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Integral Parenting Thread!

Last post 04-11-2007, 11:13 PM by miriam. 161 replies.
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  •  07-22-2006, 9:33 PM 1767 in reply to 1756

    Re: Integral parent education

    Right-on, Lajla!

    Let me open up a serious issue that I have w/ my almost-27 yr old...she has fallen in love with someone with whom her father and I see no long-term happiness awaiting her...I don't feel like spelling out the details here.  So what are 2 loving parents to do? First, taking the 1 Person perspective, then the 3rd Person perspective, I've figured out that perhaps her choice at this time represents her need to act out some psychodynamic that she hasn't been able to do thusfar.  i also realize that for me and her dad to rant and rail about this fellow would be coming from our egoic /narcissistic tendencies, even tho we just can't stand to see her get hurt, and that is something that never ends.

    There is no right answer here, but understanding her Center of Gravity, her developmental level at 27, and my ability to separate out from my egoic level of analyzing this situation, leads me to understand that I owe her the latitude to be where she is, and to play out what she needs to do, and support her if/when she falls; at the same time, the longitude of her situation also exposes her to a disorienting dilemma, that, if it DOES turn out badly, will leave her in a space from which, with my loving support, she might just leap to the next developmental level.

    So I guess in a nutshell, it is holding our children in that tension, that paradox, between providing them w/ the necessary structure and guidance, while permitting them to be at that stretch of the envelope where we permit them to grow/fall/heal/evolve.

    Does that make any sense as an orienting generalization?  Isn't it identical to what we are trying to do with the emerging Integral wave of evolution in microcosm?

    Lynne

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  •  07-23-2006, 7:29 AM 1770 in reply to 1767

    Re: Integral parent education

    Hello All!

    I am finally back from a two week, 4000 mile family vacation (Surprise [:O]Tongue Tied [:S]Smile [:)]Wink [;)])and I am thrilled to see how this thread has continued! I will be reading all of the most recent posts in the next few days. For now, however, I wanted to respond to the latest from Lynne:

    integrallynne wrote: So I guess in a nutshell, it is holding our children in that tension, that paradox, between providing them w/ the necessary structure and guidance, while permitting them to be at that stretch of the envelope where we permit them to grow/fall/heal/evolve.

    I think you are right on the money Lynne . . . . but easier said than done.

    For just a few thoughts, I learned when I was older that my father was, in his words, "micro-managed" by his own parents, especially his father. It is apparently true too; something about, even after being an adult and being married and having children of his own, his dad still told him-in apparently no uncertain terms-that my father was to consult him for everything, and literally "make no decisions" without him.

    This pressure eventually drove my father a few inches from suicide, standing on the edge of a bridge . . . (What stopped him? The fact tht he had kids . . .)

    The grandmother's were apparently no better . . . and apparently largely responsible for driving my mother to several severe nervous breakdowns. So bad, in fact, she had to be hospitalized and at one point almost didn't come back. (What brought her back? The fact that she had kids.)

    I am being quite graphic and honest here to demonstrate that in reality this is no small issue; it is a very, very serious issue. My grandparents had not the slightest clue as to when or how or to ever let go and the results were catastrophic and so counter-productive to growth it literally isn't even funny.

    In fact, as just one more grapihic example, I can not imagine what it would be like if my mother (or my wife's mother) did to me (us) what my father's mother did to them- that is, every single night, just as they were about to "go to bed" . . . she would call . . . and say "What are you doing?" in a very obvious nightly attempt to interrupt them (this married couple) from having sex . . .

    My parents response to this, especially my father's, was to be extremely liberal. If there is one thing I have to thank them for it is absolutely, 110% allowing all of us to be and continually discover who we were without exception and no matter the mistakes (and in some almost quite shockings ways, no matter how it was counter to their own deepest personal beliefs).

    And yet, with that, the other side of the paradox arises: at what point does "freedom" start to become neglect (even with adults), or lack of care, or irresponsibility? At what point are we to begin being held accountable for not doing something? Examples can be sighted (in my own family) where (it is easily arguable that) mistakes were made which could have been avoided, as well as certain issues which have never been seriously addressed that should be. This has all had an effect on my own parenting style. There a certain ways in which I have vowed to let go and other certain areas and ways . . . where I have sternly vowed never to. Both of these are the results of my learning from the previous two generations.

