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Are you going to behave?

A father accidentally banged an oversized car cart into a grocery checkstand. The five-year-old boy inside was startled into tears. His dad, probably feeling embarrassed and guilty about upsetting his kid, sternly told the boy to stop crying. When the boy continued to...

Who Knows Best? – Conclusion

Who knows what’s best for a child? In this series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I have argued that each child should be able to decide what’s best for themselves. It means that, as parents and adults who interact with children, we commit to trusting kids to observe,...

Who Knows Best? – Part 3

In the two previous posts, I began exploring the question of who knows what’s best for a child. Stories about “safe” playgrounds, tooth brushing, reading Tintin, and money management provide context for examining the question within a familiar context. Here’s more...

Who Knows Best? – Part 2

Last time, I promised to talk about some of the doubts and difficulties I faced after committing to trusting my son to figure out and decide what was best for himself. One cringe-worthy example: I enforced tooth brushing when he was only three years old—meaning...

Who Knows Best? – Part 1

This upcoming series of posts has been more of a struggle to write than previous ones, in large part because the theme feels more radical than those in earlier posts. In spite of my obvious passion for championing children’s right to self-determination, my current...