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I don't have enough space to explain my reasoning. I just don't want my daughter to be influenced by the media or the general opinions of "society". My daughter is a baby in my womb.

I've decided no TV ever, no movies, no pop music, no magazines, all books given to her will be read and approved by me first and will be classics or informative, toys will be fun, interesting and educational - no dolls, only Internet sites that I approve of, no public or even private schooling, I will give up my career to homeschool her despite seven years of university and professional development (I plan on starting my own business alongside).

Education will be in the form of critical thinking, primary and secondary research, one to one teaching by me, independent learning, and plenty of world travel and new experiences once she's old enough.

Mainly, she will also be taught how to be confident (disregard other peoples judgements as worthless), do whatever she wants as long as she's making the intelligent choice, achieve goals, always think calmly and rationally, any problem is a challenge, never ever ever get depressed, and have unshakeable self-belief.

For the confidence part, I will be an attentive and devoted parent especially for her first two years. No distractions for me such as cellphone, Internet or TV, or work or alcohol or whatever.

Most importantly, my husband and I will be modelling the ideal marriage for her: We equally share the housework; my husband respects my opinion; no emotional, verbal and (definitely no) physical abuse will be tolerated; my husband is supportive of me and my goals; he spends more time with the family, providing for us; he is a good example of an ideal husband and father, so she knows what an ideal man is and won't settle for anything less.

I already completed the hard part by choosing the ideal man to father my baby. As I said, she is just a fetus now, but I'm planning early.

Anything I have left out, or any ideas on how to raise an amazing daughter?

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    Ideally, comments are for requesting clarification from the OP or to make suggestions to help make the question better (leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post; Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post, etc.) See the help section on comments. Please feel free to continue this discussion in chat. – anongoodnurse Mar 20 '15 at 18:49

17 Answers 17

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Firstly, I have to admit that while reading your question I was wondering if you're being serious. For me (as a hopeful future father with the same questions in mind), your solutions sound shocking and I would certainly advise against them.

To reflect on some points...

1) "no TV ever, no movies, no pop music, no magazines"

Does this also mean no friends? Because if she has friends she will be exposed to those and other influences. She will feel excluded from society if she is forbidden to see any of it, and she will eventually hate you for it.

The most rebellious people I know (who often ended up rebelling too hard), are those who had parents doing exactly what you describe to them - and to a far lesser degree.

This will backfire, and it will end up hurting both of you in the process.

2) "no public or even private schooling"

Are you an expert on everything? With all due respect (I don't know you), why do you want to limit your child to your own knowledge and worldview? Personally, I hope my children will know more than I do, and change my views as they grow up. We are not perfect, neither me nor you.

3) "Education will be in the form of critical thinking, primary and secondary research, one to one teaching by me, independent learning, and plenty of world travel and new experiences once she's old enough."

This sounds great, but is in absolute contradiction with your suggested methods. Critical thinking is good. Questioning things is good. Independent learning is good. However, to get there, one needs to be exposed to many opposing worldviews, philosophies, sources of knowledge. By being her only teacher, as well as her mother, your opinion will not be questioned, and she will not learn to really think critically - just to be critical of the same things you are critical of - in a learned way, not self-reached.

Additionally, I would ask you to consider how you can teach someone critical thinking without exposing them to anything to be critical about (those supposedly bad influences). You don't educate a person by not exposing them to bad things. You educate them by showing them the bad things and commenting together on why they are bad (in addition, this should be done more by asking questions and letting the person reach their own connclusions, instead of providing answers in a dogmatic way).

4) "Mainly, she will also be taught how to be confident (disregard other peoples judgements as worthless)"

This is one of the biggest problems of modern kids. They have too much confidence and too little real substance to actually be confident about. Doing this is the recipe for raising a spoiled kid who feels special and entitled.

Instead, I would suggest to teach her to listen to everyone's opinion (or "judgement"), and evaluate it for herself. See if there's any truth there or not. Often, there is, and one failing to realize that feels no need to change (even when they are doing something completely wrong), and regardless of all of us thinking our children "special" (or even "perfect"), we all do want them to grow and improve - change.

5) "do whatever she wants as long as she's making the intelligent choice"

Please do consider that two intelligent well-meaning people can have different opinions on what is an intelligent choice. If at some point you think a choice of hers is not intelligent, that doesn't necessarily mean you're right, or that she's wrong.

6) "...and have unshakeable self belief."

Just a remark: this can't really be taught, this comes from previous accomplishments through both success and failure. Any other way will be self-belief that will shatter the first time she fails.

In short, I would say try to control her waaaaay less. Don't treat her as a project, but as an amazing human being (who will have her own wishes which you should respect and help her accomplish them).

