(image created by Anne Wood)
Over the years, Radical Unschooling has been mistaken for “permissive parenting,” and many judgments have been made about it based on this misbelief. The truth is, Radical Unschooling is an extension of Attachment Parenting philosophy and is a very hands-on, involved approach based on connection, rather than control. The philosophy is about being a child’s partner and focusing on their true needs and helping them get what they want in life through partnership and love, rather than the traditional focus on training a child through behavior modification to meet the parents needs for compliance and obedience. Radical Unschooling honors the child’s needs just as much as the parents, and a side effect of this is children grow up learning that everyone’s needs matter equally, not just those in power. After all, children learn what they live!
Most people do not know of any other options, other than control. The only other “logical” thing they know is what our collective culture knows, is that it is being hands-off, or permissive if we are not punishing or controlling the behavior of our children. They view anything other than traditional parenting as neglectful, or lazy, because they have never learned another way. The “experts and authorities” in our culture have done a very good job at selling people the need to be controlled, themselves.
Those raised in an authoritarian paradigm were told that it was all “necessary,” and done for our “own good” and that it was done “out of love.” It was confusing to be trained to meet the adults needs around us. Our behavior was all that mattered and having negative intent assumed from us chipped away at our self-esteem. Being told that power and force was necessary and without it we were not loved or cared for, is one of our cultures biggest lies and one that has been spoon-fed to us for generations. It has become a collective belief.
Our culture indirectly tells us that being nice and respecting children is neglectful and lazy. People do not realize how brainwashed they have been to believe this message! They also do not see that this lie has been passed down for so long, because of the mental anguish it would cause us all if we didn’t buy into this idea. People aren’t ready to see that the disrespect and mistreatment wasn’t necessary for their “own good.” People do not want to face the truth, because it won’t allow them to go on controlling, punishing and training their children any longer and it will force them to finally validate the inner knowing of injustice that was prevalent in their own upbringing and do something different and dare I say, better.
Radical Unschooling is not easy, nor is is lazy. It takes time and effort to find ways to meet the needs of everyone in the family and respect everyone equally! It takes listening, problem solving and critical thinking. It takes patience, understanding and discussion. Some people in our culture don’t want things to change and evolve, because they still want to force others to meet their needs, rather than taking the responsibility to meet their own. They will be very resistant to honoring the basic human rights of children. They desperately want to hold on to an authoritarian paradigm because without it, they need to step up and take full responsibility for their own needs being met. Many will still choose the easy road, of forcing children to obey them, but it is not without dire consequences to their relationship and connection.
Ignorance is comfortable and easy. Facing the truth causes great pain to our culture, but it is here and staring us all in the face. Children’s rights are next on the human rights agenda and it is happening, right before your eyes.
So many of us are saying, Radical Unschooling is not neglectful “permissive parenting!” It is not lazy, abusive or hand-off. This lie can not be passed down any longer, because an uprising is happening and children and teens are seeing the option for kindness and respect themselves through the eyes of others being raised with more respect and human rights. You can’t repress a conscious, aware generation. The lie can’t survive in a culture that isn’t buying into it anymore.
In the above diagram, you can see where Unschooling falls in the “Compass of Parenting.”
I hope this helps you see that there is a lot our culture has yet to learn and those of us walking a path of loving and respecting our children as humans beings and not property. It is truly raising the bar on so many levels, and many people aren’t ready for it yet, but awareness can’t be stopped. We are here to share the truth and open the door for understanding a more respectful, peaceful way to treat children that is modelling and creating more peace, love and connection with the world.