There have been a number of posts on raising children and discipline that I have read in the past few months and that I’ve wanted to make people aware of, but I have been busy and forgetful. Here is an excerpt from one such post, entitled “The Nature of Children:”
Because they are proto-rational, not a-rational or irrational, we must teach a rational approach to problem solving. We cannot train them through rewards and punishments (behaviorism), as we would a-rational animals. We cannot be unkind to them, using retribution or a withdrawal of time or affection, assuming that they were capable of better choices…. Instead, we must use tools that teach better behaviors while respecting the burgeoning rationality of the child.
Because children are not inherently good, we cannot expect good behavior without practice. They must learn to make the choices that lead to positive outcomes (the good), and they must learn not to make choices that harm them (the bad). We cannot expect them to know things until they have had a chance to observe adults or experience the consequences of an action first hand. We cannot be angry because they don’t know how to behave – that is putting a wish before reality. No matter how much we wish children might be inherently good and make the right choices with ease, reality doesn’t work that way.
Because children are not inherently bad, we cannot assume that any annoying behavior is malicious. … Instead of thinking of children as bad and needing to be straightened out, we think of them as inexperienced, acting wrongly, often because they have not connected an action to its negative consequences yet.