Parenting. Everyone is doing it wrong.
It really doesn’t matter what you do, someone is going to cheer you on and someone else will be sitting there saying “tsk tsk tsk”
I was raised in an authoritarian home. It didn’t work for me, as the child, and I didn’t want to be that type of parent, but I didn’t know any other way. Over the years I have done my best to become a more peaceful parent. And of course, I am still working. There are many aspects to my parenting style, and I say my, because Joe does parent a little differently, as I think is the case in most homes, maybe not. Who knows. He’s a dad, he does dad things.
I remember setting up a crib for Jacob. It was Noah’s Ark theme. It was adorable. He slept in it twice. It was perfectly normal for him to sleep with us. I nursed him till he self weaned right around his first birthday. I did the same with all my other babies. I remember when Jacob was around 4 and Quinten was 2 they were fighting over a Thomas train. Jacob hit Quinten and went and stood in the corner on his own. I wondered, how am I going to discipline him? I thought discipline was punishment.
I think I’m a laid back parent about most things. I allow open conversation. If I make a request, and a child does not agree, they are free to express why. Their thoughts and feelings considered. I feel my children have quite a bit of freedom, more than most of their peers.
But yet, some will say we are controlling. Our children are brainwashed. Taught our beliefs and forced to follow our rules. Comments that we restrict their internet and phone use, social life etc. I think most parents do control a lot of their child’s life. From the meals the family eats to the clothing the child wears to friends and hobbies. Most of the parents I know dictate some or all of those aspects.
I would say about 30% of people ask me what if your kids want to go to public school would you let them? I like to ask them if your child asked would you homeschool them? Of course most won’t but they don’t see their choice to send their children to school as a restriction of free choice only the decision of homeschool is. The irony is is that my children have far more choice over their education than just about everyone else we know personally. Although, we do have some unschooling friends who can relate to us. I always feel better when talking to people who understand me.
I know adult teenagers who still have curfew, still have to ask parents permission to date, use internet at home,etc. Some parents enforce dress codes, some don’t. Some parents give their children strict schedules. We tried to charge chart schedules and it doesn’t work for our family. Some parents force their children to attend church. Some parents teach several religious ideologies. Some forbid any religious instruction. Some find that teaching religious ideology is brainwashing and at times, abusive.
There are some that think they have the authority to change how other people parent. Some say if the parenting has a negative effect on a child we should intervene. Well what about “spoiled brats”? We all know a few. Should we do something with those kids parents? Some critics say Homeschooling is fine as long as your child is up to the standard. What about public school kids who are failing? Do we charge the parents for not giving their child a proper education?
We all have our own paths. We all teach our children things we find to be important. Some people have religious political or philosophical ideas that others think are crazy, or even dangerous. If you haven’t seen it, find a vaccine or circumcision thread on FB. Or ask about dating tips for your teen. Or attend a political rally. There’s lots of parents doing things wrong.
So who gets to decide what’s right or wrong? Do we get a say in how another parent raises their child?
Are we trying to create a society of clones? Do we embrace individualism? Parenting 11 children sounds intimidating even to me. I was looking over one of our readers pages, and saw a photo of her 13 children and thought, wow, that’s a lot of people. I know it looks crazy from the outside. But I don’t look at it as a group. We aren’t herding cats. (Because that’s an accurate description if you were to try) we treat each child as an individual. We parent them differently. So even in our own family there is little conformity. How can you expect an entire society to conform? You can’t, unless you are raising a society of sheeple.
Unschooling is an aspect of parenting. And John Holt describes it perfectly. ” unschooling is allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.” This isn’t just in regards to education, this applies to all aspects of their life.