“How do you distinguish between systematic restrictions on our behaviour that are good for us and those that aren’t?”
The systematic restrictions on our behaviour that are good for us are ones we agree with. And when we agree with them, they are not restrictions on our behaviour anyway.
“Surely children need to learn to deal with restrictions to prepare them for life in society?”
Some people take the view that life is full of restrictions – full of being forbidden to do things we would otherwise do. Then the question parents and educators not taking children seriously have in mind becomes “How do you make children obey those restrictions?”, and “How do you bring children up so that they will obey those restrictions when they grow up?”
But actually, we live in a society in which many of the restrictions on us are reasonable. They might not be optimal, but they are there for a reason, and there are ways we can complain about them, and there are ways we can get round them.
“So you are raising your kids to think it’s ok to run a red light?!”
No, of course not. Children are not the sociopaths bent on criminal behaviour many adults seem to fear. Given that it is generally a good idea to obey the law, they are just as likely to want to stop at red lights as we are. The fact that when you are driving, you have to stop at a red light, is not something that most people see as coercive. The vast majority of people have no objection to traffic lights (other than, perhaps, that they should be roundabouts instead), because the traffic lights system prevents collisions.
- Taking the free world and children seriously: an anecdote
- Objectifying education sabotages learning
- Home education in Britain
Sarah Fitz-Claridge, Taking Children Seriously FAQ: ‘Surely children need to learn to deal with restrictions to prepare them for life in society?’, https://takingchildrenseriously.com/surely-children-need-to-learn-to-deal-with-restrictions-to-prepare-them-for-life-in-society/