    But

    to cling or not to cling

    to let go or not to let go

    to guide or not to guide

    to step in or not to step in

    to surrender or not to surrender

    These are some of the living koans we take on as parents,

    and that someone took on for all of us.

    There are no hard, fast, set and easy answers to this conundrum, but I do think that Integral gives us the best chance yet of ever getting it "right"- as I will have much more to say as this thread continues.

    Peace and Blessings to all

    Tim

     

     


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-23-2006, 10:17 AM 1777 in reply to 1770

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

    Hey, there,

    Lynne, it sounds like you're generating some terrific perspective.  I'd also highlight that insightful sentence Tim did.  Glibly, I could ask, "well, when does a child become an adult and when/ how does a parent's role shift more into that of a support figure?"  But, heck, my kids are not quite 6 and 4.  The decisions they make are much less complex, and my understanding of the situation you're talking about is mostly theoretical, not heart-felt.

    Guidance and freedom.  When I think back on my own life experience, I'm aware how much hung/hangs on individual persons and situations. I'm the youngest of four.  My parents tried to manage my oldest sister's life pretty tightly (so she recalls, I was too young to be aware of their dynamic) and she rebelled every step of the way.  At nearly 47, she's still rebelling.  Meanwhile, eleven years later, by the time I was a teenager and young adult, my parents allowed me (compared to my friends) extraordinary freedom, barely interjecting themselves at all.  While that worked for me because my own individual type, psychograph, etc., my middle sister felt grossly neglected, still does.

    Tim, I like your parental koans.  And I also appreciate your statement, "Integral gives us the best chance yet of ever getting it 'right'".

    Wish I had more to offer!
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  •  07-24-2006, 11:36 AM 1810 in reply to 1756

    Re: Integral parent education

    warning: questionable language, please use your discretion.

    i resonate entirely with Miriam Mason Martineau.  when i hear about parents trying to eliminate the possibility that their children will make mistakes, i have to say whoa!  that is a deprivation unworthy of any child.  each child deserves to pursue their dreams without having their parents throw in their own personal shadow baggage into the situation.  wow, you want to complexify the problem--let your children have to deal with your shadow *** as well as their own.   save your child from a broken heart?  never.  "it's better to have loved and lost . . . so that i can spot on *** without my parents input."  aren't parents supposed to raise adults? or are we supposed to maintain these individuals as children for as long as possible :o)

    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.) 

    ken has written that AQAL is a framework, and you are apparently in agreement with him.  ken adds "there is no content".  in a lot of these lists people want to know what the results look like that AQAL will lead to.  even worse, they propose their own results and explain why it must be AQAL.  from what i undertand, when i-i was forming, the various branches hashed out what would be their AQAL substance.  one example: what is integral art? answer: what an integral artist draws!  the point is is that an AQAL framework, for me, doesn't have a "forward looking" quality as much as it being a compass.  you can pull it out of your pocket, take a glance at it, then put it back again until you think you need to check yourself again. one doesn't take some sort of AQAL template and then plan in detail how the future AQAL scenario will come into existence.  it's not the territory.  AQAL is now, and whatever comes of it will be integral. you parent integrally and let your child become what s/he will become.  they are worthy of defining their own success. anything short of that is a child hampered with parent shadow material.  pre-programmed successes, such as attending a parent's most orange-worthy university, is for the parents happiness and comfort (and bragging rights).   will that result in a child that knows herself, i.e. an adult?  it seems to me that it will more likely lead to more problems that are eerily "familiar" to the parents---because the child is living the parents extended persona and will obvioulsy trip over the same obstacles that the parents did. 

    imo, if AQAL is a nebulous concept to a parent, then an AQAL parenting "cookbook" might result in a parent that is mechanically following the template. this, imo, is a disservice to the child. my own mother is true blue (as in SD blue).  friends of mine think she is a saint.  to me, she's just my mother.  she never attended high school.  there was never a single day in my life, nor a single cell in my body, that doubted that she loved me unconditionally.  sheesh! just thinking about my mom reading from some sort of parenting textbook in order to figure out what to do!?!?  that's hilarious and would have been incredibly disappointing.

