An academic DRAFT document provided for the symposium on the Representation of Childhood at Arizona State University, March 2009. A proposal by Naomi Aldort.
Representation of childhood in modern western culture is based on seeing children as flawed and needing to be shaped into adults. The child is seen as failing to be an adult and therefore represented as inferior and cannot be trusted to unfold correctly on her own. Her basic needs are held as “wrong” and are constantly fought against.
Based on this representation, children are not seen; they join society when they have been turned into “adults.” The child is taught adult manners while her childlike ways often elicit scolding, leaving her feeling failing and dependent on external guidance. She spends much of her young years with peer groups controlled by adults.
This view shapes who children are in their own eyes. They grow up to believe that someone other than they should guide their way (the media, peer pressure etc.) The result is a culture of seekers of approval; humans whose depression and dissatisfaction lie in looking outside for cues and for acceptance, while often missing the joyful confidence that comes from being guided from within.
Just a few examples of the manifestation of this childhood representation:
· Birth: Mothers have been shaped to believe that a doctor should “deliver” their babies.
· Feeding: The baby learns to ignore her own cues and surrender to mom (who follows the doctor).
· Learning: Being corrected and taught, the child loses faith in herself and becomes dependent, insecure and needy of approval.
· Manners: Seeking approval becomes the top priority at the cost of honest relationships. Parent-child struggles start when a child rebels against being controlled, leading to the many difficulties and disabilities we witness today.
· Sleep: Babies and young children are denied their basic need to sleep next to their mother, learning to ignore themselves and obey others.
· Schooling: The invention of an institution for the control of education is the ultimate in the modern western representation of children. The child is raised in “herds” of compliance to the adult view of her and how she should be.
The followings are some of the childhood practices and results of this representation of childhood:
Girls are shaped to throw up with no self-trust. They learn to believe that a doctor should “deliver” their babies. They are taught not to trust themselves and look for guidance from authority. They lost the ability to see themselves as the authority on their own bodies and birth-giving.
By nature, every human mother knows to give birth healthfully and safely. If she ate an organic healthy diet and was in good physical shape, complications would be extremely rare. Most birth complications we see today are unnatural and preventable.
Our modern mother is well-trained to look for cues outside of herself. She does not trust her own body, does not know to feel it, and in a way is disconnected from herself. She assumes that the doctor knows and that she does not know how to give birth. She, therefore, believes she must be in a hospital and follow instructions (as she was trained to do at home and in school.) She believes blindly the story that birth is scary, unsafe, and not possible without a doctor in a hospital.
Mothers who want to get back to nature often stay away from hospitals. But even at home, the training lingers. In one birth I attended, the mother was ready to push and in perfect shape but seemed “stuck.” She said in a desperate voice: “What should I do now?” The midwife was ready to give her instructions, as doctors and nurse midwives do, but I signaled to her to let me handle it. I made eye contact with the young mother and said, “listen inside; you know what to do.” She relaxed and the baby was out in a few minutes. Years later this woman told me that those words of mine brought her right back to her power (self-knowledge) and helped her for the rest of her life.
In the hospital, the mother who has been trained out of her self-awareness is further stripped of any sense of being in charge and having the power of herself. She follows instructions as she has been taught all along and is unable to recognize her own body wisdom. She sings her right off upon entering the hospital and she lays on her back (no power), often connected to machines, intimidated, and with no privacy. Stripped of body connection and inner power the mother becomes helplessly depending on external instructions and hopelessly believing the “experts” and “professionals.” She misses the real expert; herself.
If the baby is lucky, he comes out naturally without the intervention of chemicals or knives. His first natural intent and need are to stay connected to his mother. The umbilical cord is alive and sends loads of blood into the newborn for almost half an hour after birth. This is nature’s a kind way of letting the baby take time to learn to breathe. If left to her own wisdom, a mother would have her newborn baby cuddled in her arms, offering the breast and letting the cord deliver that last crucial supply of oxygen and nourishment-filled blood into her baby. In her arms, the baby will breathe naturally when ready, connected and feeling right and content.
