Not everything we think is true is actually true, even if we feel 100% sure it definitely is true. No matter how strongly we feel that we are right about something, we might well nevertheless be mistaken. The subjective feeling of certainty is no guide at all to whether or not something is true. We can feel totally certain about something and yet be totally mistaken.
Losing sight of others’ good intentions is a mistake. Reacting badly, as if truth is obvious and we ourselves are in possession of it, tends to be coercive.
Subjecting anyone of any age to coercive education (unwanted criticism) is not taking them seriously. Nor is it even taking the valuableness of criticism seriously! Let alone taking the growth of knowledge seriously.
The purpose of such what-if questions is to justify coercion, but when you ask the same question about an adult, it is shocking, because we all take adults seriously.
We look at our respective reasons for wanting what we initially want, and we create a way to proceed that we all prefer—a new idea that did not exist at the outset.
Assuming you are happily married, would you ever be thinking: “If I am not allowed to coerce my wife, surely I am being coerced myself?”?! No! Never! Not even in your worst moment ever! You take your wife seriously. You are not trying to train or change or improve your wife. You are not trying to win at her expense. You want both of you to win! You love her just as she is. You two solve problems together rather than coercing each other.
The slight asymmetry is because the parent has chosen to put the child in the situation in which the child finds herself, whereas the child has not chosen to be in that situation or to put the parent in the situation.
Why is it that there is a word “parenting” but no word “childing”? Because in our culture, children are not taken seriously. Words like “parenting” embody the idea of hierarchical, top-down paternalistic/authoritarian parent-child relationships in which the parent is actively doing to the child and the child is passively done to. The parent is actively moulding and shaping the child from above.
Taking Children Seriously is not permissive, uninvolved, authoritarian or authoritative. Those approaches coerce children instead of taking them seriously as full people whose lives are their own.
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.
How the word ‘respect’ led this parent to Taking Children Seriously