Freedom Issues: Freedom and Parenting - Government Knows Best

Do you realize that others know what's best for you and your child? There are people you haven't even met who believe they know the best way to raise your child and have obvious issues with your freedom to decide. Some think that it's okay to direct what you are free to teach your child and when. Well, I have suspected for a long time that plenty of people would be more than happy to allow our government to guide their lives. They wouldn't mind being told what is appropriate to watch or read. Too many Americans currently are followers, and they are oblivious and happy. That's great for them. We are a free country with free citizens, we all have the right to pursue life the best way we can assuming our rights don't interfere with others.

I haven't written a hub in response to anyone on HubPages yet, but I felt this topic deserved a little exploration. I wanted to expand on my thoughts. There was a question asked about, “Should a ten-year-old be allowed to hunt with a gun?”. http://hubpages.com/question/25185/should-a-ten-year-old-be-allowed-to-hunt-with-a-gun The questioner was asking about a new law in WI which supposedly allows a child aged 10 or more to hunt. My response was, in effect, that parents should have the freedom to decide what is right for their children, and that government's job is not to protect us from ourselves. Obviously there are some who disagree with my idea of freedom since my response received some negative votes. That is okay.  I'm not surprised, but frankly, it makes me a little sad.

The questioner responded with, “My way of thinking is that...” Isn't this always the start of issues regarding freedom or lack of it? We are subjected to and forced to abide someone else's way of thinking. As a parent could you fathom not only being told what to feed your child, but that it's additionally mandated you do so, since someone's way of thinking decided it's best for all children? I recognize that the reason my answer was voted down is likely due to the fact that guns and hunting are involved. For some reason, at least two people who voted negatively weren't able to look past those issues to the root of the question; parental freedom. If it's not that, then perhaps they believe that it is the government's job to protect us from ourselves. Of course it makes sense to force everyone to wear safety belts or not to smoke or any other number of things reasonable people know are risky because we are too dumb to recognize the danger. These people might counter with the argument that certain public safety hazards should be minimized for the “collective good”. That phrase, when uttered, means to me the will of others be imposed on the individual. In my way of thinking "for the collective good" means a reduction of freedom for everyone, including the responsible and sensible ones. This has been happening little by little for a long time, and one day we may wake up and wonder what it used to be like to make decisions for ourselves.

Parental Freedom

Irresponsible parent or good teacher?
Irresponsible parent or good teacher?

So, the point of this is what can parents decide for their children. Parents should be able to decide virtually everything for their children. So here is the complete response: “My way of thinking is that children are playing with video games. After killing millions of aliens, monsters, and terrorists, to have that same child not to do ta, ta, ta, ta, through the woods would be huge.” Is this a fear argument? I'm not sure what is being said here other than due to the prevalence of violent video games, our children shouldn't be taught a responsible sport. Regardless of your views on guns or hunting, the numbers show that both are largely done responsibly and safely, and there is a net benefit from both. I see no need to defend this in the context of this hub or in comments since we are currently free to do both.

So, here's my way of thinking: If a child is taught early the responsible and safe use of firearms, we've removed the taboo. If a child is taught early the concept of hunting, an activity as old as man itself, they will learn responsible methods, and actually grow their respect for life instead of seeing killing as it's portrayed in a video game. I think we can agree a parent knows their child, their capabilities, and their level of intelligence much better than an outsider. So why would we agree to taking their choice of what to teach their children and when they teach it away from parents? That is the most irresponsible thing of all. After all, things happen fast when we are talking about kids and their development. We may miss a golden opportunity to show them something good, and it will be difficult to turn back the clock once their interest is on to something else.

With Freedom and Parenting For All

Oh my gosh!  Does that little boy even realize that he is handling his rifle safely?  He couldn't have been taught that.
Oh my gosh! Does that little boy even realize that he is handling his rifle safely? He couldn't have been taught that.

