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Parenting Tips

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All parent-child relationships should be established on love, trust, and respect. It is important for parents to show their children unconditional love. The children should be loved for who they are, not what they do. If it is necessary to disapprove a certain behavior, ensure that it is the behavior that is given disapproval not the child. To establish trust in the child, it is important for parents to begin by responding to their infant as soon as possible. Infants have no concept of time, making any prolonged waiting seem like an eternity. Never do to your baby or child what you would not want done to you (this includes pinching, squeezing excessively - especially on the cheeks, spanking - even playfully, yelling, and shaking).

The goal of discipline is teaching, not controlling. Therefore, it is important to refrain from using threats, yelling, putting down, and physical discipline (such as spanking or swatting). The child should learn to make good decisions. This means that you should explain, as often as possible, how what you are requesting will benefit them.

It is often best to use principles instead of flat-out rules, as the goal is to teach children to think for themselves.

Parents should ask themselves a few questions, regarding their parenting:

What kind of life do I want for my children?
How will this affect what they wear?
What do I intend to accomplish by parenting?
On what principles will my parenting be based?

Contents

Principles

Principles internally motivate a person to do what is good and right. People develop principles by living with people with principles and seeing the real benefits of such a life.

Rules externally compel you - through force, threat, or punishment - to do what someone else has deemed good or right. People follow or break rules.

As parents, it is not better for one's children to comply with and follow rules, but rather for them to live their lives making choices that are good and right. It is difficult to think deeply about what one believes, but well worth the effort.

Principles can often be summed up in one word. Rules cannot. It is an important distinction. For instance a principle might be kindness. A rule is "Do not hit your sister." If there is a principle of kindness, there is no need for a rule that says "Do not hit." "Do not hit," only says "Do not hit." Kids do pick up that it does not say do not pinch, do not poke until she cries, do not pull hair, etc. As a child is helped to find better (kinder) tools to use to get what they want and their understanding of kindness grows, it is understood that anything that hurts someone is unkind so there is not a need to spell out every hurtful thing that kids are not allowed to do.

Rules control others; principles guide them. Hence, if there are rules, one does not have to think for oneself (ie., in a school setting - bell rings, stand up, move, sit down, write this, look here, look there). Jail, the military, and schools are all very rule bound. Principles, on other hand, are guides to respectful living, freedom, and openness. We can value completely different interpretations of the principles. Setting guidelines allows "any reasonable interpretation" of a broad guideline, rather than tying the organization up in knots with rule books.

It is easy to transform "rules" into something we call "principles" and then stop there. Rules often have their basis in a broader principle, and tracing our rules back to our own principles is the first step in the journey. However, if we then enforce those principles in the same authoritarian way we tried to enforce rules, then we really have not changed much, only done some mental gymnastics and made the principle more visible to our children, which enables them to more easily see the truth of it in the world. However, principles are internal, not external. Using force to implement them will only send us back to where we started. Using principles with arbitrary punishments to force children to adopt the principles is useless. This is not to say we should just wait for our children to figure out their own principles and decide whether or not to live by them. Parents are to be their children's guide and mentor, and should help them discover their principles. Principles can be adopted by everyone, but individual interpretations may differ.

Living by principles requires a constant mindfulness and critical assessment of individual situations as they arise, to discover which principles are applicable to the situation and to what extent. Simply overlaying a principle onto a situation without that careful consideration turns it back into a rule. It is the thought behind the principles that differentiate them from rules. For instance, if a principle is safety, that may or may not include holding hands in the street or staying close enough that the parent can grab the child.

Being forced to play an instrument can create an adult who does not even bother to own one of the instruments he knows how to play, because now the pressure is gone. When the children understand principles, they can sleep as long as they want, but set their alarms and get up; they have all kinds of clothes, but dress well and appropriately to the situation; they are not required to come home, but they DO come home.

Rules are things you get around by clever thinking. But who would want to "get around" a principle? If you stop believing in the principle, you might change it — but it is not something that you try to circumvent. Focusing on principles helps one behave appropriately. If one believes in kindness as a principle, then their reaction to a toddler tossing a piece of apple at them in a moment of anger is different than if the "rule" was "we do not throw things."

Principles also leave more room for children to learn to make choices. If the principle is stewardship (we try not to break things), then maybe children can roll a ball in the dining room - but not throw it, or throw it gently, or throw a softer ball, or throw a harder ball in a different room. They can decide what they feel like doing, within the constraint of not breaking the china or denting the teapots—rather than having a "rule" like "no throwing balls in the house" (which would prompt one's inner lawyer - and theirs) to argue over what is a "ball," or what is "throwing" — or what "is" "is."