My own three children were born this way when I was 37,41 and 44. All three would have been born with a C-section if I went to the hospital. Yet, at home, I had three healthy and perfect births with three healthy and vibrant babies. Like millions of other awake mothers, I didn’t fall for taking cues from the outside. Most, however, do follow because they have been shaped to obey and look outside for what to do and how to think.
In the hospital, the potential for a gentle transition of the baby from the womb into a breathing being is often interrupted by the premature cutting of the cord and slapping the baby while hanging him upside down in emergency resuscitation. Then, the traumatized baby is often separated from the mother for a “check-up” and to let her “rest.” The baby has no way of knowing that he will even survive. He is supposed to be on the mother’s body and breastfeeding. Instead, he is away, held by strangers, or left alone. Emotional terror is already teaching this baby that what he feels inside must be wrong.
In many cases, the mother is cut open with a C-section. The said “complication” for which the mother is being cut, is mostly caused by the hospital combined with the mother’s lifestyle causes. Or, women’s bodies are violated but cutting their vaginas with a knife in the name of easing the birth (most often unnecessarily.) Giving it a pompous medical name, “episiotomy,” the mother obeys as she is taught to.
This violation of the body would not be tolerated by a mother who grew up in a culture that honors her body and her self-knowledge. Just try to take an aboriginal mother to a hospital to give birth. She would probably jump out the window to rescue herself and her baby and go give birth behind the bush and then walk away with her new baby in her arms.
How can young women be so docile? The answer is simple: They grew up in a society that sees childbirth as a disease to be cured and children as limp empty vessels to be shaped and controlled.
This violation of mothers’ bodies is the way the baby begins his/her life. A war. A fight for survival. Drama. A sense of wrongness and having to be saved, fixed, altered, scream in terror; a sense that, “what I want must be wrong.” It is the first dose of the same lesson: You cannot be born by yourself. You cannot breathe by yourself. Do you want your mommy? Well, you are wrong, first, we must separate you and hurt you a bit. Do you need more blood from the cord? Forget about it, we cut it off and hang you upside down and hit you. Once with mom, the baby may or may not get to feel a sense that what he wants is right. He wants to stay skin-to-skin, breastfed, and never leave, yet, even that is negated.
The baby learns to ignore her own cues and surrender to mom, who follows a stranger with the title “doctor.” She has been trained to trust titles more than herself or her baby. For many babies, breastfeeding, their lifeline to health and intimate connection, is not even available or cut short. For others, their cry for breastfeeding is ignored in the name of the schedule. Again, seeing the child as not knowing what is right for himself dictates this bizarre trend. The lesson is, “don’t listen inside to yourself and instead take cues from outside.” This is the beginning of surrender to peer pressure, the media, teachers, and drug pushers. Why not? After all “I cannot even know when I should eat.”
Today progressive mothers are aware of the high price we are paying for violating the baby’s needs. These mothers carry their babies on their bodies at all times and respond promptly to their cues. The baby who is cared for in this manner does not cry when he needs to breastfeed. Why cry? The breast is right there and his littlest quiet cue to his mom gets the result. Such babies learn that life is right, that they are OK and they have no need to scream and fight to get what they want. Many such content and peaceful children grow up these days in families that refuse to see children as wrong and needing to be fixed and taught.
The other aspect of feeding that represents children as inept is when they are coerced to wean way ahead of time and introduced to addictive sugar-laden artificial “foods.” These foods set them up for ill health as well as addictions, as well as mental and emotional difficulties. But, since the child learns to follow the lead of authorities like the supermarket, advertisers, TV, peers, and vending machines, there is little that anyone can do to keep him away from these harmful substances. A gullible consumer is successfully created.
