I am still sick. Now I have a fever and chills. Tomorrow back to the doctor, unless the fever breaks and by some miracle I feel perfect. What are the odds of another kidney infection? In the same kidney? And if that really happens, why do I always win those odds and not the lottery?
However, I wanted to talk about discipline for a moment just to help flesh out some of my ideas about the topic. I am not a fan of making children eat soap or hot sauce or vinegar. Or spanking. Or locking children in their rooms. I feel these are coercive techniques that address transient behavior at the expense of permanent character development.
I was spanked as a child, up until I became smarter and faster than my parents.Sure spanking formed my character, but not in ways that incentivized me to behave. Instead I became sneaky. My parents finally put up the yardstick when I was 6 after I gave my mother a merry chase and then successfully hid until she couldn't find me. Kudos to them for abandoning something that was obviously not working and not continuing the power struggle.
As for children who don't extrapolate corporeal discipline into sneakiness, they tend to become compliant because they fear the pain. Yet I would argue that the job of a parent is not to create adults who follow the rules because they worry about getting caught, simply because it sets up a corollary where, if they are pretty sure they won't get caught, they do what they want.
If mom isn't there to force hot sauce onto their children's tongues, do kids behave? I would say, probably not.
The goal is to instill character in my children, not coerce compliance through domination and I personally (as well as many parenting experts) don't think corporeal punishment yields the results I'm looking for. I want them to behave even when I'm not looking, and that can only be done with fostering strong independent character.
I didn't give much thought to discipline before becoming a parent. It took me so long to get pregnant and that journey was so precarious, I didn't ever think much beyond pregnancy. I assumed I would use time outs and then I began reading books like Unconditional Parenting, which is an evidence based approach to what helps and what hurts. It's everything you've never heard about parenting.
An example from my own parenting: First a set up...There is an extreme form of operant conditioning propogated by a fundamentalist Christian couple name the Pearls. According to this philosophy, at five months you can start smacking your baby when they do something you don't like. This inhibits undesirable behavior via a pavolovian aversion to pain. You aren't supposed to ever act in anger, but their methodology has resulted in many allegations of abuse.
While most people don't subscribe to this type of discipline, it is similar in effect to things like hot sauce in that domination and pain are used to control behavior. When the babeola started grabbing at my jewelery and glasses around five months of age, per the Pearls, I should've smacked her. Instead, I took my hand and modeled gentle on her face, doing and saying the word. It was frustrating and annoying and required almost endless repetition, but, by 9 or 10 months, the babeola demonstrated understanding of and compliance with the word gentle.
This illustrates why I am not a fan of things like washing mouths out with soap. It teaches a very superficial lesson that, depending on the child, can be expressed many different ways. A few examples...
--I have no control/power
--I have to fight for control/power
--The adults in my life overpower me, I don't matter.
But emphasizing the concept gentle begins the process of teaching the babeola how to treat people without diminishing her own power in the world.
Now with all that being said, I bet you dollars to donuts, the babeola will have a time out at some point. There has already been one day where she 'took a break' in her crib because momma was about to lose it! I am sure I will fail all the time and make enormous mistakes. We are all just doing the best we can so I do not mean to pass judgement in any way, but I think this is the kind of stuff worth learning more about.
You can read a large swath of the UP book here, the link takes you to the time out section which I thought was a revelation.
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