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    +1, only because I can't upvote it more times than that! – Mason Wheeler Mar 13 '15 at 14:56
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    Signed up only to upvote this. Great answer. I'm ambivalent as to whether the question was a troll, but in any case, you handled it just fine. – Jeffrey supports Monica Mar 13 '15 at 16:13
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    Along with a child benefiting from having friends and generally being part of society, society will benefit from a child being part of it. If we want the world to be less sexist, it needs to have women out there in it - and that starts with kids! – Cascabel Mar 13 '15 at 17:49
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    "The most rebellious people I know [...] are those who had parents doing exactly what you describe to them - and to a far lesser degree. This will backfire, and it will end up hurting both of you in the process." Listen to these words. I grew up in a church-culture that was very "holiness" based. With almost no exception (and we are talking about easily 75-100 people) all of my family, friends and acquaintances either went through a period of excessive rebellion or turned away from their faith. This was never because of lack of faith. It was because of feeling repressed by so many rules. – RLH Mar 16 '15 at 11:12
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    Learning is done through experience and evaluation. If your daughter does not know what is 'out there', she can't possibly tell what's 'good' or 'bad' about it. Secondly, the only way of acquiring social skills is meeting a lot of people, thus learning by experience how your values apply in real life. By excluding your daughter from society, she will not only have no possibility to verify your norms and values, but she will also have underdeveloped social skills and abilities, which will leave her helpless against the very influences you find harmful. – Sanchises Mar 16 '15 at 11:29
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Wow!

Well, it sounds as though you want to be the perfect family, and the perfect parents.

And it's easy to understand why. Who wouldn't want the best of everything for their children?

I have a couple of general comments, I hope you'll find them useful. Oh and before I forget, congratulations on your soon-to-arrive new addition to the family! :)

So... some thoughts:

  • If you expect yourself and your family to be perfect then you are expecting too much of yourself, your partner and your child.

Here's how one article about 'perfect' parenting describes the issue:

Don't even try to be a perfect parent. Try to model graciousness while being humanly imperfect. Your child will never be perfect, because she's human. So having a perfect parent would be a terrible role model. If your child sees you as perfect, she'll feel worse about herself, since she knows she's not. And if your child sees you as imperfect but not willing to admit it, what are you modeling?

We've established that it would be terrible for your child if you were perfect. (Liberating, huh?!) What your child DOES needs is a role model for how to graciously acknowledge when we miss the mark, how to apologize, and how to make amends. So give up on perfection. Forgive yourself for being human. Heck, APPLAUD yourself for being human and live as fully as you can. That means you'll make mistakes. They aren't mistakes if you grow from them and repair any problems you create. They're opportunities to love more. Starting with yourself.

It's Better for Your Child If You're Not Perfect, Aha! Parenting .com, 13 Oct 2013

So - you don't have to be a 'perfect' parent. Nobody is. If you were then that would be weird and unhealthy. You just need to be you, and that's enough

You may want to read up on the concept of 'good enough' parenting:

Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott had a lot to say about real-life mothers. As a pediatrician at the Paddington Green Hospital in London—and then later as a child psychoanalyst and consultant—Winnicott interacted with literally thousands of mothers and their babies. Through these experiences, he came to believe that the way to be a good mother is to be a good enough mother. For me, that phrase says it all.

Winnicott’s good enough mother is sincerely preoccupied with being a mother. She pays attention to her baby. She provides a holding environment. She offers both physical and emotional care. She provides security. When she fails, she tries again. She weathers painful feelings. She makes sacrifices. Winnicott’s good enough mother is not so much a goddess; she is a gardener. She tends her baby with love, patience, effort, and care.

What I like about Winnicott’s picture of the good enough mother is that she is a three-dimensional human being. She is a mother under pressure and strain. She is full of ambivalence about being a mother. She is both selfless and self-interested. She turns toward her child and turns away from him. She is capable of great dedication yet she is also prone to resentment. Winnicott even dares to say that the good enough mother loves her child but also has room to hate him. She is not boundless. She is real.

Real mothers are the best kind of mothers (and the only kind!). It takes an imperfect mother to raise a child well. You see, children need to learn about life through real experiences. They need to learn to deal with disappointments and frustrations. They need to overcome their greed and their wish to be the center of the universe. They need to learn to respect the needs and limitations of other people, including their mothers. And they need to learn to do things for themselves.

In Search of the "Good Enough" Mother; How to honor the complexity of motherhood, Psychology Today, 9 May 2012

So for example, you talk about how your partner should be "an ideal husband and father" - this isn't realistic. No father (and no husband) is perfect. It's part of being human. You cannot have the "ideal marriage" - nobody can.

And your daughter, you're planning, will "always think calmly and rationally" and "never ever ever get depressed". A person who is always calm and never sad, always rational and never impulsive or emotional, is not a person who is psychologically healthy.

Of course it's natural to want to protect a child from pain - psychological pain as well as physical pain. But setbacks are part of life; if we try to protect our children from all unhappy feelings then that's not going to work.

