Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing

By A. S. Neill | Go to book overview

Homosexuality

Recently, a homosexual wrote me, imploring me to tell him of any land that would allow him to be a homosexual legally. I replied that I knew of no such place. (Since then, I've heard that in Holland and Denmark homosexuality is legally permissible.) Indeed, I cannot think of any country where people can be heterosexual without treading on the corns of the killjoys.

There is no homosexuality in Summerhill. However, as in every group of children who come to Summerhill, there is unconscious homosexuality during a certain stage of development.

Our boys of nine and ten have no use for girls at all. They despise them. They gang up in groups that are not interested in members of the opposite sex. Rather, their interest is in making someone "stick 'em up!" Girls of this same age are likewise only interested in youngsters of their own sex, and form their own groups. Even when they first come into puberty, they do not run after the boys. It appears that the unconscious homosexuality of girls lasts longer than it does with boys. Although they may challenge and rally the boys in a friendly way, they keep to their gangs. But at this age, girls are jealous of their rights. The superiority of the boys in strength and the roughness of the boys annoys them. This is their age of protest against masculinity.

Generally speaking, boys and girls are not much interested in each other until they are about fifteen or sixteen. They show no natural inclination to pair off with each other. In fact, their interest in the opposite sex takes an aggressive form.

It is because Summerhill children do not suffer from a guilt complex about masturbation that they do not respond in an

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Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • To Harold H. Hart vii
  • A Foreword by Erich Fromm ix
  • Contents xvii
  • A Word of Introduction xxiii
  • One - Summerhill School 1
  • The Idea of Summerhill 3
  • A Look at Summerhill 13
  • Summerhill Education Vs. Standard Education 24
  • What Happens to Summerhill Graduates 29
  • Private Lessons at Summerhill 35
  • Self-Government 45
  • Coeducation 56
  • Work 59
  • Play 62
  • Theater 66
  • Dancing and Music 71
  • Sports and Games 73
  • Report of the British Government Inspectors 75
  • Notes on His Majesty's Inspectors' Report 86
  • The Future of Summerhill 89
  • Two - Child Rearing 93
  • The Unfree Child 95
  • The Free Child 104
  • Love and Approval 117
  • Fear 124
  • Inferiority and Fantasy 133
  • Destructiveness 138
  • Lying 146
  • Responsibility 152
  • Obedience and Discipline 155
  • Rewards and Punishment 162
  • Defecation and Toilet Training 172
  • Food 177
  • Health and Sleep 182
  • Cleanliness and Clothing 184
  • Toys 188
  • Noise 190
  • Manners 192
  • Money 198
  • Humor 200
  • Three - Sex 203
  • Sex Attitudes 205
  • Sex Instruction 218
  • Masturbation 223
  • Nudity 229
  • Pornography 231
  • Homosexuality 234
  • Promiscuity, Illegitimacy, and Abortion 236
  • Four - Religion and Morals 239
  • Religion 241
  • Moral Instruction 247
  • Influencing the Child 255
  • Swearing and Cursing 259
  • Censorship 263
  • Five - Children's Problems 267
  • Cruelty and Sadism 269
  • Criminality 272
  • Stealing 276
  • Delinquency 282
  • Curing the Child 289
  • The Road to Happiness 294
  • Six - Parents' Problems 299
  • Love and Hate 301
  • Spoiling the Child 306
  • Power and Authority 309
  • Jealousy 317
  • Divorce 323
  • Parental Anxiety 325
  • Parental Awareness 331
  • Seven - Questions and Answers 341
  • In General 343
  • About Summerhill 348
  • About Child Rearing 355
  • About Sex 369
  • About Religion 373
  • About Psychology 375
  • About Learning 378
  • Index 380
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