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Libertarian Child Rearing

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Mises Pieces Posted: Fri, May 28 2010 7:54 AM

I just found out yesterday that my wife is pregnant with our first child.  I was raised by Reaganite Republican parents who are great people, and great parents, but who, like most people, seemed unconcerned about the danger and exploitiveness of the state.  As a result, I was not motivated to deeply explore these issues until I was in my 20's and could finally easily see the state's actions myself for what they are.

I certainly don't want to brainwash my child with a freedom ideology, but I also want him/her to be more skeptical about the political/economic status quo than I was.  I am confident that if I had been made aware of the shortcomings of statism earlier on, I would have also discovered AE and libertarianism much earlier.

So, I guess my questions are: are there any good resources dealing with early childhood development and activities to maximize the curiosity of developing brains?  At what age will children be capable of understanding political/ethical/philosophical issues? (I realize many people NEVER do)  And if I do have a precocious, curious child, should I attempt to steer him/her towards libertarianism, or should I be more hands-off and trust that I have taught him/her to be intellectually honest enough to arrive at the same conclusion him/herself?

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, May 28 2010 7:58 AM

Mises Pieces:

I just found out yesterday that my wife is pregnant with our first child.  I was raised by Reaganite Republican parents who are great people, and great parents, but who, like most people, seemed unconcerned about the danger and exploitiveness of the state.  As a result, I was not motivated to deeply explore these issues until I was in my 20's and could finally easily see the state's actions myself for what they are.

I certainly don't want to brainwash my child with a freedom ideology, but I also want him/her to be more skeptical about the political/economic status quo than I was.  I am confident that if I had been made aware of the shortcomings of statism earlier on, I would have also discovered AE and libertarianism much earlier.

So, I guess my questions are: are there any good resources dealing with early childhood development and activities to maximize the curiosity of developing brains?  At what age will children be capable of understanding political/ethical/philosophical issues? (I realize many people NEVER do)  And if I do have a precocious, curious child, should I attempt to steer him/her towards libertarianism, or should I be more hands-off and trust that I have taught him/her to be intellectually honest enough to arrive at the same conclusion him/herself?

Perhaps start by reading "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedoff.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Here is a pretty good resource for children 

http://mises.org/store/Whatever-Happened-to-Penny-Candy-with-Study-Guide-P303.aspx

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Conza88 replied on Fri, May 28 2010 9:25 AM

My advice would be to: itunes -> podcasts -> 'freedomain radio' -> subscribe to the 5 or so streams and scan the lists... downloading the relevant content.

yes

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Spideynw replied on Fri, May 28 2010 9:34 AM

"I certainly don't want to brainwash my child with a freedom ideology,"  Huh?  Because there is something wrong with the truth?  I fully intend to "brainwash" my child with freedom ideology.  I wish my parent had done so to me.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Bank Run replied on Fri, May 28 2010 9:56 AM

Congrats!

My boy will be twelve this year. I can't say I've been super-dad, or anything close, but I've found a great deal of riches in raising him, and sharing with him. I can't recommend any books. I would like to tell that when times ,as they will, get stressed and stressing, enjoy what you got.. Try to make all the time you can for your children, and they will reciprocate, recognized or not.

I gotta say I messed up, I went for an overly liberal rearing. Believe it or not he follows rules better than I do. I went for the pure anti-authoritarian approach. He has so much trouble minding folks if he thinks he is in the right. He has been kicked from school for defending smaller kids, and himself. The libertarian approach, is anti-public schools. I home-schooled for a couple of years. Pretty challenging; working, and schooling. Now I can go to school because I'm sending him to prison(public schools). 

So; good luck.

Individualism Rocks

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Thanks for the links!  And Conza I've actually been sifting through stefbot's archive this morning and found a lot of great stuff right after his daughter was born.

"Huh?  Because there is something wrong with the truth?  I fully intend to "brainwash" my child with freedom ideology.  I wish my parent had done so to me."

I see what you are saying.  I guess I just feel personally that I felt the impact of the logic of freedom far more sharply (like a ton of bricks) since I had to come to terms with it myself (beginning with Schiff/Rodgers/Faber, then with help from posters on this forum, and of course Mises/Rothbard).  I am just worried that I'd come off as preachy and leave the child with a more superficial understanding of libertarianism than if he/she is allowed to organically think through all the issues and implications before I supply my opinion as if I'm some sort of authority.

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Nielsio replied on Fri, May 28 2010 10:04 AM

Mises Pieces wrote:

Thanks for the links!  And Conza I've actually been sifting through stefbot's archive this morning and found a lot of great stuff right after his daughter was born.

Yeah, that's the stuff. I don't think there is a place where you can find a more committed approach to free and loving child rearing.