One of the current buzzwords in educational/parenting circles is resilience; the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has a useful factsheet on parenting and resilience.

Here's a summary of the concept:

We tend to idealize childhood as a carefree time, but youth alone offers no shield against the emotional hurts and traumas many children face. Children can be asked to deal with problems ranging from adapting to a new classroom to bullying by classmates or even abuse at home. Add to that the uncertainties that are part of growing up, and childhood can be anything but carefree. The ability to thrive despite these challenges arises from the skills of resilience.

The good news is that resilience skills can be learned.

Building resilience — the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress — can help our children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. However, being resilient does not mean that children won't experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common when we have suffered major trauma or personal loss, or even when we hear of someone else's loss or trauma.

Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers, American Psychological Association

So the idea here is not to try to protect a child from any bad thing that might happen to them - because that's impossible - but rather to help them learn the coping skills they'll need when bad things do happen to them in life.

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    I partly agree, but partly feel that this is too much in the vein of "how to be happy being ordinary". – Rex Kerr Mar 13 '15 at 12:46
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    @Rex, I know what you mean - I'm not arguing against high expectations so much as against expecting perfection. If one feels that one must be a perfect parent - and must raise a perfect child - then that's an impossibly high standard to live up to... – A E Mar 13 '15 at 13:17
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    So - you don't have to be a 'perfect' parent. Nobody is. If you were then that would be weird and unhealthy. +1 - Unless you can walk on water and then turn that water into wine... you need to tone down the impression that everything around you is "perfect". perfect husband? perfect wife? perfect mother? perfect father? Perfect attitude about how to the world is full of sexism and how to raise a kid? Probably not... Aim for the sky and do everything to make life better for your kid(s) than you had, but perfect is most definitely a perfectly impossible standard. – WernerCD Mar 13 '15 at 15:00
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We homeschool our kids, so perhaps I can provide a unique perspective. A lot of the other answers seem to be primarily worried about friends. People sparked friendships for millenia before television and public education, and they can do so today. It's hard to see when your own childhood friendships formed at school over common pop culture interests, but there are many other ways to form friendships.

Let me approach this from your point of view. You're wanting to transmit your values to your children. Sheltering is an effective way to have children share your values, but not a very effective way for them to continue sharing those values as adults, which is really your end goal. Google former quiverfull to see some relatively extreme examples. Those children were raised sheltered in order to imbue relatively extreme religious values, but the principles apply to any belief system. When those children left home and began making decisions for themselves, they not only rejected the more extreme beliefs of their parents, but many of them rejected all their parents' beliefs.

Children learn to make good decisions not by having options removed from them, but by getting plenty of practice making good decisions for themselves. If as adults, they decide for themselves to introduce television into their lives, what guidance will they have on how to select worthwhile programming? It's far better to let them make small mistakes as children, so they won't make large mistakes as adults.

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    Excellent example of rejection of parents' values. Also, many of these kids found themselves at a complete loss on how to function in the real world, causing a lot of psychological pain. Very nice answer. – anongoodnurse Mar 13 '15 at 19:14
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    I think that's the most reasonable answer, even though it does not cover all the points. Unfortunately, most of the asnwers are just repeating the common sense mantra "you need media, you need school, etc." for invalid reasons. – utluiz Mar 13 '15 at 19:32
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    @jwg This parent is attempting to control all input and perform extreme filtering on views and perspectives their child will be exposed to in order to make sure the child grows up with a particular perspective and set of beliefs. Isn't this essentially the same thing? If so, why not label what this parent is doing as "basically abusive home environment" as well? – Adam Davis Mar 17 '15 at 20:03
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    At any rate, I think there are parallels between what this parent wants to do and what the quiver full people are doing, and even if it's not a perfect example, it may still be useful and instructive to parents seeking to put their children in a bubble that the parent can closely filter and control, regardless of the purpose. – Adam Davis Mar 17 '15 at 23:33
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    "Children learn to make good decisions not by having options removed from them, but by getting plenty of practice making good decisions for themselves." - This is the single most logical reasoning in this Q&A – Angelo.Hannes Mar 20 '15 at 10:13
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You lack one key: To be wonderful, to be amazing, to be successful, she must not be locked in this overwhelming strategy.
Sadly, you are contributing to "this sexist world".

It seems the motivation behind her future micro-managed life is that she is female, and as such will require much more "equipment" in order to survive. This is false.

Your daughter doesn't require surreal levels of management and/or coddling to become successful any more than your son would.

Play emulates life. If you plan to raise your daughter and be the only direct influence in her life you can expect that she will want to emulate your behavior at play with a doll. Playing with this doll does not mean she will fail in life, it simply means she is learning how the world around her works. This sets her up for an expectation that girls must be kept in rigid guidance at all times, that a girl will fail if she is not coddled by her mother, that a girl must be shut out from society, and must only accept direction from herself. She will not belong in the world, and this is not a unifying message.

