From the Mailbox: Read-Aloud Disruptions

This is part of a series of articles based on actual questions I have received and my replies to them. Real names will not be used, and I will address my responses to a generic “Mom”; if you are a homeschooling Dad, the advice can usually be applied to you as well. The wording will be altered from the original letters (and often assembled from multiple letters) and personal details will be omitted or disguised in order to protect the privacy of the writers while still maintaining the spirit of the question. If you have a specific homeschooling question that you would like me to address, please write to me at guiltfreehomeschooling@gmail.com. If part of your letter is used in an article, your identity will be concealed.

Dear Carolyn,
I am the HS mother of several children, with only two old enough for school. I really want to improve on reading aloud to my kids. They do okay with picture books, aside from the jockeying for position on Mom’s lap and crying about whether or not they can see the pictures well enough, but chapter books just don’t hold their interest. The kids are fighting, playing (loudly), leaving the room, and otherwise ignoring my attempt to read to them these wonderful books that I so enjoy. I am trying to pick age/gender appropriate books. Help! Do you have any suggestions? I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for them to be “ready” for chapter books. Should I have to discipline them into good behavior for listening to a good book? This seems to defeat the purpose for me–I want them to enjoy it! Do I have to wait for them to be older still? My oldest is very hands on, active, etc., and he tends to lead the behavior of the others (for the worst).
–Mom

“Discipline,” meaning punishment, is probably not required, but “discipline” — by its definition of training — is definitely in order. This will be a fundamental learning experience for your children: your goal is not merely to read them a book, your goal is teaching your children how to listen and how to show respect.

Your older children can learn to enjoy longer stories, but the youngest ones will not be able to sit still for very long or comprehend the extended plot of a longer story. You may need to do read-aloud time when the youngest ones are napping, just to limit disruptions until the older children begin to understand what behavior you want them to exhibit.

Very few people (adults included) are able to sit absolutely still and listen with strict attention for more than a few minutes. Work with your oldest child’s hands-on needs and allow the children to color, paint, play with clay or Play-Doh, or build with Lego’s while you read to them. As long as they have a quiet activity, they can still hear you reading, and they will probably listen for a longer period of time if their hands are kept busy. The preschoolers might do wood or foam puzzles or lacing cards — I am sure you will come up with several ideas from your stash of toys and art materials. It is also a good idea for each child to have his own activity, to prevent squabbles over “I need that piece” during the story. You might also consider designating certain playthings for story-time only, making them more special and keeping the children from becoming bored with them.

Since your children’s behavior has not met your expectations up to this point, consider starting over by laying some ground rules. Allow each child to pick a quiet activity while you spread a bath towel on the floor for each child to sit on. Leave enough space between the towels so that the children will not be elbow-to-elbow. Explain to them that their towel is their personal space while Mom is reading the story, and they are to remain within its boundaries during story-time. Assure them that today’s story has no pictures (or that you will let each child see the pictures in turn), that each of them will be able to hear well from his space, and that, since each child’s arms and legs must remain within his towel-space, no one will be disturbing anyone else. Limit the interruptions by giving each child a chance to get a drink, go potty, and “get the wiggles out” before they all take their places for story-time.

Start this new routine of “personal space” with a short reading time from a book that the children already enjoy (especially the oldest “ringleader”). If anyone disrupts the story, you may allow one or two warnings on the first day as practice, but close the book at the next infraction. Stop reading and put the book, toys, and towels away for the day. It may take several days for them to adapt to the new routine, but your persistence will pay off, and they will gradually learn that leaving their space means that the reading time comes to an abrupt end for everyone.

Once the children have mastered the lesson of staying within their own spaces to listen, you may want to allow the older ones to change their space from a towel on the floor to a seat at the table, allowing them to do a wider variety of quiet activities during the reading. The older children may even be able to work together on a jigsaw puzzle while you read. However, your toddlers may take longer to understand the “space” limitations, so do not advance the older students too quickly, before the younger children are able to understand the purpose behind the concept.

Bit by bit, your children will learn how to sit quietly, how to listen, and how to respect their siblings. Start with a short reading time, and increase it gradually as a reward to your children for their improved behavior. Minor setbacks are temporary: remember that your children are practicing a new skill. Above all else, praise your children for their accomplishments!