What is forgotten is that it seems as though children these days are learning so much more about the world at an earlier age. In public schools they are confronted with much more negative influence than I was 25 years ago, and I was in a worse position than my parents before me. I know that, as a kid, I enjoyed nothing more than some target shooting and to have the opportunity to get into the woods when hunting season rolled around. As a result of that experience early in my life, I was able to avoid some of the bad influences that crossed my path, and I learned valuable lessons about safety, responsibility, and conservation that stuck with me. I remember shooting my first squirrel at 9 years old, and also hunted rabbit and dove with my dad using his old .410 single-shot shotgun. He was very firm in teaching me how to use it properly and most importantly safely. He also was firm in teaching respect for the animals and the woods. I consider these valuable lessons that I shall pass on to my children.

Most States have it right on this issue and have little or no restriction. We should all long for less restriction on any number of issues affecting our individual freedoms. I do not think that the majority of parents need to be told how to teach their kids since there is no one correct method and no model that could possibly apply to every child. There will always be people who do things wrong or incorrectly, and there will always be reasons to think it can be done better. When we begin to rely on the opinions of others to tell us what is right for us when no threat has been posed to another person's rights by our actions, any attempt to impose those opinions and restrictions on others who hold different values is wrong headed. Let us petition our lawmakers for allowing more rather than less, and we can live better, freer lives.

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Comments 21 comments

Scott.Life 6 years ago

The longer I wait to have kids the more likely I think I won't. I can't imagine a world where disciplining a child in any way is considered abuse. What's more baffling is that the judges and lawyers ruling on these cases that are slowly turning American children into "Bubble Kids" were themselves disciplined as children and grew up to become respected pillars of the community. It's ironic to see a child wailing and throwing merchandise in the aisle of a store because the parent knows that if she disciplines him, there will be an officer waiting at the door with handcuffs thanks to some concerned citizen. The very same citizen who rails against high crime rates and lawlessness. There is a reason why past decades were less violent and safer for kids, because they were being taught at home that bad actions carry immediate consequences and repercussions.

I have actually heard a young child tell her mother once "What are you going to do spank me, I'll call DSS and have you locked up" This same girl is now a repeat guest at the county jail, suffering from drug addiction and battling Hepatitis C. If you're not going to start teaching your kids about responsibility at a young age, when are you? And no I don't have any kids but I was one.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Amen, I agree with you Scott.Life, the bible said discipline your child but it seems it's a big joke now days. And Jeffrey I also agree with you the government and no one else has the authority to tell you what to do with your children. great hub . thank you for sharing it. creativeone59


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Amen, I agree with you Scott.Life, the bible said discipline your child but it seems it's a big joke now days. And Jeffrey I also agree with you the government and no one else has the authority to tell you what to do with your children. great hub . thank you for sharing it. creativeone59


Hi-Jinks profile image

Hi-Jinks 6 years ago from Wisconsin

In a perfect world, everyone is the same. Children are all above average. Parents are role models. Knap out of it! Your ten year old may be bright. My ten year old is smarter than yours. But the ten year old down the street just killed his neighbor’s cat and his parents don’t give a crap. The real world.

Should government take control?

A few months an ago, two parents were convicted in their ten year old daughter’s death. They prayed and did not take her to a doctor. The child died from treatable diabetes.

Should government not control age limits on driving?

At an amusement park, a father of a ten or eleven year olds cheers on his son as his son drove his go-cart recklessly banging into other children. I took my children out of there.

I am not against hunting. My father and grandfather used to hunt and trap animals that you cannot hunt or trap anymore. My grandfather hunted nearly every day, but would not hunt deer. Too dangerous, too many hunters acting like twelve year olds.

I’m calling for common sense here. Too often, people act without taking responsibility. Where I live numbers of drunk teenagers got no jail time or fines for torturing deer (5) tie to a tree or for running over ducks (20+) with a snowmobile.

And you want to give a child a gun? Teach him (or her) to track , to skin, to cook, and to conserve. Mistakes you or your child make, will not be a happy homecoming.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@Scott, I always appreciate your comments because you always have a good insight on things. I totally agree with you. I could write so many hubs on the problems we're causing ourselves...so little time. Thanks.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@creativeone59, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your readership, and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@Hi-Jinks, LOL! I'm glad you stopped in to comment, but judging from your first sentence, I'm afraid you've missed the point. I'm so glad you reminded me about "common sense"! That one is right up there with "collective good". The arguments for incremental infringements on our freedoms are always accompanied by these phrases, and folks gulp it down without a second thought. It just makes so much sense. ;-)


Hi-Jinks profile image

Hi-Jinks 6 years ago from Wisconsin

I recently saw a Judge Judy. The home owner was suing a neighbor about pellets that were shot into his home. His neighbor defended their preteen son his right to have this gun. But took no responsibly on the damage their son made. Wait until that kid shoots a person.

