Free to Socialize In Real Society
Free to Socialize in Real Society
By Naomi Aldort
Author of, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
Six-year-old Yonatan was sitting at an outdoor coffee-house with two older ladies (relatives whom he had never met before,) carrying on a lively conversation about unschooling. I decided to leave them for a while to accomplish a couple of errands, taking my toddler with me.
When we returned, the discussion was still going on full swing, with all three passionately engaged in the subject of growing up without schooling. After a few more minutes, one of the women said to me, “I am now convinced. He is making a lot of sense. I have only one question; what about socializing?”
“What about it?” I asked waving my arm to show the social interaction between the three of them.
Getting Out of School Mode Thinking
The two women did not consider their interaction with my son as being social because they were not the same age as he; how strange. Socializing is simply being with other humans. Only schools limit the interaction of children to the same or similar age. In nature such grouping does not exist. Not only peer groups are not the way of nature, such grouping contradicts nature’s intent for progress which depends on learning from those who are older.
Putting children who lack social skills with others who are as socially disabled, is like putting the blind with the blind. It thwarts learning and it brings on conflict and disharmony. When we choose to allow children to grow up free, we must work to free ourselves from these deeply ingrained school concepts about peer play and group activities.
Why create the dysfunctional mentality of a classroom for a child who lives without this bizarre set up? Young peers cannot get along in groups. In fact they are not even safe and their social interactions are bound to fail without the control of adults. By being subjected to this setup, they become dependent on authority as well as fearful of adults and unable to socialize with them.
When engaged in a peer group with adult guidance, a child learns harmful anti-social lessons like, “I fail to relate to others;” “I need an authority figure to control the play (dependency and conformity);” and, “I have to compete for attention.” Or, in a typical school situation, “I hope the other child will give the wrong answer, so I can impress the teacher with my right answer.” Hierarchy and even hate and ganging are born of this stifling setup.
Socializing With Parents
In the early years a child loves and needs to be with her mother and father. Young children learn social skills from skillful adults who love them. They learn to relate with care, and to create deep human connection. Relating to mom and dad is being social and learning social skills that are rooted in love. A family is a social group. As they grow older, children naturally start relating to more and more relatives and friends, developing real social skills in real society. Not being locked away from society, they are free to form connections with all ages and with diverse people in diverse setups.
The best social interaction on which a child can build his social competence is one in which she experiences herself as socially competent and deeply loved. Being herded in groups is not social. Collaborating in a family is. Instead of learning to obey rules and to relate without fully caring about the other child, the home grown child learns to relate with love, affection and care. She will build her future relationships on this loving model.
My sons’ friends tell them repeatedly, “I have never had such a close and open hearted relationship.” Or, “I value our friendship so much because we have a deep connection with care and honesty.” All humans are destined to form candid, open and deep connections. They learn it from relating to those who treat them with these qualities.
At age ten, Yonatan took a weekend workshop for hospice care. He made human connection with adults and took care of a dying person in her last six hours of life. I notice that children who grow up free to socialize in society, have mature social skills. They make friends with adults as well as with children. As teenagers, they look adults directly in the eyes and express themselves freely and in a mature and cordial way. They are not easily afraid to speak in front of a crowd and they treat their professors with respect and appreciation as well as with a sense of equality and friendship.
Playing with Children
When growing up free and without adults’ orchestrated group activities, a child prefers to play mostly with one or two friends of different ages; including teens and adults. As they get older they enjoy caring for wee ones (practicing parenting,) and become interested in peers of their own for a limited time.
Most schooled children feel intimidated by adults and older children, seeing them as a controlling authority. In contrast, unschooled children feel at ease as they communicate with humans of all ages from day one. They are respectful not out of fear, but out of their authentic joy in being with people. They play well and fairly with children as well as connect with adults. Their social skills develop as a result of socializing with socially competent people in a free and real society.
©Copyright Naomi Aldort
Naomi Aldort is the author of, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Her advice columns are published in progressive parenting magazines worldwide.
Aldort offers guidance and counseling by phone/Skype internationally regarding all ages, babies through teens: attachment parenting; natural learning; peaceful and powerful parent-child relationships and more. Products, counseling, and free newsletter: www.authenticparent.com