[For further insight, see the articles linked below]
Is This “Acceptable Behavior”?
“Parent” Is a Verb
Respect Must Be Earned
Siblings as Best Friends
Learning to Walk — Seen as a New Lesson
Social Skills — What Should I Teach My Preschooler?

From the Mailbox: Disrespectful Kids

This is part of a series of articles based on actual questions I have received and my replies to them. Real names will not be used, and I will address my responses to a generic “Mom”; if you are a homeschooling Dad, the advice can usually be applied to you as well. The wording will be altered from the original letters (and often assembled from multiple letters) and personal details will be omitted or disguised in order to protect the privacy of the writers while still maintaining the spirit of the question. If you have a specific homeschooling question that you would like me to address, please write to me at guiltfreehomeschooling@gmail.com. If part of your letter is used in an article, your identity will be concealed.

Dear Carolyn,
I am trying to homeschool my children, but they do not respect me. They refuse to learn from me, simply because I am Mom. The teens do not set a good example for the younger ones. The teens stay up much too late, then need to sleep all day. We are struggling to get by on a single income and live in very cramped quarters. My husband works hard and comes home too tired to be able to help me with anything. I feel like I am doing everything by myself. Why am I doing this?
–Mom

Dear Mom,
I am so glad that you have written to me. I am sure you have thought about giving up at this point, but instead you have reached out for one more thread of hope. I have that lifeline for you.

I will not pretend that I can offer a magic potion to make everything wonderful by this time tomorrow morning. The job ahead of you will be difficult, but it will be worth every drop of sweat and every tear you shed. I will list below several of my previous articles that will give you more insight into how to handle your situation. The order in which you read them and/or implement them is up to you, but I give the list as your homework. Some of the articles will address issues with your children, but others will address issues with you and your parenting role. The good news is that you can change your own attitude fairly easily.

Is this your first year of homeschooling? If so, the first year is always the toughest, no matter who you are. Do not become discouraged just because things are difficult during the first year — homeschooling becomes easier with each passing year as all family members learn the ropes and get accustomed to a new way of doing things. Students get used to having Mom for their teacher, and Mom learns the best ways to relate to each of her own children. It does not happen overnight, but perseverance will pay off.

I recommend spending time with your students, discussing and planning together for changes to your schedule for lessons plans and household chores. Shift your presentation of lessons to fit your children’s interests and help them get more excited about what they are learning. See Topical Index: Learning Styles for more help in this area.

As for the sleep schedules, are the older children staying up late because that is when Dad is home? Or are they just being undisciplined and defiant? There is no “rule” that homeschool classes must begin at 8am and be finished by noon. Adapt your lesson schedule to fit your family’s lifestyle: if Dad works a late shift and sleeps later in the mornings, you may be able to allow the children to sleep in and keep the household quieter for Dad’s sleeping habits. (I have included a link below that covers ways in which Dads can be involved with homeschooling without teaching formal lessons.) We knew one homeschooling family where the father worked a job that alternated shifts each week (week 1, days: week 2, evenings; week 3, nights; week 4, days; etc.). The Mom and children shifted their lesson times and sleep times as needed so that Dad and the children would always have opportunities to be together. It was difficult, but the relationship of father and children was more important to them than others’ opinions were, and they slept late or rose early to be able to have family times together.

Mom, this is a battle worth fighting, but the enemy is not your children. The enemy you are fighting is anything and everything that keeps your family from drawing closer together. Seeing that perspective can help you identify trouble spots more easily. Browse through the Titles Index and read anything else that catches your eye and scan through the topics covered in the Topical Index. You may especially benefit from the comfort offered in the Encouragement for Parents section.

And now, your homework assignment:
Respect Must Be Earned
Second-hand Attitudes
Meatball Education: Filling in the Potholes of Public School
Surviving the First Year of Homeschooling after Leaving Public School
Parent Is a Verb
If You Can Present Your Case with Facts and Logic and Without Whining, I Will Listen with an Open Mind
Limiting “Worldly” Vocabulary
Family Is Spelled T-E-A-M
Siblings as Best Friends
Involving Dads in Homeschooling
Who Wrote This “Rule Book” and Why Do I Think I Have to Follow It?
Homeschooling Is Hard Work
Reschedule, Refocus, Regroup
Redeeming a Disaster Day
We’re Not Raising Children — We’re Raising Adults

When Good Kids Become Not So Good

[This article may not be much help to parents whose children are in total rebellion. Not having experienced that, I feel unqualified to speak to it. It is my desire to help families stop problems while they are still small, in order to prevent them from becoming huge. My son is now a sophomore in our local community college and a most wonderful young man. I will attempt to explain the changes we went through.]