How many children can you afford to get picked off?


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 6 years ago from West Virginia

I think the government needs to keep out of private lives of the citizens. If people would teach and discipline their kids more and better, our society could become stronger. I teach school and know of many students who do little or nothing to be successful, but they still have the latest cell phones in their pockets. When parents decide to parent instead of befriend, it helps us all.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@Hi-Jinks, appreciate your visit once again.

To me, it is akin to taking 100 people and depriving 99 of them because 1 is an idiot. That's as simple as I know how to say it, and it's not just about guns! :-)


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@Sheri, yes, there is very little we need from government with regard to our day to day lives and the decisions we make on how to manage them. And, of course, you are absolutely correct at the cause and effect of one major problem. Parents don't need to be their kid's best friend because ultimately it doesn't teach the child respect. Thank you for your comments.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

If you can teach your ten year old how to use a gun and how to shoot it without shooting someone else by mistake, for example the former VP! GREAT. I know, as a sixty four year old, I'd be a little nervous around a ten year old holding a loaded rifle, altho, I might, on the other hand, feel secure if a bear were chasing me and I had no weapon! I think you make many good points about other people telling us how to parent our children including bible thumpers! I also think that at times we all get too defensive about our passion for whatever it is, parenting, hunting, etc., and try to claim that we have rights for this that and the other thing. We have brains and we can all yearn to learn the most we can learn about every and any part of human growth and development and human functioning. I'm not sure how the issue of corporal punishment got mixed up with your desire to teach your children at a young age how to use firearms, but for those who want to hang on to corporal punishment, because it is your right, is archaic and missing the entire point of living in a democratic society. We, as a society, put up with corporal punishment from no one, not even the police, so why do we think it is such a great tool in parenting. We treat our dogs better than that, and we detest anyone using corporal punishment on their animals. We have learned so much about human behavior and what motivates folks, whether they be old or young. We need to put aside the notion of rights and simply put into practice what we know, what we have learned. For example, how will children learn to live in a democratic society that has zero tolerance for putting your hands on another person in order to teach them a lesson, when that is how they are taught at home? I do not believe in being permissive or overindulgent and that is how we have become, but it is not a result of not using corporal punishment. We, as a society, are so caught up in our freedoms, that we have forgotten to be responsible, responsive, and accountable to each other. We are not just individuals, we do live in community, so we do have an obligation to be responsive and responsible and accountable. And if I can be responsive, responsible, and accountable, and teach my ten year old how to use a gun, great. Well, I am now rambling!! Anywho, I liked your hub, not sure it had anything to do with corporal punishment. I thought it was about whether or not a ten year old was old enough to use a gun, and I guess that is a judgment, you as a parent, have to make, taking into consideration that your next door neighbor might be some old guy like me, who gets nervous when I see your ten year old carrying his rifle, but I assume that your ten year old carries the rifle when he is hunting! So I would never know!! Thanks for the hub. Good night


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

vrbmft, thank you for your comments. I pulled this quote from your post:

"I'm not sure how the issue of corporal punishment got mixed up with your desire to teach your children at a young age how to use firearms, but for those who want to hang on to corporal punishment, because it is your right, is archaic and missing the entire point of living in a democratic society."

The issue of corporal punishment wasn't mentioned in my hub, and it's really not about guns either...I assume that's why it's controversial, though.

