Monday, April 6, 2015

Kids and Partners

When my kids were very young, and we were all new to this parent/child relationship thing, my concerns were pretty much the same as all new parents. Healthy babies, getting enough sleep, trying to figure it all out.

When they got older and we continued on the path we were on, which led to unschooling, some of my concerns stayed the same- healthy kids, happy lives, what is "best" for everyone- and some started to diverge from the "general population."

I remember at one point early on, starting to wonder what would happen, eventually, when my kids were old enough to have partners.

I knew that the chances were slim that they'd find partners who had been parented the way they had, that they'd find partners who had similar life experiences, especially the part about not having gone to school, and not doing "school at home," either.

The further we moved away from the typical, mainstream, dominant cultural paradigm, the more I wondered, and, to be honest, sometimes worried.

What if my sons chose a woman who wanted to bottlefeed, let the baby cry it out, send the baby to daycare, go back to work at six weeks, spank, be authoritarian, and push the child into early preschool and then regular school? What if my daughter had a series of abusive partners? What if one chose a partner with incompatible social and/or political views? 

And so on.

Funny thing, though.

For some reason, when they were young, it didn't cross my mind that they would, of course, choose their partners wisely, and that being people I can trust to make reasonable, well thought out choices, and being adults who have grown up being valued and respected and who are kind, loving, considerate, respectful people, that maybe, just maybe, I could trust them to choose partners who, regardless of background, would ALSO be good people.

I don't know why I didn't think of that part.
But I didn't, until much later.

So here we are, years down the road, with kids who are now adults, and of ages to be considering partners.

All three have been in, and/or are currently in, relationships.

And wouldn't you know?
All have chosen partners I genuinely like.
Even the earlier partners, from relationships that turned out not to be long term, have been people I liked and respected and enjoyed spending time with.
Their current partners are all choices I could not be happier with.

It's kinda awesome, really.

One of my sons had a girlfriend early on who was another local homeschooler (though not an unschooler), but none of the others have been, and none currently are. They all are, in fact, from very different upbringings.

It has DEFINITELY been very interesting for everyone to observe and participate in the incorporation of these new family members.
To see the thoughtfulness with which the partners have considered how and why we have had a different path from their own- and vice versa.
Our family life is fairly different from "average," whatever that means.
It is important- and vital- for us all to look at and see which differences matter, and which do not, and how very different lives can still lead to good people, sometimes because of aspects of their childhood, and other times, in spite of them. It has not been, at all, that "our way" has always been better, or that theirs has been somehow less, but there are a lot of differences, and much for everyone to discuss and consider.
It is that process of sharing information and points of view, of explaining both choices and the process of making choices, of seeing my kids help their partners understand and be comfortable with a different lifestyle, while remaining respectful of the differences, that has been so rewarding.

For one thing- and this is a big thing- I am more actively present in my adult kids' lives than are most parents.
We play together a LOT.
We joke around a lot.
We are friends, as well as parent and child. It has always been that way, but it is even better now that they are adults, rather than children.
And even better, still, adding a few more young adults to the mix.

I have been both fascinated and pleased at how they have, after all, ended up choosing partners who fit in with us so very well.
I would not have thought it would be easy, necessarily, to find anyone who WOULD fit in with us- but they have.
Having grown up in a partnership-based family, they turned out to be pretty good at being partners, and at choosing partners. Who'd a thunk it?

Maybe it's just luck.
But I don't think so.
It seems to be a pattern common to unschoolers I know whose kids are grown. In the cases where I am aware of the partnerships, they all seem to be a case of adding into the family, of growing new, great, relationships, rather than any cases where there is animosity between parents and their kids' choice of partners.
Maybe I just don't know about the uncomfortable ones, if there are any.
Or maybe young adults these days, overall, are better at partnerships.
Hard for me to say. I only see what I see.
And what I see has been pretty consistently good.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post! These thoughts haven't crossed my mind yet, but my kids are 7 and 2...I'm sure as they get older I will start to worry a bit more :-)