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!”

20 thoughts on “Actions as a parent

  1. Hi Lana,

    As a grandfather who has raised quite a few young-uns, I agree with the first sentence in your post wholeheartedly!

    I also admire your style in this holy endeavor of re-orienting people to the world in which we live. Compassion, Love, Honesty, Kindness, Persistence, Thoughtfulness, following the principles in What is Greatness? If one personally gives these things to children, these will be important examples that they will have to look to later in life. Your handling of your older boy was great, because he could giggle about it and I’m sure that you will gently get him to tell you “the rest of the story” so that he can come completely clean. One gentle way I have used to get children to confront stuff is to ask them (with absolutely no recrimination, but as a sincere question), “How do you imagine you would feel if _____ [happened to you].” (TR4)

    I so admire parents who raise their children. It is not an easy job. Personally, I think that medals of honor should go to parents more so than military men. So, let me pass on a word of hope to you parents on the front lines:
    If anyone has ever been worried whether they are a good parent, let me pass on something which one of my sons recently said to his wife. She was worried at one point that she would not be a good mother and he told her, “Well, I know that you are going to be a good mother.” When she asked how he knew that he said, “Because you are worried whether or not you will be a good mother.”
    And to think that that guy’s nickname (which he worked very hard to earn) when he was a little boy was “Mr. Mischieve” ! 🙂
    Lana, was the LRH quote you gave from Child Dianetics?
    I also remember reading a book, “Miracles for Breakfast” by Ruth Minshul, which had a lot of useful applications of LRH material told in an easy to read style. It was sold in all orgs at one time. Have you ever read that?

    • Thank you for the lovely ack Espiritu. Parenting has to be the most taxing/challenging/difficult yet terribly rewarding jobs – particularly as you are routinely handling illogical and reactive behaviour. Little growing bodies have only a certain amount of energy, and when this is drained and more food or sleep is required, the bank jumps in with both feet and makes itself known. Trying to argue or reason with the bank has never worked — but I have learnt (the hard way) that by doing all you can to prevent that key-in, and then working calming and patiently when there has been a stuff-up and the bank is in full restim – somehow you get through the day — all a little wiser for it.

      I have read portions of Ruth Minshul’s book, and I really should sit down and read it all. The excerpt I included is from Dianetics Auditor Bulletin No. 5, from November 1950, entitled The Processing of Children.

      • Nice, Lana. and I concur with Espiritu. Ruth Minshull’s MFB, made child raising such a sane, fun filled activity for the job at hand. You can relax, when you see the data readily absorbed by your junior charges. It certainly makes the apprenticeship of being “a parent”, a lot better understood by all involved.

        And that can’t be a bad thing, when you work with firmness AND compassion, eh? 🙂

  2. LM:

    OMG, so much to comment on.

    The second hardest thing I ever had to do as a parent was to allow my daughter to actually own (and optionally destroy) her own stuff. (The hardest was deciding when the talking must end and the paddling begin.)

    Regarding your ex-2D’s handling of the situation I mentioned, I agree with you. There’s a passage from LRH somewhere and I wish I could quote it. But it’s more or less along the lines of, “What in the hell are you doing as a parent letting your child even get into a situation like that?” That’s the juggling act of a parent. We all know how kids are. They hurt themselves, they wreck stuff, etc. They don’t normally do stuff like this on purpose. But if you want to prevent it, you have to take responsibility as a parent and ensure that it’s not possible for them to do so. It’s like putting a Ming vase in your child’s room and getting angry when they break it. The real question is, why did you put a Ming vase in your child’s room in the first place? You should have known better. And you can’t saddle your child with a lot of guilt for things he does accidentally, like breaking headphones. He doesn’t handle MEST or his body very well yet. That’s kinda the point of being a kid. He’s got to grow into deftly handling feet, hands, legs and such. And he has to grow into an appreciation for MEST, what it takes to break it, and the consequences when he does so. Also, ownership is a sort of nebulous concept for children. It they’re playing with it, they own it. If you don’t think so, look at what LRH has to say about ownership and KRC. And then apply that to kids. If it’s in their hands and under their control, they own it. They have to ease into the idea that some things they control they don’t actually, technically, own. (Actually, I think this concept is not native to a thetan. Back in the era of free thetans, you didn’t play with things you didn’t own, unless you wanted to prank the owner. You were perfectly capable of making your own copy, with which you could do anything you liked. If it was in your “hands”, you actually did own it.)

    By the way, your elder son’s prank is a classic. Back in the free thetan days, it was a favorite routine, hiding things from their owners. The source of a great deal of mirth.

    And this last excerpt from your LRH quote:

    “But under no circumstances should he be possessed automatically of as much right as an adult in the sphere of the home.”

    This is one of the most often ignored ideas in the “modern” raising of children. Children are, yes, little thetans, and yes, they have the rights of thetans. But they aren’t adults and they don’t have the same rights as adults. They only gain those rights gradually over time, and as adjudicated by you, the parent. And even when they grow up, when they’re in your house, it’s your house.(Similarly, when they grow up, their house is theirs. If you occupy space there for any reason, it is at their invitation, with their blessing. But it’s still their house. If the rule is that you take off your shoes when entering their house, follow it. Etc.)

