I'm new to the term "trustful parenting", not in fact being a parent. But it sounds like what my folks did. As a very young child, my brother and I were allowed to play outside by ourselves pretty much whenever we liked. We didn't have TV and were always supplied with heaps of books, LEGOs, art supplies, and dress-up clothes. I was educated in the public school system, and often encountered teachers who were totally hidebound and authoritative. My father is also a public school teacher and spent several years as a military officer. However, my parents both trusted my success to me. Grades, homework, reading assignments, and papers were my own responsibility, in addition to household chores and whatever extracurriculars I got involved in. (Once I asked Dad why he didn't yell at me for getting a bad grade. He said "It's your assignment, not mine. You decided not to do the work, so I assume you decided something else was more important.") I was never hounded to finish anything. I made excellent grades, got full scholarships to college, got a full-time job in my chosen field (theatre) immediately out of undergrad, support myself easily, and retain a zest for learning. I think that trustful parenting can work in the conventional school system, if you don't feed the kid expectations that school is a prison where you're forced to do meaningless crap. The whole "money as a reward for grades" thing is a great example. It devalues the actual achievement, and teaches kids that school is such a pain that the only reason to do well is for superficial benefits. Left to draw my own conclusions about school, I enjoyed it, and the "busy work" had little importance. Basically, if you don't make a big deal out of it, it doesn't have to be a big deal. You just do it and then move on to things of more interest. It's actually pretty good training for life, since most people don't get to do exactly whatever they want to all day long. My brother and I have always been treated as equal members of the family, and I remember my parents often expressing the idea that they had kids in order to raise people, not "children". And unlike many of my peers, I'm friends with my parents. We share ideas and events out of mutual admiration. What I'm saying is that there's a middle ground here. You don't have to entirely abandon the conventional school system to raise independent, resourceful and interesting people.

More Posts