You had a few beautiful babies, you survived their transitions from infancy through toddlerhood into childhood, you are now homeschooling little sponges who soak up everything you present, and life is good. Then one day one of your sweet, adorable, precious babes morphs into this mouthy, irritating, button-pushing creature that you do not even recognize most of the time. How in the world did this happen? What can you do to reverse it and get your sweetie back?

As a general rule, I did not allow sassy, mouthy comments or superior attitudes as a part of normal communication. Occasionally, we would all engage in some light-hearted teasing, but never aimed at embarrassment, humiliation, or ridicule. (If you can’t feel “safe” with your own family, where can you feel safe?) I have noticed, however, many families whose children are permitted on a regular basis to say very hurtful things in very hurtful ways to parents, siblings, and non-family members, and often without any correction whatsoever. I have many memories of gently, but firmly, pulling one of my children aside to a private conference, where I explained what I had found objectionable, what I considered a proper alternative response to be, why this behavior should not be repeated, exactly what the consequences of a repeat offense would be, and what must be done immediately as restitution.

Despite this basic training in acceptable behavior, sometime in his pre-teen years, my son gradually began mouthing off more and more often, purposely irritating his sister, and becoming generally more uncooperative to me. My husband and I tried heart-to-heart discussions, reminding him that this behavior would not be tolerated, and that helped — a little. We revoked privileges as necessary with the same results: temporary turn-arounds, but not a long-term change of heart. It seemed as though there were still times when he just had to misbehave, as if it was uncontrollable, pent-up frustration.

A couple of years before this, we had joined a homeschool co-op group where my children made new friends, we participated in many activities with the group, and we all enjoyed the fellowship. However, there were some undesirable elements in this group, but they were not other children — it was a few of the adults with exceptionally rigorous, legalistic standards. It seemed that the most unreasonable parents had especially introverted offspring and did not respond well to outgoing, fun-loving, happy children acting like children.

When one of the ultra-legalistic parents felt my son had stepped over the line on her rules governing our coop-class days, he replied that he was not aware of any wrong-doing. When I also stood up to her abusive control and supported my son, it was a breakthrough point for both of us. He was thrilled to know that Mom believed in him, and I was thrilled to know he was strong enough to stand up against corrupt authority.

We were attending a church at that time that was also less than desirable. Through several nightmarish situations, we decided to break fellowship with both the church and the homeschool group. It was like the dawning of a new day. The longer we had stayed with both groups, the worse my son’s attitude had become, only I could not see that at the time. Once we were free and the haze had cleared, I began to see that both of those groups had put an expectation on my son that boys are bad. Even though my son had a good, pure heart, the atmosphere of both places was poison to him. He was told he would be mouthy, rebellious, and a trouble-maker, and he found himself fulfilling those expectations even when he did not try to do so knowingly.

My prayer at that time was to be able to teach and discipline the boy, while still encouraging the young man within. It is a difficult transition when our sons and daughters begin to look like the men and women of their future adulthood, but think and act like the children they still are inside. A mom sometimes has to reprimand a teen-aged boy with great tact so as not to emasculate the man who will later head his own household. I tried to be especially sensitive to my son’s physical, mental, and emotional changes, speaking to him as to an adult, so as to avoid insulting his efforts to attain manhood. At the same time, I tried my best to remember that he was not yet an adult and that his occasional childlike behavior was appropriate to his age.

As we began attending a new church, we did not whine or complain about our previous situations, but quietly joined the fellowship with no “baggage.” People in the new church saw things quite differently: since my son was no longer expected to be the token hoodlum or trouble-making ringleader of the group, he did not feel the need to act out. He could relax and be himself again, without fear of anyone lurking around corners, watching his every move. He was recognized as a peer-leader in the youth fellowship and held up to all as a prime example of a fine young man (age 13). What a boost that was to his self-image! He was suddenly free of the negative cloud that had shadowed him for several years, and he felt led to rededicate his life to Jesus Christ and begin afresh. Since that time, he has grown tremendously in his personal faith, makes time every day to read his Bible, and has a strong desire to serve God in whatever capacity is available. He now has a true servant’s heart where he formerly had frustration and confusion.