Children may equate rules with slaves and slavery, so be wary of enforcing rules.

It is much safer and more realistic to live by principles (honesty, courtesy, respect, thoughtfulness...) demonstrated in your daily life, than to imagine a scenario which represents lack of principle and make a rule to prevent that scenario. That is totally backwards. Rules in the absence of principle are often irrelevant to children. Principles lived fully make rules unnecessary.

If the philosophy at your home is to treat all family members (including animals) the way that you would want to be treated, you will find this covers a multitude of areas such as property, feelings, privacy, etc. This is a good basic philosophy for all areas of life: marriage, parenting, employment, neighbors, friendships, even just driving down the road. Helping children grasp the concept of empathy far outweighs the benefits of rules.

Rules make children feel anxious and untrusted. If they are told they are good children, but have all kinds of rules imposed on them, it makes them feel as if their parents are lying. Principles, on the other hand, make sense, and make everyone feel safe, protected, and trusted - especially if you have very few rules, mostly about consideration and safety ("If you light a candle, it should be resting on something inflammable, like a saucer or candle holder," as opposed to "Do not light candles").

Children like making lots of rules for themselves, so we do not need to impose multiple rules.

For years, people have said children who do not have rules and limits are unhappy, but the truth is that if kids are given arbitrary rules, they feel untrusted. If we give children so many rules about sleeping, eating, behaving, and everything else, how will they ever learn to make their own decisions? How can parents expect their children to make good choices in life if they are constantly making rules that say clearly "Id do not trust you to make the right choice"?

If rules are defined as "I will not allow you..." statements, only two may be necessary: I will not allow you to hurt anyone and I will not allow you to destroy things (like walls, people's hard work, etc.).

If your child disagrees with something, discuss it. It is not spoiling the child - it is respecting them. If parents do not respect their children, their children are unlikely to respect them.

Principles demand careful thought and inquiry to establish and apply.

A question like "should I buy this, yes or no?" would involve explaining a principle, and as with all good answers, it needs to start with, "It depends." If we answer questions with "yes" and "no," and give people what they claim to want, or what they think they want, we are giving them fish instead of providing information on how to fish, how to make one's own fishing equipment and when and where the fishing is great. Real education is not a series of yes/no questions.

Another principles is helping people learn to find their own answers, which is vastly superior to distributing answers on demand. Those who volunteer their time and experience are not willing to hold other's hands for years or months. They want to empower others. Empowerment is a principle, not a rule. Learning to examine one's own life and needs and beliefs is necessary for real education to occur. When priorities and principles are coming clearer, such questions as whether or not to buy a particular game, tool, movie, food are EASY, simple, happy questions.

Without free choice, how can a person choose what is plain and good?

Real education begins with a choice between going to school or not. How many millions of people are never given that choice? Next is the choice between "doing school-work" or not. Sometimes parents who are new to real education are hoping that holding their breath and waiting might lead to children studying a curriculum, just as the mathematically-allegorical monkeys might type a book. In the success-bearing phase, parents stop looking for advancement in English history. The most peaceful families have loosed the ropes that held learning at the dock. They have developed faith in the idea that humans learn best in freedom.

Home-educating families with young children often fear for the neighbors to "test them" and find them wild or "behind." Home-educating families with older children politely try to hide their smugness at the positive responses of others to their older Children. How does that change come about?

There are traditional dialogs adults have with stranger-children. They ask what school they go to. They ask whether the child likes his teacher, and what his favorite subject is. Many times, they will not get past the first two questions, because if "I do not go to school" does not stump the interviewer, "I do not have a teacher" usually does. And so an adult who succeeds in having a conversation with an non-schooled child finds himself speaking with a person, not "a student" or "a child."

For some, this is their first real conversation with a person who is not yet an adult. Adults are often intrigued when they realize here is a child who has something to talk about and will confidently and guilelessly speak.

How does that confidence arise?

When parents trust a child's personhood, his intelligence, his instincts, and his potential to be mature and calm, real learning can occur. Take any of that away, and the child becomes smaller and powerless to some degree. Give them power and respect, and they become respected and powerful.

Is it just that simple? Can a parent just give a child power and respect? Can a parent give a child freedom?