Additionally, she doesn't need a flawless husband to have a successful marriage. She isn't ill equipped as a woman, she will contribute to her marriage in a way that complements her hypothetical future spouse. Would you be fretting about finding the perfect spouse if you were having a son instead?

Do not expect your daughter to live free from the negative influence of a sexist world when you've been teaching her that she required so much more to succeed than most will ever get.

She may still succeed in life, but it will be only after she escapes the rigid confines of your detailed plan for her upbringing. When she does, I expect she will have a doll collection as a tribute to her lost childhood.

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    I do not have the words to express how great this answer is. – Pharap Mar 20 '15 at 10:07
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    @Pharap Thanks, I felt that the core issue was not being addressed. Normally I would stay away from questions with so many existing answers. – Gorchestopher H Mar 20 '15 at 13:14
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    +1 for pointing out the OP's sexist tendencies. I was worried no one would address these glaringly obvious contradictions. – Paddling Ghost Mar 24 '15 at 21:16
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While I think your intentions are good, I think that some of what you are doing will actually have negative effects. Dolls are a perfectly healthy toy - both my son and my daughters played with them. They also all played with toy shops, aeroplanes, racing cars, horses etc.

My point is: they are toys. Whether they have any gender affiliation in your family is up to you. You can try and keep them away from them, but that will fail at some point, so why not take a more positive approach instead and play with all these toys with your child in a positive way (eg a male or female doll can be the doctor, chef, parent, racing driver etc)

I'm with you on the media piece, advertising and political bias make it a nightmare - but without it you will have to be the media for your child. How will you pass on the types of news that will help her grow up aware of the world?

As @anongoodnurse said though, be aware that your plans will fail at more than one point - this won't be your fault, it's just that life has a habit of turning out differently than you expect - so be prepared to change your plans.

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    They're toys - they have no sex until you (or the child) decides that they should have one. And when it's the child that decides, it's time to shut up, listen, and play with your kids while you take a peek at what they're thinking. Good answer. – Tim Post Mar 13 '15 at 16:12
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    "How will you pass on the types of news that will help her grow up aware of the world?" News isn't necessarily required, education is. – bjb568 Mar 23 '15 at 0:02
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My daughter is about to turn 11, and I have similar hopes for her. Each of the paragraphs below is a category that her father and I have found to be influences on her in some way, and ways we try to approach them.

Provide positive examples. This needs to be both men and women, of course: women who embody the values and confidence you hope for her to have, and men who support, value, and respect the women in their life. The most present and influential examples are her parents (and you seem to have that covered), but also consider the effect of family, (your) friends, community leaders, etc. (Also teachers, which you may think irrelevant in homeschooling -- however, if you ever enroll her in any activities like sports, gymnastics, computer programming, whatever, that extracurricular would still be taught or led by someone.) Be forthright and honest with these adults in your life about the values you hope to encourage in your child, and seek their help and support while cultivating those ideals.

Positive examples can also be found outside acquaintances: female politicians, scientists, engineers, etc. who are (or were, history is important!) trailblazers and leaders, demonstrating

Socialization. Every child needs to have friends their age. These peers (both boys and girls) are met in a variety of settings: play groups (from baby on up), organized activities (sports, dance, book club), community organizations (church, volunteer group), or school. This is the factor that you, as a parent, have the least control over. You can dictate which activities she is involved in (for example, opt for homeschooling), but there's still a practical limit to just how much the pool of potential friends can be narrowed down, and which children from that group your daughter may like best.

Those kids, whether best friends or just acquaintances, will be raised differently, some may be bullies, some may be sexist -- even ones who are raised "right" (by your standards) have the potential to be rude, cranky little brats now and then. It happens, they're kids. The key is how you encourage her to engage with their perspectives, having conversations about their attitudes (particularly negative ones) and ideas.

The hardest part of a daughter's social influences, and I think moreso in your scenario, is how to deal with a friend who has [something] when your child/family does not. In my daughter's case, despite a curated set of movies, TV shows, and other media (which she authentically enjoys while we're watching together), she still mopes that she can't watch whatever latest tween-targeted drivel that all her friends are giggling about at school. This leads me to...

Entertainment and instructional media. There is actually a lot that can be gained from media, even when the media itself contains bad messages. The obvious "good" media would be science shows, news coverage of positive role models, shows or movies with strong female characters -- these can be vetted similar to books. One of my daughter's favorite YouTube videos is Sesame Street's "Women Can". I think that regardless of the "quality" of the content, however, a more important factor is being aware of what is consumed (reading or watching alongside is excellent) and being ready to have discussions.