The child is trained to follow strangers with titles, not his own body. His body is a collection of processed toxins from what he eats, breathes, and from vaccines over which he has no say. The parents have been trained in the same way, so they let strangers inject chemicals into their baby and child’s body. These cause many of our common disabilities, physical, emotional, and intellectual ailments, and sometimes death. Hardly anyone bothers to research the true facts about vaccines; how useless and harmful they are. Parents, doctors, and children have been shaped to follow and obey.
Every baby’s natural, primal and correct need is to sleep in his mother’s arms or right by her body breast-feeding as he desires (as do most of the world’s societies.) With rare exceptions, western modern babies and young children are denied their basic need to sleep next to their mother, learning to ignore themselves and obey others. This is the same lesson of denial of the body and of one’s emotions they experience in birth and in their need for constant loving body contact and for breastfeeding as they wish.
Sleep resembles death. Not only light is gone, but one becomes unaware of existing. The baby barely manages to grasp its own existence even when awake. It is body contact that verifies for him a sense of physical reality. This contact tells him he exists, he is safe, and can survive. Being left to sleep alone, without constant body contact is terrifying and contrary to all mammals’ sense of rightness. Left alone to sleep a baby has no way of knowing that he will live and that the security of his being, mother, exists. The terror of this experience lacks words in the English language.
A mother who has NOT been raised through this representation, would not be ABLE to leave her baby to sleep away from her body. She simply cannot do it. It goes again all natural motherly instincts. Yet, shockingly, modern mothers, who have been well-trained to numb and ignore their inner voice, are able to put their baby down, and leave him to cry.
The baby is left to cry or is soothed with every trick except for what he really needs. His need to sleep on his mom’s body or be in contact with her is denied him, assuming he doesn’t know what he needs. One of the most common questions parents ask me is, “My baby doesn’t want to sleep by himself. How can I help him?” It never occurs to the mother that she should not “help” the baby to sleep by himself but instead, respond to his need to sleep with her.
Another myth shoved down the gullible throats of young mothers is that the baby or young child should sleep through the night. This too is not coming out of inner wisdom but because someone told them so. They learn that “Someone” or “Others” know better. They don’t even look inside for the truth.
When such parents ask for my guidance, I avoid becoming another voice that tells them what to do. Instead, I assist them in discarding the devotion to seeking approval from the outside, so they can go inside for answers. Once a mother goes inside, she can’t leave her baby to cry. She just can’t do it. Nature didn’t goof – it made mothers tune into the baby and yearn to keep the baby content and always close.
Thank movements and organizations like Attachment Parenting International and La Leche League, some mothers are moving toward responsive ways of baby care at least for the early years. Yet, most are still believing the doctor and not their baby or their own instincts. The baby is learning that he is wrong and has to be shaped from the outside and follow instructions even when those oppose his inner wisdom and body sense. It is no surprise that children and young women can be such easy prey for sexual abuse and confusion. We teach them to ignore their senses and go with the suggestions of adults, authority figures, the majority (what “everyone” says…), and the media.
Such disrespect of the baby/child as in separate sleeping is also the direct cause of numbness about one’s own body and another’s body; therefore a large number of sexual dysfunctions and abuses in this culture. The body that was violated at birth and denied its need for closeness and feeding based on its own inner guide detaches from having feelings about her own or others’ bodies. If in addition, emotional or physical pain is inflicted on the child as a way to draw him out of himself, the numbness can cause one ability to hurt himself (drugs, smoke, sugar, self-victimizing, etc.) or to hurt another.
Severely hurt individuals may become molesters, abusers, or victims in this game of violation of one’s body and careless denial of the inner being. Luckily, most adults work on healing these hurts and, in spite of much pain, are able to live somewhat fulfilling lives. Most people never learn to fully listen inside and recover their emotional freedom, power, and joy.
