Kids shouldn't listen to us

“Oliver, you know we sometimes tell you don’t do this, don’t do that? Well, if you think it’s ok, you do it. Or you ask why not, you question us. Think with your head. Don’t listen to us. We want you to be yourself. You do you, ok?”.

The other day I overheard Alex saying this to Oliver: 

“Oliver, you know we sometimes tell you don’t do this, don’t do that? Well, if you think it’s ok, you do it. Or you ask why not, you question us. Think with your head. Don’t listen to us. We want you to be yourself. You do you, ok?”.

My first thought was: that’s so counterproductive! We get so annoyed when he does what he wants without listening to us… why are we telling him not to listen to us?

My second thought was: Alex is right! We might struggle more as parents for a few years, but this approach will be more beneficial for Oliver for the rest of his life. We want him to believe in himself, and be a critical thinker: “Do what I say” doesn’t make critical thinkers.

This does not mean that children can do whatever they want. It means that too often our hierarchical, fearful, terrorizing, apprehensive, disciplining mentality prevents them from thinking for themselves.  And sometimes, often, between a punishment and a threat, they also lose the ability to question us. They become "good kids" according to the (mistaken) common mentality. They forget how to stand up for themselves and others in the face of what they think an injustice. They don't develop the self-confidence they would naturally develop if we let them choose (and fail) more often.

It’s a few years of more effort (ours) against a life of benefits (theirs): I don't need to think about it even half a time. I know what’s right: Alex is right. 

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Educating for the long term, Montessori, multilingualism, and full-time traveling life.