Awareness. I feel that knowledge of current events and society is important for her to develop as she grows up. Otherwise, once she hits 18 and goes to college, she'll be completely unprepared for the world she encounters. The first time you're told "you can't do [thing], you're a girl", it's a surprising and unpleasant feeling. I think that being able to bounce back from that requires self-confidence, but it also helps to have some practice, as well as understanding where that objection might be coming from (fear, misunderstanding, ignorance, stupidity) -- so you can engage with it in an appropriate manner.

Engagement. The goal of this is eventually that she'll be confident and saavy enough to engage with discrimination she'll encounter as an adult, but the groundwork has to be laid earlier. Let's say I restrict a certain source of information ("you can't watch Latest Tween-Targeted Drivel") -- she will want to know why. And that leads to subsequent, harder questions. A TV show can't just make me feel bad about myself. Friend watches it all the time! If it's so bad, why would it be on TV? These are all good questions to ask, and can lead to thoughtful, empowering discussions. Even great literature, even the classics, has plenty of tricky or questionable content that should be explored, criticized, and questioned. Rather than avoiding media altogether, I'm instead trying to cultivate critical consumption. When she sees something that conveys a biased or bigoted perspective, I want her to think about why that isn't accurate, what exactly they're getting wrong, ways it could potentially be fixed (could the casting be changed? could the plot or character be developed differently?), and so on. When she's reading a book or watching tween-targeted drivel at a friend's house, she has a foundation of self-confidence and social justice that she can use to actively engage with negative messages, whether subtle or obvious.

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I think you're overthinking this a bit. It's great for brainstorming, but don't let little things like whether or not she gets to play with dolls distract you from your primary laudable goal of raising an amazing daughter.

For instance, why wouldn't an intelligent and happy child be able to enjoy and possibly even benefit from a bit of TV? What's so terrible about, say, Frozen (aside from it inducing your daughter to buy an endless stream of toys and such)?

The world is an interesting place! Don't hide your daughter from most of it--go explore it with her. Of course you have to be there to say no: not too many sweets, not too much TV, no you can't have a fifth Elsa doll even if you did cut the hair off of the second one. But I recommend you focus more on what you expose her to than what you hide her from, and when there is something that you think should be avoided, you should (as early as possible) engage her in understanding why.

Early reading*? Early potty training? Gymnastics? Martial arts? Piano? Violin? Nature documentaries? Physics? Computer programming? Basketball? Pets--dogs, cats, guinea pigs? What will teach her the value of focus and practice? What will teach her self-reliance (that is, to handle things without you there at all)? What will teach her self-control and train her willpower? What will teach her kindness and empathy? What will teach her perseverance?

And remember, she will be a person, too. Raising her is something you do with her not to her. You can't ask her what she wants yet, or figure out what's working, what's not, and how to make it better. But you will soon. Good luck!

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    "What will teach her self-reliance (that is, to handle things without you there at all)?" This is such a powerful point! I know it's not how people usually think, but what would happen if for any reason (e.g. illness) the mother is suddenly not there. Such a child would feel completely lost and hopeless - which would only be made worse by having been taught all her life that such feelings are beneath her. – quetzy Mar 13 '15 at 21:18
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    @n00b - Funny, but no, that's really not what I'm saying. "Let it go" didn't even work in the movie--Arendelle was still frozen. "Love" isn't really going to cut it either. – Rex Kerr Mar 19 '15 at 3:10
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I like what you are hoping to do. However, be very careful with how you approach raising your child in this manner! I was raised much like this... For the first 13 years of my life. There are numerous opportunities that I missed, chances to do things that would have been very helpful to me now. Also, once your daughter leaves her seclusion (and trust me, she will, no matter how much you try to shelter her), it will look like a cruel, confusing hell-hole that she will have difficulty facing.

I left my sheltered world when my grandma had a stroke and I spent long periods of time with her in the hospital and then nursing home/rehab. Another thing was when my niece's mother attempted suicide... I didn't even know what suicide was.

I had never been in a movie theater up until I was 17; that was a dizzying experience if I had it to do over again I would have done it when I was younger.

Also, please keep in mind, that as your daughter grows and matures she may develop interests in certain aspects of life that you can't readily teach at home. For example, you can teach a very compelling and well thought out biology course; however, when she decides she wants to take a biology or chemistry course at a college level that requires an electron microscope... As I said, that is just an example and although I have wanted an electron microscope for sometime (and still don't have one!) that is not where my main interest lies.

Although I lived a sheltered life for sometime I recently decide to become a firefighter/EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). This is not something that can really be taught at home - although obviously, you can learn fire science and anatomy and physiology at home and they will be helpful later. But this is what I'm talking about, if your daughter were to decide to do that as I have she will be thrown to the wolves. She will not be at all prepared for what she will see and hear in fire and EMS. You will see death, destruction, drug use and hear massive amounts of profane and graphic language.

Also, she will have difficulty getting used to having a class schedule and may have difficulty meeting public or private education requirements later should she decide to do something that requires this type of education.

