The way to teach children how to be nice: be nice to them.

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Stassia_Florine
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28 Aug 2009, 6:23 pm

The way to teach children charity, or empathy, or forgiveness, or love, or respect, or manners, or tact, is not to try to force the child to have any of that for other people (which is impossible anyway, and bad for the child) but to do the opposite: be charitable towards them, empathize with them, forgive them, love them, respect them, be polite to them, be tactful with them.


Too many parents and teachers think respect is a one-way street. These (most?) people are not ready to be teachers or parents.


People need to realize that using negativity to discipline their children is absolutely, 100%, flat out WRONG in ALL cases. By negativity I mean punishment and rewards, scolding, impatience, anger, force, deprivation (taking things away or taking your child away from stimulation), threats, seriousness, intimidation, etc.



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28 Aug 2009, 7:26 pm

You make some good points but you are wrong to say that negative consequences are inappropriate in all cases. There are many times in a child's life where the gap between the ability to understand a rule, and the need to follow it, is too large. A four year old boy will run away with no thought of how unsafe it is. Certainly, positive parenting, and teaching the "why" is the choice of first attack. But sometimes, that just doesn't cut it. Parents have to make a lot of difficult choices based on the means available to them at the time. Most honestly chose quite carefully and have earned the right to have other adults respect those choices.


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28 Aug 2009, 8:03 pm

Discipline is a very important part of parenting. No parent enjoys doing it, but the consequences of letting the tail wag the dog lead to a child who ill-prepared for the real world. We've all seen plenty of examples of parents who let their kids do whatever they want, whenever they want it, and those are often the children who lack confidence, happiness, security, respect, appreciation, etc. To avoid discipline is the easy way out. Raising a child is arguably the hardest job of all and hugs and discussions don't always cut it. Children do not have the insight or even mature brain development to always make the right choices. Parents must teach their children consequences as they occur all throughout life. Sometimes consequences are negative and it would be equivalent to lying if these lessons were never taught. Most parents do not take discipline situations lightly and think it through beforehand. We are not always perfect and do make mistakes, but we always have our children's best interest in the front of our minds.



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29 Aug 2009, 1:10 am

Stassia_Florine wrote:
People need to realize that using negativity to discipline their children is absolutely, 100%, flat out WRONG in ALL cases. By negativity I mean punishment and rewards, scolding, impatience, anger, force, deprivation (taking things away or taking your child away from stimulation), threats, seriousness, intimidation, etc.


Uh, no, it's not. It's ideal if you can teach without doing such, but it's also necessary at times. If you never punish, they'll learn that and push boundaries. When those boundaries are pushed and you refuse to push back, how are they going to stop pushing?

Aren't you Ana54 here all ready?


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29 Aug 2009, 2:32 am

Stastsia Florine have you ever tried to reason with a two year old go for it, especially when the they think it's a good idea to put their fingers in an electric socket please do. Child services will be on your back in no time as will the police. Ask Piers Grandin on her own upbringing, chastisement is useful as it teaches a child what is good and what is bad. I remember some very terrible times when my own mother chastised me for acting up, it never did me any harm.



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30 Aug 2009, 1:08 pm

RainSong wrote:
Stassia_Florine wrote:
People need to realize that using negativity to discipline their children is absolutely, 100%, flat out WRONG in ALL cases. By negativity I mean punishment and rewards, scolding, impatience, anger, force, deprivation (taking things away or taking your child away from stimulation), threats, seriousness, intimidation, etc.


Uh, no, it's not. It's ideal if you can teach without doing such, but it's also necessary at times. If you never punish, they'll learn that and push boundaries. When those boundaries are pushed and you refuse to push back, how are they going to stop pushing?

Aren't you Ana54 here all ready?


yes, Stassia_Florine is another name that Ana54 goes by and as such is banned from WrongPlanet. If anyone sees Ana54 by any other name please alert the moderation staff.
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Aspie1
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07 Oct 2016, 10:24 am

Stassia_Florine wrote:
The way to teach children charity, or empathy, or forgiveness, or love, or respect, or manners, or tact, is not to try to force the child to have any of that for other people (which is impossible anyway, and bad for the child) but to do the opposite: be charitable towards them, empathize with them, forgive them, love them, respect them, be polite to them, be tactful with them.
...
People need to realize that using negativity to discipline their children is absolutely, 100%, flat out WRONG in ALL cases. By negativity I mean punishment and rewards, scolding, impatience, anger, force, deprivation (taking things away or taking your child away from stimulation), threats, seriousness, intimidation, etc.
Old thread, but the topic is still relevant today. So...

