Don’t make your children feel like they owe you something. Don’t begin sentences or requests with phrases like “I put a roof over your head…” or “I’m keeping you fed…” because whether it’s your intent or not, this can be easily heard as a threat to pull the rug out from under your child as punishment for non-compliance. This can lead to your child distrusting you, as well as others on whom they should feel they are able to depend.

This is emotionally abusive behavior, and you should purge it from your parenting routine.

If you took a group of babies and said to their parents, “Today I’m going to teach them to walk,” their parents would think you were a crazy person and take their children away. If you took a group of toddlers and said to their parents, “Today I’m going to teach them to use the potty,” their parents would think you were a crazy person and take their children away. But if you take a group of 9 year olds and say to their parents, “Today I’m going to teach them fractions,” they think that’s normal.


Children learn different skills at different times because they’re individuals and they’re interested in different things. If they’re keen on baking or making change or working in the wood shop or something like that they may be ready to learn about fractions otherwise they’re learning about it in abstraction. It’s not going to stick. It’s going to jiggle right out of their heads. They’re going to retain it for the test, regurgitate it, and forget it. That’s if they’re lucky.

If they’re unlucky they’re going to do some of these things: struggle with it terribly, turn something they didn’t know about into something they hate, do poorly on the test, feel bad about their inability to do the work, meet with the disappointment of their parents and teacher, get laughed at by their peers or siblings, and develop a full-on mistrust of their own capacities, a desire to run away from challenges, a hardened heart, and the desire to explore, learn, and investigate will be deviated into the desire to just get a good grade and be done.

You don’t want this. Wait. Wait until the child has a legitimate reason to learn a thing. It will stick. The learning will come along faster and it won’t foster in the child the desire to appear to know what he doesn’t know just to escape the horror of not learning it when everyone else did.

The way I saw the educational system from an early age was that it taught you what to think, not how to think. There was no liberty, really, for free thinking. You were being trained to fit into a society where free thinking was a nuisance. I liked some of my teachers very much, but I had no interest in their subjects.
—  Joni Mitchell
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Living Small a new documentary film by Stephen Hewitt @ilovetinyhouses

I sincerely hope that some day our school systems teach human beings how to interact with each other and the world around them in a constructive, compassionate way. Most of what I see right now consists of children being ridiculed, demeaned, and made to feel bad about themselves, being forced to spend agonizingly long hours inside dismal buildings where the only light is florescent, with little, if any, recess time, and generally being trained to regurgitate ‘correct’ answers for the benefit of standardized tests. There is almost no acknowledgement of the very real truth that different people learn in different ways, or of the value of play and exploration as an integral part of an individual’s learning experience. We see pundits on the news word-vomiting nonsense about our school systems when something goes publicly amiss, but my personal opinion is that the problem lies in the fact that most people are putting their kids in institutions that too closely resemble prisons. Let your kids play outside naked in poison ivy. Let them be stung by bees, ants, nettles, or whatever (and maybe have an epi pen handy just in case). Let them eat all sorts of weird dirt that may or may not be carrying harmful bacteria. Let them hurt themselves while playing and learn from that experience. Your child does not have a ‘sensitivity’ to sausage. Sausage is not a naturally occurring food. Along the same lines, your child cannot be allergic to soy products while you simultaneously demand the inclusion of tofu in their diet. It’s difficult for me to talk (write) about this without getting carried away on some ADD tangent, but the point I want to make is that as someone who has worked in education, I think that there are a lot of things that need to be changed if we want kids to grow up well-adjusted and happy. Not being a parent myself, my argument may be irrelevant, but I feel very strongly that kids need to get outside and dick around instead of remembering various birth dates of dead white dudes.
—  diamondthunderboltufo truth tea