The shadow side of freedom-focused child-rearing is micromanagement. In this, unschoolers share an affinity with another contemporary parenting approach more commonly associated with micromanagement: ‘helicopter parents’. Unschoolers and helicopter parents are both, are in different ways, inheritors of Luther’s tradition: the former fixated on freedom, the latter on salvation through applying the Protestant work ethic, and both pursuing their aims through a pervasive presence in their kids’ lives. In both cases, too, we see an abdication of authority, in favour either of radical libertarianism or a kind of cuddly, enmeshed totalitarianism.
What nobody mentions about all these child-led attachment unschooler parenting methods is that they expect mommy to be a robot with absolutely no life or even physiology of her own. I’m seeing horror stories about 3-year-olds hanging on mom’s breast all day and even all night long. Mommy gets zero space of her own. Even if it were extremely good for kids (and judging by the results it’s really not), isn’t it important to teach the lesson that mommy is human, too?
We establish the nature of our relationship with the world on the basis of our relationship with mom. (And the relationship with society on the basis of our relationship with dad). The all-consuming, omnipresent, robotic mommy generates enormous anxiety. And the absence of dad as a figure of any importance in such progressive families leads to the child feeling contempt and rage towards social norms and father-figure stand-ins (hence the rage against Founding Fathers, statues, monuments, and the police).
Psychological health is all about getting up in the morning, doing the routine, mundane tasks of daily life, and loving it. And this type of parenting cannot possibly lead to that result.