Still, I do not want to discourage you from trying this. Just please know that it won't necessarily be a good way of life for her in a few years. Also, take into consideration that with the way the world we live in is being operated this is not a particularly good way to be raised.

Sheltered life? Yes, that is good. Just consider not letting it get too sheltered.

Learning how to think rather than what to think? Excellent!

Critical thinking? Outstanding!

To summarize: I think what you are about to embark on will be an amazing journey for both you and your child! Just please think carefully before sheltering her completely. Homeschool by all means! Just be sure to get as much advice as you can from other homeschoolers! Expose her to the culture in which you live. Encourage curiosity. Get her a complete set of encyclopedias and let her read them at her leisure. Also, let her read the newspaper... NOT the sports section but rather the section with the real news in it; local, state, national and world news. So much of the knowledge I have now has not come from my family, school books or internet but rather educational TV shows (not cartoons but rather shows like Nova and Nature), the news paper and my set of 1980's encyclopedias. Despite the numerous times that my mother cautioned me that there may be things in there that would hurt me, I knew what my limits were emotionally and mentally and what I read and saw made me stronger, not weaker. Considering all this, I think I have turned out pretty well. I am shy but am starting to grow out of it. After some amount of discussion, disagreement and haggling, I have obtained an EMS internship, learned to drive and am now a licensed driver and have applied to fire school.

My only regret is that I did not receive at least one year of school either public or private.

I wish you success. I congratulate you on your decision to homeschool. I hope my experience will be helpful to you.

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I'd like to take your post and translate it into a list of one-word goals for qualities you'd like your daughter to have, let me know if I seem to have missed anything or misinterpreted:

  • Confidence
  • Perseverance
  • Individuality
  • Happy
  • Intelligent
  • Knowledgeable
  • Ambitious

Your goals for your daughter sound very well-thought out. You clearly want the best for her and I agree this is a great list to aim towards. There is no "best path" to reach these goals for her - you just have to take it one day at a time and always keep them in the back of your mind, along with plenty of love, guidance, and support - but only when she needs it, or she will not learn to be self-sufficient.

However, there is one thing that really stands out to me...

I just don't want my daughter to be influenced by the media or the general opinions of "society".

This seems to come from a feeling of wanting to protect her. Protection can be a tricky thing. It can be loving to protect your child from some things, until you are able to impart the knowledge required for them to handle those things with your help, and then on their own. Take care that you do not protect her out of fear. How would that help her confidence, if she were protected from society because you don't trust she would have the intelligence to use the knowledge that you've given her to come to right decisions?

She will make mistakes, as will you, and your husband. There will be difficult times. There will be sad times. This is life after-all, and even if you could avoid those times, it would prevent her from becoming knowledagable enough to learn how to persevere and handle it on her own later in life. The important thing to demonstrate is, how do you handle these times?

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By not trying to be perfect

You seem to believe that children come into the world as blank slates, and that in order for them to grow up right you need to model your vision of perfection. This is impossible, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Even if you were somehow to achieve perfection how will your daughter learn coping skills? What will happen when she leaves your shelter and enters the imperfect world. Even perfection is imperfect.

By letting her be who she is

If you try to control every aspect of your daughter's life you are becoming the sexist abuser that you fear. Let her choose the toys she wants to have, while gently guiding her away from inappropriate choices.

My daughter loves ponies, fairies and princesses, but we also play with Arduino, Lego and Scratch.

She doesn't have to be the same as the boys to be powerful and capable.

By teaching her how to fight

Not literally (though you might consider that) but give her confidence in her ability to compete in a competitive world. Push her to extend her capability.

She will encounter sexist behaviour, and people will make assumptions about her because she is a girl. Give her confidence in her own abilities. This goes along with not sheltering her.

Let her rise to her own challenges and be there to dust her off if she falls down.

By reinforcing the good

Mention when she does something impressive, and go on mentioning it. My daughter wanted to climb a skate ramp which was too high, and I didn't think she would be able to, but she just kept on going, fantastic tenacity. We still talk about it, and about how tenacious and brave she was.

By giving her the security of a loving home

You talk a lot about your husband respecting you, you seem almost angry about it. I'm so sorry if this stems from a difficult history, there is no excuse for male violence against a woman.

It is important to remember that respect goes both ways. A good marriage is a partnership. Give her security and she will grow strong with a sure foundation.

Your relationship with your husband is the most important relationship in her life. Nurture it, guard it, spend time on it and recognise that you are both fallible human beings in need of constant forgiveness.

An ideal marriage is not about sharing chores and not yelling at each other, it's a journey you go on together.

You and your partner are going to screw up over and over, it's how you deal with the screw-ups that will have the biggest impact on her.

By not denying her gender identity

My experience with 3 of my own is that they seem to seek out a gender identity for themselves. My daughter copies everything my wife does. My sons want to be like me. This seems to be just what they do, and I think it's probably OK.