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"Congrats!

My boy will be twelve this year. I can't say I've been super-dad, or anything close, but I've found a great deal of riches in raising him, and sharing with him. I can't recommend any books. I would like to tell that when times ,as they will, get stressed and stressing, enjoy what you got.. Try to make all the time you can for your children, and they will reciprocate, recognized or not.

I gotta say I messed up, I went for an overly liberal rearing. Believe it or not he follows rules better than I do. I went for the pure anti-authoritarian approach. He has so much trouble minding folks if he thinks he is in the right. He has been kicked from school for defending smaller kids, and himself. The libertarian approach, is anti-public schools. I home-schooled for a couple of years. Pretty challenging; working, and schooling. Now I can go to school because I'm sending him to prison(public schools). 

So; good luck."

Thank you!  I really do hope that I will be able to be in a position to homeschool.  I was smart but spacy and riddled with Asperger's growing up going to public schools, and the thing I remember most is feeling bored and stagnant.  Even if my kid is able to adjust better than I did, I worry that public schools will still just amount to a huge waste of developmentally vauable time.
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I was raised by a neoconservative mother and a social democrat father who liked Reagan. I understand how parental politics can shape your worldview. These two ideologies gave me deep seated skepticism in the actions of all things government and corporate, which eventually converted me to democratic socialism and then (to the ideological rather than etymological conclusion) into a bland, somewhat inconsistent libertarianism. My father constantly steered me towards a statist approach to handling threats to economic self-interests. I can say that in some ways he convinced me at the time that statism was the only path. He is very pro-Keynesian for its philosophical musings. Alas, he is a good person and means well. As I did throughout my socialist phase. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they would say, and discovering ethics and the beauty of utilitarianism and consequentialism is what led me out of socialism.

 

So I would suggest being hands-off about politics, but don't be afraid to challenge your child's worldview when they reproduce something that is logically or ethically flawed in some way or form.

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up somebody else." Booker T. Washington
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Spideynw replied on Fri, May 28 2010 1:57 PM

"I am just worried that I'd come off as preachy and leave the child with a more superficial understanding of libertarianism than if he/she is allowed to organically think through all the issues and implications before I supply my opinion as if I'm some sort of authority."

I think I understand more where you are coming from.  It is defnitely important to have the respect of your child.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Merlin replied on Fri, May 28 2010 4:33 PM

Hajt ta kesh me jete! 

I say just talk with him, when he’s ready, and express your idea. He will become interested. No need for you to prescribe anything. But that’s just me.

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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Mises Pieces, in the interest of being very, very careful of who you expose your children to, I recommend checking out this site.  It offers a very critical, but measured, perspective on Molyneux and his operation.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Thanks for the link, Grayson.  It does seem like Molyneux himself had some very unhappy experiences with his own parents, and this tends to weigh disproportionately heavily in his analysis.  I'm certainly not taking his words as gospel, but I do think he offers some great, thought-provoking, sometimes-contrarian (but consistent) opinions and his passionate, articulate style makes him easy to listen to.

Also, I understand that I am listening to his opinion not as a developmental psychology expert, but rather as a guy who knows a ton about philosophy and with whom I'm sharing a common experience.

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AndrewR replied on Sat, May 29 2010 9:02 AM

My own opinion, based somewhat on my own upbringing, is not to engage in any political/philosophical discussion until the child is about twelve or so. Children ought to be allowed to 'be children' and do their own thing for a while before you start putting them through 'Freedom Indoctrination Class'. They'll discover or absorb values over time whatever you do and if you are too persistent – force feeding them Human Action or Man, Economy and State (for example) – the child is likely to resent the ideas presented and defy you as a teenager.

In short, let the child experience some modicum of carefree innocence before bludgeoning them into 'New Randian Man', or whatever this libertarian ubermensch is called. ;)

Ludwig von Mises: "We must see conditions as they really are, not as we want them to be."

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http://www.spaceandmotion.com/health/positive-parenting.htm   I found the last article labeled as Anarchy Parenting very helpful...it doesn't really discuss bringing up politics with your child, but rather Libertarian child-rearing in general. 

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Spideynw replied on Mon, May 31 2010 9:19 AM

"My own opinion, based somewhat on my own upbringing, is not to engage in any political/philosophical discussion until the child is about twelve or so. Children ought to be allowed to 'be children' and do their own thing for a while before you start putting them through 'Freedom Indoctrination Class'. They'll discover or absorb values over time whatever you do and if you are too persistent – force feeding them Human Action or Man, Economy and State (for example) – the child is likely to resent the ideas presented and defy you as a teenager.

