Mommywars in Unschooling?

These last couple of months there have been some pretty harsh blog-posts about Unschooling, specifically Radical Unschooling, calling the freedom many of us let our children have irresponsible, following a guru, unparenting etc.

Last month, I think it was, I was being called a lazy parent because I don’t put limits on TV/Computer/Screen time. At other times that I let my kids rule my house, that they control me, my house etc. etc. (I don’t get how I can be a lazy parent and let my kids rule the house… but that is another discussion all toghether) – and this is by people who are presumably Unschoolers and/or Volyuntarists/Anarchists/Libertarians – you know the kind of people who are normally all “Nobody should tell me how to raise my kids!”

Now I get that people feel patronised, and leave Radical Unschooling boards – I do, really. Well maybe not so much because I have never been on a Radical Unschooling board myself untill I joined Dayna and Joe Martins group on Facebook a moth or so ago. But I have been on other Attachement Parenting sites and the tone can be very condesending and a little arrogant if you don’t agree with the general opinion of the groups. But really – if someone think they can go on an Attachment Parenting group and think they’ll get away with recomending Ferberizing, Controlled Crying or Cry-It-Out – every one there would know that it would not go down well. How would one expect to go on a Radical Unschooling group and start telling people they are irresponsible, and think that that would go down well? If you go to a Radical Unschooling board, asking for advice – you must know that most of the advice you would get would probably be on the lines of “let go of control” – right? Otherwise you haven’t ever heard of Radical Unschooling before (which most of these bloggers have). Either way – people shouldn’t bully each other, and grown-ups don’t learn any more by being patronised or yelled at than kids do. And maybe I should stay out of this because it seems like there is a lot more going on behind the sceenes than meets the eye. But I really think that the unschooling community should refrain from bullying each other all toghether – Radicals or not, we should agree to dissagree. But could the Radical Unschoolers be allowed, maybe, to have one or two forums where we are “the normal ones”?

Some people are saying that the Radical Unschoolers are all wrong and that we should “Rethink Radical Unschooling”. And I get that there are really no rules in Radical Unschooling – really I do, that’s the whole point. But then if people go on to say “Radical Unschooling is not unparenting and if you don’t like your kids drinking soda all day, and your mommy tommy is saying it’s wrong then it’s wrong” (quoted from memory). Yes, you should trust your mommy tommy – but what if my mommy tommy is saying that the fight is creating the attachment to the object, and that I’d like to learn how to let go of controll? Would it be OK if I wanted a safe place to go get advice on this, where I knew that I wouldn’t be called irresponsible? And that this really small group of people who think this way prefer to call them selves Radical Unschoolers, would it maybe be OK for you that if you don’t really agree with them, to maybe just not call your self a Radical Unschooler? And maybe you should just be OK with that? Do we all have to agree?

I have friends who send their kids to school, actually most of my friends do that, and I have friends who have set bedtimes for their kids, most of them actually, and I have friends who will not let their kids have candy if they have not eaten proper food first. And they are all very wonderful lovely parents! But we disagree on some aspects of parenting – that’s it!

I used to be a very active member of a baby carrying forum – and now I don’t go there very often. I don’t because the parenting advice I get from all these lovely crunchy mothers are so far from the way I raise my kids, that there really isn’t much for me there anymore. I agree with these ladies on baby-wearing, and most of them on breastfeeding, co-sleeping etc. But that’s pretty much it, and I really can’t use much of their advice. But I have no need to go out and tell the world in a blog-post that these mothers are over-controlling or whatnot – I just don’t agree with them – period!

And people can call them selves Radical Unschoolers all they want, it’s not that – with as little and as much control in their lives as they want. And I am more than willing to have a debate with any one on parenting. OK – no may not with people who spank their kids… But I don’t want to be called lazy or be told that I am Unparenting, because I don’t have the same rules you do… That’s at least as much bullying as what these Radical Unschoolers of are being accused of. And … if you can’t Radical Unschool if you don’t agree 100% with Sandra Dodd or Dayna Martin or – hey let’s be Radical – John Holt for that matter –  then I’m not a Radical Unschooler either 😉

But instead of asking Radical Unschoolers that they should redefine Radical Unschooling, or that they are thinking inside a box, because it does not fit your parenting views – may just stop and think “Hey, I’m not a Radical Unschooler and that’s cool”.