The concept of “behavior modification” is a direct manifestation of the representation of childhood as inept. Children are seen as needing to be shaped into well-behaving people as though they are not who they should be. Therefore, when they behave and act as nature designed and express their own health needs, adults go out of their way to stop them, punish them, scold them hurt them, and drug them. The child is represented as wrong and the adult as right. If the child is active he has prescribed drugs to get him to sit quietly and follow adults’ ideas of what he should do or learn. If a child is shy, he is forced out of shyness, if he is loud he is quieted down, if he wants to stay awake he is forced to sleep, and if he is tired during the day he is forced to stay awake and keep up with the class.
The child is being taught adults phony manners and is expected to use those manners with no feeling to match them. She is punished or scolded if she strays from the expected dictated adult language. The child who wants to play is denied play time and forced to sit and study and the child who bounces and is unable to comply with forced learning is drugged or punished.
Adult-child relationships are full of commands, corrections, instructions, and prohibitions: Don’t do this, sit down, get up, clean up, do as I say, don’t cry, etc. It is also full of threats: If you don’t hurry I will… if you speak to me this way… if you don’t get up… if you don’t go to sleep… if you don’t clean up and so on. The child who, in his despair, cries, bites, hits, or rages, is often scolded, distracted, or punished, but not listened to nor helped at the root cause.
Children are expected to be able to be adults prematurely, to clean up after themselves, to share, to eat cleanly, to be considerate of our needs, to sit still and study, and so on. Their own inclinations are often overlooked and considered not relevant.
When a child goes far from the expectations of adults, she may get hit by the adult, punished, or verbally shamed and abused. Even parents who do not resort to hurting children, often shame, scold, threaten and lay guilt.
All these things are done because of seeing children as wrong and needing to be turned into something other than who they are.
For children who are manipulated to live up to expectations, seeking approval becomes the top priority at the cost of honest relationships. Parent-child struggles start when a child rebels against being controlled.
What do we expect a child to learn when we tell him: “Say ‘thank you’ to your friend”? Most parents believe that the child will learn to feel grateful and to express her sense of gratitude. But do children learn these things by being told to do them? They are more likely to learn, “I should tell others what to say.”
How did we feel as children when told to say, “thank you”? When did we really develop a sincere sense of gratitude? Did saying, “thank you” before we had the feeling to match the words make us grateful? Or did we develop a sense of gratitude later on in no regard to those instructions? Is it possible that some of us feel resentful when needing to thank someone, share, or apologize, because as children we hated doing these things against our own will?
When we ask a child to say manner words, we are displaying bad manners ourselves. Telling people what to say is disrespectful. We are telling the child what to say and demand that he obeys. We are teaching him to make other people do and say what he wants through threats, shame, and intimidation. Rather than learning to respond to people and learn to appreciate the way they are he learns to manipulate them as he is manipulated.
If we responded to the child and tuned into her, we would realize that she does express gratitude, in a childlike way. She smiles, hugs, enjoys herself, jumps up and down and her eyes shine. She is by far more authentic than we are with our code words.
When childhood needs are fully satisfied, gratitude expressed in adult language will naturally develop. Yet, holding children as somehow defective and unable to unfold, we teach and teach and teach and coerce and punish as though we try to force the flower’s petals to open ahead of time. Perhaps we need to allow children to observe gratitude, generosity, and kindness, rather than teach these behaviors to them. We if are grateful toward them, they will learn gratitude. If we tell them what to say, they will learn to control others and to be disrespectful.
If telling a child to say “thank you” (and other manner words and actions) does not teach her/him to authentically feel and express gratitude – what does it teach?
A few possible things:
1. The child learns that telling others what to say or do is “good manners”. The content of the “talk” is practically lost, as the child is only aware of the fact that someone is telling her what to do and that she must obey or she will suffer or lose approval and love.