My summary advice is to look outside of your currently-not-so-good child to see if there is a larger influence causing the problems. I firmly believe that children need to be allowed their small, harmless, “finding myself” rebellions so that they will not need larger ones, but sometimes they may be the innocent good apples stuck in the barrel with the proverbial bad apple. God’s guidance pulled us away from two bad influences before permanent harm was done, and I pray the same for your family, that God will guide you to break any ties that may be potentially harmful.

Homeschool Beginnings — A Child’s Point of View

(This article was written by Jenny: homeschool graduate, Guilt-Free intern, and computer whiz.)

To homeschool or not to homeschool — parents often have a hard time making this decision. I want to provide you with the view of a homeschool graduate, giving you an idea of how a child might react to the proposal to homeschool.

I have now graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but how I was able to make it to this point is the real story. I started out in public school, where I was educated until the summer before fifth grade when my parents made the decision to educate me at home. The deciding factors in the situation were all issues that I agreed with them on completely, but it was the idea of homeschooling that I was not as in agreement with. In fact, I was against being homeschooled from the beginning.

My objections were numerous, I had no idea how my parents thought they were going to teach me — after all, what could they possibly know? Secondly, I was objecting to the loss of all my friends from school. Another qualm that I had was merely a fear of the unknown, I had friends who were being homeschooled, and although they seemed normal and happy enough, I knew very little about homeschooling. Overall, I really did not think homeschooling was the education for me, though I knew how much I hated the public school system.

In the summer before we started homeschooling, I was upset and scared. I had an attitude typical of children in public school — I thought my parents were not smart, and I did not have confidence in them to trust them with my social life or education because I did not think they really understood me — or could ever understand me. This common misconception was dispelled soon enough, but it did take some time.

The fear I had decreased after I talked to a good friend who had been homeschooled for his entire education. He encouraged me to try homeschooling, and explained to me a little bit about how homeschooling would work, and the many benefits I would have because of homeschooling. After this conversation, I was more willing to be homeschooled, but I still doubted that my parents were capable of such a task.

The first few weeks of schooling were certainly a testing period. Mom was unsure of her capability as a teacher, and I was just as unsure. At first it was like play, we did workbooks and educational exercises, and it was like pretend school — it was kind of fun. The reality set in later that this was school, and as that reality dawned, so did the reality that homeschooling was actually school, and it was a great alternative to the public school system I had been in.

I was also enjoying the benefits of homeschooling. I liked being able to take a break for a snack or bathroom break anytime. I did not have to watch the clock pass time away as I sat and did nothing because I was ahead of the other students. I also did not have to work hard later in the evening to catch up on the homework that I was slower on than the other students. Strangely enough, mom could also teach math so much better than the teachers that I had in public school. We also were able to watch the Andy Griffith show during lunch, providing a pleasant break and laugh as well as some family time between subjects. My favorite aspect of homeschooling throughout the experience was that homeschooling took so much less time than the 7 or so hours that we had been held captive at public school.

By Christmas of the first year, I was thoroughly enjoying my homeschooling experience. I realized that mom was a LOT smarter than my friends had convinced me that parents were. I also liked being able to hold it over my friends that homeschooling took little time, and that I actually was enjoying the assignments that I had. I could listen to whatever music that I wanted to, in my own room, and start school at any time. For a while, I got up at 6am and did my work before anyone else was up, so I could play by 10am. At other times, I would sleep in and start my work later in the day. My puppy could sit by me while I worked or in my lap if I could manage it.

Socialization was not a problem either. I soon realized that the children I had considered friends at public school were hardly people that I wanted to spend time with, and the few that I did like to be around I remained friends with through outside activities. I still had all my friends from church and clubs, and I was able to do many “social” activities with mom, like going to the store during the day. Our family also joined a couple of homeschool groups, with which we could do group activities like field trips and coop classes.

By high school, the benefits were great: I could do my work at my own discretion and was able to get ahead by an entire year. I took college classes during my senior year, and was able to be acclimated to that culture in advance (another good “socialization” opportunity that I had because I was homeschooled). I got along well with the teachers, and even was commended by them several times for the wonderful education I entered college with. Many of my teachers were amazed at how well I could grasp the topics they were teaching, or even that I could write full sentences with some semblance of grammar.

