Opinion

Radical parenting not so dissimilar to lazy parenting

At the suggestion of my astounded sister (also the most logical person on the planet), but against my better judgment, I watched a television program called “Radical Parenting.” If you’re unfamilar with the term, think of it this way: living in opposite world. There. That’s it.

You won’t be surprised to hear I live in the real world and raised my children to live there, too. Here are some examples of the unenlightened choices my husband and I made as traditional parents.

For one, we sent our children to school. Yes, we turned their brilliant little minds over to the corruption that lay in wait at their Catholic elementary school, then at the public middle and high schools in our community. At no point did we consider the concept of “home schooling.” Most home schooling environments follow disciplined lesson plans that largely cover subject matter according to the community’s standards, taught within the confines of home. Super, but it wasn’t for us.

Surprise! It’s not for radical parents, either. Way too prosaic for them and their little prodigies. They believe in “un-schooling.” If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute. Un-schooling can’t mean what I think it means,” you’re wrong. It does. No lessons. No classes. No formal teaching of any kind. Children learn from “the world.” From “life.” From video games, according to one little boy.

Favorite quote: “Unschooling has freed us to do and be whatever we choose. We can craft all day if we feel like it. There’s nothing we have to do; we are just free.” Even if I force myself to ignore the use of the word “craft” as a verb, I’m horrified.

But un-schooling is more than that, too. It’s egalitarian life. No one makes rules for anyone else. Bedtime? Nope. Good nutrition? Nah. Hygiene? Not really. Sleep where you want, when you want. Have popsicles for dinner. Take a bath if you feel like it. Good Lord.

You may feel uncertain at this point. Maybe un-schoolers are onto something and I’m just too conventional and close-minded to understand. Perhaps. Let’s move on, shall we?

We let our children crawl around and laid them in cribs to sleep. Oh, and we put diapers on them, too.

Turns out, we may have damaged their sense of security. Radical “attachment parents” carry, wear, or otherwise affix their baby to their body through a pouch, a sling, a backpack or some other device, everyday, all day for two to three years. They ‘co-sleep’ with them, too. In other words, they stay in direct contact with the child from birth until he or she begins walking and then as much as possible thereafter, including several years of breastfeeding.