One of the questions frequently lobbed at unschoolers is how kids who are "given everything they want" will ever learn to deal with frustration, as if saying "no" to things your kids know full well you can provide is some sort of exercise in character-building. (To me, this is the equivalent of asking how they will learn to deal with physical pain if you don't hit them, but I realize it is not generally meant with that level of malice.)
My parents never withheld anything from me that they were able to provide, and I promise, I have dealt with *plenty* of frustration. And I'm getting better at it - many of these things would have been the apocalypse to me, as a very sensitive child, but the more I live the more I learn how to laugh things off. I promise you, school and punishments are not how I learned this.
So, I am here to assure you that no matter how much you lovingly provide to your kids, they will still have to deal with this stuff:
1. Broken appliances
2. Broken computers
3. Rained-out picnics, park days, vacations, baseball games...
4. Not getting invited to parties
5. Video games you can't quite beat
6. Neighbors with small yap-type dogs
7. Rude people out in public
8. "Some assembly required"
11. The flu
12. Youtube comments
13. Long lines at the grocery store when you were ready to eat an hour ago
14. Pens that won't write until you scribble on every nearby surface and try to suck out the ink like a vampire
15. Not getting answers to emails
16. Having too many emails to answer
17. Basically any trip to the post office. (Goes double if you're not even the person needing to mail something.)
18. Check engine lights
19. "What do you mean, that was the last roll of toilet paper?"
20. Needing to pee while someone is in the shower
21. Boring Saturdays where you can't think of anything to do
22. Having to schedule time with schooled friends around their homework
23. Cat hair + favorite sweater
24. Favorite teddy bears that just can't be sewn up anymore
25. Not getting or losing a job when you've tried your hardest
26. Getting rejected or dumped when you've tried your hardest
27. Helium balloons that were let go prematurely
28. Depressing shit on the news
29. Any mention of politics
30. Being the last person to shower and having to take an ice-cold military shower
31. Pets that die, run away, or have to be given away
32. Contests entered and not won
33. Flat tires
35. Clouds on the night of the meteor shower
36. That toy everyone wants for Christmas/Chanukah/whatever but it is completely sold out but how can you understand that when you're six?
37. Being too little to reach the light switch, see all the books on the shelf, pour your own juice, walk the doggie, help mommy carry stuff...
38. Being too young to drive a car, go out late at night, get a job, choose where you live, vote, have your opinions and feelings taken seriously by most people...
39. Bad first dates
40. Bad haircuts
41. Dealing with disabilities, illness, and injury
42. Dried-out magic markers
43. Power outages, phone outages, internet outages...
44. "If you are calling about a rabid badger attack, press 1. If your refrigerator mold has become sentient, press 2. For all other calls, please hold..."
45. Losing socks to the Underpants Gnomes
46. cl1ck here 2 make ur pen15 b1gger
47. Not making the team or passing an audition
48. Not realizing your favorite necklace/bracelet/earring that someone Very Important gave you is missing until you get home - from somewhere very large and crowded.
49. Queerphobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, fatphobia, classism, ableism, xenophobia...
50. Songs that get stuck in your head, forcing you to listen to them to make it stop, even if you hate them
51. Rubik's cubes, sudoku, crossword puzzles that keep making obscure 1940s movie references...
52. Tangled computer wires, ropes, and Christmas lights
53. "Thank you for calling [office]. Our office hours are [large span of time that definitely includes the time of the call]. Please leave a message and we will get back to you during regular business hours."
54. Not having more than two or three of your best friends concentrated in any one part of the country or world, so no matter where you go, you miss a lot of people
55. People who argue against unschooling by insisting that you, personally (or your good friends, personally) will Fail At Life
56. Being asked, "So, what do you do?" during a period of your life where what you're doing doesn't sound outwardly impressive. ("Um, I blog, and stuff...")
57. Your reed breaks right before a recital, your tights run on the way to a job interview, you get a charley horse right before the big game...
58. tryng 2 dciphr txt spk
59. "Hi, I noticed your hair looks like shit! Can I interrupt your shopping trip to straighten it?"
60. Puberty. And for people with uteruses, the ongoing joy of periods.
61. [Person you consider a good friend] likes [statement you find personally insulting] on <3
62. "Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery"
63. Needing desperately to talk to a friend, but they're only allowed 15 minutes on the phone or an hour on the computer, No Exceptions.
64. Loud, persistent noises over which you have no control
65. Toothaches, headaches, stomachaches, growing pains...
66. Realizing a favorite DVD (or worse, video game) has an irreparable scratch only after you've become totally absorbed in it
67. Needing to leave the house FIVE MINUTES AGO and you/your parents CAN'T FIND THE KEYS
68. Being in the middle when two friends have a falling out
69. Those days where nothing sounds good to eat, nothing sounds fun to do, your clothes itch, everything is annoying, and nothing anyone says can make it right.
70. Losing a loved one
Artificial barriers not required. I promise.
(And I could've gone on longer. Feel free to post your own examples in the comments!)