested in discovering what foundation during the initial years of life would be most conducive toward a child growing into an integrated adult. What content would meet the child’s intent, so that each developmental stage is fully reached, lived and flourished in, and then moved through and beyond?"  These are the kinds of questions about which I'm curious, too.  I don't mean to sacrifice awareness of my child's present reality, or the present reality in the interaction between my child and me and/or the environment.  That openness and flexibility is a fundamental part of how I see "the thing" that is Integral Parenting.  But I would also like to look at whatever "tips" or "tools" there may be, if any.  I'm open to there not being any - though that doesn't strike me as "integral".

    Your caution towards too much analysis, as it can sacrifice spontaneity, is well taken.  Having spent 12 years in higher education, too much emphasis on intellect for sure can be a stumbling block for me.  Thanks for the head's up.

    Anyway, this is one of the cool things about integral  - it seems there's room for so much at the table.
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  •  07-21-2006, 8:33 AM 1718 in reply to 1700

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    Re: Integral parent education

    spontaneity and framework/structure.  both have extremely important functions.  both have weaknesses.  both can be usefully integrated, harmonized, employed.  the challenge is when they get lopsided, off balance.  what constitutes "too much", of course, can be tricky, it's such an individual judgement.
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  •  07-21-2006, 2:24 PM 1732 in reply to 1423

    Re: Integral parent education

    Ok, I've done a bit of "Eureka!"-ing and some less exciting researching and come up with...

    Integral parenting (or anything else really) is:

    Live in the present (beige)
    plus, be inquisitive (purple)
    plus, be confident (red)
    plus, work together (blue)
    plus, hone your talents (orange)
    plus, value diversity (green)
    plus, look at the big picture (yellow)

    Put them all together, and you've got a pretty impressive Turquoise and Yellow clad Integral Superhero! These traits are obviously crucial to have as parents, and they are the stepping stones that we can encourage in children as well.

    Don'tcha think?

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles
    Turtle
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  •  07-21-2006, 8:32 PM 1746 in reply to 1732

    Re: Integral parent education

    OK, let's kick this up a notch! Wink [;)]

    Let's say that you have a mother at post-conventional and you have her daughter at preconventional....  Let's further clarify this by saying that the postconventional Mom is at an Individualist stage, or Cook-Greuter's stage 4/5, and her daughter is at preconventional self-protective, symbolic, opportunist, action-logic of 2/3.

    Now let's say that there is a teaching going on, with Mom engaged from the LR quadrant, and her daughter in the LL trying to make sense out of what Mom is saying. (OK, we have our All quadrants).  As for levels, the 3 yr old is comprehending at a preconventional level, while mom is speaking to her from a pstconventional midset. (OK, that's levels) Then we have the various lines of development.  Perhaps Mom is trying to direct her daughter in how to swim/learn her forms and colors/ color inside the lines, etc., so we have different lines at different stages. (Now that's Lines)  Let's also say that we've got both of them in alert conscious states, with the daughter entrained with the mom, the mom is peri-meopausal, the daughter is 3, they are both female, their personality types are pretty similar, ENFPs, who are similarly situated at 4 with a 5 wing, which means that they will probably not get along easily............ 

    OK, GO!!Big Smile [:D]

    Tell me what you advise the mom to do when her daughter won't swim as the mom wants her to?????

    Fun, isn't it?

    Lynne

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  •  07-22-2006, 10:14 AM 1756 in reply to 1746

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    Re: Integral parent education

    It's so great to read these thougtful responses! 

    I'm not sure the questions I'm throwing around are very clear.  My idea here is not to look for appropriate responses to each discrete moment in a child's life.  I'm looking for an integrally-informed framework that could assist a parent who's raising a child from birth into adulthood (Cf. the quotes from Miriam Mason Marineau's website I quoted in one of my posts.)  As such a framework could be extremely complex (as you show us, Lynne), at present I'm trying to tease apart separately how such quadrants, levels, etc. might look before I put them together as a whole.  Naturally, doing that is artificial, since these aspects don't exist independently.  Still, I think it can be useful for those of simple brain (like me and Pooh Bear - can you tell what I've been reading to my kids lately?). So, absolutely, it can be fun to craft solutions for a frustrated mom whose child doesn't want to swim, but that's a single issue that may last a day or at most a couple weeks.  While exploring such solutions has tremendous value (and I love to do it, too), it doesn't do much to lay the groundwork to allow a child to develop as a whole into the next stage and beyond.  Parenting is different than babysitting (though "babysitting" is certainly part of what a parent does).  A babysitter is generally only interested in the moment, how to respond to a child's immediate action, thought, words, etc.  Again, super important, not to be belittled.  But there's more, in my mind, than that to parenting.  Parents lay foundations for a child to go to school, to interact with peers, to make decisions about drugs, to seek medical attention, attend a sporting event, etc.  Coming from an Integral perspective, if we buy into various theories of development, can we look at a child over the course of his/her life, see where s/he is horizontally and help encourage healthy growth both now and the future?  For example, let's look at one facet, levels, (since that's what I was looking at first) and I'll use SD, since I'm most familiar with it: if my son's center of gravity is "RED", might it be useful to make available tales featuring positive hero-myths, such as King Arthur (red-BLUE) that may not only satisfy RED, help live RED out, but begin to lay groundwork for an eventual transition into BLUE?  (Developmental stages overlap, anyway.)  Obviously, this is pitifully reductionistic, but I'm trying to make concrete examples for those of us who find such things helpful.  As said, this stuff can seem overwhelmingly complex at times (again, as Lynne so beautifully illustrated in her last post).

    One aspect of Integral Theory is awareness in the value of individual parts.  In this case, I'm examining the difference between longterm "planning" and short-term spontaneous response. I find great use in knowing the basic foundations of Integral Theory and would go so far as to say that an integrally-informed spontaneous response arises from one's knowldege of theory and framework.  Thinking again of Gene's point: if someone has worked on her psychograph intensely and lives consistently, across-the-board integrally - and that's a big "if" in my mind -  his/her spontaneous reactions may always appropriately answer someone else's lines, levels, quadrants, states and types.  But without understanding AQAL Theory, those responses - while terrific - are also nebulous and incohesive.   KW and friends have spent years defining an AQAL framework that can be applied to different areas of life, and I think we've all benefited from studying it.  In part, familiarizing ourselves with, internalizing such a map is tremendously useful.  Our everyday spontaneous reactions are, in part, an outgrowth of that.


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