Be careful of rules for your children.
Rules diminish responsibility.
Be careful of rewards for your children.
Rewards diminish self-esteem.
Be careful of punishments for your children.
Punishments diminish trust.
Let lessons be imposed by the nature of things, not by your own agendas or your own needs.
Integrity will replace rules.
Contentment will replace striving.
Spirituality will replace religion.
Songs will replace arguments.
Dances will replace battles.

William Martin, The Parents Tao Te Ching

I put this over on the sidebar the other day but then couldn't get it to work.
So here it is. I first read it here.

I like it a lot.
For our family, trusting our children means that a lot rules are unnecessary. We do have a few rules, common sense rules around personal safety, but we don't have all those little rules that can crowd into children's lives. They seem to rob children of so many opportunities for thoughtfulness.
Rewards have always seemed just basically insulting to me and because we deeply believe that children are good, punishments seem unfair and hurtful.

Instead we are guided by our long-term vision of the girls as strong, resilient young women who have practiced making decisions and we choose to spend loads of time together. We need it. It helps us navigate the tricky bits.

Saturday night found us around a campfire with friends. The first of the season. We plan to have more before it dries out too much.
Campfires are indeed magical.


  1. I really must get that book. A friend recommended it to me recently since she knows we're an "unconditional parenting" family (well, try to be!) and felt that it would resonate with me.

  2. Yes, I'm going to order it in at the library. Sounds like it needs to be on the Public Library bookshelf