Being a girl doesn't mean she can't be strong tough and brave. Don't try to force gender neutrality on her in the interests of equality. She will be who she will be.

By providing role models

Children try to learn how to be by copying people around them. Try to provide suitable role models. If you don't she will pick her own.

Things that won't work

You can't put "unshakable self belief" into a person like putting ham into a sandwich. She will develop self belief by trying and succeeding at things (or she might not, depending on her personality). You can encourage self belief by giving her lots of opportunities to win, but you can't just put it into her.

Likewise, you can't teach her never to be depressed. She probably sometimes will be depressed. You can however give her a loving supportive environment (which largely comes down to your relationship with your husband) and lots of fun times.

By respecting her as a human being

Your daughter is not a robot which you can program, she will have her own ideas. No two people are the same, and no two children are the same. They come into the world wired up with their own little personalities already in place to an extent that I have found surprising.

If you don't allow her to be who she is she might pull and pull against the leash you have tied around her until she eventually slips away from you.

Alternatively she might give up trying to fight you and become passive, again not a good result.

Best of luck with it, kids are hard.

  • 1
    Actually, literally teaching her how to fight (preferably through a structured martial arts or boxing class) can be a big confidence builder, too :) Great answer! – Acire Mar 23 '15 at 11:39
  • @Erica - agreed, I don't want to be seen as condoning violence, but my 3yo daughter can certainly throw a punch! The two older boys are of course not allowed to hit back. I think it's good to teach kids how to defend themselves so that they don't feel like they always HAVE to be defending themselves. – superluminary Mar 23 '15 at 11:49
  • @Erica - agreed! The biggest confidence booster I ever had was signing up for TaeKwonDo. I learned so much more about various life skills there than I ever did about fighting. Me in my first class: too shy to kihap when throwing a punch. Me in my last class: teaching. – swilliams Jan 14 '16 at 13:10
  • @swilliams - We have ours doing ninjitsu on a Saturday morning. Yes, there are swords. – superluminary Jan 14 '16 at 13:17
5

First, let me just say that your English is very good, especially for it being your third language. You are clearly very well-educated and talented in your own right, and you want to give your daughter the best possible chance you can for a good and happy life in the future.

Please, please for goodness sake do not try to control every aspect of her life.

First of all, you are cutting in half the potential support network she would have by giving up your own career - you and your daughter will now be reliant on a single income, and while that can work out for some families, you would be providing a much more stable and secure environment for her by making use of your degrees and, hopefully, saving up for her future education.

Second, please do not try to control every aspect of what your daughter learns. You are very intelligent to be sure, and home-schooling is not a bad thing innately, but please ask yourself if this is really wise. If you are not a teacher by trade, and if you do not know what sort of education your daughter will need to go on to secondary school, then you are crippling your daughter's chances of a successful future. Public schools are not innately horrible, and private schools can be quite good as well.

Thirdly, do not try to control your marriage for your daughter's sake. You will be unhappy, your husband will be unhappy, and statistically that will make your child unhappy. If you want to model your married life in that way because it is what you want, that's good, in fact that's really great! But do it for yourself, not for your daughter.

Finally, and I really hope you take this to heart, do not teach your daughter to be afraid of the world. Do not teach her that TV and magazines are evil. Do not teach her to ignore the opinions of others and only consider her own (leaders listen, they do not ignore) and do NOT try to decide your child's fate. They are not yet even born.

Do try to encourage your child to seek out appropriate literature. Do monitor what they watch on TV and read in magazines and view online. Do please be an active part of your child's life because that is a wonderful and noble goal. But please, please do not try to control every aspect of your child's life. You are not going to live forever, and you cannot be there for every step of your child's life. You need to teach this child not how to be, but how to grow into something on her own.

The potted plant grows only as large as the pot will allow. But the plant in the wild can soar above mountains.

4

Just wanted to note:

If you say completely NO to any kind of useless media like TV, films, actual books,... and you do only home schooling it will be pretty hard for your daugther to find friends. What should they talk about? Most kids speak about the lastest film, music, TV, internet memes, social networks or school events.

Your daughter will not be able to participate in all of these conversations. That will make it very tought to socialize. But to be able to socialize is very important part in everyones life. As adult all these as child learned social skills matters in a lot of situations. Like finding a partner, at the workplace with your collegues or your boss,...

What will you do to help developing these skillset? Where should/will your daugther get in contact with other kids? How will you limit the media exposure if your child is at a friends home? How should your daugher learn to handle such exposure if not learned at home?

