Dear Naomi, ever since I have learned about unschooling I have tried to balance the exposure of my now 4 year old son to what is labelled as addictive and harmful in our society; DVD movies and sugar are what we struggle with. I used to say NO to all of it, but the older my son got the more he wanted to find out what these things were all about. The more I resisted the stronger his urge got. At one point all I ever heard was ‘Chocolate…and Spiderman’. Although my son has been and is with me all the time, unschooled, I have most of my food/goods delivered, I am out with him in society, too. And ads, cheap toys, sweets are just everywhere. After hearing about radical unschooling I gave my son more freedom of choice and he now has consumed a fare amount of Disney movies (which have also inspired him I may say), sweets, kid’s magazines and plastic toys. Of course he asks for more and the power struggle is on every day. I am confused about what is right and how to live in this society without labeling everything ‘good’ or ‘bad’! Also confusing to me is, my child seems happy with this partial freedom of choice (I don’t let him view or eat just anything…), it’s only myself who would like to turn back time and ban mass culture from our home! Please help!
I have recently responded to this same question many times, including in an advice column in Natural Life Magazine. My views are not popular with unschoolers, as I do not see freedom as license to do or get whatever one wants.
I see children as needing parents who know that what you do now, has consequences in the future; consequences the child cannot foresee. Your child counts on you to have the strength to fend off harm that he cannot yet distinguish.
Please read the full articles here: http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/1004/ask_naomi_aldort_freedom.htm
I do recommend that you choose your friends and your child’s exposure wisely, so that you have peace and your child feels free to do as he wishes because the environment is protected.
Warmly, Naomi Aldort http://AuthenticParent.com