In short, let the child experience some modicum of carefree innocence before bludgeoning them into 'New Randian Man', or whatever this libertarian ubermensch is called. ;)"

This sounds like good advise to me.  I do intend to talk about the ideas of freedom before that age, but I highly doubt I would have my child read anything heavy about it before age 12, unless she really wanted to.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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AnonLLF replied on Mon, May 31 2010 11:09 AM

 Great question.I've thought about this a lot even though I don't plain to be a dad for quite a while.

It's difficult because as a libertarian knowing what it's like to group up in a statist world you want the child to be libertarian or at least know about it.I think you have to walk a fine line between preaching to them and letting them discover for themself.As Andrew said, preach too much and you put them off or you might inspire them in your consistency and they might think wow I want to be like you.It's hard to guess.It depends on personality.They might be just a kid who likes shopping,fashion and tv.Obviously you hope not but it could be.

I think my plan's going to be to leave libertarian stuff lying around and just encourage my kid to explore ideas and thinking when and if their reading.I'm going to try to instill in them that's it's good to read ,learn and think.Hopefully if that works they might read books I have lying around or just discuss philosophy/politics etc with me.

On the what age do they understand  philosophy etc, I'd say pretty early.I mean once they start talking their asking "what's that", "how does that work" etc.You know the stage where you get bombarded with questions.Also according to child language aquisition theory, children's cognitive development is ahead of their linguistic development so by the time they can talk they can at least try to understand some things.

Empirically,I remember reading that philosophy was being tried out on kids at a school  and that they responded really well to it.

The homeschooling thing is an issue for me.My Fiance says she shouldn't homeschool our kid but I'd really like to.I'd be willing to do it all myself.

 

I don't really want to comment or read anything here.I have near zero in common with many of you.I may return periodically when there's something you need to know.

Near Mutualist/Libertarian Socialist.

 

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about inspiring young children to read, it is suggested that you read to them at least twenty minutes a day.  They will develop a love of books and knowledge by doing this.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Jun 1 2010 10:07 PM

Something to think about.

 

Paul says he didn't force his views on his five children. "My wife and I raised our kids pretty laissez-faire," he says (fitting for a libertarian), "teaching self-reliance and responsibility and the work ethic."

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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:"Something to think about.

 

Paul says he didn't force his views on his five children. "My wife and I raised our kids pretty laissez-faire," he says (fitting for a libertarian), "teaching self-reliance and responsibility and the work ethic.""

That is probably why Rand is such a failure...Parenting has nothing to do with "laissez-faire".  I consider good parents those that teach their children and take time to make sure they get the correct information.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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One of the greatest resources for a parent who is interested in developing the curiosity of a young child would be the works of Maria Montessori. There is no other theory of education that recognzes the innate abilities and nature of the child as a learner. This book is a fabulous start The Basic Ideas of Montessori's Educational Theory

Also, I think one of the greatest gifts that a parent can give to a child is to model open and honest inquiry into the nature and causes of a free society. Children are naturally philosophical and curious about society and there are many resources that will plant the seeds of philosophical inquiry. You might take a look at my new website Liberty for Kids.com and let me know what you think!

I would love to chat more, feel free to be in touch!

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Methinks step number one would be to raise a critical thinker, regardless of their innate disposition.  Could be as simple as consistently asking the child what they think about various day-to-day situations.  Furthermore,a solid understanding of free-market (ie: Austrian) principles is integral to understanding the destructive tendencies of the State in my opinion.  Once acclimated to reason and logic and economics, through your guidance as a parent, they should take to Mises like a fish to water.

 

Full disclosure:  I'm not a parent, yet, but I've devoted my fair share of thought to this very same question.

"...I feel, for instance, that I have the right to do anything I please. But, if I do something you don't like, I think you have the right to kill me." -George Carlin
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Congratulations! :)

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Gero replied on Wed, Dec 22 2010 2:03 PM

I disbelieve teaching your child your beliefs is brainwashing. Telling your child to believe X is dictatorial. Telling your child to believe X because of A, B, and C shows your reasoning. Your child should feel free to disagree. You could be wrong.

Politics and religion can wait. Your child can learn about them later. Happy childhood first, then when the child is at or past adolescence, awareness of the world will be at a point where politics and religion will become more relevant.

While at ABC News, John Stossel did a show on parenting:

The Family Fix: Part 1

The Family Fix: Part 2

The Family Fix: Part 3

The Family Fix: Part 4

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JonnyD replied on Wed, Dec 22 2010 9:06 PM

+1 for www.freedomainradio.com

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Nielsio replied on Wed, Dec 22 2010 9:40 PM

Re: John Stossel - Family Fix,

 

Watched the first half, and that was really awesome.

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