With the freedom to choose what they eat, children bypass sweets more times than a parent could count, and eat hearty, real food. These choices start showing themselves before they are old enough to go to school, or not to go to school.

With the freedom to choose to stay up or to go to bed, toddlers sometimes ask to go to bed because they are tired, going to sleep smiling, and waking up happy. They had all the waking they wanted, and all the sleep they wanted, instead of feeling deprived of either.

If one is forced to eat healthful foods, is that good for nutrition? Discipline? Love? Respect? No, it is destructive for all of these. For many children, information is treated like cold pancakes. Skills are forced like too-warm milk. Neediness expresses itself differently with different kids. Abundance expresses itself similarly in all. Neediness creates various interpersonal problems, health difficulties, psychological stress, and sorrow. Chronic neediness becomes a vacuum that cannot be filled. Abundance in one person provides benefits for others. A child with all the trust he needs can trust others. A child with all the time he needs can share that time with others. One who has freedom will not begrudge freedom in others.

Most people have never known a kid who has experienced true abundance. Most have never met a child who had been given a full measure of respect, so that the child was respected and respectful. It is easy to respect someone who has that respect already, and who has so much that he can spread it around to others.

An abundance of love, confidence, time, and freedom will create a flow of respect from and toward a person.

Infants

It is important to realize that when an infant cries, they are verbalizing a need, usually related to survival - such as being close to a parent, eating, or crying due to pain. Never leave a baby to cry him/herself to sleep. This can ruin their trust in the parents/caregivers. If a baby cries when you put them down, pick them back up, and try lying on a bed next to them for a while or just holding them until they calm down. After about 2-5 minutes, put them in their crib in a sitting position and keep your arms in the crib with them for a while. When you lay them down, hold their hand or rub their tummy gently to reassure them. When you leave the room, wait for a while to ensure they are not crying.

Lullabies may not be what calms an infant. If the music calms the parent, it may do the same for the child.

See also: Mass Etiquette

Toddlers and Beyond

As the child becomes mobile, whether by walking or quick crawling, parents need to begin setting boundaries and limits. It is particularly important at this stage to dress the child in a manner fitting the occasion or location. At church, dress clothes are appropriate, as they give the child the impression that church is a place they should behave well. They should be taught to sit still, with hands on their lap, feet off the pew, standing and kneeling at appropriate times, and refraining from eating and drinking in the main church (take them out to eat in the vestibule, if necessary). While running errands, they can dress a bit more casually, but should still wear shoes instead of sandals. (To prevent child's shoes from becoming untied, wet the child’s shoelaces before tying them. This makes the dry knot tighter so you will have to tie them less often.) Keep emergency snacks and drinks in car/van to ensure child does not get cranky from having hunger pains or being thirsty.

Proper posture is very important, and should be worked on from an early age. Exercises such as walking from one room to another with a hardcover book on one's head or walking through the woods quietly may be helpful. To teach about proper sitting posture, use the analogy of a tower of blocks. When the spine is erect, all the blocks are stacked. If they slouch, the tower tumbles.

If the child has difficulty holding a pencil the standard way, have them try holding opposite sides of the pencil with their thumb and middle finger while resting their index finger on top.

Children are capable of more than most people may think. All they need is proper guidance, love, and encouragement to blossom exponentially. By observing children, it may be discovered that they find joy in learning, need independence, need to be respected and listened to, are interested in the difference between fact and fiction, and generally have some desire for a certain kind of order, which may vary from child to child.

When you say "no", and the child starts crying, hold them close, no matter how much they try to push you away. This can prevent future issues of feeling unloved.

Lullabies are not always what calms children. If the music makes you feel calm, it may do the same for them.

Some children have a keen sense of style and like it when their parents look good and dress well.

Children want to be able to do what their parents do. They also enjoy when their parents do activities with them, such as coloring, eating, playing games, and learning together.

Children at this age may seem attracted to the opposite gender. This is not necessarily a bad thing and should not necessarily be discouraged, but ensuring play remains positive is of great importance.

See also: Mass Etiquette

Adolescents

Solid moral character and good moral values should be established before a close relationship with a person of the opposite gender is pursued. When the title of a relationship changes from friends to girlfriend/boyfriend, the entire relationship changes.

Miscellaneous Tips

A support group of parents with the same values is an indispensable asset. It can increase a parent's confidence, but be careful not to give into any negative peer pressure from a support group.

