Our coercion of our children boils down to thinking for them, and expecting our children to follow our instructions. But children can think for themselves.
The word ‘coercionist’ distinguishes between those who advocate coercion (or who take the view that some problems are inherently not solvable) and those who think that problems are soluble (i.e., thoroughly non-coercively).
If the ‘research’ alleges that whether you behave morally or immorally, it makes no difference, does that make immoral behaviour unobjectionable?
There is every reason for hope! And the fact that we have noticed that coercing our children is problematic is progress compared to how things were in the static society of the past. (And hey, maybe the fact that coercionists these days seem to feel more need to justify their advocacy of coercion is itself progress?)
It is far safer to show children potential dangers and how to handle them safely, than it is simply to rely on them never interacting with such dangers. Even if you yourself keep all the dangerous items and chemicals locked up, there will come a day when your child is somewhere else, where that is not the case, and then your child is potentially navigating dangerous things with no knowledge of how to do so safely. Taking our children seriously is so much safer than the alternative.
Taking Children Seriously is a new VIEW of children—a non-paternalistic view: children do not actually need to be controlled for their own good. An Oxford Karl Popper Society talk.
A rule imposed on someone for the purpose of helping them to feel secure, is ludicrous. If I expressly don’t want something, yet it is imposed upon me anyway, how does that help me to feel secure? The opposite is the case.
Taking Children Seriously is one of those types of knowledge that cannot be taken back—once understood, it constitutes a true paradigm shift within the individual mind.
When you have decided that it is fundamentally unkind to coerce people, but an authority figure is pressuring you to coerce your child, calmly say ‘sorry but I don’t agree with your fundamental assumptions’.’ All you need to concentrate on is that this is a difference in fundamental assumptions. Both the authority figure and you want what is best, and are trying to be kind. You just see things differently, because you view children differently.
Unfortunately it is not true that children taken seriously are good at identifying coercion (except perhaps overt coercion).
This author has some good criticisms of overt coercion but spends about 200 pages advocating more covert coercion. Not Taking Children Seriously.
There is a difference between sitting on a chair to relax, and enforced sitting on a chair. Or is being strapped in the electric chair also not a punishment?
The lazy person’s approach is coercing children into reluctant compliance, as opposed to taking the time to see to it that all parties are satisfied with the outcome of every interaction.
Traditional education can be looked at a massive, standardized operation aiming to stuff the allegedly passive bucket minds of children.
Having pessimistic educational theories like ‘not everything that is useful is (in itself) interesting’ suggests there are things children need to learn that they will not willingly choose to learn, therefore educational coercion is necessary. That is a mistake. Educational coercion impedes and impairs learning. It does not help.
The primary function of teachers is to hold innocent people against their will (in other contexts known as “imprisonment without trial”), to force them to do things they don’t want to do, to stop them doing things they do want to do, and to “train” (coerce) them to conform.