Monday, August 23, 2010

Unparenting (Taking the “Hands-Off” Approach to Heart…)

So, we unschool. It’s a pretty simple concept…pretty much everything we do is Becca-led learning. But we’ve encountered MANY parents who seem to take the “unparenting” approach to child-rearing. You’ve seen it, I’m sure. You’re in a restaurant. YOUR child is sitting quietly, coloring on the placemat, or playing with the toys that you brought for her. But then there’s the child, running wild, tripping up the waitress, and hanging off the light fixtures… (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit.)

We seem to see some of this in the homeschooling world as well. The parents who are afraid (or just hesitant) to correct their child. I once had a friend tell me, “We don’t like to use the word NO in our house.” Wow. Really?

I’m sure there’s a child psychologist out there, somewhere, rolling in their grave.

In the homeschool world, this approach can be devastating. Even if you’re an unschooler, kids still need attention. And guidance. They need help making the right decisions.

I’m all about letting a child take charge of their lives. But even a teen like Becca, who knows her mind (and speaks it…almost too often), needs supervision and guidance. (AND, that dreaded word, discipline…)

But the word discipline is all too often associated with negative connotations. No, Becca was never spanked…and we’re really not yellers over here (though we ARE loud at times). But discipline (to me, anyway) means reinforcement, correction and guidance.

There are rules out there, that we are all expected to follow. (Traffic rules, local and national policies and laws, etc.) It’s great to let your child know their own mind. But they also have to know that we live in a society of rules that must be followed, no exceptions. And what better place to start learning this, than in the home?


  1. I so agree!!! Children need boundries and they need discipline (not spankings) but rules and consequences!!! If we do not teach them at home where are they going to learn it??? I am all for the possitive reenforcement route...I praise him everytime he does something good and I get on to him when he does something bad but I make it into a learning experience!!! I make sure he understands the difference between right and wrong!!! I love my son as much as any parent loves there child and I am going to make sure that he grows up to be a good person (to himself and others)!!!