I don't know how true it is that negative discipline doesn't work. My family---all the adult in my life---were far, far from gentle with me when I was growing up. Yelling, scolding, taking away small pleasures, canceling special events, and even spankings, were all frequent occurrences in my home. And yet, I was very kind and gentle as a child, and remained that way well into teen years. In fact, when I was little, I made myself a medal, out of cardboard and tinfoil, that said: "Kindest Child Ever Lived", and actually believed myself to be the kindest child to have ever existed. (Given the cruelty I observed among my peers, it wasn't a big stretch of imagination.) In my 20's, I became angry and bitter, and cast off all remnants of my childhood kindness. I mellowed out again after turning 30, due to seeing my family reach old age and declining health.

Of course, now at age 33, I'm a bitter man who drinks frequently, smokes cigarettes (1 pack per week), sees escorts for intimacy, and files police reports on people at the drop of a hat. Although it's due to issues not entirely related to how I was raised. But I did learn things like respect, caring, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy, even with the authoritarian parenting I got. I've just become very stingy with them lately, after years of being very generous with them.



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09 Oct 2016, 1:23 pm

Aspie1, I think there are differing perspectives on all of this, and I do think that some kids will turn out the way they are going to turn out despite their upbringing, and it could go either way. You could have a kid raised in a nurturing, respectful environment who ends up being a selfish, amoral pig, or you could have a kid who is raised in the harshest of conditions and still grows up to be a kind, generous person. But those are the exceptions. I think MOST kids are shaped by their environment. Perhaps as a kid you developed despite your environment.

I think my brother and I are an interesting dichotomy. He believes in corporal punishment. He believes his children must be unquestioningly and immediately obedient to him as the authority figure. He thinks the way to raise a healthy kid is to break their will and superimpose your own, because a child's will is immature and sometimes goes awry. He, in effect, is his kids' moral compasses. They reference him constantly to figure out what the "right" thing to do is. Don't get my wrong. My brother is a good person, and he loves his kids.

But I couldn't disagree with him more. I do not believe in corporal punishment. Though I will say my son has been spanked. When he was younger he had very poor impulse control and sometimes that was the only thing that grabbed his attention enough to get him to stop from hurting or killing himself. I do not think my daughter has ever been spanked, but it is possible she was and I have forgotten about it.

I do not believe in breaking my kids' wills. I think I should strengthen their will. I don't ever want them to blindly comply with anyone for any reason. I find that to be a major root to what is wrong with society today. No one thinks for themselves. No one knows the difference between right and wrong without referencing those around them. I am trying to teach my kids to have their own moral compass, which does not need to match mine, nor anyone else's. I want THEM to be able to reason the difference between right and wrong and to understand why one action is right and another is wrong. Not just because I told them so. Or their teacher told them so. Or the law told them so. But because they UNDERSTAND. I see no way for a person to get to that point if they are referencing others for everything.

My kids describe me as being "strict" in comparison to their friend's parents, but they also say I am more fair. And they note that I listen to them more than their friends' parents do (according to the kids' reports, which may not be accurate). I have rules, and I do expect my children to be obedient, but there is nothing blind about it. I explain to them every rule that we have, and if they think I have made the rule in error or if they think they see a circumstance in which it shouldn't apply, we discuss it. Sometimes it results in me changing the rule, and sometimes it doesn't. There is an agreement that I have the "last say," but the rules change often enough based on their feedback for them to be willing to accept that I understand something they don't when I do not change the rule.

Since the age of about 11 or 12, my son has pretty much been self-punishing. I don't mean this in the sad kind of ways that this often works. I mean, if there is a rule infraction, he reports it, along with a recommendation regarding what he thinks the appropriate consequence should be. He is usually pretty good at coming up with a relevant and appropriately "painful" consequence (not physical pain). My daughter does not do this (yet), but my son does.

As for my brother's kids, they are awesome kids. But I worry for their future. They are not being taught to think for themselves. I fear they are either going to be like lost sheep or they will get fed up and rebel. I cannot picture either of my kids rebelling, because I can't imagine what they would rebel against.

Out of curiosity, what do you think led you from being the Kindest Child Ever Lived (I think that could describe my son) to where you are now? Could your parents have done something different to prevent this? I hope my son will stay the way he is for the rest of his life. He is really an awesome kid and I couldn't be prouder of him in this regard.