2 thoughts on “Mommywars in Unschooling?

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  1. Dearest!
    I’ve been reading your blog with interest. Amazing! And I think: Does people never – ever – get smarter, more intelligente, more emotional – AND more accepting and loving – at the samt time? Your blog here tells me, that the history is going on – and that mankind can’t grow on further experiences!

    When you write about unscholing people and their “fighting” about the “right” opinions, and the “leaders” og “headmasters” of the unscholing community thinking and their accept/no accept of other opinions to the issue, I think: Nelson Mandela was thinking big thoughts – some of his “diciples” did twist the thoughts their own way. The same happened to many, many other clever and intelligent human beings over the last decade: Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, the non violence movement, the non war movement, and may be the first social movements – before the thinking was abused.

    My conclusion is: Every time a new thought has formed its own movement, ordinary people are joining the movement. And from that moment people with power-attachment (or poweraholic??) are struggeling about being the “leaders”. And I’m so sorry to say: they often win the struggle. This has happend in religions, in politics, in cultural movements, in small communities – even when people wants to make their own small private school!

    What are we to do about that. Resignate? NO! Fight and be slaughtered? NO! Go on with talking with people, making blogs, make the abusing good ideas visible? YES! I don’t always understand your ideas of parenting from one end to another – but you are a free human being and in your rights to think, speak and act your own way – if you don’t harm anybody. And I appreciate that you are thinking, speaking and acting. And will always be there fore you and your rights!

    If we don’t talk, think and act, the dictatorship will obviously get easier ways to realise its reality. In the big society – and in the small community – in the private school, in the movement and in the family. And – during our walk through life, we meet people, who are free enough, great enough and intelligent and loveing enough to be our “Talking-and-trying-tobe-understanding-friends”. At this time of my life, you has becomed one of that kind of friends to me. Thanks for that! And – the rest has to be patiency with people all our lives.

    Sorry for my “grandma”-english – but I think you prefer an answer in english – grandma or not!

    yours Jytte

    1. But I don’t know if they are bullying. I haven’t seen it. But what I can see is that some of the ladies talking about it in the blog-sfere are bullying back. They are not addressing the point, namely that some people are not in the least kind when they try to explain their views. No they are attacking all of us, who like this Radical Unschooling phenomenon, and say that we are irresponsible and that we group-think and aren’t critical thinkers…

      And what I am trying to say is that if we have a forum or a Facebook page, that is dedicated to this line of thinking, then we don’t want to have to defend ourselves in there – because good knows we have to defend ourselves everywhere else. So if these ladies come in there trying to convince us of their parenting philosophy, they aren’t likely to get much backing for their ideas – people might even get al little annoyed. I know I did, when people kept defending Controlled Crying in my baby-wearing forum, because it was the only “safe place” we had, where we knew we did not have to defend our ideas about extended breast-feeding and co-sleeping etc. These places are not value egalitarian – they have a set of values (defined by the owner or the users), which they defend, and if defending them seems arrogant or condescending then I don’t know where I should be allowed to have my values, in peace.

      Now I have heard that in some of these forums you are in no way allowed to question or critique the owner… and that is just plain old stupid. But really, I think that the owner is allowed to be a dictator in her own space (and I should think that these anarchist/volyuntarist ladies agree with that), as long as the rest of us are free to stay away from her space and not be subject to her anger. The problem with a school yard bully, or a dictator is that the other pupils or the citizens of the country cannot escape them. I know plenty of unschoolers and radical unschoolers who are not on these pages, because they can’t be asked to take the shit from any one. And I know a few who simply just say I’m not a Radical Unschooler because I don’t agree with the values. But that does not make them go out and ask the entire movement to redefine it’s definitions, or call the people who actually agree with these ladies uncritical. I don’t understand why these people should change their values so that any one else should feels comfortable wearing the same label. If you don’t like the values don’t wear the label. People get so hung up on labels, I don’t get it.

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