I have read and seen some of the information about no spanking or positive reinforcement discipline, and I am intrigued by the studies. I was spanked as a child by my parents as well as being paddled at school, and there are no feelings for resentment or any other imbalance that I recognize. I've led a well-adjusted life, and even managed to avoid all but a handful of fights as a school-boy. There is room for everyone's belief system. That was the point of this hub. Government should not be choosing for us, and even corporal punishment should be allowed if that's what the parent wants...but the hub was not about corporal punishment. :-)


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

I think I originally did get the point of your hub! But the topic of corporal punishment is one of those items that triggers my desire to "throttle" someone!!! I've been teaching parenting as a profession since 1986 and one of my target groups has been foster parents who are not allowed to use corporal punishment, so they must use their brain and find other methods to teach children self control and limits and consequences and accountability and responsibility and respect for themselves and others! I'm ranting again! There's a large group of us who all were spanked and are quite okay for the experience. My mom used to say to me, "drop your drawers and take it like a man!" And I obediently did till I was 12 at which point, one day, I realized that I was taller than she was and didn't have to do that anymore, so I took off running out the back door and she chased me for half a block. Thank God, she didn't have a heart attack!! Or else, I'd be a firm advocate of dropping your drawers just out of guilt!!

For me, it is not about positive reinforcement. Unfortunately what the behavioral approach, developed by the behaviorists back in the thirties and forties, has to offer has been so lost in this notion of positive reinforcement that it is ridiculous when you have to negotiate and bargain with kids just to get them to make the bed or clean their room. There is a lot to be said for reinforcement and we all need it at any given moment.

For me, the main issues for teaching children to live in our society, are responsibility and accountability. Corporal punishment does not exist in any other institution in our society, so to use it as a method of discipline seems to me to be archaic. Just like they don't use bloodletting anymore, but they do use leaches!!

Anyrate, the bottom line is establishing a parent-child relationship where you experience a deep sense of self confidence in your "job" as parent, where the child can experience your own internal sense of self respect and from that experience of your self respect, then learns self respect for him or herself as well as for others.

Especially when children are younger, they require us to take charge of them, even physically. Today, we stand at a distance and scream at them and bargain and negotiate at the same time. CRAZY. I show folks how to move in and iterally take physical control of the child if necessary so that they get the clear message, they will not do whatever they want, but you will literally motor them through whatever the task at hand is, if necessary. But there is no need or reason to hit them, swat them, threaten them with all kinds of things, most of which we have no intentions of following through with. You simply take over and motor them through. And if they are tantruming, it will not last forever. At some point, the body itself has to stop the tantrum, even it it goes on for awhile. if you are equally relentless in not responding to the tantrum, they learn almost immediately, that tantrumming doesn't work, doesn't distract you from the task at hand. Once they feel how grounded you are and confident you are that they will in fact do as you tell them, they become pretty compliant.

Children are not stupid. Their brains are always developing and growing and new neuropathways are created. They soon get it and begin to internalize your taking control of them so that soon they learn to do the behaviors independently.

Now if you have estblished a different kind of pattern to this point, where they child has learned that it is okay to put you off and tantrum and maybe even strke out at you, then yes, it will be difficult and trying to reverse that pattern, but it pretty simple to change, not easy, but simple, and I can show anyone exactly how to do it. It'skind of like any skill and now it's alnost "fun" for me to show a parent how to reverse those patterns. And when I say show them, I mean, yes, with the child at home, direct demonstration with the screaming child.

Yes, Corporal punishment may work, but we have to ask what the definition of "works" is and then look at what all the other side effects are and what the ultimate outcome is. If you feel nothing about the spankings you received, then maybe they were just that, worth nothing. You learned self control and respect from a great many other experiences between you and your parents. A great book about parenting and brain development is "Parenting From The Inside Out," by Siegle and Hartzell. Okay, enuf!!! Looking forward to reading your other and future blogs. I also want to teach children how to do what we all are doing here on this site--have good discussion without killing each other or having to win!!


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@vbrmft, thank you for expanding on this. I like the way you describe it, and I'm glad you are not pushing the "barter with your kids" method. I see what you are saying, and I respect your method. In fact I very much agree with your ideas of enforcing accountability and responsibility. I am guessing you are speaking from a base of success with parents and perhaps your own. It does sound like what you recommend would work.

Since I didn't give nor to I intend to give any parenting advice in this hub, hopefully I don't lose any credibility by revealing that I have yet to have children. I have siblings who do, and we have close friends who have several. We have been close to these kids for a few years and have seen the full range, from some of their parents making almost no attempt to control their behavior to those who use spanking when the child has gotten out of hand. I couldn't possibly try to tell them they are doing it wrong since I have no direct experience, but everyone has built-in ideas. I believe my wife would much prefer your method, so I intend to read your hubs and pass them on to her.

