Re: DSM: pre-Sudbury parental conduct

Mitter-Burkes (
Sun, 07 Jan 2001 02:24:38 -0500

on 1/6/01 8:24 PM, at wrote:

> So how does one treat a baby when one espouses the philosophy of Sudbury?
> Do you clap and say "Good job!" when the baby hits the peg on the head or
> goes potty, or do you just look at them stony-faced? Somewhere in the
> middle, I would think, but what is that? I'm interested in hearing how
> people who have been through this with their own babies have experienced it.

I would freely confess to coercing my children into hitting the potty with
their excrement. Good job, indeed!

Wouldn't you agree, though, that hitting the peg on its head has its own
reward? An event to relish, not reinforce.

We raised our babies (now 13, 11 and 8.972) with a lot of voice in the
house, and we frequently hold family meeting to enable discussion of events
and patterns. Parents of Sudbury-model students should anticipate a lot of
discussion and back-talk from their kids. And to the extent that you rely
on that omnipotent shout every once in a while ("because I say so, that's
why!"), you'll get some heat.

But we do not pretend to be a democratic household, and we acknowledge that
as parents we have a dramatic and unique impact on our children which
includes intentional and unintentional coercion.

These are facts of life, I think. These facts are the downfall of
homeschooling, and they are the reason why we are trying to build schools
where kids have a deep sense of ownership.

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