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  •  07-24-2006, 1:23 PM 1821 in reply to 1810

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

    well, i think i've made my take pretty clear, so i don't have much to reply.  (you can reread my previous posts, if you want.)  except that i'm not talking "cookbook" and i bet your mom did have a framework for parenting, whether or not she read any books or discussed her ideas on parenting with anyone else. 

    point well taken about shadow.  many parents do try to live their lives through their children.  that's why we do shadow-work and have a "framework" to point that out, right?

    i'm a little confused about your perspective, since at the beginning of your post, you write, "i resonate entirely with miriam mason martineau."  so do i.  are we in agreement?
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  •  07-24-2006, 3:16 PM 1829 in reply to 1821

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

    by the way, i see "imo" all over the place.  what does it mean?
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  •  07-24-2006, 4:02 PM 1832 in reply to 1829

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

    "imo" - don't mean that just in gene's post.  i mean, i see it all over forums in general.  thanks!
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  •  07-24-2006, 5:49 PM 1848 in reply to 1832

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

    hey, btw, i just reread your first post, Tim.  man, it is GREAT!
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  •  07-24-2006, 6:58 PM 1860 in reply to 1821

    Re: Integral parent education

    i'm a little confused about your perspective, since at the beginning of your post, you write, "i resonate entirely with miriam mason martineau." so do i. are we in agreement?

    i'd say, yes, we are in agreement.

    "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?"

    "authentic and present, open to transform and evolve."  to me means being here now, and now, and now . . . written descriptions evolve when they're re-written.

    "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?"

    "the child's intent" --- it may be different this morning, this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow starts another cycle.

    "fully reached, lived and flourished in, and then moved through" means, in my opinion (imo), non-stop growth.

    later,

    gene

     

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  •  07-24-2006, 9:00 PM 1868 in reply to 1860

    Re: Integral parent education

    Hey Guys,

    Parenting "By the Book"

    This is actually very interesting. Interesting -and I would submit absolutely profound-that there is no book.

    As the saying goes “they don’t come with instructions.”

    WE don’t come with instructions.

    The entire thing has NO rules set by anyone.

    And yet, I am thankful that this leads me into a point I have been wanting to make - and it now escapes me whether someone already made it, or whether someone at my recent family gathering agreed with me. But at any rate:

    Parenting itself IS an evolution. And not only that but parenting is something which is continually evolving. There is no book. There never was any book. Any book has always been . . . an improvisation.

    It is also interesting to contemplate parenting in the Now. Becasue what is truly Now is all three times of Past, Present and Future -which is to say, Evolution.

    It was only last year or so that a science news story broke about finding for the very first time, some possible evidence that familial and parenting instincts did indeed begin late with the dinosaurs. If anyone has further info or details about this please let us know more.

    But the basic point is that the reptilian brain (and our brain stem) does not provide parenting instincts. To this day among some (or all?) species of reptiles, babies hatching from eggs must immediately flee from their parents to avoid being eaten by them. That’s both nature and even more mysteriously Nature. (Seriously, someone call social services!)

    Somewhere along the line Spirit unfolding in evolution-Nature- said

    Maybe I should start to take care of Myself

    which means

    Maybe I should start to take care of the little ones.

    Maybe taking care of these things (ultimately each other) would be a good idea.

    There is a lot more I want to say about this, but guess what? My son needs me.Smile [:)]

    Peace, Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-25-2006, 6:03 AM 1898 in reply to 1868

    Re: Integral parent education

    thinking a little bit about filling in the integral framework with content, it may work clearly, as far as i can tell, for the gross level. 

    i can see my baby's gross body. i intuit that it's very important to infants for skin on skin contact. i massaged my infant son almost every day with oil, from his toes to his fingers.  i can't see my son's subtle or causal body, but i try to massage his subtle body from its toes to its fingers, and also his causal body.  by sensing all of his bodies and feeling with them, from fingers to toes, he will know himself.  this, to me, is another way of restating what miriam said.

     

    later,

    gene

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  •  07-25-2006, 7:33 AM 1901 in reply to 1436

    Re: Integral parent education

    Man, this thread developed so much while I was away I will never be able to catch up! But am reading it and will try to throw out a few quick responses.

    Ronin wrote:

    You have articulated my exact issue. And my daughter has as much as told me that she is tired of my trying to explain my perspective and would rather I just set the limit and get on with it! She doesn't get my perspective and she doesn't want to get it and its burdsome to her for me to keep trying to explain it.

