Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | April 22, 2013

Child Proofing Society, by David Bower

 The Training of Children

Not too many years ago, when I was growing up and then a few years later when our children were growing up, there was a popular child-raising principle; If a child misbehaved a child got spanked. This was not a revolutionary principle as it had been in use for thousands of years with reasonable success when properly applied. We know this principle extended back to the times of the Old Testament because we find in Proverbs 22:15, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”

Earlier in that same chapter it is written in verse 6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” or as translated in the NKJV, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” These concepts focus on the development of self-restraint, or self-control on the part of the child. When childish notions of bad behavior come into the mind of a child they are associated with punishment and are discarded before they are even implemented by the child.

While we didn’t use a rod we did have a flexible 12 inch ruler that would sting and make a loud noise and seemed to be very effective in developing childhood respect. In case a word of caution failed to immediately curb misbehavior, a slight move toward the ruler drawer always resulted in instant obedience.

Three Principles of Child Raising

By the time we were raising our children we had learned three principles which we always applied to their upbringing and which did a great job helping to turn them into the admirable and productive Christian adults they have become. The first principle was a clearly defined boundary. As a young man I had read an article in “Scouting Magazine” which influenced me the rest of my life; the article was about the principle of establishing fences for children. Children needed boundaries and these fences represented standards of behavior and while activities within those boundaries was acceptable moving beyond the fence was unacceptable and would always result in punishment, no negotiation, just absolutely certain punishment.

This brings up the second principle, it was not the severity of punishment that counted, but the unfailing certainty of punishment that counted. If the child went past the fence line, punishment was non-negotiable, arguments and excuses were futile, and the punishment was coming.

The third principle is perhaps the most important and that is the principle of unlimited love; the children’s lives were filled with hugs and kisses and many, many words of loving appreciation. They knew we loved them and that they could always depend on our love being there to support them no matter what!

I’m happy to report this system worked and in very little time eliminated any need for spankings from our lives entirely; the children had learned the value of self-discipline.

A New Theory Begins to Emerge

While our children were growing up we began to notice what was to us a new development among some of our friends. They were embracing a concept which we at once felt to be unworkable and unwise; the concept that one dealt with childish misbehavior by modifying the child’s environment. If, for example, the child wanted to break things one simply moved all breakable things out of the reach of the child which momentarily seemed to solve the problem; one did not tell the child no as that might stunt their emotional development. In other words the adult tried to childproof the environment by removing objects or eliminating situations which would permit or encourage the misbehavior.

It became evident to us very quickly that this approach was faulty and impossible to always implement. What if the child was simply rude or angry and struck out either physically or verbally at others and there was really nothing to remove from their environment that would solve the problem? I can recall telling my wife that children raised in this manner were heading for trouble when they became adults as it would be impossible to childproof society in order to keep them from misbehaving in a childish manner.

Next time, “An Unexpected Development”

 


Responses

  1. Well said David. Thank you for tackling this topic.

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  2. Amen and Amen on the training of children. I see so many times at the stores how parents will just let their children get toys and throw them around the store and then just leave them wherever for some worker to have to put up. Or grab candy off the shelf and scream if they don’t get it (which they usually end up giving in and letting the child have it). And don’t let me get started on those that scream and cry in restaurants. LOL I am thankful for parents that taught me discipline (and yes I did receive a few spankings)!

    Enjoyed your blog. Have a great day! ☺

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  3. A great piece. I have forwarded it to many. D.

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  4. One of our biggest problems is, that the “Government chased GOD out of our SCHOOLS, and let the DEVEL in”???? And now we are being punished for letting it happen

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  5. Bravo…so well said! We need a million of your clones to correct our failing culture!! Thank you David. I forwarded this to my adult children who are both parents.
    Please give my love to Adele….Elaine

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