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Parenting11: Trusting Children (Part One)


“All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” – John Holt

So there you have it.


8 comments to Parenting11: Trusting Children (Part One)

  • So, it’s okay to trust young people and myself and not feel really bad and guilty when I forget?

  • Jonathan Childs

    At first I got John Holt and John Galt confused.

  • amychilds

    LOL, nice.
    ‘Specially because the best criticism I’ve ever heard of Atlas Shrugged is that there are no children in the book at all. It’s a land without dependents.
    But the two John – – lts are pretty cool.

  • Kim

    I’ve just recently started listening to your podcasts. The ‘AP sucks’ one got me hooked :)

    So you asked some questions in your podcast, and alluded to some things that I’ve been struggling with. Since realizing that school isn’t really all that necessary (thanks to Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on schools killing creativity for getting that ball rolling!) I’ve realized that although school was easy for me and I (mostly) enjoyed it, I spent most of my schooling making my parents proud. Heck, I went into Biochemistry at University because it made my parents (and guidance counsellor) proud and happy. When I switched into Nursing, I was terrified to tell my parents for fear of their disapproval and even now at 26, married for almost 4 years with two kids, I’m terrified that if I don’t ever “use” my degree and work as a Registered Nurse, I’ll disappoint them (actually, I know I’ll disappoint them. My dad has said it on a number of occasions). So, do I trust myself? Hell no. I’ve been subtly told that I’m untrustworthy and incapable of making decisions for myself my whole life – but I’m darn good at making decisions to make other people happy. It sucks. It sucks second-guessing myself all the time. It sucks having to think “am I making this decision because it’s right for me or because it will make someone happy/proud?” every time I decide something.

    I have a hard time knowing who I am and what I like to do. I mean, some things are obvious – I like to knit, I love to read, I’m passionate about environmentalism and breastfeeding, but beyond my hobbies and passions – who am I? I can’t answer that.

    Do I trust my kids? Yes and no. I find it easy to trust infants/babies. Really, their needs are so few (and so obvious and so easily met, generally speaking) that it’s hard to argue that they aren’t trustworthy (although some people try *cough* Gary Ezzo *cough*. I trust 100% my son, Gil – he’s 5 weeks old. When he fusses or cries, I nurse him, comfort him, take him to pee/poo or change his diaper if it’s too late. That being said, I find it terribly difficult to trust Gwen, my 21-month-old. There’s a lot of information on attachment parenting babies – not so much on once they become little people! I find it hard not to slip into the “she’s manipulating me” “she’s testing me” “she doesn’t know what she needs” “she should eat more/sleep more/go to bed earlier” “she’s just being dramatic” “what’s wrong with her” “she shouldn’t feel that way” trap. I hate it and I try not to do it, but gosh darnit it’s HARD not to think those things and even harder, once you’ve thought them, to not take action on them.

    Learning to trust is hard. We’re currently planning to unschool, and I’m learning every day to give up a little bit more control so that Gwen can learn about her environment, make messes and mistakes, and enjoy her life. I don’t want to pass on my distrust of myself, and I hope that the past 18 months of distrust in her is easily undone. I’m hoping to do things differently with Gil – for example doing baby-led solids (which we ended up at with Gwen anyways because she wouldn’t eat purees), not trying to force him to sleep separate than us, etc. I’m so looking forward to enjoying life with my kids and exposing them to different life experiences (a nutrient-rich environment – I like that analogy) and learning along with them!

    (I’m posting this as a post on my blog … since it’s really long and is very truthful!)

  • Thor Odhner


    Something tells me Ayn Rand would not have appreciated your Tops and Bottoms episode, Amy. And she would have told you so. Over and over by way of nearly 1200 pages of formulaic metaphors culminating in a speech-zilla that could knock out an insomniac on caffeine pills.

  • stacey

    a–this was a great help at this time!!–i listened to it with their father who is a little behind in realizing what it is to surrender to trust, but he really appreciated and was able grasp the concept and hopefully we will be able to integrate this somehow into an effective solution for our teen–over the next few days i will be speaking to E to see if he is interested in a session–thanx for this incredible opportunity to share a parenting experience!!–s

  • amychilds

    Super awesome – great timing! Keep me posted xox