Your time is your most valuable asset. Ensure your children get enough of it.

Take care of your body so you can take care of your children.

Sometimes, your needs must come before others' wants.

The foundation for communication has its beginnings in infancy.

Children want a peaceful home: no fighting, hitting, name-calling, labeling, or food stealing.

If you want children to learn to read and spell properly, ensure you are not reading misspelled and backwards words.

Education

Most learning occurs through observation and experimentation, making an environment that promotes learning better than an environment that enables teaching. Some items that may assist in creating an environment that promotes learning are:

Educational coloring books, such as alphabet, numbers, foreign languages, math
Educational books that have many colored pictures
Child-size furniture (realistic, not disproportionate and fake-looking)

People learn particularly well and quickly when their subject of study is of great interest to them. In order to truly understand a subject, one usually has to be fully immersed in it, often to the exclusion of all other subjects. Therefore, unit studies are more effective than attempting to study a little bit of every subject every day. Some unit studies may only take a few days to a few weeks, but on average, they take a year or more. This is not due to the slowness of the individual, but rather the amount of information being processed.

With accelerated learning, learning usually takes less than half the time as a normal course. Furthermore, the learners perform better and the materials are easier to update.

Guidelines for Accelerated Learning

Keep the threat low. Be positive, accepting, supportive, and encouraging, rather than trivializing the learners or being serious and overbearing. Help the learners eliminate or reduce fears, stresses, and learning barriers.
Keep the energy high. Make learning fun by providing a natural, comfortable, and colorful environment.
Trust the learner and the learning process. Accommodate different learning styles, speeds, and needs by providing a multidimensional approach to learning. Provide group-based learning. Present materials pictorially as well as verbally.

Learning Accelerators

Positive suggestions
Time to prepare the learner to learn
Metaphor and mnemonic devices
Relaxation exercises
Mental imagery exercises
Learning labs (multi-path, self-paced environments)
Role plays, games, songs, and team projects
Information graphs (mindmaps)

Hygiene

Children should be taught good hygiene mostly by example, but occasionally by word. Some habits should be eliminated, such as touching everyone else's food, and other habits should be formed, such as washing one's hands before handling food (including before meals).

Exercise

Children need plenty of exercise, preferably outside. Too little exercise can result in hyperactivity and other behavioral issues. Some children do better exercising with family as opposed to peers. For these children, family activities, such as hiking, biking, camping, and nature walks may be preferred.

Diet

Children need a sufficient amount of protein and Vitamin B 12 to concentrate and control their emotions. The best balance of proteins is found in meats and animal products. Vitamin B 12 can only be found in meat and animal products. Beans, lentils, and nuts can be used to supplement the primary sources of these nutrients, but should not be used to completely replace them.

Many modern foods have preservatives, additives, and artificial colors and flavors. Children may have sensitivities to these ingredients, which may cause hyperactivity or other behavioral issues.

Color

It has been found that colors can affect the mood and behavior of a child.

Warnings About the Use of Physical Punishment

Current research in the fields of mental health and child development show that acts of violence against a child, no matter how brief or how mild, have a cumulative and enduring effect. Some people argue that an individual has a duty to deliver a good smack to a child so that warnings about life's dangers are remembered. If that were valid, spankings would become less frequent as children learned their lessons, but as it is, spankings tend to escalate in frequency and severity. Spanked children tend to behave worse as well, as spanking throws the child into a state of powerful confusion, making it difficult for him or her to learn any lesson the parent or caregiver is attempting to deliver. Spanking does not teach children that hot stoves and busy roads are dangerous, but that the adults upon whom they depend are dangerous.

Survival is the overriding concern of the child from birth. fear of falling, fear of loud noises, and the need to eat are not learned. They are fully functional at birth. The sound of the mother's voice and the warmth and gentleness of her touch are key experiences that inform the infant of their world and set the stage for all that follows. Trust is crucial and must be established early. Tragically for many, it is also destroyed early from neglect, rough handling, threats, shouting, and associated harsh treatment, including spanking, all of which begin earlier in children's lives than anyone would like to admit. The spanked child, like one who is denied adequate food, warmth, or rest, is less able to regard the parent as a source of love and security. The parent-child relationship is inevitably affected by this betrayal, and the child fails to mature and thrive properly. This lost of trust can also ruin the child's ability to form trusting relationships with anyone, the effects of which may be lifelong, as with RADS (Reactive Attachment Disorder Syndrome). People who have been harmed in this manner may see relationships as deals to be won or lost, with no negotiation or compromise. They are always on guard, and see honesty and trustfulness in others as weaknesses to be exploited, as was once done to them. The world becomes an extension of their early home life - a dangerous environment in which the best protection against becoming a victim is to victimize others.

