Let Kids Be Themselves

I just stumbled upon this wonderful quote,

“A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.” – Bansky

and wanted to say a thing or two about it. Both unschooling and unconditional parenting are primarily about allowing your kids to be themselves. Letting them discover things like ways of being and moving to the beat of their own tune. I see it everywhere, kids doing things that parents arbitrarily disapprove of, and being either forcibly prevented from or violently punished for doing it.

It’s rather a terrible thing. Children are in a foreign place, and everything is new. They’re trying to figure things out. And while parents should keep them safe, they absolutely should not use force or violence to mold a child into something other than what the child wants to be.

Parental tyranny is rampant. My wife and I have purged this tyrannical impulse in favor of allowing our children to be happy, and to be individuals. We don’t try to control them in ways other than keeping them safe. We no longer give thought to their “behavior” so long as they keep their hands to themselves. And as it turns out, they’re making the right decisions. They are 2 and 6, but they’ve impressed us in some interesting ways.

We’re excited for the future, and in seeing the people they chose to become. It’s their choice, not ours.

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Written by 

Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.