Originally Posted by karne
It's not a great comparison, but if something else dangerous were to offered as an option for a 5 y/o, would that feel OK? I'm all for being in the place of trusting our kids, but kids at 5 have diffent developmental needs and capacities than the kids for whom a rated "M" video game is intended.
I'm sorry for your angst-I'd feel the same way.
Hi Karne, your reaction is exactly what our initial reaction was. The problem is that for a Sudbury school to limit this particular activity - an activity that is causing no outward harm to the community and does not appear to be causing harm to the participants, then next they would need to limit other activities that other parents might find objectionable - like eating sugar or junk food(can be dangerous to our bodies). Once you start down that road, like one staff member told me, very shortly it will be something very different than a Sudbury school.
The thing about Sudbury is that it all sounds fantastic until you realize what freedom truly means. That is when it becomes mighty challenging as a parent. BUT, the other side of it is that I am seeing the incredible benefit to my son of his freedom. He is more centered, kinder to his little brother, more polite, and is really doing great with self expression that is not so emotionally charged. The fact that he was able to listen to my concerns about the video games, and even offered to bring it up at school meeting totally floored me. In many ways, he was more mature about it than I was being.
One thing I am certain about is that if my son starts behaving in a violent manner after he plays a video game, he will be brought up at JC. It is the nature of the school to respect kids ability to make choices, but also to hold them accountable when their choices are harmful. When I was sharing my angst with a staff member that I highly respect (I should mention that the staff members at Rising Tide are awesome), she shared a story with me about a student at another school whose behavior was being obviously affected by video games to the detriment of the community and safety of others. He was banned by JC from playing the games for something like 3 months. In the end, he was thankful for the ban, and thought it was good for him. The single most compelling thing to me about Sudbury is JC - how students hold one another accountable for the choices they make, and how fair the kids are because they know that the next day it could be them who are at the other end.
Allowing this kind of freedom and having this kind of trust in my son requires a huge paradigm shift for me, and the jury is still out for me whether it is right or wrong for us. Short term, it seems very very right, at least in terms of his joy. It sure would have been nice to not confront this particular issue this soon.
Am I pissed my son is playing Halo, you bet. Do I wish that it wasn't at the school, for sure. But I also understand that if a school is really going to be democratic and put decision making into the hands of kids, and allow age mixing the way a Sudbury school allows, then this is the natural consequence. What I as a parent need to figure out is if my particular 5 year old is doing ok in that environment. What I see is that when I can let go of my own emotional reactions, he is doing more than fine. He is doing great. I don't know how I'll explain it to the neighbors and my relations, but that is a whole different topic.
I'm looking forward to more replies and a great discussion!