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Aspie1
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09 Oct 2016, 10:46 pm

InThisTogether wrote:
Out of curiosity, what do you think led you from being the Kindest Child Ever Lived (I think that could describe my son) to where you are now? Could your parents have done something different to prevent this? I hope my son will stay the way he is for the rest of his life. He is really an awesome kid and I couldn't be prouder of him in this regard.
The reason is banally simple: I grew up and I grew old. Which means I learned that 99% of people on this sorry excuse for a planet don't deserve my kindness. And if they don't deserve it, why bother nurturing this part of myself in the first place? So I just let it degrade. Now that I'm in my 30's, I learned to find a balance and ration out the kindness to the few people that do deserve it. The rest of them get ignored, or if need be, reported to the police.

My parents could have done one thing differently: not keeping child-level (or at least teenage-level) strictness up until I moved out of their home at age 24. Because for the first 2 years I lived on my own, I acted like an escaped zoo lion. Which got me in trouble with the police a few times, although nothing that led to a jail sentence. Some remnants of the "escaped zoo lion" mindset persist in me to this day, like refusing to ever settle down, let alone get married.



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16 Oct 2016, 11:22 am

InThisTogether wrote:
Aspie1, I think there are differing perspectives on all of this, and I do think that some kids will turn out the way they are going to turn out despite their upbringing, and it could go either way. You could have a kid raised in a nurturing, respectful environment who ends up being a selfish, amoral pig, or you could have a kid who is raised in the harshest of conditions and still grows up to be a kind, generous person. But those are the exceptions. I think MOST kids are shaped by their environment. Perhaps as a kid you developed despite your environment.

I think my brother and I are an interesting dichotomy. He believes in corporal punishment. He believes his children must be unquestioningly and immediately obedient to him as the authority figure. He thinks the way to raise a healthy kid is to break their will and superimpose your own, because a child's will is immature and sometimes goes awry. He, in effect, is his kids' moral compasses. They reference him constantly to figure out what the "right" thing to do is. Don't get my wrong. My brother is a good person, and he loves his kids.

But I couldn't disagree with him more. I do not believe in corporal punishment. Though I will say my son has been spanked. When he was younger he had very poor impulse control and sometimes that was the only thing that grabbed his attention enough to get him to stop from hurting or killing himself. I do not think my daughter has ever been spanked, but it is possible she was and I have forgotten about it.

I do not believe in breaking my kids' wills. I think I should strengthen their will. I don't ever want them to blindly comply with anyone for any reason. I find that to be a major root to what is wrong with society today. No one thinks for themselves. No one knows the difference between right and wrong without referencing those around them. I am trying to teach my kids to have their own moral compass, which does not need to match mine, nor anyone else's. I want THEM to be able to reason the difference between right and wrong and to understand why one action is right and another is wrong. Not just because I told them so. Or their teacher told them so. Or the law told them so. But because they UNDERSTAND. I see no way for a person to get to that point if they are referencing others for everything.

My kids describe me as being "strict" in comparison to their friend's parents, but they also say I am more fair. And they note that I listen to them more than their friends' parents do (according to the kids' reports, which may not be accurate). I have rules, and I do expect my children to be obedient, but there is nothing blind about it. I explain to them every rule that we have, and if they think I have made the rule in error or if they think they see a circumstance in which it shouldn't apply, we discuss it. Sometimes it results in me changing the rule, and sometimes it doesn't. There is an agreement that I have the "last say," but the rules change often enough based on their feedback for them to be willing to accept that I understand something they don't when I do not change the rule.

Since the age of about 11 or 12, my son has pretty much been self-punishing. I don't mean this in the sad kind of ways that this often works. I mean, if there is a rule infraction, he reports it, along with a recommendation regarding what he thinks the appropriate consequence should be. He is usually pretty good at coming up with a relevant and appropriately "painful" consequence (not physical pain). My daughter does not do this (yet), but my son does.

As for my brother's kids, they are awesome kids. But I worry for their future. They are not being taught to think for themselves. I fear they are either going to be like lost sheep or they will get fed up and rebel. I cannot picture either of my kids rebelling, because I can't imagine what they would rebel against.

Out of curiosity, what do you think led you from being the Kindest Child Ever Lived (I think that could describe my son) to where you are now? Could your parents have done something different to prevent this? I hope my son will stay the way he is for the rest of his life. He is really an awesome kid and I couldn't be prouder of him in this regard.


You hit the point I wanted to hit on. Kohlberg's theory of moral development. http://www.simplypsychology.org/kohlberg.html