We have been going from strategy to strategy in parenting. Finally yesterday, my husband and I went out and talked about ONLY THAT. We decided to be better at going with what we know works consistently toward influencing permanently the heart and soul of our child, which is Unconditional Parenting.
Other strategies like punishing and rewarding only last so long. Then no matter what, the parents have to come up with one new system after another. The problem is that the other systems are about having CONTROL over the child. They are not about helping the child to understand the deep-rooted reasons for kindness or learning to read. Instead they are about power and subordination. They are not about respect, but about children deserving or being, less than adults (which is all about power and subordination).
Reading John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of Education” at the same time and having recently also, read much of “Fabian Freeway,” I see things which cannot be ignored or unmentioned. Fabians are Socialists who decided to take down our Constitutional Republic slowly over time and without anyone noticing. Soon factories replaced entrepeneurism, apprenticeship, the cottage industry and trade-learning at a young age. The argument, then, was that children should not be working in factories and the option to be in the home was not the alternative given. Instead, the alternative presented and which took hold, was to put the children in public schools and to train them with corporal punishment (physical punishment) and embarrassment in front of peers, as a means of teaching them to become subordinates. This was all part of the Socialist doctrines the Fabians loved.
Today I decided to pick up and read “The Myth of the Spoiled Child,” by Alfie Kohn, the author of “Unconditional Parenting.”
“The Myth of the Spoiled Child” is helping me so much. Years ago, I read many of Alfie’s books. I was very convinced that he was right. However, over the years, it has been very difficult to live that life with my kids because of:
1) the method I was raised with by my parents, getting into my brain.
2) the methods of others around me seeming to work better at helping kids become good people
3) the arguments and protests of others wearing down my resolve
There is so much pressure put on parents by THEIR parents, to CONTROL their kids. I cannot find an end to the desire of all of us to “get them to behave.” The freedom comes when they become adults, because when they are adults, then of a sudden, regardless of their behavior, they “deserve RESPECT” just because of their age. Alfie argues that were people to teach their kids that every human deserves respect, and then actually give the same respect to children that adults get, that would be good. Treating people with respect because they have earned that respect would also make sense. Sadly, though, it is more like this: The adults deserve respect just because they are adults, and kids must do what adults say no matter what.
Let’s look at this just from a criminal’s perspective, or, as my kids would say, the way a “bad person” would see things. Pretend you are the bad person, And want to do harm to a child. Do you like this “Adults deserve respect” and this “kids must do what adults say no matter what (no reason needed)”? Mmmm. Yummy, eh? Great philosophy, from the perspective of the evil-at-heart! From the perspective of the abusive parent? Also grand.
When you look at it that way, you must be thinking, “No! I teach my child to respect all people, and only when that respect is deserved?” If you do feel that way, then you will be happy to know that the book, “The Myth of The Spoiled Child,” is all about just that, so pick up a copy and read it.
This book is wonderful at helping me to understand why others see things differently. Knowing why helps me to be able to see things from the perspectives of people like my relatives, and then be able to, knowing why they feel this way, help them understand and be able to be compassionate and understanding of their view at the same time.
One thing he said is that largely, a nostalgic desire for the past because of a feeling things change too fast, is what many suffer from. Another is guilt. Parents may be made to feel guilty if their child is loud in a quiet room, even if nobody is criticising them. This is how I am. Because of my upbringing and the pressure from others, I worry what others will think of me as a parent if I do not do something to try to CONTROL my child.
I must add that just having read this book a bit, does not mean I am now perfect at this method, nor at parenting at all. It is a long process of learning, experience, repentence, more learning, improvement, etcetera. I have no clue what I am doing, as a matter of fact.