  • 2
    Socialization is not automatically excluded when homeschooling children, it just takes a little more thought and effort since opportunities must be actively sought out. – Acire Mar 13 '15 at 13:42
  • @Erica I didn't intend to say something like this. School is just one of the topics the child can not speak about. If there are plenty of other topics left absolutly no harm is done. – EvilFonti Mar 13 '15 at 14:13
  • 1
    -1 this should have been a comment, not an answer. – user420 Mar 13 '15 at 15:55
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    @Beofett Sorry but IMHO I disagree. I wanted to answer to the "Anything that I left out" part of the question. I realy think I have done exactly this as I pointed out that more thought should be done to the social development of the child. – EvilFonti Mar 13 '15 at 16:04
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    Picking one small detail to address should be a comment. Answers here are supposed to be complete answers, fully addressing the entire question. – user420 Mar 13 '15 at 16:28
2

During the course of history there were many attempts to create, build, invent and bring up the perfect, ideal something.

Thay have all failed miserably.

Focus on loving your child, try to be the best mother possible, but be prepared to being good enough. For your own sake and for your child's sake.

If you do to bring up your child with the same attitude you wrote your question, I daresay both you and your child(ren?) will be extremely unhappy.

1

I am late, but I will try to tell you what you forgot in your list of perfection. You forgot feelings. You forgot to plan how to teach what love is. How changeble, irrational, even cruel it can be. And that it is the most beautiful and perfect (to use your words) thing in the world.

And one of the most important things to teach the child is to teach her how to love the world around her. To teach her how to cry when someone else is upset, when there is war somewhere else going on, hungry people dying, cruelty. To teach her how to be amazed when new life is appearing even if it's just a little seed giving its first leaves. To admire the wonder of life, its inner contraversery that cannot be overcome with any rationalizations, its complexity that multiple times surpasses any human theory.

You forgot poetry, music, art, which can be understood only with feelings.

0

Trying to hyper control a child will not have a good outcome.

Children learn by example. Whatever example you set, the child will emulate.

Often the quality of a child is linked to the mother's estimation of the father. If the mother thinks poorly of the father, the child will not come out well, and vice versa. I have often observed that the best children result when the father is a hero or prince in the eyes of the mother.

Home schooling is HARD and requires a certain personality. If you are not the teacher personality, home schooling will not get very far.

The more care and devotion given to a child, the better it will turn out. I have seen many families in which the eldest child was the most talented, the second child, the second-most, the third child the third-most and so on. It is because each child gets successively less attention than the previous child.

Often very mature and powerful adults result from a child who has had to fend for themself at an early age.

-1

Someday, your daughter is going to step into the world, full of good and bad.

The best way I see is to make your daughter realize that she should not compare herself with anyone. Because as she grows up, she will be like every teenage monster (I have a sister at this age so I know, cheers). It's a good thing that that your thoughts are exactly what every parents wish they should have done long time back, but you are also creating a prison for her with illusions of free will.

I say the best way to make her a confident women for tomorrow is to start with martial arts classes. It not only teaches you how to control yourself, but if taught properly, it also teaches you humiliation.

And please don't let her watch these weird cartoon shows on televisions. The makers are stupid. Let her watch the old ANIME SHOWS instead like Batman, Superman, Dragonball and so on. Believe me, I have twins, and my wife is really proud of my decision not to let my kids see these stupid cartoon shows. I really don't have to care about them. Visit a comic convention and ask any parents who make their little kids dress up like some avatar of a show, and you will get the answer yourself.

It's better not to give her confined freedom. And most importantly, don't COMPARE her, because that is the worst thing you will ever do.

Appreciate her incompleteness and make her feel that you both are complete each other.

Have a pet, dog or cat whatever suits you both. It's good to one, seriously.

Make sure she is able to defend herself mentally and physically.

It's okay if she sees bad in this world. You cannot stop her. But make sure she should stand for what is right and withing her capable hands.

Don't let her be a religious fool too. It's good to have faith, but blind faith blinds everything. This world is already filled with religious idiots.

Last, but not least, by the time she is a teenager, make her realize that "Wisdom is the one thing that makes growing old worth it". And to top that "Our lives are remembered by the things we leave behind for our children".

Congrats in advance when the princess comes. Cheers.

  • 7
    Wow, I have to disagree with this, especially the points on religion and cartoons. Faith doesn't blind everything, and religious people aren't all fools. – HarryCBurn Mar 17 '15 at 16:30
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    There are some good points in this answer, but trying to dictate what shows your child will watch is a recipe for disaster, and trying to dictate what religion any person follows more so. – Zibbobz Mar 18 '15 at 18:37
  • 1
    "humiliation"? Do you mean "humility"? – Peter Mortensen Jan 13 '16 at 20:55
-2

Do not over-think, I ask. You can guide her towards your ideals, but too strongly and she will rebel.

Show her moderation and mindfulness. Lead by example and expose her to the world and equip her with as much information as you can.

Do not tell her the world is sexist. Let her decide for herself. The world is what you make of it, and it may be sexist to you in your experience but it does not have to be sexist to her.

Teach her Desiderata. I'm sure it is very much how you would want her to live.

protected by anongoodnurse Mar 15 '15 at 0:49

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