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When should children be taught to question authority?

 
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 09:05 pm
I think questioning authority is an important part of being a responsible adult, but when should it be taught? Or should it?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,132 • Replies: 20
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 09:36 pm
It's not a matter of questioning authority. Teach them what's right and wrong. Everything else should fall into place.
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 10:02 pm
I don't think it's good to teach someone to question authority. When it becomes appropriate they will do so for themselves.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 07:45 am
My father was a newspaper man. When I was growing up the family questions were, "How do you know?" and "What is your source?"

I don't think the problem is as much "Questioning Authority" as giving a child the tools to examine reality.

Many authority figures assumed that they are the only authorities to be questioned. Wrong. What about rock stars, shock jocks, advertisers of all products, fanatic religious cults and self-appointed politcal gurus?

"Examine all things, hold fast that which is good."
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Turner 727
 
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Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 08:09 am
My kids can question authority all they want, so long as it's not me.

Teachers, principals, coaches, doctors. . . whatever. But kids need a final authority in life, and that authority must remain unquestionable. When they do start to question, then it's time for them to move on.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 09:19 am
I'd agree with C.I. and Noddy. If they ask questions about what they are being told and resolve items that "don't fit" then the issue of questioning authority goes away.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 10:43 am
Turner--

Do you accept everything that your parents say at face value without reservations or doubts?
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Piffka
 
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Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 10:53 am
I think that it is very important to allow your childrens to see (by example and at the earliest age when it comes up) that people make mistakes... even parents. As a parent, if you make a mistake and don't fess up, you've made an even worse judgement call. Glossing over your own errors in order to remain some sort of "ultimate authority" teaches your kids that lies, even unspoken lies, are OK. (If you are of a religious bent, it is the ultimate of sacrilege. Even the Catholic Church has admitted to making mistakes.)


IMO, no sane person needs a higher authority than their own conscience. That's why guilt is so telling. Someone without a conscience is, in lay terms, psychopathic. Sadly, a large percentage of "psychopaths" or sociopaths (25-50%)appears to be made, not born.

"Teach your children well..." through cause and effect, life experiences, reading and discussing stories, comparing religions, showing respect and empathy for others... all of the above and whatever it takes.


THIS is what you don't want...
Quote:
from Derek Wood -- Psychopathy is not a clinical term in either the DSM-IV or the ICD-10. The nearest equivalent to it is, in the DSM-IV is Antisocial Personality Disorder, while the ICD-10 uses the term "sociopathy" or "Dissocial Personality Disorder". With this in mind, I will focus on both the characteristics of the DSM-IV definitions, as well as the general "public definitions" of a psychopath.

These persons, in general, display many of the following traits:

Glibness/superficial charm
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Need for stimulation, with a proneness to boredom
Pathological lying
Conning and manipulating behaviors
No sense of remorse or guilt
A very shallow emotional affect - they display emotions they don't really feel
A lack of empathy for others
They are parasitic - they live off of others
They are impulsive, and show poor control over their behaviors
They tend to be promiscuous
Their behavior problems start early in life
They cannot form long-term plans that are realistic
They are impulsive and irresponsible
They do not accept responsibility for their actions - another caused it
Marital relationships are short, and many
They display juvenile delinquency
They violate probation often
Their criminality is diverse
Essentially, they violate social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret in order to take what they want and do as they please.

It is estimated that 1-4% of the population is sociopathic, but most are able to control it within the limits of social tolerability, only beings termed "socially obnoxious".



Also see: The Psychopath's Brain
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2004 11:01 am
I agree that what you should teach is critical thinking. And a big part of that, for the teacher, is accepting critical thinking when directed your way.
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Turner 727
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 04:50 am
Noddy24 wrote:
Turner--

Do you accept everything that your parents say at face value without reservations or doubts?


Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I trusted by parents to raise me the right way. Must have worked, as I haven't killed anyone. Well, lately. Wink

Seriously, tho. When my children come to me and ask me the why's, the theory behind it (not why am I being punished, but why is it wrong to do x) then I know they're ready to leave. For myself, when I was about 15, I started realizing why thing were the way they were. I was ready to move out then. Of course, I had a good thing leeching off of my parents, and managed to stick around a few more years. My kids will have until they're 18 and graduated, then out they go. Unless they're doing college or something else, and need a couple of extra months. Hey, I can be generous!

I fully expect that soon I won't be correcting them at much. As it is now, the 11 year old is doing much better (as far as corrections) than even a year ago. He's still got a ways to go, but he's getting there. He's not questioning me yet. . . but he's getting there.

I really wish I could say this better. I know exactly what I'm thinking in my head. Putting it in a post is much more difficult.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 08:23 am
Turner--

There is a difference between being a supportive authority figure and declaring oneself Omnipotent, Infallible and Unwilling to Accept Any Correction, Modification or Outside Input.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 10:44 am
Turner, Be careful about what you think you're going to do to your kids when they reach 18. I became indepedent at 17, so I expected my kids to leave home after they finished college - at about 22. Well, our youngest is still living at home, because my wife wants it that way. He's still going to college - at age 37 - for his bachelors. My wife also gives him spending money. I'm totally against it, but I'll support my wife's wishes. We now have a 37 year old dependent for life. What'cha gonna do?
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Turner 727
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 11:11 pm
c.i. - I would have kicked him out a long, long time ago. Honestly, I can't imagine living with my parents now, and I'm a few years younger than that. I couldn't do it! I've had co-workers that still lived with thier parents, for whatever reason. . . but I couldn't do it. My oldest and I are on the same page. As soon as he can, he's on his own. He doesn't like the way I run things. . . better for him, anyway.

Noddy - Well, there's very little my kids will go through that I didn't. So while I may not be the omnipotent, infallible, etc. I've been there and done that. My 11 year old just had the opportunity to change schools. We moved to a different district, and he was able to leave behind a lot of things that he said and did. He has now realized that we were in fact correct when we told him that he shouldn't say/do the things he did to alienate his classmates earlier in his school career. Even tho it was a first and second grade thing, even at the fifth grade he hadn't lived it down. So while I'm not omnipotent, etc. I have been there, and I have done that. They can benefit from my experience, or they can go their own way. Now, my two oldest knows what happens when they decide they know better than dad.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 06:02 am
I, for one, am tired of seeing young people question authority. They seem to get confused on when its appropriate and they use it to try and get out of due punishment.

I don't think I would teach a child under 21 that concept, but that's just me.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 07:24 am
L.R.R. Hood--

And when the friendly neighborhood children orders your kid into the bushes....?
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 07:32 am
I don't call other children "authority".
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 07:40 am
Isn't being taught to question authority an oxymoron?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 07:48 am
Yup. In a way it is there O'Bunny one. Wink
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 10:15 am
Good one, Dlowan. Very Happy

From a library group's minutes:
Quote:
It was decided that the preferences are a navy long-sleeve shirt with white and gold writing. Specifically, "Question Authority" will be in one color and "Ask a Librarian" will be in the other.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 11:16 am
Sorry for the slandering neighborhood children. I meant to postulate that the friendly neighborhood pervert was conducting lower case Bush Parties.
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