Friday, April 28, 2006

Here's a word for the German authorities to jump on.

I am busy reading an interview with Judy Aron, Research Director for the US organisation National Home Education Legal Defense. What she has to say is fascinating, on an individual, as well as political, level. For example, she says that Home Education was never illegal in America. She states that the duty of parents to educate their children has existed since the colonial times and that the right to home educate is entrenched in the US constitution. That statement is quite interesting, because in the current German constitution, the freedom of religion and conscience, as well as freedom of association, have a higher ranking than the school attendance laws of the various German states.

This little piece really jumped out at me, especially in light of what I wrote about the attitudes of German officialdom to parental influence.

"Another hugely important issue threatening parents nationwide is the issue of loss of parental control over the lives of children through a combined effort of the psychological community and the public school system. Whether you are a homeschool parent or a parent of a child in any educational institution, this is an insidious effort that already is underway all across the country. The psychological community has begun an effort to undermine parental involvement with children by introducing a new word in their lexicon, the word, “enmeshment”. It seems that certain influential psychologists have deemed parents who become “enmeshed” with their children’s lives to be neglectful of those children. “Enmeshment” is viewed as too much bonding with a child to the extent that the child is not able to thrive independently from his parents. The theory is that children must become independent from their parents, and the sooner the better. To do anything less is neglectful. Parents already have been charged with neglect for being too enmeshed with their children. Of course there is a lack of scientific basis for the claim that “enmeshment” between a parent and child or that it is inherently bad. Yet, this may be the next step in claiming that parents who homeschool and, who necessarily are “enmeshed” with their children’s education, are neglectful simply because they are homeschooling."

The German for enmeshment, according to Leo, not my son, but my favourite online english-german dictionary, is Verstrickung or Verwicklung. I'll be looking out for one of these words being used to describe the detrimental effects of homeschooling. Coming to your favourite German newspaper soon.

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