By Lana M.
There are as many parenting styles and methods as there are people, and more than a few heads have bashed on this subject.
I recently had a run in with my ex as I did not agree with the way he dealt with our 5 year old when the child accidentally broke his brother’s headphones. The “responsibility as blame” that was dealt out by dad on the young child (who does not really understand what he did that broke the headphones) had the kid perplexed, upset and PTPed for days. Apparently he has been told to come up with the money to replace the headphones and at the age of 5 that is an interesting demand to set. It is also interesting as apparently the reason why he was using his brother’s headphones is because he has none of his own at that residence (and has to ask permission each time).
I don’t agree with the handling, and told my ex of that I disagreed. My view is that if there has been an accident or an issue with a child then get it sorted out to good indicators then and there — don’t create some never-ending commitment or obligation that a 5 year old cannot sort out by himself, and that leaves him down-tone and PTPed for days afterwards.
I pulled my child aside and got in comm with him about what had happened and asked him what he would like to do about it. A solution was reached that he could do something about (which I facilitated) and then as a reward for working out how to get his brother new headphones, I purchased him a set as well. There – problem solved.
This whole topic is a fascinating one. I have been studying more and more about how to assist my kids by preventing restimulation and locks, dealing with rudiments and discharging BPC.
It is a circumstance for humility on my part as I am certainly not a “perfect” parent – if there even is such a thing. And I have spotted some of my own habits in dealing with the challenges that a young family presents, that are not helpful or are down-right stupid. Some of the “solutions” that I have adopted at times to get a child to cooperate have not actually dealt with the upset, problem or withhold and have compounded the situation. So I find I am in a constant honing action, as a parent, to try and improve what I do and how I can help my kids with good control, communication and direction, while at the same time improving their own self-deteminism and responsibility.
A very funny recent example is the “case of the missing shoes”. Some new shoes were purchased for my youngest about a month ago and last week these shoes vanished. A very thorough search was conducted but the brightly coloured shoes seemed to have dropped off the planet. All the logical places were inspected and searched, followed by the not-so-likely — but the shoes were gone. Could not be found anywhere. The owner of these shoes was distraught — as one would be, when you are five and you lose your new brightly coloured shoes – but even his help in looking did not uncover them.
I resigned myself to the fact that unfortunately another new pair of shoes would have to be purchased. Due to growing feet, there is no surplus of shoes. In fact the now-lost new shoes had been purchased because the old hand-me-downs were already on their last legs (excuse the pun).
So a week goes by and then as strangely as the shoes had vanished, they reappeared at the front door — pretending they had been there the entire seven days. Sitting next to some bags and coats, they innocently sat there as if to say “Are you blind? I have been here the whole time!”, even though they had unquestionably NOT been there the whole time.
Both children were questioned and innocent eyes were accompanied with claims that they knew nothing.
But my older son was struck by the giggles when I asked for suggestions on “Where would you hide for a week, if you were a shoe?” and “If you were a tricky shoe, how would you prevent yourself from being found?”.
“In another larger boot” was his response (with big eyes). “That would be a very good hiding place!”
“Really?”, I asked. “Would you know anything about that?”.
“Oh no!”, he said, again barely able to suppress his smile. “You can’t blame me”, he insisted.
“Well”, I said, “One day, I hope that we will learn about this shoe mystery, because it was an incredible feat (again, excuse the pun). I am sure it will be a great story”. I gave him a grin and left it at that.
These withholds — they are hard to get off. But he knows, as I do, that he already has.
Here is some great LRH on kids and parenting. There is so much to learn on this subject.
“A small amount of education for the parents in the principles of Child Dianetics will sometimes accomplish more than the same number of hours spent in processing the child. Perhaps the single most important point in such education is to make clear to the parents the importance of giving goals to a child, and that the most important goal is that of growing up to be an adult. A child should have responsibility and independence commensurate with his status as a child. He should have things which are wholly his, and about which he decides everything. But under no circumstances should he be possessed automatically of as much right as an adult in the sphere of the home. To give him this is to remove the main goal of his life: growing up. The child, cared for without question and trained toward nothing, loses his prime incentive in life when the adults around him do not enjoy themselves as adults, take pleasure in their rights as adults, and insist on their rights as adults. When a child is kept dependent and shielded and recompensed for being a child, his incentive for being otherwise is much reduced, with a consequent deterioration of ability and a serious reduction in the quantity of knowledge he will acquire since he does not see any real reason to acquire it.
“If a child is not robbed of his main goal, growing up, he can quite often salvage himself. But the child’s idea of the adult world depends on the adults around him. If the child looks at Mama and sees that she is really a sort of nursemaid for him, and that he can make her do most anything he wants her to do, and that she is always moaning and complaining about having so much work to do, about her health, about a lot of things, he is certain to conclude that he doesn’t want to grow up to be like Mama. If he looks at Papa and sees that Papa works all day at the office, comes home at night and sits in a chair doing nothing for the rest of the night, and “plays” by pushing a little white ball around on the lawn, the child may well decide that he doesn’t want to be like Papa, either. The child is making a pretty good analysis of the situation if he decides that he’d rather stay a child anyhow!”