Today I am fully convinced that I got the best education at home. Beyond that, I was able to avoid many of the downfalls of the public school system and benefited from advantages of school at home. Our family has become quite close through homeschooling, a result that I doubt we would have gotten if my brother and I had gone through the public school system where peer pressure encourages children to disregard their siblings and parents as stupid and useless appendages. I intend to homeschool my children as well when I have a family, and I trust they will have as successful of an experience as I have had.

I encourage everyone to try homeschooling. I believe that once you give it a chance the benefits will outweigh and overrule your doubts.

Siblings as Best Friends

Siblings as Best Friends follows right on the heels of The Family as a Team. Let me first explain my viewpoint on this topic. I grew up as the last of four children, five years younger than my nearest sibling. We were all spaced out over twelve years, a little more room between children each time, leaving me with little in common with my brother and sisters other than parents. Sibling rivalry was rampant, picking-on-the-little-kid was tolerated, and I was miserable. Fast-forward to the point in time when all of us became married adults. My nearest sibling and I became friends for the first time — twenty years behind schedule. When I recognized this wasted relationship and realized that we could have been friends much sooner, I determined not to let my own children waste that time in their own lives.

In teaching my children the lessons of taking turns in game-playing and how playing by the rules is fair to all players, I also tried to teach them that playing the game is fun for the whole time, while winning or losing the game only lasts for a moment. I explained over and over to them how my sister and I never enjoyed playing together as children because we were so hung up on things that did not really matter. We could not see through children’s eyes that friends will come and go, but siblings are forever. My children are not perfect examples, but they do get along most of the time. They have seen friends move away, they have matured at different rates from their friends, they have developed different interests from their friends, and through it all they have recognized that a sibling is always there. Siblings will be there to play with or talk with when no one else is around. If your children can develop solid friendships with their siblings, they will be giving themselves the gift of friends for life.

Sibling rivalry is reportedly at its peak between the ages of 4 and 8. Bear that in mind as you encourage your children to grow and mature and learn to understand their younger siblings’ maturity levels. We parents, myself included, often fall into the trap of expecting the oldest child to be more responsible than his age allows, but we also tend to neglect teaching responsibility to our younger children, allowing them to slide along as Oldest Child assumes the burden of leadership. I am a firm believer that explanations to children, giving reasons why behavior is acceptable or unacceptable, go much farther towards improving the behavior than just a simple “thanks” or “stop that.”

A very vital part of developing sibling friendships is not tolerating torture. If those little people are to become friends and remain friends, they cannot be allowed to pick on each other. Ridicule is out. Incessant tickling is out as well — as a former target of tickling myself, I consider it to be a form of child abuse. Parents, take a good look at the behavior between siblings (or between parents/adults and children as well) and analyze the motivation behind that behavior. Is it encouraging and strengthening to their relationship? Or does it stem from jealousy? A wonderful by-product of sibling friendships is seen when one stands up for another to a third-party antagonizer. If you do not defend your sibling, who will? And if they do not stand up for you, who will?

What better way to demonstrate Biblical principles and God’s agape love than to point out selfish, unacceptable behavior for the sin that it is and then replace it with true Love. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASB) Use the opportunity to show your children the scriptures and remind them of how Jesus put His own needs and desires after those of others. Jesus did not demand His own way: He served.

Now a quick word about “extended” families: We have discovered recently that college roommates can become new siblings. When children have mastered sibling relationships, they are able to go off to college and successfully reside in a small dormitory room with total strangers. They simply treat the strangers as “new siblings I haven’t met before.” The college roommates do not always come with the siblings-as-friends philosophy as standard equipment, but they can catch on quickly! My daughter’s college friends (male or female) and roommates responded very well to being included as new members of our family. Sadly, many had never been treated with respect before in a family situation and loved the idea of not being ridiculed or picked on.

The Socialization Myth, Part 2

All of you who have been asked why you chose homeschooling over Christian school raise your hands. Aha! I see tentative fingers wiggling all over the blogoshpere! The hopefully well-meaning friend or family member posing the question probably assumed that Christian schools are a desirable place to obtain an education. But ignorance can be fixed. (My apologies to the wonderful, dedicated Christian schools that must be out there somewhere.)

