not instilling anything

A big part of the problem a lot of parents have around the idea of setting limits on food or
anything else comes down to this idea of "instilling" values. Instilling runs
into the same problem as teaching in that it's about the actions of the
"instiller" rather than the experience of the "instillee" - and just as with
teaching, what parents are trying to instill is often not the same as what is
actually learned. You can't control what kids take away from the instillation

It helps a lot to step back from thinking in terms of instilling values or
principles and instead work on living by them - but to do that it can take some
effort to "unpack" what your principles really are, especially where scary,
intimate, vaguely defined issues like "health" are concerned. As
counter-intuitive as it may sound, it's often more helpful to kids when parents
step back from focusing on the kids' health and focus on their own - focus on
being joyfully health-filled rather than grimly health conscious. For many
parents, especially moms, that's tough. Many of us have grown up surrounded by
women (our mothers, sisters, aunts, teacher, friends) trying and failing to
control their bodies (weight, size, shape) and the newest trend is to frame all
of that control in terms of health, so we carry that into our own mothering,
along with all the rest of our baggage. And so kids can end up learning our
baggage rather than what we'd far rather instill about health.

The big fear which can rise up out of that baggage is that if we don't teach (or
the kinder, gentler version: instill) the right things, then something else will
do the job and ruin our kids (sugar, advertising, video violence, Barbie...).
The heart of radical unschooling involves facing down that fear and seeing how
learning works Without teaching or instilling - even around seemingly
all-powerful forces like Barbie and sugar - not by "hands off" parenting, but by
living and learning alongside our kids as partners, offering information and
creating an environment which fosters thoughtful choices - thoughtful, as
differentiated from "good". And to make thoughtful choices, there need to be
real options - not red/blue sweater choices where the "right answer" (wear a
sweater) is already given.

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