“Taking Children Seriously is not a parenting method or recipe you can follow, it is a new view of children, a deeper idea about the conditions under which human beings of all ages thrive—freedom.”
– Peter Strömberg
We believe that taking children seriously and treating them with respect means giving them the same benefit of the doubt that we give other people we interact with, be it our partners, friends, colleagues, customers, whoever. Beneficial interaction with these other people does not involve coercion, so why should it when we interact with children? When cooperating well with adult people, we are taking their ideas and our ideas equally seriously, not giving our own ideas special status and expecting them to defer to us despite any misgivings they may have. We think that the same should go for when we cooperate with our children.
Taking children seriously is both a moral and a practical stance. Since children are people they deserve to be treated as people. They have a right to this, by virtue of being people. In practical terms, to be free to choose what you want to do, and to follow your own interests, maximises your ability to reach your full potential and to develop as a mentally healthy person who is prepared to take on the world and its challenges.
Taking Children Seriously is not a parenting method or recipe you can follow, it is a new view of children, a deeper idea about the conditions under which human beings of all ages thrive—freedom.
Irrespective of age, coercion actively hampers people. Although there may be emergencies in which coercion is justifiable—for example to defend someone being physically attacked—in general, the less people are ruled and the more freedom everyone has, the more human flourishing and progress is possible.
We believe that all problems are soluble without forcing each other—and we also acknowledge that in real life with real life time constraints, lack of knowledge, or indeed sleep(!), sometimes a problem remains unsolved in the moment, just like in science, a problem is not necessarily solved the moment it is identified. What we do not conclude, from the fact that a given problem has yet to be solved, is that it is fundamentally impossible to solve, and that coercion is inherently necessary. We do not give up, any more than good scientists do. It might not have been solved this time, but that does not mean it won’t be solved next time—and who knows—maybe a brilliant idea will pop into your mind when you wake up from a restful sleep. Human minds are amazingly creative.
Be aware that ideas about taking children seriously have evolved over time, and that, especially in the details, we have slight disagreements with each other about it. We don’t think we sit with all the answers. Your own ideas about taking children seriously might be better. Do share!
- How to read this site
- How did Taking Children Seriously start?
- The Taking Children Seriously FAQ (answers to frequently-asked questions)
Peter Strömberg, 2023, ‘Welcome to Taking Children Seriously’, https://takingchildrenseriously.com/welcome-to-taking-children-seriously