Don’t Let Life Pass You By

A beautiful day at the start of autumn. Warm enough for the air conditioners to still run. No hint of the chill of winter that would soon make its appearance. Unlike the fall when the trees all change at once splashing color all over like the finale of a fireworks, there were only splashes of color here and there in a landscape that remained mostly green. The fields of corn, however, which had grown tall green stalks all summer were now turning to gold, gold in appearance and gold that would soon fill the farmers pockets, at least they hope if the price holds up. Most of that gold will be reinvested back into the soil come next spring.

Some children are returning to school, some are getting their first taste of “education”. At two- or three-years-old, children don’t realize they are being subjected to an environment to aid their discovery, what Kim calls “connecting the dots”. In child’s play we think of the pictures created as a child recognizes and orders numbers. In biology, it is the electrical firing between the neurons in the brain that takes place as a child learns. The importance of setting a culture that not only strengthens core knowledge, but helps a child to a healthy emotional path of dealing with other individuals is so underrated. Yet the advantages of children enriched by such a culture is so marked, it can be observed with the naked eye. The tests all prove it even though no.testing is required to demonstrate it.

The mark of a fully integrated human being includes the ability to take that learning process established early on and carry it on throughout life. It is especially vital as you take on new roles, particularly those of mother or father. Assuming you know all that you need to know because of the way in which you were raised is a faulty assumption. Common sense is so uncommon. If you think it “just makes sense” to do things a certain way, that thought should prod you to dig deeper. Raising children is such a fragile task, we can inflict permanent damage. If you choose that responsibilty or if it is thrust upon you, you must learn all you can. Life inflicts enough scars of its own without being mishandled by a well-meaning parent.

Taking on the roll of mother or father is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in life if you do it right. And along the way, don’t forget to pull out your camp chairs and just sit out staring up at the starry-lit night with your child. It will leave you with a feeling like nothing else.

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You Deserve a Good Spanking

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Changing a way of thinking is difficult, especially when it has been generally accepted over a long period of time. Beliefs about child-rearing go back hundreds if not thousands of years. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” was a tenant for years. Consequences for children of disobeying or misbehaving often included a hand, stick, or belt to the rear end. While this may have been an efficient means to an end (pun intended), it has only been in recent history that there was a challenge to this methodology.

By recent, I am referring to Dr. Benjamin Spock who first published Baby and Child Care in 1946. Of his book, many considered the best use for it was across the backside of a misbehaving child. It appears that children acting out either as a reaction to stress and frustration or just out of their own playfulness has been going on as long as there have been children. Dr. Spock was a pioneer in suggesting a better correction than physical punishment.

Even today, one can go to “wikihow” for fourteen suggestions on how to deliver a proper spanking. But the fact remains, if you are willing to invest the time and energy into it, there are so many better alternatives to behavior change, from distracting the child to reasoning with the child. Physical punishment is used because a) it is efficient, you let the child know in short order that their behavior displeases you, and b) as a reaction to an emotionally charged moment – you’re angry. Exactly the wrong moment to choose to be physical. And do you really want to be efficient with your children? Be efficient with things, be effective with people.

Dr. Spock felt strongly that physical punishment increased the acceptance of violence. “My other reasons for advising against physical punishment are, in brief, that it teaches children that might makes right, that it encourages some children to be bullies, and most fundamentally, that to the degree that it results in good behavior it’s because of the fear of pain. I have a strong belief that the best reason for behaving well is that you like people, want to get along with them, want them to like you.”

The alternative to physical punishment is not abstinence to discipline. There are plenty of good books already written on the subject including Boundaries With Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, and Parenting the QBQ Way by John and Karen Miller. Don’t give up the fight, just the fighting.