By: Krystle Crossman
Most children want things that they shouldn’t have or that their parents don’t want them to have. They want to do things that they probably shouldn’t be doing. Most parents will tell their kids “no” when they want these things. But one couple decided that they were going to let their kids make decisions on their own and see the consequences that these decisions could bring. Robert Reiland and his wife called it “permissive parenting” and said that it was part of the “unschooling” routine that they had set for their children.
Unschooling is a term that is used when parents do not enroll their children in a formal education and homeschool them. The difference between homeschooling and unschooling is that they let the kids do pretty much what they want through the day and let them ask for things that they want to learn instead of telling them what they are learning for the day. If the kids want to play video games for the day, that is what they do. If they want to go outside and play all day, they get to do it. It has been found that this actually works for many kids as they become curious about their surroundings and how things work when they are playing through the day. This leads them to ask questions and do research. It is not for every family but for some it works.
For the Reiland family it worked very well. They monitored their children but let them make their decisions. As long as the kids did not put themselves or others in danger they were allowed to make choices on their own and had to deal with the consequences. If they were asking for something that was not necessarily possible the Reilands would sit down and discuss it as a family to see what other alternatives there were and what some better choices were. Instead of automatically saying now the Reilands treated their children like they were equal members of the family and engaged them in discussions. One of their children is now in their first year of college after never having been in a classroom in his life. He is studying the things that he is interested in and getting good grades. Their other son finished college with mostly A’s and a few B’s here and there. He is now gainfully employed.