Wow I have read this whole thread and I recognize a lot of folks from the GD board!
I think we most closely identify as radical unschoolers but like any "system" or set of beliefs, it is not without its minor wrinkles
After all, communism looks really damn good on paper
What I am saying is, we attempt every interaction with our daughter to be one where she feels heard, respected, honored, and where she gets her needs and wants met... while also advocating for our own wants and needs and ultimately 99+ % of the time we come to solutions that leave us all feeling happy, respected, at peace, honored and heard.
We do not limit tv -- we didn't introduce it until she was around two because we felt that it was sort of a *she is neither consenting or not consenting, she doesn't know or care so we will defer to our judgment* situation -- but now it is limitless and she self regulates quite well in our opinion...
or food ... though we are vegetarians and it is a similar situation as above -- we haven't introduced it though there isn't a desire yet....
on and on...
You have to remember though, our daughter is only 26 months old and there are some issues we are not grappling with yet that I anticipate we will be dealing with in a couple of years (the meat issue) -- I suppose my goal is to be as honest as possible without putting a big opinion on it "Meat comes from animals that had to die, mostly in not kind ways" --
I do agree that we influence our children, how can we not??? They see what is modeled to them and even if you don't vocalize that you don't agree with something or shame them, children are smart, they know what their parents agree with or not. I think the most effective way of creating an environment where they will feel free to "dissent" from your opinion or disagree is to create those years of trust, those years of listening, honoring, doing everything you can to meet their needs and wants, coming to mutually agreeable solutions -- keeping free of shame or punishment, lectures, coercion and the like.
We are not perfect, we are human, We love our daughter with everything we have in us, just as I trust most parents do -- especially on this board -- but, we do strive, in every interaction with our daughter to allow her the freedom to blossom into the person her Creator (whatever you perceive that to be) formed her to be.
Unconditional love means that there is nothing our daughter could do or say or be that would make us not love and support her --- of course there will be things that may not please us or fit in with our personal way of life -- and we aren't under an obligation to ignore and dishonor our own boundaries (or break federal law!
) to meet her wants --- (though we will always, always make every attempt to come to a mutually agreeable solution)
...however, even at the tender age of 26 months she has taught us more about life than any of our contemporaries or elders. We want to preserve that, not mold it to what we "think is best". Our daughter has shown us in nearly every situation that she is an amazing self regulator, an amazing and wise decision maker, and has a remarkable ability to seek out our counsel/help/opinion when she feels it will be to her benefit. We do everything in our power not to exploit that and I believe we are doing well.
So in this tit for tat, this or that, conversation of what is this and what is that, who is what or who is not -- I dunno where we fall exactly and I am not going to put a label on it other to say that consensual living and radical unschooling is what we most closely resemble in our life with our daughter and eachother.
Oh and as a side, I absolutely believe that this lifestyle can and does fit in well with spirituality -- we are Christians and we do just fine. For the record, I say this without agenda, but to answer a question by angelbee
Thanks for reading!