Posts Tagged ‘emotions’
Robert Mendelsohn writes about expectations on The Natural Child Project site.
Virtually all disturbing childhood behaviors stem from some emotional cause. Your response is not to punish the child but to isolate the cause. Often, the child who was finally toilet-trained after a long struggle may suddenly begin to wet his pants again. This isn’t deliberate, because no child really enjoys wet pants or the negative maternal responses they evoke. It is virtually certain, when this happens, that the child is responding to some environmental stress. Don’t spank your child, try to identify and eliminate the stress.
Remember, if your child suddenly becomes violent with his playmates, or becomes a discipline problem in school, that he is probably reacting to some situation or problem that is beyond his control. It could be illness, exhaustion, hunger, visual or hearing defects, or simply a reaction to turmoil at home. It may even be a response to his deteriorating self-image because you have unrealistic expectations of him. If so, he won’t respond positively to punishment. Emotional support and constant displays of love and affection are more apt to be the cure.
Children must, of course, be guided toward responsible adult behavior, but parents shouldn’t expect them to achieve it all at once. Nor is there any convincing evidence that it can be effectively achieved by employing the old maxim “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Corporal punishment at any age confuses and traumatizes the child, because he can’t understand why the mother and father he loves, and who are supposed to love him, are suddenly raging at him and causing physical pain. He is made to feel insecure, resentful, and even worthless, and the consequence may be psychological harm.
The impact of physical punishment on child development has been studied extensively, and the consensus of this research is that violence damages both parent and child. It fails to teach children what to do and yields only a temporary benefit, if that, in teaching them what not to do. I won’t deny that I’ve never raised my hand in anger on occasion, but for the most part I have tried to achieve the desired end with my own children through the use of example and the provision of tender, Loving encouragement. I am more than satisfied with the results. I hope and trust that my grandchildren, likewise, will rarely endure punishment of any kind.