2. A less obvious message that results from holding children as unable to unfold is: “I cannot trust myself to know what to say or do; I should rely on adults (authority) and obey instruction” (dependency, being a follower)
3. Linked to the previous one is, “I cannot know on my own what to say or do, therefore I must follow others.”
4. A similar feeling of inadequacy can spring out of self-doubt: “Why don’t I feel like saying ‘thank you? Something must be wrong with me.” (low self-esteem and feeling inadequate and incapable of self-reliance)
5. A child learns to be phony and even simply to lie: “I don’t really feel like saying anything, (sharing, helping…), I guess I am supposed to lie, pretend, or put on a show that does not reflect my real inner experience”
6. The child learns to replace authenticity with a drive to please others and jump through their hoops.
7. The child learns to hate sharing or saying “please” and “thank you”, as his formative memory of doing so is that of resentment, being controlled, and going against himself. In doing something while not wanting to do it, he is learning to hate the expression of being grateful (sharing, etc.) and the natural authentic development of his manners can be delayed or thwarted.
One example of manners that we hurry to teach is responding to an adult’s (disrespectful) inquiry about name and age: “Tell the woman how old you are, Johnny” is an instruction parent often give when they feel embarrassed about a child’s lack of responsiveness. One of my three children never responded to the probing of adults until well after he was seven. In every such interaction, I was on his side, defending his need for privacy. I would say to the inquirer: “He doesn’t seem to want to talk to you” and smile, adding: “I can talk to you if you wish.” My son experienced me being respectful and protective of his privacy. He is now a wonderful young man with great manners and is naturally sensitive to the needs of others.
As people who grew up measured by adults to do and say what was dictated by these adults, we become parents who are caught in the same web. Not only do we see the child as needing to be shaped, but, based on the way we were raised, we are addicted to approval; we want to impress other adults by how well our children follow the shaping program.
As with the other aspects of childhood representation, in this area too, there are parents who are breaking the mold and raising their children with respect. These parents realize that the child’s manners are not about impressing anyone. The child deserves full respect for his stage of awareness, confidence, and of acquisition of social skills. It is not easy to feel comfortable when a child doesn’t fit society’s expectations – but knowing that these very expectations don’t fit the child, helps such parents remember whose well-being they stand for. The way children are represented in our society is indeed disrespectful of their humanity
The invention of an institution for the control of education is the ultimate in the modern western representation of childhood. The child is raised in “herds” of compliance to the adult view of her and how she should be.
Schooling was invented not with the child in mind but with the country, industry, and money monopoly in mind. It represents childhood as devoid of any drive of its own. It treats children as material to be cloned and utilized for financial gain as employees and consumers.
Teachers and others working in the system are rarely aware of this scheme. When they do, they often drop out of the system as did three times best teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto.
I highly recommend J.T. Gatto’s books. By reading his well-educated writing, you will learn the true goal of schooling and get a clear report of what is really being learned in school.
Academics are not even remembered within a couple of years; what kids do learn in school has to do, not with the content but with the set-up itself. Since school represents children as clay to be molded into the dictatorial ideas of the former generation, children learn precisely that:
· I cannot know what is good for me.
· I should learn what I am told or I will fail in society.
· I hate the other child because he gave the right answer.
· I love when my friend fails, so I can shine and get approval.
· Life is competitive (And it is because that’s what we create in schools).
· Nothing is worth pursuing for very long. It should be interrupted (by the bell ringing.)
· It is best to change subjects often and not focus on one thing.
· I should fit in.
· I should do what authority tells me.
· I should have a job when I grow up.
· I should not trust my inner voice but the voices of others.
· I should seek approval.
· I should take cues from outside (teacher, gang members, peers, media… even a molester.)
· I am not worthy enough to be free. I have to serve school prison daily till I am an adult.
· Adults are the police.
· I should get by with as little as possible.
· I should aim at pleasing even if it isn’t fitting with who I am.
· I should belong to a social group so I don’t get beat up.
· If I don’t mingle no one will like me.
