I was excited to find Elisa Medhus’s book, Raising Children Who Think for Themselves. Some of the many results of consensual living include children who think independently, are intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated, and who are competent and caring. The title speaks to me in a society where parents tend to micromanage and control everything their children do. I was all set to sit down and read another wonderful consensual living book.
However, the title was pretty much the highlight of the book. I should have stopped my reading there. It would have been healthier for me. While Medhus does provide from nice information at the beginning of the book concerning intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and about allowing children to gain responsibility by take ownership of their actions, I quickly got the impression that while she has heard enough about consensual living in order to briefly speak, or in this case write, about it, she just doesn’t understand it. From there, the book quickly went downhill.I forced myself to finish it, growing increasingly shocked by the book the further I read. Her advice throughout the book is constantly in conflict with previous advice she has given. Despite her discussions on why punitive discipline is damaging, she is deeply entrenched in the concept. I’ve often said that the Love and Logic form of discipline is a sugar coated version of control. Given that analogy, I’m not even certain what to refer to this book as. There is nothing consensual or even merely gentle about the depth of control advocated in the later chapters. I must have made some sounds while reading the last half of the book, as my husband asked me if I was nauseous. I replied that yes, I was.Books have always been a large part of my life. Overall, I’m against book censoring and book burning. However, if this book were to spontaneously combust, I would be much more likely to reach for a marshmallow on a stick than a fire extinguisher.