    And the whole idea that a child has a “job”, and that “job” is to grow up. Beyond simple and absolutely true. (The problems come in when they’re teenagers and they think they’ve completed that job, and you known they haven’t yet. Hoo boy.)


      • Paul, my apologies for my delayed response.

        I agree with your points here. I am still learning how to walk that fine line of preventing restimulation, but dealing with it when there is a key-in. The psychosis that LRH talks about is that bank key-in, which grabs a hold of them when they are tired or restimulated, and results in them acting loudly, irrationally and at effect. Some parents take a tantruming child, place them in a closed room and don’t engage in conversation until they calm down. This supposes that they can calm themselves down, which I have found is often not the case. Some parents jump in with heavy handed punishment in the form of paddling or confiscation of precious owned items. I have never really seen this do more than escalate the resentment that is already there.

        Talking to someone who is tantruming is impossible — as they are actually not there. There is a very loud circuit being screamed or yelled or cried, and there is no two way comm.

        So it is this point that I am still learning on. As with any parent, I can generally hold it together, but if I am tired or running late to get somewhere, it is easy to slip down to anger and then do and say things that aren’t helpful to you or the child. This is not common, but it does happen.

        And so I am working out more and more ways to cut through the circuits and tantrum and dramatised psychosis to speak to the being and get a two way communication going, at which point suddenly the screaming ends and there is a discussion and some “itsa” about what the upset was started about, and what the protest was about.

        These are thetans, in little bodies that they don’t have fully under control yet — and with full-size banks that can really shake things up. I would like to get expert on helping these beings and keep on working to improve my skills — but Oh my, it can be a challenge at times!

        Throw into the mix a noisy divorce with children doing a to-and-fro on a continued basis, and it is not very stable for them. Even that basic point is enough to keep rudiments out and kids in a continued restim.

        On the subject of ownership — I am firmly of the belief that their stuff is theirs, and their rooms are theirs. I help them to clean them up and organise those rooms, and get their involvement and participation in this, and it works out OK. Like you, I work to foster interests that they have, facilitate them as I can, so that they can continue to reach and learn and discover in the areas that really fascinate them. And this is working well.

        This parenting is such an interesting task. There is no real right way or wrong way — it is just a matter of doing the best you can with what you know, and when that comes to Scn, there is a lot to know and apply. 🙂

        • Nothing wrong with getting angry once in a while, it’s when it’s constant it becomes an aberration and an issue.

          Re ownership, their stuff is their stuff, true; same with their room. But the house is mine, they can contribute to it, and if it becomes enmested or destroyed, then there’s an issue. The 2nd Dynamic is a small 3rd dynamic and they need to learn to exist within it to some degree, or at least where the boundaries are.

    • Hi Paul,

      I don’t quite agree with this part of what you said:
      “Children are, yes, little thetans, and yes, they have the rights of thetans. But they aren’t adults and they don’t have the same rights as adults. They only gain those rights gradually over time, and as adjudicated by you, the parent. And even when they grow up, when they’re in your house, it’s your house.”

      I look at this issue of ownership a little bit differently, and
      I never regarded my children as little thetans….quite the opposite! 🙂
      I always tried to grant them as many rights as they wanted to take responsibility for and our house was always their house too, meaning they were part of the “us”.
      Although my wife and I were the “senior executives”, they always could have input into everything. For example, at one time one of my sons had 30 birds in his bedroom in addition to other assorted creatures because he loved animals. Yes, his room looked like a guano island at times, but today he is a wildlife biologist, fancy that! 🙂 Anyhow, all of my children always have had and always will have some ownership of our family home. They will always be welcome wherever I live. And, it turns out, there has always been room for Dad in their homes.
      Anyhow, this is how I view this ownership of the homestead thing.
      We are each parts of one family and a family is sort of a special kind of group. It is the building block of society. Those who build families also deserve medals of honor because doing so is not an easy task in this everymanorwomanforthemselfs oriented world.

      • E:

        When you’re talking about a child’s room, you and I agree, as does LRH. In fact, LRH makes this clear as regards to what a child owns. This was hard for me, but I had read what LRH said and went with his advice.

        As for my daughter’s house and my house being owned by each of us separately, that’s a different matter entirely. I am the king of my domain, and most of the time, I prefer no visitors. I know of families where the kids just drop by whenever they like. Not in my house. This being my house, I may well choose to walk around naked or in my underwear (happens a lot). I may likewise choose to have sex with my wife in the middle of the day on the floor of the living room or in the kitchen (it has happened). I may even be in the middle of wrapping surprise Christmas presents for my daughter and her family on the dining room table. Thus, you’re not welcome unless I welcome you. Once here, you are welcome to be here and I will accommodate you as much as I can.

        By the same token, I wouldn’t dream of simply dropping by my daughter’s house unannounced or unbidden. And for the same reasons. I do not want to witness my daughter and her husband playing naked Twister in the living room, and they have the right to insist that I have permission before I come over. (My daughter is more liberal in this, and invites us to come by any time.) Similarly, if they have [what I think are] silly rules I must follow in their house, I accommodate them. This is very particularly true with regard to dealing with her children. If they must go to bed at 8pm and no sweets, regardless of whether I agree with that as a parent, these are her children and I will follow her rules.