    I finally realized that the need to explain it to her came from me!

    This is also more of the "green parenting paradigm" some of us have been talking about. I have been very foolish about this too, but the fact of the matter is . . . well, at the very least you had better understand the stages and the understanding the stages allow before "explaining" everything. If you put yourself in your child's perspective, I mean, do you want to listen to endless explanations of things that are over your head? That literally mean nothing to you?

    The basic mistake of green here is to believe that there really are no levels of developmet. Untrue. (And by the way, I find a great deal of understanding about this by going back to memories of my own childhood and remembering my own understanding of things. Siblings are a great help for this too. And think of how foolishly narcisisstic it is to believe "I was always this smart!")

    Explanations need to be stage specific and tht is a challenge. I have messed up more than once giving postconventional rational explanations for things. This even goes back to teaching for me too. And if you go back and check later, ask the right questions, I've experienced the HUMBLING shock that they had no idea what this idiot smart guy was talking about . . . and didn't really care either.

    This is important, no? It means no real communication, right?

    I still have trouble with this in practice, but do understand it in concept and necessity.

    The other day my wife gave a genius stage specific explanation. We had come to the conclusion that the kids (8,9) should not be touching and controlling the thermostat. Yes, an old lesson from everyone else's parenting -that thing costs us money!

    We didn't sit down to talk about it, but we were all there and I said "By the way, [the kids] should not be touching the thermostat."

    Now, here we go with explanations-here comes the conop response from my oldest: Why not?

    Before I could even go into my explanation about how electric bills and gas bills work and can easily drain our bank account which we have to put money into every week and yaddah, yaddah, yaddah and so forth my wife says:

    Becasue it's against the law!

    Why can't I be so succinct?Tongue Tied [:S]

     


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-25-2006, 8:27 AM 1906 in reply to 1898

    Re: Integral parent education

    coppersun:

    thinking a little bit about filling in the integral framework with content, it may work clearly, as far as i can tell, for the gross level. 

    i can see my baby's gross body. i intuit that it's very important to infants for skin on skin contact. i massaged my infant son almost every day with oil, from his toes to his fingers.  i can't see my son's subtle or causal body, but i try to massage his subtle body from its toes to its fingers, and also his causal body.  by sensing all of his bodies and feeling with them, from fingers to toes, he will know himself.  this, to me, is another way of restating what miriam said.

     

    later,

    gene



    Yes, yet another direction this endless and endlessly complex topic discussion can go in.

    I set this (below) aside just after the thread started. It is something I contributed to a Catholic Forum/Prayer Group about a year and a half ago-which is one of the reasons I hesitated to post it yet, becasue it is in distinctly mythic-Christian terms. But from and Integral perspective, this is a real and lived experience of parenting on the Subtle that I think is immeasurably profound. So here it is:

    *********************************************

    It is not uncommon for parents, even before their children are
    born, to start saving up money for them, putting it away, allowing
    it to mature and accrue interest in the bank, until a day when the
    children are grown up and can use it or may need it. We can also
    take out insurance policies, Cds, bonds, etc. to help when we no
    longer can. Not only is all this a lovely thing to do, it's easy to
    say this is also smart.
    I have a friend who found out two weeks before his mother died that
    she and his father had saved up a fortune for him and his sister,
    enough so that they would never have to worry. They'd spent their
    whole lives doing it.

    But is this the only way a parent can build capitol to help their
    child when they might need it?

    I had an experience that told me wonderfully, the answer is no!
    There's more we can do, and it really does matter and can make a
    difference!

    Many years ago, on Good Friday, a friend/co-worker of mine was in a
    very serious car accident. The news came as a shock and it took a
    few minutes, after receiving the news by phone, for it to sink in.
    His situation was very critical; he might actually be dying.
    There were three of us who received the news and the person closest
    to him, my other friend was frantic and insisted we go to the
    hospital-more than an hour away since he had to be flown by
    helicopter to a trauma center in Boston. (We were also the
    only "family" he had in the area.) But we needed to borrow the car
    of the third friend who was in absolute complete denial anything was
    really wrong. After an argument and a lot of shouting and yelling,
    the friend closest to him and I took the car and headed to Boston.
    On the way a silence fell and after really thinking about what was
    happening I realized I HAD TO PRAY for our friend. No one knew at
    this moment other than the three of us. The one friend was in
    denial, the friend next to me in the car was to shaken and
    distraught, and nobody else knew that he could be, and even probably
    was at that very moment, dying.

