Saturday, March 2, 2013

Unschooling and Bullying

I was listening to a podcast last night in which the speaker (Justin of Parents For Liberty) mentioned how radical unschooling had made his children seemingly immune to bullying.

I was thinking on that last night, and I see it with my kids too. Bug (2y) seems already to intuitively know might doesn't make right. He has no qualms about standing up for himself or voicing his opinion to anyone, without fear. In fact, most toddlers I know are the same way. Many parents think of this stage as "the terrible twos", when children start to realize their autonomy and say things like "No!" and "Mine!"

This stage, traditionally, marks the start of years of physical punishment, manipulation, and coercion to convince them they are not autonomous. That might makes right. That they must obey authority. And over time it is sadly us parents who squash this spirit in our children to stand up for themselves.

Thankfully children are resilient, and in our case Josh (8y) hadn't fully lost that spirit yet. We parented this way the first 7 years of his life, but still he fought back. He "acted out", which I am now so thankful for. As for Bug, we have found that by respecting his person and property, allowing him to explore and conduct himself as he wishes so long as he is respecting others and their property, and patiently explaining reasons when we can't do certain things, we haven't really seen anything "terrible" about this stage at all. It is a joy to watch him develop into his own person.

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