With regards to "spare the rod, spoil the child", I think we have to remember that the "rod" isn't necessarily physical. There are many other very effective ways to reenforce boundaries aside from a swat on the behind. (Not that a swat on the behind isnt sometimes necessary as an attention grabber). What I often see in families with difficult or unruly children are a series of mixed messages, or inconsistencies in what is expected, what is reinforced and how it is reenforced. For example, I've taught many kids who must go to bed early because their marks are falling, yet an unsupervised television and video game console sits on top of the "study desk" in their bedroom giving the kid full access any time day or night. Kids are also often set up to fail because they are inappropriately 'punished' for their transgressions, or the punishment doesn't fit the crime. There is no mechanism to correct the behavior. For example, suspending a student for skipping school is ludicrous when you think about it.
When I think back on it, it's an awful lot like training horses. We know that with horses, the correction must be appropriate to the offense and that consistency is everything. Just as inconsistency is unfair to the horse who is expected to learn it is also unfair to the kid who is expected to learn. Being diligent in correcting and guiding even the smallest behaviors is hard work and requires us to see above ourselves in concern for the other person, or animal. So often with both kids and horses, we respond emotionally to poor behavior, which usually goes hand in hand with applying inconsistent or inappropriate "punishments" rather than corrections. In my mind, punishment says, " I care about how your behavior affects me", where a correction says, "I care about how your behavior affects you". Those people who successfully work with kids and parent kids to become great people and those that successfully train horses know the difference well. I guess that is what makes them good leaders.
Koolio, you are so right in all you say on this.
As far as I can see, raising children is hard work!
I am an observer and human body language is much the same as with animals, you can see warnings way before the event. Correction can take a lot of effort, many parents are not prepared to give this so things go from bad to worse. Many are afraid to correct for fear that their child, or pets, will not love them any more.
The opposite is true. The person who corrects fairly is more likely to have that child/animals respect and love than the one who lets them get away with blue murder.
I was late shopping one evening. It was about 9 p.m. Not many in the store. As usual I was dressed in my best - work clothes!
I was a bit surprised to see a couple in their late forties with a small child of about 4 years in there. To my thinking a child of that age should be in bed fast asleep.
This child had the mother and father of a tantrum in the centre of one aisle. The mother carried on walking whilst father went to pick the child up. Mother took his sleeve and pulled him away leaving the child having her hissy fit. She was on the ground kicking and banging the floor and screaming to wake the dead!
I stopped by her and said "Hey, that looks like a good game, can I play?" and made to get on the ground with her.
She stopped mid scream, looked at me and ran off to the top of the aisle where the parents were waiting.
Later when we passed each other the kiddie was being carried and she refused to look at me. The mother asked what I had said/done and I told her.
She told me that this was a foster child and they had her out because tantrums like this were the norm in shops so they wanted to try and sort it out when not many people were around. I felt bad for being judgemental earlier.
About three weeks later I met them in the store again, this time the child was fetching from the shelves and looked a different child. I remarked to her how good she was for being such a good helper and her little chest puffed out and I was rewarded with a shy smile.
Mother said that since the incident she had not had a tantrum in a store! Poor mite was probably terrified when a stranger, dressed in smelly work clothes wanted to play with her!
I love problem animals and that includes children. Those that have tantrums either get ignored or laughed at. The latter makes them even madder and they soon realise that it has no effect on me. I do not try to coerce or bribe them to behave. When they come out of it I carry on as if nothing had happened.
Anything said in the way of a promise whether it is a bar of chocolate or a smack, should be carried out, animal or human.