Our traditional culture was built on Biblical teaching and knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Various child-rearing techniques were chosen because they worked to develop wholesome human beings. Citizens followed the laws and religious commandments in the Bible, which captured these successful parenting techniques.
Understandably, if the parents were dysfunctional, often they would respond to their personal needs instead of teaching their children correct behavior. There was physical abuse and neglect by some, but the majority at that time had close family members who could speak up to curtail unreasonableness. As the traditional family decayed, many of our traditional childrearing techniques were no longer able to be implemented. Many divorced fathers were not living full-time with their children; these fathers often attempt to imitate their wives. When fathers were no longer able to step in to reinforce the discipline set by their wives, a new method had to be devised.
Dr. Benjamin Spock’s permissive, materialistic approach to child rearing appeared to perfectly fill this vacuum. The permissive materialism method fits the reality of a collapsing family structure. Instead of presenting a united front with both parents announcing the rules and punishing the child if he did not follow them, American experts turned to allow the infant and toddlers to behave as they chose. This delayed the age at which children completed potty training and learned to follow instructions.
With fathers being relegated to the sidelines and only seeing their children every other weekend, they have little time or inclination to enforce any discipline. They want their minimal time with their child to be pleasant and fun. Disciplining the children was relegated to the back of the priority list. It is understandable when parents are not on the same page in setting and enforcing rules, the child realizes he can do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it. In fact, the rowdier the child becomes, the more bribes and permissiveness they receive. Often, the more the parent becomes overwhelmed, their physician and/or teacher will give the child a negative psychological label that places the onus on the child and exonerates the parent. Usually, the other parent, often the modern male, ignores the responsibility to discipline the child.
Without the pain of significant consequences, any person, in this case, a child, will tend to test the limits weakening them even more. We are seeing this with undisciplined criminals who are released from the courts without consequences. Criminals, like the child, repeat the offense with even more vengeance and disregard for the authorities. The disrespect of the child for their parents and criminals for the police grows in intensity until chaos reigns. On the other hand, establishing right from wrong takes constant reminders with increasing severity of consequences until the child grows into a young adult. The untrained child (and criminals) must learn that “crime does not pay.”
After their intervention, the parent should have a strong discussion as to why the child received the negative consequence and what they should do to receive a positive one. The child should understand this tough love is necessary for the end purpose of helping the child to become a good, responsible, and honorable person. This discussion avoids the misunderstanding that the parent is not “being mean” to the child but is being a loving, responsible parent. The parent needs to know this intervention is to ensure the child does well in life.
Through these sincere discussions, the child comes to understand that inner discipline will positively shape their future. Positive discipline will protect the child from evil and keep them attractive to righteous people. The lack of appropriate punishment will lead the youngster directly into the arms of destructive and evil behaving acts and people.
Letting children raise themselves is a formula for disaster in this upside-down culture. Children must be trained to avoid the obvious pitfalls they will encounter. There are many dangers in our more and more evil culture: sex trafficking, deadly drugs, sexual deviance, transgender propaganda, suicide, ISIS, and other bizarre groups that children must be taught to avoid. These groups are experts at seducing undisciplined and confused, rudderless individuals.
In our undisciplined, anything-goes society, there are too many unhealthy people ready to put innocent youngsters on unhealthy pathways that will lead them into pain and mental illness. Parents, like our institutions, must educate our children that their choices will determine their physical, mental, and social standing in the future. Straightforward education with discipline training will give our children the necessary tools to prosper in a time when evil is running amuck.
Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books, and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio is an author of weekly newspaper articles, INVASION WITHIN, and a new just published book entitled IN CHARGE PARENTING In a PC World. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.