This list can get too long for this document. It has one thread going through it which can be summarized as something like this: “Forget who you are and fit into ‘their’ picture of you. Who you are is not good, not right, not worthy. Always look outside of yourself for guidance.”
This principle alone is responsible for so many people feeling lost, depressed, defeated and despondent. They don’t know who they are because they were trained out of who they are before they could remember themselves.
The representation of children as clueless blobs of cutely packaged bodies shapes birth, parenting, schools, and society’s attitude toward them.
Without a separate system of experts, people would gain autonomy over their own lives, such as birth, death, care, etc., and would not play the game dictated by the money monopoly.
Through schooling and other numbing of the true being, children grow up to become overly dependent on external guidance in all areas including their health, money, clothes, food, and relationships. They lose authority over their own lives and turn the responsibility of their own experiences over to “experts,” the state, and the mythical “others” all of whom swallowed the same pill.
School, Learning, and self-esteem:
When children are represented as empty and ignorant vessels, adults brace themselves for making adults out of them. This means that they must go against the child’s inclinations and coerce him to be whoever the adult wants him to be through training and teaching that is imposed and controlled by the adult.
Being rooted in oneself feels powerful because the child knows what she wants. In contrast, the child who is told to seek guidance outside has a tough job of living the life of a person she is not, and matching external expectations. She may become dependent, insecure, and needy of approval because she has no way of knowing how to be other than by measuring against others and by pleasing and seeking approval. Seeking approval is the heart of insecurity and depression.
Some people become so lost in the game that we consider them happy. These people “succeeded” to become the prescribed person. Years later we wonder why celebrities and other people who are symbols of success commit suicide or become depressed.
In order to make children into the image of adults we want them to be, our society created institutions that children must go to against their will or through coercion of their will. Children who want to go to school have so totally lost their inner connection that they believe that what they want comes from inside. It doesn’t. What feels good to them is pleasing and fitting in because they have been trained to look outside and not inside.
In order to train a child to accept constant instructions and loss of freedom, society starts at birth, taking the baby away from the mother, using cribs, strollers, and nannies instead of constant body contact with mother and father. The separation continues by taking the child away from the mother and from home as early as possible to daycare, preschool, and kindergarten. Separating a child from its primal connection strips her of her power.
Being away from his power source, his mother, the child is helpless and disconnected; she will do whatever she is told just to gain acceptance and love. She becomes needy of approval to make up for the deep pain and longing for that primal connection. In this way, the powers that see the child as material to be molded get to prove themselves right, not because it is true, but because of our ways with children. The child does becomes either pliable and compliant and needs authority, or he is confused, aggressive, or depressed. Being forced to learn against their will, even motivation vanishes.
To top it all, the now confused and needy child is put with same-age kids who are all dependent on approval and acceptance and they fight for the teacher’s attention and for survival in a herd. This experience takes the child away from her own nature. She is now in competition with members of the herd and wishes for them to fail so she can shine. Then we say that it is human nature, yet it is the setup that forced the child into struggle based on insecurity and herd dynamics.
A family is always mixed ages so children relate to those who can offer more competence, and as they grow become also the ones offering help to the young. In a peer group children are stripped of this power too. They can’t really help each other as they are all ‘blind” in the same spots. They cannot survive in this helpless and worthless setup without complete dependency on an authority figure. The message that they are inept and dependent is driven further in. If the teacher leaves there will be chaos and aggression. They cannot exist without authority.
Seeing children as needing to be fixed, school goes about its job to form them into containers of information dictated by random adults who are in power. A child whose inclination is academic and has loving and sane parents may fit in and seem thriving but still loses sight of herself and of who she really is. She will “play the game” successfully unaware of her loss of herself. A child whose inclination is physical activity, motion, and body exuberance, is going to be drugged or at least suppressed. She is told her ways are “wrong” and must be “fixed.”