Permissiveness (doing nothing) is as unwise and counterproductive as using physical punishment. What is effective is establishing a safe environment with appropriate boundaries and modeling desired behaviors and principles, which cultivates the child's natural inclination to imitate and cooperate. Although it takes more skill and patience, it strengthens the bond of trust between the parent and child, paving the way for the more challenging lessons ahead.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, men and women in relationships that include violence are also violent toward their children, raising them to become victims or violent individuals like themselves. If children learn from their parents that hitting or spanking someone smaller and weaker is the way to vent frustration, express disapproval, and assert authority, this will seep into all their relationships, and when they feel they are big enough and strong enough, they attempt to control others with threats and violence as well. When the parents are violent, they learn that it is fine for spouses to be violent toward each other and their children, they find it difficult to break this cycle of violence, and often abuse their own children as a result. As spanking disappears, so do other forms of violence.

Death and serious injuries to children can occur as a result of parents and caretakers using physical punishment. Many infant and toddler deaths attributed to accidents such as falling out of the crib would be reclassified if the truth were known. There is no "safe" way to hit a child.

Some defenders of spanking caution that spanking must be done methodically and with deliberation, and never in anger. In that case, it would be considered permissible to hurt others, provided one does so calmly. However, neither children nor adults care about their abuser's frame of mind. Spanking may provide an instant outlet for the parent's feelings of frustration and anger, but it is ineffective in improving behavior, as acts of violence, by their very nature, tend to escalate.

Spanked children have difficulties setting personal boundaries, as their bodies (even their private areas) are constantly subjected to the wills of adults. No matter what else one may think they are accomplishing, spanking and other forms of violence set children up to be easy prey for predators.

Physical Effects

Medical science has long recognized and documented in great detail how being spanking can result in a deranged concept of intimate relationships, such as viewing pain and humiliation as indicators of love. Additionally, it can result in bleeding in the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve, possibly injuring it and causing impairment to the involved leg. It can also cause injury to the tailbone (coccyx) or sacrum. The force it sends upward through the spinal column can compress discs or cause compression fractures in the vertebrae.

Slapping the hand is dangerous as well, particularly because the ligaments, nerves, tendons, and blood vessels are close to the skin, which has no underlying protective tissue. It can also damage the growth plates in the bones, which may result in deformity or impaired function. Additional issues, such as fractures, dislocations, and premature osteoarthritis can also arise.

Shaking a child can cause blindness, whiplash, brain damage, spinal cord injury, and even death.

Psychological Effects

Spanking is a degrading, humiliating experience, and the spanked child absorbs not only the blows, but also the message of worthlessness and rejection they convey, instilling self-hatred and influencing the child's developing personality. Many individuals resort to medicating themselves to give them instant relief from these feelings, caused by the pain and suffering they have been subjected to, and it is difficult to convince an abused child that something swallowed, inhaled, or injected will only remove the pain briefly, eventually compounding it by creating additional serious issues.

In early childhood, the brain develops faster than any other organ of the body. By age 5, it is about 90% of its adult weight, and by age 7, it has reached its full size. This makes early childhood a very sensitive and critical period in brain development, and the stress caused by fear of physical punishment can negatively affect the development and function of the brain during this period of great plasticity and vulnerability. Animals exposed to stress and nglect early in life develop a brain wired to experience fear, anxiety, and stress. New brain imaging surveys and other experiments have found that not only is this true in humans, but child abuse can also cause permanent damage to the neural structure and function of the developing brain itself. It can derail the natural, healthy growth of the brain, resulting in lifelong, irreversible abnormalities. Therefore, every effort must be made to prevent abuse and neglect before it does irrevocable damage to millions of young victims, jeopardizing their normal brain development.

