the conclusion of the story is that kids need rules and authority, and us crazy new age parents who are afraid to say "because I said so, dammit" are ruining our kids lives.
It's backlash I'm familiar with, but sick of. Yes it's true, I do not like to tell my kids "because I said so", "because I'm bigger than you", "because that's the rule, period."
this doesn't mean we have no rules. it just means I think we can reason things out together sometimes. communication is healthy, a little guidance helps, hearing what's going on in their little heads sometimes helps me be a better parent.
to me, I see two totally even and disturbing ways to teach a kid not to think:
1) you can totally neglect your kids and teach them nothing, you can let them do whatever they want without ever considering consequences and other people.
2) you can also teach them to blindly follow authority.
these are two sides of the same coin to me. why is the authority side of not thinking any better than the consequence-free side of it? that's the only thing us "freedom from rules" parents are asking, when you come down to it.
yes, sometimes when we're shopping and josie is whining about wanting me to buy her something I want to just say "no, because I have a job and you don't."
but I don't think that's fair. So I'm trying to explain to her financial responsibility, and how we go to the store to buy things on our list that we made before we went to the store, and the list is based on what we need for dinner tonight. and stores know that if they put shiny things out for us to see we'll want to buy them, but let's work on just appreciating the shiny things at the store, with the understanding that they don't all need to be in our house. so kid, if you really think you need that thing, let's get out of this tempting environment and you can make a case for it later, and the conclusion will probably be that it'll just have to go on your birthday list because that's the best we can do with toy requests, but that's something. not just, "no".
yes, I realize the world is dangerous. so I've explained what cars can do if they hit a kid. and josie figured out from that to watch for cars, hold my hand, stay close in parking lots, don't run out into the street.
the two year old doesn't get as many words in her explanations but even with her, we point out "your toys are messy, let's pick them up" and she likes to follow examples. again it's more communication, less yelling, somehow turns out okay.
more empathy, more communication, less yelling, and definitely avoiding the blind authority rules, and so far my kids are turning out okay.