When we were first investigating the alternatives to government school, we checked into our local Christian schools. I was as innocent as the next moron and also assumed that the private schools were brimming with shiny-faced cherubs as eager to learn about Jesus as they were to learn to multiply and divide. I had never stopped to consider what happens to the thugs, bullies, and would-be drug pushers who manage to get themselves expelled from the government institutions — they get put into Christian schools! Their parents (often, parent — singular) consider themselves incapable of dealing with Scarface-Junior and want to “leave it to the professionals.” Must I be the one to remind them that “parent” is also a verb? (This is not to imply that single parents are destined to raise “behavior challenged” children. It does, however, mean that the houligans who get expelled from public school and plunked into Christian school usually have not been raised with two active parents present in the home. — Join me in a round of applause for all the dedicated, single parents who are finding ways to homeschool!)

Time for another show of hands. You have heard: “Without proper socialization, your homeschooled kids will grow up in a bubble and never know what the real world is like.” Wow, no hesitancy that time! Let’s compare environments. Scene 1: Thirty children all approximately the same age, herded together in a crowded room, all doing exactly the same assignment at exactly the same time to exactly the same instructions, day after day, year after year. Scene 2: A handful of children of assorted ages, spread out all over the house and yard, doing independent assignments as they are capable, each lesson tailored to each student’s interests and abilities, with the routine broken frequently for running errands with Mom or attending to family celebrations and/or emergencies. If Scene 1 appears to you to be more of a sterile “bubble” environment and Scene 2 appears to be different every day, every month, every year, then we agree. Homeschooled kids are the ones who truly live in the real world; public schoolers hear about the real world, but do not really experience it until they leave the institution.

Face it — no one can love my child, care for my child, understand my child, or teach my child better than I can. Homeschooling adapts to the idiosyncrasies of life in a way no institution possibly can.

Finally, I will quote from my favorite homeschool T-shirts: “When you’re homeschooled, there’s no telling where you’ll end up,” picturing Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, with the noble faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln faithfully watching over the horizon of this nation. “Mt. Rushmore: The National Monument to Homeschooling” — ’nuff said. (I haven’t seen this t-shirt in years, and online searches don’t find it either. Sad.)

[For more on this topic, see the articles linked below.]
Socialization and Why You Don’t Need It (The Socialization Myth, Part 1)
The Socialization Code
The Myth of Age-Mates

Socialization and Why You Don’t Need It

Socialization is what I refer to as “The ‘S’ Word”. It scares off potential homeschoolers, paralyzing their families with fear, and causing their friends and neighbors to look at them with suspicion that they must belong to some political-fringe militia.

In reality, everyone has a socialization problem. Public schools are prime examples of bad socialization. When we took our children out of the government education system, we left behind only the people our children did not like playing with anyway. “Friends” we felt were bad influences could easily be forgotten about. The friends who remained were the ones my children saw most often anyway: church friends, neighborhood friends, soccer teammates, etc.

For the first few years, my daughter got together with her favorite public school girlfriends once or twice a year. That was as often as they all desired to get together, and it was more than enough to show each one how the three of them were drifting apart in their interests. As the girls matured through middle-school age, the public-schooled girls became increasingly “boy crazy” and focused on self-image. My own daughter developed new interests based on her homeschool experiences: reading historical Christian fiction and working with her collection of antique clothing buttons. As we met other homeschooling families, the old friends were gradually replaced with new friends with values similar to ours. It became increasingly obvious to our daughter and to us as parents that we held Family in much higher esteem than did many of our acquaintances. Sibling relationships were considered sacred to us and nothing or no one was allowed to interfere with them — an opposite attitude from the one held by most former-friends’ families. Friends can be highly over-rated; siblings will still be here long after friends move away.

My husband has handled many “socialization” questions from co-workers. Once, when asked, “What do you do about socialization?” he began by simply asking the person if they were referring to “good” socialization or “bad” socialization. That was all he needed to say. The co-worker took that ball and ran with it, saying, “Oh, I know what you mean! My own kid came home the other day, and he told me about what was going on at his school…” The question had been answered, and the distinction had been clearly made in his own mind: there are two types of socialization, and we have control over which type we subject ourselves to.

[For more on this topic, see the articles linked below.]
The Socialization Myth, Part 2
The Socialization Code
The Myth of Age-mates