Parenting generally goes pretty smoothly when you and your child agree. You do what you both agree on. It’s what you do when you disagree that determines what kind of parent you are. Do you try to hide disagreements because you believe your child is fragile? Do you put your foot down? Or do you try to cooperate with your child to figure out the truth of the matter, solve problems, and understand more about the world?
Parents aren’t always right. Kids are complicated and you’re not going to correctly understand everything they say, do or want. Lots of family conflicts are due to mutual misunderstanding. The best way to handle that is to focus on learning together. And remember, if your child magically listened to everything you said, then there’d be no progress in the world. Children have to go their own way sometimes, and have some new ideas, for them to have a better life than you instead of just the same life.
A free child outdoors will learn the flat stones the crayfish hide under, the still shady pools where the big trout rest, the rocky slopes where the wild berries grow. They will learn the patterns in the waves, which tree branches will bear their weight, which twigs will catch fire, which plants have thorns. A child in school must learn what a “biome” is, and how to use logarithms to calculate biodiversity. Most of them don’t learn it, of course; most of them have no interest in learning it, and most of those who do forget it the day after the test. Our “standards” proclaim that children will understand the intricate workings of ecosystems, the principles of evolution and adaptation, but one in four will leave school not knowing the earth revolves around the sun.