Happiness is Here discusses what it means to grant children autonomy- in clothing, body modification, food, sleep, hygiene, affection, time, property, trust, language, support, and modeling.
I think the main reason people are so vehemently opposed to extending the right of autonomy to children is that they just cannot imagine how it would work, or what it would look like. Very few people have seen examples of this and were themselves strictly controlled as children. Not to mention the warnings about ‘kids these days’ not being controlled enough and turning into terrible monsters who eat chocolate all day, cut up all the furniture, and are probably plotting to take over the world.
Let’s all calm down a minute.
In our house and the houses of many of the other families I know, children have freedom and autonomy. They choose what to do and when, as long as it doesn’t infringe on another person’s rights, and our homes have not descended into chaos. In fact, the children are kind, respectful, helpful, generous, capable, motivated, and awesome company…
This is our normal, and it’s actually really simple. It just means treating children like human beings, with as many rights as everyone else in the house. I’d love to shed some light on what autonomy looks like in everyday life, in the hopes that people will see that it’s not actually complicated, it’s not risky, and it is achievable.