Observations

Observant teachers have noticed that children whose home environments are most troubled exhibit the most serious behavioral issues at school. For many of these children, the battle zone of their home life carries into their school life, setting them up for academic failure and dropout. In an attempt to erect a shield against what they perceive to be a comfortless, hostile world and to fill the void caused by failed home and school environments, they may join street gangs or seek the company of others with similar problems. These individuals reject the adult world to the degree they believe it has rejected them. These recipients of violence dispense the same violence to others as soon as they are able. Some teachers work tirelessly to curb violence-impacted children's aggression, instill the trust they lack, and redirect them in positive directions, but it is a daunting task for even the most dedicated and best-prepared teachers, requiring extraordinary resources unavailable to public school systems. If parents and caretakers put an end to this abuse, which makes children antisocial and self-destructive, school dropout, delinquency, and addictions would cease to be major issues affecting our nation.

Poverty, discrimination, family breakdown, drugs, and gangs contribute to violent crimes, but spanking is rarely acknowledged. In 1940, researchers Sheldon and Eleanor Gleuck began their landmark study of delinquent and nondelinquent boys, and discovered certain early childhood influences caused children to develop violent, antisocial behaviors. They found that the first signs of delinquency often appear in children as young as three – long before they come into contact with influences outside the home. The results showed that parents who rely on physical punishment to manage their children instead of calmness, gentleness, and patience, tend to produce aggressive, assaultive children. The earlier and more severe the maltreatment, the worse the outcome. The lowest incidence of antisocial behavior was found in children, who from infancy, were raised in attentive, supportive, nonviolent families. The simple message from the research is that if one wants to do everything in their power to prevent their child from one day joining the prison population, guide gently and patiently. Respectful children come from houses where shaming, shouting, ignoring, threatening, insulting, bullying, and spanking are not included in the parenting tool kit.

Spanking fills children with anger and the urge to retaliate, but these urges are rarely directly acted upon. Even the most severely spanked children generally do not strike back at those who have hurt them, instead taking out their anger by bullying younger siblings, pets, or imaginary adversaries, as those in video and computer games. Much popular entertainment aimed at young audiences cater to this, and as children grow and come under the influence of TV shows, news, and other media with violence, their anger is channeled toward scapegoat groups. Hate cults, extremist political factions, and other various sects promote prejudices that offer them an opportunity to convert fantasy into reality.

In schools in the United States, disciplinary hitting of students typically involves battering the buttocks with a flat stick or board called a paddle. However, forced exercise and denial of use of the bathroom are also common forms of physical punishment. Although deemed to be in the school's best interest and essential to the smooth functioning of the school, school systems with the highest rates of corporal punishment have the worst-performing children, who become the most troubled and difficult to manage. Documented research shows a correlation between corporal punishment in schools and certain negative social outcomes, such as low graduation rates, high teen pregnancy rates, high incarceration rates, and high murder rates. The effect it has on teachers who do not condone the practice is demoralizing, as their survival depends on their willingness to remain silent about what they witness. It is not unusual for a paddling school to degenerate to such a level that they are nothing more than a magnet and safe haven for incompetent teachers, including those dangerously unfit to be left in charge of children. Corporal punishment in schools has disappeared in nearly all countries in the developed world, not one country in Europe permitting it. Developing countries are also abolishing it at a rapid pace, with governments and educators alike showing no interest in reverting to the old methods. Too many beatings aree inflicted on students each year in the United States. If your school allows corporal punishment, you can demand that the authorities correct the problem immediately, remove your child from the classroom, and alert other parents to the danger. Corporal punishment is very dangerous, and the community needs to unite to oppose it.