My inspiration for creating this hub had more to do with the idea of our government controlling fine details of our lives on a steadily increasing incremental level, and those who champion this or denounce those of us who don't? I don't know, it was a free-typing rant that I just published without much editing. I didn't expect as much response as I've gotten, and frankly it's encouraging. I may make this a series here in my hubs.

Thanks again for your insight!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

Hey, I think it's great when you do a"free-typing rant." and you get more response than when you are so careful to dot every i or whatever gets dotted on the computer! Basically, parenting involves a relationship. So even if you do not have your own children at this point, but you know about relationships, you're good to go and have something to offer!!! And true, the relationship between a parent child has a lot of bellybutton stuff to it, that might not be there in other relationships. So the relationship is always potentially hot and can trigger feelings from what I call our primordial relationships-with MOM and DAD!! Poor mom and Dad, they get the brunt of everything, but that's because we are connected to them so intrinsically, even with a mom and dad who might not be our biological parent, they are still biological parents in that they impact the way our brain develops and grosw and you can't get more biological than that. I love the whole arena of parenting. I figure if you can learn to get a four old to put his or her toys away in a non violent manner, you just might be able to sit down with Palestine and Israel or the US and Iran!!! and support them putting away their toys!!! I'm not totally serious, but serious enough. Remember the famous picture of the Chinese citizen starring down the barrell of a tank during the uprising in China some years back. NOT a good model for parenting and ulltimately, it doesn't work!

Anyhow, I can really get going on this topic. One has to get to the point of ENJOYING the process and the success which only builds more confidence. Kind of like being a good salesperson!! If you can sell that acre of land in the Everglades, you can sell a kid on putting his toys away or coming in on time or whatever it is without any outflow of cash or goodies. Oh, there is one price however, and that is spending time with. We don't spend enough time with out kids, and we don't touch them enough, we are out of touch. Ooops, here I go again. Later


Hi-Jinks profile image

Hi-Jinks 6 years ago from Wisconsin

As it always happens, the worst. In every state of the land, every day of the year, people die from gun fire in this country. Today, a ten year old boy shot and killed his father with his own rifle. The boy did not understand. He wasn’t mature enough to understand. Are we at war with ourselves? Terrorists couldn’t do that much damage to us, but we can freely to it to ourselves. All the weapons in our country and we will lose. Pride and Arrogance. Amen.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

@Hi-Jinks, good on you for writing your own hub! This should be our last meeting on this, then. :-) Let's review:

You ask question

I answer question

you respond with your own answer in disagreement, and, I assume, voted down my answer

I was inspired to write a hub about the general idea that parents should be able to choose, not the nanny gov't (and, no, it wasn't or isn't about you)

You disagree again, and come here to respond to my hub in an apparent attempt to argue the gun issue.

I had already said once in my hub and more than once in my comments this is not about guns.

You comment in a disrespectful tone and I, having previously considered the issue resolved, deleted your comment since this is not a forum and your opinion was clear before that latest comment. No need to try to force it on me further.

You were inspired to write a hub about it (which is good, channel the energy into something productive!)

Then you make identical irrelevant comments on both this hub and yours (which, incidentally, I would have had no idea you wrote a hub without this latest comment).

Just let it go. I never claimed a youngster should have *unsupervised* access, and neither does your state, or most of the other states, for that matter. Keep writing hubs, but there is no need for you to comment further here, as I'm clear where you stand. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

This is a fine article, Jeffrey. I agree with you. Our freedoms are decreasing year by year and the freedom of parents is among the most egregious losses. I enjoyed your words here. Thanks.


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

James, thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your comments and compliment, and hopefully parents fight harder against any person or organization who would force them to teach their children a certain way.


Longhunter 5 years ago

AMEN!!! AMEN!!! AMEN!!! You just got a new follower. The last thing I want or need is "The State" trying to be the nanny for my children. I love, nurture and care for them. I know what they need and do all I can to provide it and some of what they want. All I want from "The State" is to get out of my way and let me do that to the best of my ability.

Great hub, Jeffery, and I look forward to reading more.

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