Trusting children to make their own choices sounds risky enough when it applies only to education, but what if you extend
this trust to other areas of life? Will children decide they don’t want to go
to Mass or eat healthy food? Perhaps they will want to watch inappropriate
movies or play computer games all day. Some parents decide they just can’t pass
control over to their children as it would be irresponsible. They wouldn’t be
fulfilling their duty of protecting and caring for their children. At first
glance this might all seem very true.
parents feel are not appropriate? Can the way we parent influence the choices a child makes? Can we give a child
the freedom to choose but at the same time be confident they will make the right
choices? I think we can. If I didn’t, I would keep firm control over my
children at all times, because I regard myself as a responsible parent.
read books about children who aren’t trusted.”
Imogen. “Why do they assume they will always do the wrong thing if they have
the choice? Aren’t they confident they have given them the skills to make good choices?”
thrust out into the world and told to find out everything for themselves. They
don’t have to decide what is right and what is wrong without any input from
parents and learn from their example. If they feel secure and respected and
valued and are treated with love and kindness, why shouldn’t children love and
trust their parents and accept their values?
course it’s important that Catholic children know and love their Faith. We can’t leave them to discover what faith is all about alone. It’s our duty to share the truth with them, but, as I see it, we can hardly fail to share it. Faith is something we live. It’s who we are. We discuss it. We read about it.
We pray together. We go to Mass as a family. Our children are immersed in our Catholic Faith and they accept the truth we live.
come to Mass,” but I admit we also never say, “Do you want to come to Mass?” Going to Mass is just not an issue. We
believe in God. We are Catholics. We go to Mass. That’s what we do. It’s just like breathing. In our 26
years of parenting, not one of our children has ever said, “I don’t want to go to Mass with
thing to do.” They look at me as if they don’t understand why I’d ask such a
question. Perhaps some questions don’t even
have to be asked.
Will my children always want to practise their Faith? I have no idea. They do have free will. I don’t think any parent can Faith-proof their children, whatever their method of parenting. But I feel I have done my part responsibly. The rest is up to them.
gay ‘marriage’ and how authors are influencing the beliefs of teenage readers
by writing popular fiction portraying such ‘marriages’ as ‘normal’, an acceptable alternative to traditional
that,” Imogen said.
when they are young, but there comes a time when we have to trust them. I think
it’s more valuable to ensure they know what is right and what is wrong, rather than
censor everything. What is right and what is wrong… We discuss so much with our
children. Our unschooling children do listen to us, just like we listen to them, and they do respect our opinions.
cinema. We weren’t sure if the movie would be entirely appropriate and there was one scene that wasn’t. When the boys returned home they told
me about it.
I told Callum to look away until it was over. I sort of glanced at the screen
every now and then until I was sure it was safe to watch the movie again.”
and wrong ensured they acted appropriately. I didn’t need to be there to
control the situation.
worrying about. A child has the right to choose what she wears each day, and
what and how much she eats. She knows how much sleep she needs and whether she
needs a cardigan or not. Maybe little children might need some help in determining these needs and how to fulfill them, but it can be done gently and without taking over. We can guide rather than control, until we are no longer needed. I wonder if we tend to want to have a say long after that time has arrived.
I think children can recognise they need us…
came to me and said you want to leave home. Should I let you? Should I trust you to know what you need?”
that. We still need you.”
leave home because they feel their parents exert too much control over them,” someone adds.
choices by never being trusted? If we hold too tightly out of fear, don’t we run the risk our children will rebel? We will lose them, despite our best attempts to protect and look after them.
own unschooled children. I have no idea if they are in line with accepted radical unschooling philosophy.