    I went to Mary. "Hail Mary full of grace . . ." and asked Her to
    please help him. The most amazing image entered my mind as I
    continued to pray with this intention.

    What I saw was like a huge bubble, a huge spiritual storehouse of
    prayers that somehow belonged to my dying friend. It was amazing. It
    was like a storehouse of spiritual capitol, and in particular,
    prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, just sitting there in space
    waiting for him, waiting to be used.
    But where did they come from?
    What were they doing there?
    With grace, it struck me that these were all the prayers from his
    mother! Thousands of them, all to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom
    she had a very deep devotion. They were just sitting there waiting
    for him! As yet unused, waiting to be called upon! His parents, in
    another state, had not yet received the news of what was happening,
    so I knew this amazing thing was the years and years of stored up
    prayers that his mother had prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary for
    him. It was like a trust fund! They were given from his mother and
    they belonged solely to him! And they never went anywhere! They
    didn't disappear, they didn't lose their power, they were all still
    just sitting there! An enormous wealth!

    Somehow I also knew that at that critical moment my prayer seemed
    to set them in motion. It was as if I was being shown by Mary to
    call upon them and use them. Even funnier was that it seemed like,
    even facing a moment between life and death, it wouldn't take very
    much, . . . just a little, that would do it. I felt and saw as if by
    asking Mother Mary at that moment, my prayer made a little opening
    in the bubble and let some of it out for him.
    He couldn't have done it at that moment –I'm certain he didn't even
    know they were there! My friend next to me was too distraught, and
    the other friend was still back at home in denial, and nobody else
    knew. It was at that moment that I knew everything would be alright.
    Even if he died, everything would be alright. Mary would take care
    of him. She already wanted to, She just needed someone to ask!

    As it turned out, there was a moment when life was in serious
    question for my friend and death was about upon him. But he didn't
    die. He recovered and went on to live a normal life.

    But I can never forget that, nor do I believe it was just my
    imagination . . . years and years worth of stored up prayers . . .
    and nobody knew how powerful they really were!

    So, have faith that we can store up a spiritual trust fund for our
    children and loved ones or anyone! As powerful and valuable as life
    itself. And even better news? Who knows what sort of spiritual trust
    fund has already been set up for you? Think about it!

    Peace
    Tim

    *********

    One last note on this: the bottom line of the whole thing? Love. No matter what level, what stage, what religion, what shadows, what AQAL problems or difficultites- just Love.


    Peace, Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-25-2006, 10:42 AM 1940 in reply to 1906

    Re: Integral parent education

    Earlier I promised links to some threads and posts on the Integral Naked Forum that I was involved and very interested in where the subject was parenting.

    Since the old "new" IN forum is about to become old, archived and read only, I figure now is the time for those links.

    I am very interested in any further comments on some of these other threads. But at any rate, I hope they can contribute to the continued furthering of Integral Parenting ideas and the richness of the subject.



    Starting from Square One . . .
    Timelody wrote: “How do we really make a contribution to the world of tomorrow and the next day and the next day without addressing the fact that square one is the starting point and that alone is the single guarantee.”

    Andrew Cohen
    Timelody Wrote: “Throughout history, in nearly all mystical traditions, there has been (and still is) a distinct prejudice against marriage, family and children - which to me makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Is There a Santa Claus?
    Iconoclastes wrote:
    “In another thread, Timelody discussed a situation in which his daughter approached him on this question.  He felt he responded with something akin to green idealism -- the truth.  And became a despicable "liar" in comparison to Mommy's deliberately deceptive reinforcement of the Fantasy Fat Man (note: any resemblance between this thread an a line of adult films entitled Fantasy Fat Man I-VIII is entirely coincidental).”


    Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-25-2006, 11:38 AM 1955 in reply to 368

    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Gary. I don't have anything further to add at the moment, just wanted you to know that you don't sound crazy, and that at least one person is listening ...Smile [:)]
    Durwin Foster, M.A.
    Doctoral Student, Counselling Psychology Program
    University of British Columbia
    Vancouver, Canada
    durwinfoster@gmail.com
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