A discussion came up in which someone asked about "True Freedom" as though it were a concept central to unschooling. I'd never had the phrase used, and discussion ensued.
It's just musing and analysis of the ideas of freedom, which unschoolers DO tend toward in lots of things, but in ALL things? Maybe, maybe not.
Just like getting lots of gifts instead of one big one, if you say "sure," "okay," "yes" to lots of requests for watching a movie late or having cake for breakfast or them playing another half hour on the swings and you can just read a book in the car nearby, then they get TONS of yes, and permission, and approval. If you throw your hands up and say "Whatever," that's a disturbing moment of mom seeming not to care instead of mom seeming the provider of an assortment of joyous approvals.This is so well put—another "aha" moment for me. I think it is easy to get the idea of freedom confused. I know I have struggled with just what non-coercive parenting really means. My kids are so young (6, 5, 3) that they do need me help them. I appreciate that they ask me all the time whether they can do things because it helps me to feel that they are safe. Nearly all the time they get a "yes," so it's not a hardship for them to ask. They don't fear that they might get a "no," so they don't not ask, if you know what I mean.
That's not to say that I never say no; there are times when no is the answer, but I tell them why and we try to come up with an appropriate alternative. Because of this, I think, my kids aren't afraid to hear no either. I have always parented with as few "no's" as possible because saying no makes me feel stressed out. This doesn't mean I'm "too permissive" or that my kids are "wild"; it just means that I've created an environment where no's are seldom necessary and certainly are not meted out to reinforce an arbitrary authority.
Still, I found myself wondering if I were doing something wrong because I noticed how often my kids ask "permission" to do things. I was second-guessing myself and wondering if I were so controlling that they felt they had to ask, even though I almost always say yes. After reading Sandra's words, I realize that my kids come to me, not because I say they have to, but because they use me as a sounding board. Asking permission becomes a way of gauging their own sense of right and wrong because they know that I will explain a no and help them come up with better alternatives. I realize that they know they are respected and come to me as their guide, and that's something that I feel pretty darn good about!
Maybe they're coming to you as a font of "yes!"
That's a cool thing, if every time they want something loving and positive, they run to mom, huh?
[Danielle:] Asking permission becomes a way of gauging their own sense of right and wrong because they know that I will explain a no and help them come up with better alternatives.
My big guys still ask little things, like "Can I have this last soda?"
What that means is "had you dibsed it?" or "Is this perhaps NOT the last
soda, so I'll feel better about taking it?"
If I say "Sure," they're drinking a soda I gave them, and I bet it tastes
better than one they snagged knowing they had "the right" to drink it, but they
wanted the blessing.
If I say "Sure," they're drinking a soda I gave them, and I bet it tastes better than one they snagged knowing they had "the right" to drink it, but they wanted the blessing.