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about DCs and Communism and Socialism and AAM ?

(53 Posts)
jammyjamiejimmy Tue 20-Sep-11 23:33:34

I've named changed for this:

I come from a very very left wing family, working class family (we are talking communist GP, DPs with secret service records, phones where tapped in the 70s, DPs big into socialist groups and political stuff in 60's and 70s. [also very big in anti-apartheid] etc) .
DH comes from a normal Labour voting family

My two eldest (they are in different years) have just started this term to learn about Russian revolution, Stalin and Vietnam War. And the eldest started doing Socialist authors eg Bernard Shaw, Priestly etc. And daughter started to learn about Apartheid in RS.
Both have come home saying all this stuff about how horrible/hiddeous communism and socialism is. Also learning some stuff about Apartheid and AAM that I feel/know is wrong eg about British stance etc.

I want them to make up their own choices about such things.

But some of these things they are saying, go against everything I believe in.
I want them to have the facts but they don't seem to be learning them (DS seems to think that Marxism and Stalinism are one in the same). But equally if they turn around and truely believe this then I want them to do so with the true facts.

Don't think either of them have yet gaged just how Left we as parents and as a general family how political we all are.

Also DD was telling DMum about some of the stuff AAM did and how the Govt reacted and I know she got very upset (She lived in S.A during apartheid and has a criminal record in UK due to her involvement with AAM) -Some of the stuff DD said is fact but I know DMum (and DDa and me) feels misses the point.

AIBU to not like this?
And what do I do? - Sit them down explain facts, family history?
Or do I just leave it?

Birdsgottafly Tue 20-Sep-11 23:36:26

Explain it.

You are only educating them, after all.

worraliberty Tue 20-Sep-11 23:37:39

Treat it like absolutely any other subject and fill them in on facts you think they haven't learnt.

Make sure they are facts though and not personal opinions.

Just remain as neutral as you would if you were discussing Shakespeare

AnneWiddecomesArse Tue 20-Sep-11 23:37:46

Let your children find their own truth.
That's what education is about.

squeakytoy Tue 20-Sep-11 23:38:30

There is nothing wrong with edcuating your children in your own opinions, and experience as it makes for interesting debate.

Kayano Tue 20-Sep-11 23:38:35

If what she said was 'facts' as you say, leave that be and she will draw her own conclusions. If you push it you risk colouring her viewpoint with family opinion and potentially bias.

If what she says is not fact, or
Is missing some key facts etc, then YANbu to give her the missing information and facts in that case

animula Tue 20-Sep-11 23:38:49

Could you use it as a springboard to promote critical thinking? Try, really, really hard to lecture, or to suggest they're silly for not knowing more - of course they don't - these are hugely contested issues, that historians are still arguing over.

I'd suggest looking for sources - books, on-line, etc. - together, and discussing - ideally in an equal way.

Easy for me to suggest, since my knowledge of all these rather crucial things is very limited, so i really would be learning-alongside.

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 23:39:37

Of course you can tell them. You can explain the evidence, and the opinions, and what happened and why.

I bore my two teenagers to tears with the Thatcher Years and Why Capitalism Is Wrong. They'll thank me one day.

animula Tue 20-Sep-11 23:39:42

Agh! Try not to lecture!!!!!

bridgingtheabyss Tue 20-Sep-11 23:44:57

I would explain. Talk about the family history, say what you believe and why and then leave them to decide what they believe. They are unlikely to hear alternative narratives at school and if you have the courage of your convictions you've got to supply those at home. Plus you'll broaden their horizons. As long as you don't push things on your children you've got nothing to worry about.

Good luck comrade!

Mandy2003 Tue 20-Sep-11 23:58:13

envy your family history OP! It would be fantastic if the school let you contribute an alternative viewpoint.

Definitely as animula says, use what they are being taught at school as a springboard. But it would probably be worth checking whether the National Curriculum/GCSE papers leave any option for an alternative to be considered. If not why not!?

Whatmeworry Wed 21-Sep-11 00:00:22

It's probably useful to disentangle different strands of Socialism and Communism for them, and maybe explain where Marx was coming from (Britain in 1800s etc).

Apartheid/AAM is a whole other thing, hardly anybody comes out of it looking like angels, IMO best is to focus on what the Truth and Reconciliation approach achieved.

AnneWiddecomesArse Wed 21-Sep-11 00:02:25

"I want them to make up their own choices about such things. "

brdgrl Wed 21-Sep-11 00:04:41

Absolutely, explain! Tell them the facts, but also, why be afraid to share your opinions, even strongly, with them? They will make their own minds up, and they will get the 'other side' at school. But presumably this is a moral issue for you.

OK, my DH will kill me if he hears I've said this, but supporting Manchester United is not a moral issue. If my kids ask what the best football team is, we could tell them our opinion, cite some facts and records, and then let them make up their own minds. (If they chose to support Liverpool instead, DH woudl be crushed, of course!)

On the other hand, the kind of things you are talking about - these are clearly very important to your value system.

Whatmeworry Wed 21-Sep-11 00:07:40

PS I take it they read Animal Farm smile

valerian Wed 21-Sep-11 00:08:10

My kids find it intriguing that I have views so radically at odds with the National Curriculum.

