WARNING: If you parent in the time honored tradition of coercive, punitive "discipline", authoritarian style, you are already offended at this blog post. You already feel as though I am questioning everything you believe in, stand for, think is Good and Right and True. Yes, this is Very Offensive indeed.
But the truth is that what I am doing is questioning my own long held beliefs about how people should be grown by other people. What I am pushing at, challenging - trying to get out of - is this very uncomfortable, scratchy, pokey even "safety net" (which i am now realizing was really a straight jacket) for raising children.
So... watch me squirm. Better yet, squirm with me, will ya?
People think that children who are compliant and easy to control are "good children".
Who among us hasn't seen the obedient child who "listens the first time" and then commented on what a Good Child that was?
[back to lowercase now.]
this is nothing short of vile and offensive to me. as my friend aptly articulated to me recently - and i'm totally paraphrasing - "people are only going to be 'children' for a very small part of their life, so we might as well allow them access [desirable?] adult patterns of behaviors so they can become familiar with and practice them. obviously, i don't mean inappropriate things. i am talking about the characteristics of happy, successful big people that already exist in happy successful small people. determination, persistence, unwillingness to accept the status quo or arbitrariness, looking for creative ways to do things, not being easily swayed... things like this.
in very young people we use labels like: defiant, sassy, rude, devious etc.
you know what this about? it's about *US*! the behaviors are hard for us to manage, the people don't do what we want them to do, they make us look bad to other people. it's more work for us.
our collective illusion of Safety in Control is foundational to the parenting philosophies that are popular today.
control the infant's feeding and sleep patterns or else the whole human being will be completely ruined and your life will be a wreck and you will be a bad parent. don't you dare give your hungry baby your breast when she asks for it or you risk being manipulated and raising a terrible and evil manipulating human. force independence on to naturally dependent creatures or else who knows when they'll stop needing you. everyone knows babies shouldn't need their parents emotional presence and support. all babies need is nourishment and a safe place to sleep. so start training them not to need you from birth just to make sure they really get it. make sure they learn as much as possible as soon as possible or else they will be blithering idiots who can't formulate coherent thoughts and the definitely won't be brilliant "academians" (so, i made up my own word), which everyone knows is the key to True Happiness. make all of their decisions about everything for them because they don't know any better and will magically develop this ability at age 18 as long as you keep doing it for them until then.
control control control.
when they get older, punishment is The Only Way to get them to do what you want them to do. no chance in hell that there are any good humans who weren't hit or coerced to goodness by their parents. and of course, every child who gets hit/controlled/manipulated/forced grows up to be a successful adult. (whatever the hell that is.) and it is about what they will be later because they are not actual whole complete people now. naturally.
all the evidence supports this. if you want to grow a robot who will not think for itself, this is definitely the way to go. that way, we can stagnate the progress of the human race and make sure that everything stays exactly the same because it's all SO good now, isn't it?
obedient, compliant adults who always do what they're told and never ask questions or challenge the status quo is what the world really needs.
talk amongst yourselves...