Obedience Is Not The Goal

File this under humanistic parenting - "Disobedience is not a problem if obedience is not the goal" - Daron Quinlan

I love this and the post that goes with it from Teacher Tom. Obedience Is Not The Goal: ( Note: This is a re-post. I wrote it back in 2011. It's one of my favorite posts of all time. ) ...

As a Humanist, I don't want my child to be obedient. I want him to be self-disciplined. And I can't teach him self-discipline if I demand obedience.

There are 2 reasons why I don't like the concept of obedience.

1) I want my kid to have the confidence to reject bad ideas and bad suggestions and to defy evil leaders.

2) I want him to be confident in his decisions.

Self discipline means that he has the ability to make decisions for himself. And he knows what sorts of decisions help him and others and which ones are likely to hurt himself and others and he wants to chose the options that help instead of hurt.

To me, that is my goal as a parent. If I have a kid who is capable of making those decisions for himself - I've succeeded.

To help him learn this requires coaching.  If I am a dictator - you do what I say - he never has to learn how to think. He just does what is request of him. That is a HORRIFYING THOUGHT!  I don't want him to do whatever he is told. I want him to think about what the right thing is to do is - and to do that.

I'm teaching my son reasoning and critical thinking and decision making. And, I make space for him to think for himself and to defy me. And yes  - I do have an excellent kid. He is self-disciplined - and in the areas he is not - he's getting better. He's 12 now. It's a process.

Does he do what I want? Most of the time? How is that possible if he is allowed to disobey me?  Because I reason with him and explain why I asked him to do whatever it was and what the consequences are of it not being done - and then I ask him again.  Are you sure you want to do whatever. He usually - when given full information - makes the right choice.  Success.

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