Think it's quite good for them to have a mum like that. Teaches them you don't have to swallow spoonfed "information". grin

Wait till they want to study Economics....

valerian Wed 21-Sep-11 00:10:18

They know basically where I'm coming from, so when they quote the National Curriculum at me, I just say "Well, that's one view..."

RueyBoey Wed 21-Sep-11 00:15:42

I suppose such strong political/social/moral views have made you who you are and therefore who your DCs are because of the way you are raising them.
Of course you want them to make up their own mind about it all but for them to do that they must also know their family history which happens to be intricatly mixed with the 'opposite' view from school. Even if they dont believe they should know their history and family background.
AAM - could you get your DMum to dig out her stuff on when she was involved, eg membership cards, polce records and gussing she has anid card from south africa. Also would the school be open to your DMum coming in and talking to RE classes (if she would like too) a lot of places would like that and surely all the children would like it?
As for the rest explain absolutly!! :D Maybe use any things you have from your GP to aid you etc

spiderslegs Wed 21-Sep-11 00:16:33

Explain your family history - but do not impinge political belief as fact, they will benefit from knowing your family was very politically involved & will hopefully be interested & engaged by this but do not expect them to share your views.

No reason to hide it from them though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 21-Sep-11 06:27:06

You're just in the same position as atheist families when their children are taught about religions at school. If you want them to be genuinely open-minded, correct any factual errors in their education and, if they ask your opinion, be honest.... but make it clear that it is only your opinion or experience and that there are others.

animula Wed 21-Sep-11 08:51:31

By the way, I do think - if it's possible, and I know it isn't always, partly because of the age of the children - the children really should know their grandmother's history, from her, ideally. I can't help but feel it is important that these histories aren't lost, both for the individuals involved, for their families and for "history" as a whole.

mummytime Wed 21-Sep-11 09:24:28

Explain to them. To be honest it does sound as if the school isn't giving a totally balanced view.
My kids often contradict teachers on their views of Christianity. I often sigh when they bring home half baked views, and then re-educate them. Things are often not as simple as presented in school (to people who aren't interested). Talk to your DD about why Granny may have been upset by some of what she said. Tell her about what happened (maybe get her to read "Ruby Red" by Linzi Glass), I had forgotten about becoming a non-person and house arrest.

BTW I grew up in a Tory household and went to a Socialist school, and it was good for me. I still remember that it was by no way the most left-wing teacher who went to write for the Militant.

Teach them in the words of a Billy Joel song to "no longer see in Balck and White... but shades of grey are the colours I see."

lenak Wed 21-Sep-11 09:26:57

You should give them information from the alternative perspective, but be careful to make it clear that you aware that there are two sides to every story, that things look very different from a historical perspective than they do at them time due to hidden facts and histories being brought together and that this is just your opinion / ethos / moral / political stance.

While I agree that they should be aware of their family history, you should be careful not to make them feel that they have to share your beliefs just because of that history. They are people in their own right and have as much right to form their own opinions based on their own interpretation and belief systems as you do.

Their views may alter over time based on their experiences anyway and it will only drive them in the opposite direction if you try to come across as having all of the answers and being right about everything. My dad can be like this - he is a lot more socialist (in some respects) than I am and a lot more right wing in others. I have always had quite strong political opinions that haven't always coincided with his. From the age I started to voice them, I was constantly told - "You'll learn" or "You'll change your mind when your older" etc, etc. It is true that my views and beliefs have changed over time, but much to my dad's annoyance, they have probably moved further away from his rather than closer, but he still tries to tell me that one day I will come round to his way of thinking hmm.

The one thing we regularly argue about debate, whenever there are strikes happening is Union membership. His work place does not have the option of union membership and he cannot understand why I (as a public servant) will not join the union. He thinks that I should and half jokingly calls me a Blackleg because I don't agree with public sector strikes and detest the union leadership and many of the tactics that they employ.

He won't accept that those opinions are borne of experience and that I have actually considered both sides of the argument - it's just that I don't agree with him!

SequinsAndSparkles Wed 21-Sep-11 09:35:05

I am from a very left wing family, two of my closest family members are devout communists to the extent that they have tattoos of Che Guevera.

Me? Well, I do not have a belief system which involves communism and socialism, and the constant shoving it down my throat makes me more inclined to go in the other direction. Although, at 23, I am still young.

I would leave your children to make up their own minds. Don't force it on them.

I find that socialism and communism is often very hypocritcal, and I resent that I've been suffocated with extreme left wing views for as long as I can remember.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 21-Sep-11 09:38:45

I used to be a history teacher (way back before my mind turned to mush) and I hate it when teachers give their own political opinions to children. I feel that the teacher's job is to present all the facts, not just select those which reinforce their own pov and teach children how to analyse evidence (bearing in mind that not all evidence is trustworthy and may have been 'created' in order to present a certain pov) and draw their own conclusions. The most important thing to learn is that there is no one true viewpoint, that facts can be manipulated and that everyone, past and present, has their own agenda.

With that in mind, you are doing a service to your children to not just allow them to have the perspective of their teacher and to inform them that there are alternative opinions, which are equally valid.

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