13 March 2009

A Quote a Day

When Sunnyboy was one year old I discovered a parenting and educational philosophy called Taking Children Seriously (TCS) and since then this has been one of the biggest influences on my parenting. The quotes I've picked for the Weekly Geeks challenge today are from With Consent: Parenting for all to win by Jan Fortune-Wood, who is the only TCS author that I'm aware of.

'Practical problems do not stop you from helping your child to get what he wants; ideas do. It is your theories that get in the way of living by consent with your children, not schedules or the number of hours in the day or the need to go to work of the amount of money you have available or any other practical consideration. The problem is not the practical difficulty, but the way we think - our creativity, our ideas.'

'Consent-based parenting assumes that being 'self-centred' and doing the moral thing co-exist. The goal of parenting is not to control, but to facilitate the child in self-maximising and following their intrinsic motivation. This goal relies on the assumptions that children are rational, creative, trustworthy and autonomous human beings living in environments where they have sufficient information to be able to make good decisions for themselves by their own lights.'

'Autonomous children know that problem solving is a feature of real life and growth, that risk is inevitable and that change and criticism and new solutions are always going to be needed. What they do not do is conflate problems with suffering or effort with sacrifice. When we live in an ethos of consent, creativity and rationality, artificial boundaries become irrelevant and are replaced instead by a life in which learning and winning are fundamental.'

'Childcare 'experts' sometimes propose that giving our children 'firm boundaries' is a way of giving them the security they need and crave. It is true that such artificial boundaries can give a sense of safety, but they often do so at a high cost. Along with the protection comes a hunger for a lifetime of security and certainty, an unwillingness to ask too many uncomfortable questions, and a dangerous willingness to obey without question. Fostering intrinsic security, however, is a much more complex process. To be able to find solutions; to enter into a process of conjecture and refutation; to listen to and weigh criticism and advice before making decisions; to take responsibility for one's decisions: this is another kind of security which is eminently more valuable. Taking Children Seriously proposes a process of finding common preferences by which each problem can find its unique solution. Working with this process demands a whole new paradigm that transforms life into a learning adventure unmatched by anything conventional parenting can offer.'

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