Unschooling and Self Worth

We take it from our children starting in preschool, then once they hit their teen years, we are trying to give it back to them. We see that the spark that they once had is missing. It’s their self-love and inner knowing. The institution of traditional parenting and school is set up in such a way that parents end up believing that they need to help instill self-worth to children. It seems a prevalent idea that self-esteem and confidence is something that needs to be gained or built.

Our Unschooled children, who are growing up in a partnership paradigm, never lose the self-worth that all humans are naturally born with. From the moment we come into this world, our default setting is to love ourselves. It is all part of human survival. You do not see an animal in the wild insecure or living with low self-esteem. It isn’t something that needs to be gained or instilled in children, unless kids are robbed of it through living a life where others value obedience and conformity above a child’s own needs and desires.

In the old paradigm, parents and educators create the very problems they are trying to later fix. In the same way a doctor’s preventative actions often times cause problems in birth, the current parenting model creates low self-esteem and insecurity that it later tries to fix and then it seems that the institution is to actually thank for their child feeling better about themselves! How twisted is that?!  The traditional role of a parent and educator is what caused the child to lose their inner knowing and self-love to begin with!! How much work we create for ourselves as a culture, when all we have to do is shift in how we are doing things. The authoritarian paradigm is old school!

A partnership paradigm is natural, organic, and authentic. This philosophy is on the leading edge of thought, and more and more parents are waking up to see the reality of all they are creating in their children from parenting from the old model. Haven’t we learned how damaging it is to demand obedience and use punishments and rewards to control another human being? There is another way and it is called Radical Unschooling.

When we are living a life in the new paradigm, kids never lose their inner knowing of Who They Are. They do not need to rely on others telling them their greatness to know their greatness. I find it fascinating that my children do not care what others think about them. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care about others’ feelings or needs. On the contrary, my children have a great deal of empathy for others. They just do not value what others think of them as any reflection of how they measure their own self-worth.

Children love themselves unconditionally when they are loved without conditions.

This is the power of partnership, connection and Unschooling!



  1. That last paragraph (the one starts with “When we are…”) absolutely says IT ALL.

    I am moved to tears when I observe the confidence and inner peace of my Unschooled children. I entered motherhood as a woman with no self-esteem whatsoever, and so to see my children guided by their own inner knowledge of Self, without care for the opinions of others, is just amazing.

    I learn from them everyday.

    • Hi Patti,

      I loved your comment! I am also in awe of my kids and their inner peace and confidence. So grateful for this life!

      Thank you so visiting my website!


  2. Beautiful, poignant post Dayna. It is so awesome and inspiring to hear of how your children have retained their self-love and are projecting that into the world.

    Unfortunately, it is truly devastatingly sad that so many children are robbed of their self-worth and self-love because of the “authoritarian paradigm”. This paradigm is especially damaging because it self-perpetuates, as it creates more generations of people willing to continue carrying it out in order to form some warped sense of self-worth through power over others.

    And it never ceases to amaze me at the hypocrisy of schools continuing to create curriculum aimed at improving self-worth and esteem even, after you mention, they have already destroyed it. I guess it creates jobs! Thanks!

    • Kelleigh,

      Thank you for your comment and for visiting my website. Times are changing and a shift has begun in regards to how children are treated and respected in our culture! Radical Unschooling is changing lives!

      I appreciate your perspective!


  3. I love this, Dayna.
    I see this in my boys as well. Their interaction with other adults is more a desire to share something that brings them joy, not an attempt at approval. Most adults don’t catch on though. Instead of reacting with joy at the sharing, they often use judgement phrases (“That’s very good, dear…”).

    • April, I know exactly what you mean by the judgement phrases you are talking about. It is talking down to a child instead of talking normally, or talking respectfully. I love that more and more people are coming to understand what equal respect really means.
      Thank you for your comment!


  4. My son spent a year in Kindergarten (a montessori school) and I can say with surety that he was made to feel like the “bad” child of the class because he could not yet read by October of kindergarten and that his writing did not compare to the other kids in the class. My husband and I were called in for an ’emergency meeting’ in October to address this ‘issue’. I did not know about RU back then but it definitely set me on the path to find something else. This was in K and I already saw at that point what it did to his confidence and desire to learn anything. It took him time to debrief from that and he is now such a different kid. I am SO thankful everyday that I have found this lifestyle for our family and that my kids have the freedom to be who they are, no questions. Thank you too, Dayna, for being such an inspiration to me and so many others. 🙂

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