I am reminded of Albert Einstein’s famous words, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Indeed, some humans jump back on their feet and recover from childhood within five to twenty years. On the other hand, more often than not, people don’t recover and the culture of successful players of a game not their own gives birth to depression, aggression, dissatisfaction, addictions, food disorder, and suffering.
Representing children as material to be shaped, they waste their precious childhood in school, much like they were in prison. They believe the lie that they won’t make it in life without it. (Remember they have been trained to take authority as truth.) The school trains them through praise and punishment, grades, shame, group pressure, and approval for those who obey. The child is further removed from himself and is on the hoop of the programmers, doing the best he can to please and live up to expectations.
Top students are often a greater concern to me because they often sell out on themselves. Some of them recover, but it is among these good and cooperative kids that we find more suicide, food disorders, and depression. They are living someone else’s life and at a later time in their lives, the idea of going on like this for years becomes daunting, scary, and oppressive. A person’s greatest joy comes from being himself and they don’t see that in sight.
I don’t worry about those who “fail” the system. I hear from worried parents who call me to say that their teenager is failing in school, rebelling against the system, defiant, and busy with friends and non-school activities. Ah, I am so happy for these parents and kids. These are the kids who somehow have enough power inside not to sell out. They survive. They claim themselves to one degree or another. They are the real miracle. However, some of them, lacking in tools to be themselves (after so many years of numbing) end up harming themselves and getting lost. Those who survive, are often powerful people, innovators thinkers, and leaders.
The most extreme aspect of this way of seeing children is drugging them, which is often recommended and even enforced by the school. When a child doesn’t fit the representation he gets either a special fixing program or drugs or both.
It is lucky that we didn’t have these toxic drugs earlier in the 20th century; Einstein was thrown out of school in Germany, and Edison’s mother was told that he is a dunce and wisely pulled him out of school. Many other leaders escaped the tyranny of school. Today, there is no way to count how many great minds are dumbed down or drugged out of their wisdom.
The marketing of drugs to kids in the deceptive name of psychiatry has caused many deaths, suicides, killings, and lifelong mental illnesses. Those who survived learned to be blindly grateful for both the prison and the numbing drugs that keep them from wanting to escape it. I am reminded of the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.
Here, again, there are parents who see their children as capable and free and do not send them to school. These children, when free from the beginning of their young lives, are free of disabilities and able to shape their own lives. They are confident, thriving, and socially competent, and able to relate to adults as their equals. They know themselves and know society because they live in it as equals from the start.
Today’s parents are already the product of the way society views childhood, and so, of their own free will they do to their children what was done to them. From early on they control the baby, tell the baby where to sleep, and when to be hungry, and then tell the child what to do, say, think and be and give them to government schools to be formed and shaped. With the best of intentions, parents follow the brainwashing they got and literally fight against the healthy inclination of the child. If the child wants to sleep with the mother, the parents have been programmed to see it as a problem and to train the baby out of her healthy need. If the child prefers to play by herself, the parent forces her to be in a group and do things together. If she doesn’t want the mom to go, the child will be trained to endure the separation. If she is not inclined to read, she will be forced to… and so on. It is a war against the child.
All parenting struggles come from this imposed war and do not represent the reality of childhood.
©Copyright Naomi Aldort 2009
Dr. Robert Mendelson, MALe Practice
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John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (New society publishers October 2008)
John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (New society publishers 2nd edition 2002)
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise, and Other Bribes, Replica books 2001)
Alfie Kohn, No Contest: The Case Against Competition (Houghton Mifflin; 2nd, Revised edition, November 12, 1992)
Naomi Aldort, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joy (Book publishers network, Jan 2006)
Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society (Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, July 1, 2000)
Ivan Illich, Disabling Professions (Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, July 1, 2000)
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John Holt, How Children Learn, (Da Capo Press; Revised edition, September 3, 1995)
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James W. Prescott Ph.D., Rock A Bye Baby, A Time Life Documentary (1970) Executive Producer: Lothar Wolff