How do you raise a child to believe in freedom?
This question is in effect asking “How do I mould and shape my child into a person who believes that individuals should be free from unwanted moulding and shaping by others?”
Criticism scheduling and privacy
Unwanted criticism can cripple thinking, destroying the means of error correction and the growth of knowledge.
What do you mean by non-coercive? What is the difference between coercion and non-coercion?
Non-coercive = embracing others exactly the way they are, and they can change if they want to and they don’t have to. Coercive = trying to control, fix or change others against their will.
What is wrong with loving limits for children?
Adding “loving” to “limits” does not make the limits non-coercive, it just adds confusing mixed messages to the coercion. The parents are coercing the child while acting as though that is not what they are doing. They are pretending that they are not responsible for the distress they are in fact causing.
If you are not coercing your child, what do you do instead of coercion?
This question is like a coercively controlling husband asking: “If you are not coercing your wife, what do you do instead of coercion?” A paternalistic husband who controls his wife out of the best of intentions because he honestly believes that it is for her own good, could ask the same question.
Surely children need to learn to deal with restrictions to prepare them for life in society?
How do you distinguish between restrictions on our behaviour that are good for us and those that aren’t? The 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.
How to read this site
Ultimately, we all (including our children!) have to do what we ourselves think best, what feels right to us ourselves, not what someone else says is right. We are all moral agents in our own right. When we self-coercively override our own wisdom and do what someone else thinks we should be doing, we are acting wrongly by our own lights. No good can come of that. Treat this site as a source of speculative guesses and interesting arguments, not as an authority you should obey.
Taking Children Seriously: a new view of children
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.
The Taking Children Seriously survey
The survey showed that favouring coercion over any one issue is not a good predictor of favouring coercion over any other issue, even an issue that the majority considers more important. The fact that so many parents believe that so many others have got their priorities the wrong way round is very hard to explain in the conventional terms of ‘strict’ vs. ‘lenient’ enforcement of a larger or smaller core of objectively important things. Most of us can see quite easily the irrationality of many other people’s justifications for coercing children. But it is in the nature of irrationality that we cannot see our own.
Can an emotion be wrong?
Everyone agrees that behaving angrily can be wrong in some circumstances, but what about being angry itself? Can an emotion (or the thought-content associated with the feeling) be wrong in itself?
Requiring children to do chores
Professor David Deutsch on why making children do chores is immoral.
Both coercion and “doing nothing” are mistakes
Children have to do what they themselves think is right, with no pressure whatsoever – that’s what non-coercion amounts to – but they also have a right to be told morality as best we see it.
Common emotional blackmail
Why some children run away, but others do not. Using love as leverage to double-bind children to obey – threatening to withdraw the relationship – is wrong. Children have a right to our love.
How to talk so your kids will be manipulated
Many parenting books advocate manipulating children using dishonest language evading responsibility for the coercion the parent is engaging in
Autonomous learning, autonomous life
This 1989 workshop advocated taking children seriously, not just ‘autonomous learning’.