        As an opposing “for example” my daughter has an uncle and aunt in law who simply show up on occasion, stay a couple of days, and handle her children the way they wish, contrary to the wishes of my daughter. Guess what? Cranks my daughter’s TA no end.

        To go a bit more deeply into this, let me say that when my daughter lived at home as a child and teenager, I was responsible for her. I gave her a lot of advice, instructed her on manners, and all the other things parents of children do. However, when she moved out, things changed radically. At that point, I considered her an adult. I was no longer responsible for her. These days, I do not give her advice unless she asks for it. I let her live her life as she sees fit, without my interference. She has turned out to be a very caring and conscientious parent. She has, despite her troubled adolescence, turned out to be a very good and sympathetic person. And regardless, I don’t interfere in the way she runs her life.

        As an example, I will argue politics with my wife (though it is seldom necessary) until it becomes unproductive. I will not argue politics with my daughter, though we differ considerably on the subject. This is the same courtesy I afford to any adult beyond my wife. However, my wife and daughter go at it hammer and tong at times on politics. All this really does is crank both their TA, so I consider it unproductive. My daughter is an adult and has the right to her opinion, regardless of how misguided and uninformed I think she is.

        By the way, when I say that I regarded my daughter as a “little thetan”, I did not mean to imply she was unable, stupid or anything like that. I suspect my use of the word “little” was misunderstood. I probably should have said just “thetan”. This is as LRH intended. While LRH also characterizes children as psychotic, we must treat them with understanding, grant them beingness, etc.

        In the end, I suspect you and must ultimately disagree on our handling of our households. I don’t know that there is one size fits all on this subject. Some couples have separate bank accounts for “his” money and “her” money. I can’t fathom why, but they do. I don’t argue with them, as they are free to approach these things as they like. Makes no difference to me. If your kids have an open door at your house whenever they like and vice versa, feel free. I’m only explaining why I handle these things the way I do.


        • Paul,

          Thanks for your clarifications. I actually think that we agree far more than we disagree. For instance, I too would never just “drop in” on my children without checking first to see if it was a good time. It’s a matter of courtesy. And I would never bypass their wishes regarding my grand children. As you said, that is their hat.
          I should not have emphasized what I perceived to be minor disagreements because our agreement is far greater. Probably every parent has had more than one crisis while raising their children. I know that I have.

          • E:


            One more comment on my use of the word “little”. I had a friend who was the son of Americans in Spain (his father was stationed on a military base there). While my friend’s native language was English, he also spoke fluent Castilian Spanish. When he and I became friends, he used to call me Pablo, or more often “Pablito”. Literally, this means “little Paul”. But in Spanish, that’s not what they really mean. It translates more like “Paul, my good friend”. It’s a way of expressing affection or familiarity.

            Where I used “little” with regard to my daughter or children in general, that’s kind how I meant it. It’s just that in English there is no good way to express the same meaning, except with a double entendre. Hard language, English.

            Just thought I’d add that.


  3. Thanks for your share. I’d sure come back as your child…, but you must know I do plan on living at least 20 more years 🙂

    One thing I’ve noticed is that there are tons of books and advice out there on how best to raise children, and most of it controverts the LRH article you just posted. Here in our small bakery we get a chance to experience first hand just how south parenting can sink. “Oh! I mustn’t exert any control on precious little Junior.” Usually, but not always, the tone level of the parent is the best guarantee of healthy parenting, but sometimes false data still wins out.

    And then there is the old joke: What do you call an expert on raising children? (Answer: a non-parent)

  4. Excellent article Lana!

    Child rearing is another area that has so much false data in it. After having friends who reared their kids different to my wife and myself, but who turned out fine, just like ours, I have come to the conclusion that, if you get everything else wrong, the most important thing is to love them.

    In saying that, LRH again has nailed it, as to how to do the job really well! Thank you for the reference, I had never read this one.

    Nowadays, since coming out of the church, I tend to read what the complaints of other people who have been involved in Scientology are, and what they feel was a fault in their experience, and to see if, indeed, that was Scientology that they had experienced and what LRH actually had to say about the area they are writing about.

    So, I read the experiences of kids who have grown up in a fanatical Scientology environment and what I find is LRH data used out of context or just plain 180 degrees backwards. This would be an example from your reference above;

    “. A child should have responsibility and independence commensurate with his status as a child.”

    That is just one that has been badly violated under Scientologists
    who I would class as a fanatic.

    There is much healing to be done, and giving the LRH reference with good examples of how it should be applied, I think, go a long way toward achieving that.

    BTW, it sounds like your eldest pulled off a very successful prank 🙂

  5. Thanks 4a. Yes, some other clues about the pranks of a 9 year old include:

    – switching the salt and sugar
    – putting plastic wrap on the toilet bowl
    – placing a pillow in the bed at bed time, under the covers, so that it appears there is a child there, while he is in fact in the closet

    And the number of pranks with dirty underwear is starting to get a little tiresome. LOL

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