Special Time allows me to really enjoy my son's personality
author By Emilie Leeks,

Our oldest child (aged 7) decided to do some junk modelling* to make a boat in our Special Time. It was one of those Special Times where you feel a bit like a spare part - more like an audience member than an active participant! I find those quite hard as I don't feel I'm really needed, and I really have to remind myself that me just being there, and listening, and giving all my interest and attention to him at those times, is exactly what he needs.

He worked away at his construction quietly, but he was chatting to himself as he went - I felt really privileged to hear his thought processes as he worked through what he wanted to do and why! I usually only get to see the end product of this sort of work, as he often works away on his own before showing us what he's done, so it was really great to see how he came up with his ideas. I was also able to see problem solving, tenacity through frustration, quiet confident leadership (when he finally did get me involved!), creativity, estimation skills and just sheer joy in what he was doing. I marvelled at his ability to spend what felt like an age (probably actually only about 20 seconds!!) lost in looking through coloured plastic at the light - he is a real thinker, and processes information slowly, and I usually want to hurry hurry hurry through to an end product as I know we never have enough time to get things done, but this time I was just appreciating the process.

It was just great to take the time to drink him all in, as he worked on his thing, in his own time, on his own terms. It really made me realise all over again how much there is to appreciate about his personality - and I will be working hard to remember that when he is working slowly through the 'must dos' like putting on his shoes or eating his breakfast! I will remind myself that the process is just as important as the product, and perhaps that I need to leave a bit more time so that he can do these things in a way that works so well for him.

(*Junk modelling for those not familiar with the term (I am told it's a UK thing!) is construction with old bits and bobs, like yoghurt pots, toilet roll inners, paper plates… Whatever you have lying around really!)

Further reading on Special Time:

A word or two about Journeys in Parenting: a blog about our experiences on the path of peaceful parenting…

We are a family of 5, living in Berkshire in the UK. I (Emilie) am married to the rather wonderful and (thank goodness!) supportive Stuart, and we have 3 young children, aged 9, 6, and 4. I decided to start this blog after a few enquiries from friends and acquaintances about what our parenting style is all about. I hope that writing about the peaks and pitfalls of our peaceful parenting journey will help others in a similar position - i.e. wanting to make changes to their parenting, but not quite sure where to start! It's very much an ongoing journey for us, and in no way do we claim to have all the answers, but we hope that reading about trying to support our children in a peaceful, responsive way that works for our family will perhaps inspire others to find their own path too.

And to all parents out there reading this: I hope this will be a mutually supportive resource. It is not intended to be a comment on any parenting style which is different from ours, rather it reflects what is working for our family and that which might be useful for others - the article I Am Not a Better Mother Than You says it better than I ever could! I fully welcome respectful comments and questions (e.g. in the vein of "I have found X works well for me" rather than "You shouldn't do it like that") - please try to avoid judgement of others when posting. I have no problem with my ideas being politely questioned, but if our overall parenting style is not for you, please do feel free to go and find other resources which are a better fit for you. Best of luck to everyone, as I know we are all doing the very best that we can for our children, no matter which paths we take!

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