If we really want a peaceful, compassionate world, we need to build communities of trust, where all children are respected, discipline is taught by example, and homes and schools are safe places to be. Physical cruelty and emotional humiliation not only leave their marks on children, but also inflict a disasterous imprint on the future of our society. A society that does not hit children results in fewer people who are alienated, depressed, or suicidal, as well as fewer violent marriages. The benefits to society as a whole are equally great, including lower crime rates, especially for violent crimes; increased economic productivity; and less money spent on controlling or treating crime and mental illness. A society that raises children by humane, caring, and nonviolent methods is less violent, healthier, and wealthier. The most positive social changes around the world are results of mass improvements in the way children are treated. Children should never receive less protection than adults. We are obliged to put an end to adult justification of violence against children, especially those accepted as tradition or discipline. Violent fathers produce violent sons. Children do not need beatings, they need love and encouragement. They need fathers they can look up to with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need an example they can imitate. Any form of corporal punishment, including spanking, is a violent attack on another human being's integrity. The effect remains with the victim forever and becomes an unforgiving part of his or her personality – a massive frustration resulting in hostility that seeks to express itself later in life through violent acts toward others. Love and gentleness are the only kinds of called-for behaviors we should have toward children. Children become the kind of person they have experienced. Corporal punishment of children interferes with their optimal development as socially responsible adults. It is important for their emotional and physical health that alternative methods for the achievement of self-control and responsible behavior are utilized. Punitive measures, regardless of who administers them, have well-known effects: (1) escape – truancy, etc., (2) counterattack – vandalism and attacks on others, and (3) apathy – a sullen withdrawal. The more violent the punishment, the more serious the by-products. Corporal punishments trains children to accept and tolerate aggression. It is a prominant root of adolescent and adult aggression, especially in antisocial forms, such as delinquency and criminal activity. Corporal punishment is at the root of uncontrolled corporal passions, especially those that portray the beating of women and children. Research has shown that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who are not spanked. As adults, they ar more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. Inflicting pain or discomfort, however minor it may seem, is not an effective means of communicating with children (or anyone, for that matter). As long as the child will be trained not by love, but by fear, so long will humanity live not by justice, but by force. As long as the child will be ruled by the educator's threat and the father's rod, so long will mankind be dominated by the policeman's club, by fear of jail, and by panic of invasion by armies and navies. Slavish discipline, particularly beating and other forms of corporal punishment, makes for a slavish temper. Discipline of this nature is not fit to be used in the education of those we want to be wise, good, and ingenious. Chide not the pupil hastily, for that will both dull his wit and discourage his diligence, but admonish him gently, which will make him both willing to amend and glad to go forward in the hope of learning. Let the master say, "Here, you do well." For there is nothing that sharpens a good wit and encourages a love of learning as praise. Love is fitter than fear, gentleness better than beating, to bring up a child properly in learning. Children ought to be led to honorable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows and ill treatment. (Plutarch) It is a disgusting and slavish treatment... When children are beaten, pain or fear frequently have the result of which is not pleasant to speak and which are likely subsequently to be a source of shame, shame which unnerves and depresses the mind and leads the child to shun the light of day and loathe the light... I will spend no longer time on this matter. We know enough about it already. (Quintilian, circa 90 CE)

Food for Thought

It is better to be a child's mentor than a disciplinarian or friend. A mentor is one who has achieved self-mastery and is willing to impart that knowledge to others. They teach by example, and occasionally by word.

Children do not do as we say, but they will do as we do.

Children are given to us so we can learn where we need to improve. We must only be open to the lessons.

Most education occurs in the home.

Those who teach for their own gain do not teach the whole truth.

Knowledge is power.

Without self-control and compassion, knowledge and power are dangerous.

Children are highly sensitive to the tones people use. If there is the slightest amount of anger, frustration, or disrespect, children tend to manifest or magnify it.

What you tolerate is what you can expect.

We are to be raising adults, not children.

If you use the same methods as the schools, how can you expect different results?

Statements That Can Define How We Act

If you drop it, pick it up.
If you sleep on it, make it up.
If you wear it, hang it up or put it in the laundry.
If you spill it, wipe it up.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you open it, close it.
If you use it, put it back where you found it or where it belongs.
If you empty it, fill it up or have someone help you fill it up.
If you make it messy, clean it up or have someone help you clean it up.

Have a place for everything, and have everything in its place.

In our family:
We use words to describe how we feel.
We use respectful tones when talking to each other.
We use our "inside" voices to talk to each other.
We walk when we are in church and run on the playground.

Words that Elicit Good Chemical Reactions

When humans experience feelings, chemical reactions take place in the body. Some chemical reactions have positive effects, and some chemical reactions have negative effects. Some words that produce positive effects are:

Compassion
Friends
Love
Kindhearted
Fascinating
Intriguing
Inspirational
Wonderful
Amazed
Exciting
Enthusiasm
Vibrant
Exhilarating
Elated
Energetic
Surprises
Radiant
Gratitude
Fulfilled
Appreciative
Thankfulness
Hope
Encouragement
Joy
Delight
Glad
Happiness
Laughing
Enjoying each other's company
Peaceful
Serene
Calm
Comfortable
Content
Tranquility
Refreshed

Reading these once or more a day can have very positive effects on a person's attitude. Make a list of other words that make you and your family members think good thoughts. The list might include favorite foods (pizza, ice cream, etc.), places (the cabin up north, Bridal Veil Falls, etc.), people (Uncle Pete, Tommy, etc.), and dates (birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, etc.)


See also:

Mass Etiquette

Self-Improvement

Developmental Milestones

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