Ostracism in Action

What follows is an exercise in ostracism, for the purpose of contemplation on the part of anyone who chooses to read on.  My only request is that you read the entire post before you form your conclusion.

These are a series of comments/responses from the post found here.

I wrote the original post it in such a way to cause an impassioned response specifically from people who don’t understand or believe there is harm in using “timeouts” as punishment, or even contemplative time.  (Contemplative time is not harmful, and it does not look like a timeout.)  Seems as though my approach has been rather successful so far, based upon all the commentary today.  I’m glad you guys are talking!
It is a given that I believe anyone who strikes their child deserves a giant do the same thing to them, without a moment’s hesitation.  I believe the same is true for someone who uses ostracism to try to get a point across to their kid.  They deserve a unified ignore session by those they wish to be included by.

The exercise shown in this exchange goes to demonstrate the topic in question rather effectively. Please know that my harsh tone is not to ridicule or offend the woman to whom I am speaking, but to illustrate a point, by allowing someone else to do it for me.

– To the woman in the exchange, I regret that you have been negatively effected through this.  I hope we can, in the future, have intelligent and thoughtful, compassion conversation. However, if you choose otherwise, I will respect your decision.

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2010/09/15 at 7:57 pm – In reply to original post (link is shown above)

I can see a lot of your points…however, I don’t feel timeout is that bad. We use it with our 2 1/2 year old daughter only for more severe things…hitting, biting. It is very rare she is in time out. However, we don’t yell or scream we simply say, “Bummer, no ______ , time out) Then right after Time out we say, “Time out is over, I love you!” and we move on. She hasn’t seemed effected by it negatively at all and like I said, it is rare that she is in time out. I don’t see it as ignoring her…I see it has her taking a couple of minutes to think about her choices and why they were poor ones.

That’s a bummer that you disagree and don’t choose to review science, or the entire practice, as your daughter experiences it. Tell you what, I suggest you take a few moments, think about things a bit, and when I think you have had enough time to really understand within yourself something that you seem to not at the moment, I’ll continue. Until then, I won’t be responding, nor will I allow anyone else to.

Review science???? Why spanking is better than time out???? First, you need to respect other peoples’ views and discipline as long as they are creating well rounded kids, who respect everyone, are friendly, treat everyone equally, and are raised with great values. If I see parents who do this…I don’t question their discipline procedures. For kids who are disrespectful, mean, etc. I would question that. You can’t judge….my daughter is one of the happiest kids I know and I’m not the only one who thinks that….So her minimal time outs have not had a negative effect on her! Keep an open mind! I would never spank her…even though I was spanked…there are other, better ways to discipline!


2010/09/15 at 8:44 pm | In reply to Lauren Raymond.

That took you 14 minutes. You are not happy with me, are you? I should now say, I suppose, I have decided (by the fact that I approved your response) that you have had enough time to think about what I have imposed upon you to think about. And, I’ll add that I hope you have a better idea now of what you think, and how you’ll act next time. I respect you! And I see nothing wrong with making you take a couple of minutes to think about your choices and why, in my opinion, they are poor ones.

Pissed, aren’t you.

I dismissed you. I singled you out, disapproved, and decided that your thoughts, comments, and existence was such that I could assign and judge your value.

You still haven’t reviewed the science behind the brain’s response to time outs. But that’s ok, because, unlike your daughter, I cannot force you to do anything. I can isolate and reject you, and I can tell you what you do is wrong, but you’re an adult so, I have no power over you. Or do I? Again, you’re pissed at me.


2010/09/15 at 9:01 pm | In reply to Angie.

Yeah, I was pissed b/c you are judging me based on not knowing me and what my situation is and how I raise and discipline my daughter. I’m proud of my husband and I, we are on the same page with raising and disciplining our daughter and we are bringing up a very well-rounded, respectful, happy child! Now do you have power over me??? No. Am I pissed again? No… I realize what you are doing. I respect you and your thoughts and like hearing other people’s thoughts, ideas, research etc, even if I don’t agree with all of it!

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To conclude this post, with respect being shown to this
woman’s value and autonomy,
I will address a couple of her remarks,
in the voice of direct response.

__________________________________________________
“Review science???? Why spanking is better than time out????”
I wonder if you have not read the post in its entirety, or perhaps have not understood the content.
“First, you need to respect other peoples’ views and discipline as long as they are creating well rounded kids, who respect everyone, are friendly, treat everyone equally, and are raised with great values. If I see parents who do this…I don’t question their discipline procedures.”
In response, I respectfully will say that the only thing I have to do is accept that every legal resident of my country has the right to hold, promote, and change their views.  I do not have to tolerate, condone, or allow abuse.  Our society thinks mutilating a boy’s genitals is just fine.  A really good amount of our society thinks striking a child is just fine.  You don’t.  Neither do I.  But you think isolating and rejecting a child, in the name of a timeout (because it works and doesn’t seem to directly cause any damage) is also fine, as does the majority if our society.  I do not.  Our society as a whole follows itself around and around, afraid to detour or step out of line.  Why is this?  Refer to the definition of ostracism, and look at it from a reverse point of view.
There are a few of us out there that step out of the collectively determined appropriate line, almost continually.  Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not even something we’re aware we’ve done.  We’re not damaging others by doing so, except those that are in need of our following and blind acceptance and approval.  We damage their egos. They are the people who most often retaliate with nonsense and declaration of war.
But, contrary to your point of view of me, I do respect the fact that everyone has his/her own view.  And I hold that very quality with high regards.  In fact, I appreciate those that will speak openly about their views the most. However, my criteria in judging whether a parent is succeeding is different than yours.  And you feel as though I have attacked you simply because of how I chose to not just agree with your decision to voice your opinion.  Admittedly, I took it a few steps further and allowed the natural course of conflict to develop in effort to demonstrate the very interplay to which I am most assertively speaking against when it comes to how it is used with children.
“…as long as they are creating well rounded kids, who respect everyone, are friendly, treat everyone equally, and are raised with great values. If I see parents who do this…I don’t question their discipline procedures.”
My criteria is not based on the generally accepted methods our society uses to determine whether a human is a good person.  Nor, do I use the criteria that if the child doesn’t offend me by their behavior, and appears to be generally respectful and properly functioning, given what I happen to get to observe in a public or even semi-private setting, that the parent is not abusing the child.  My criteria is that the child is raised in an environment that is not harming, not destructive, and does not produce a child who is<em> unwhole </em>or damaged in even the slightest way.  I do not judge a parent’s effectiveness or assign a degree of “good” based upon the child. I judge the parent based upon the actions and decisions of the parent.

Given: Society will kill my ideal – a wholly, undamaged child who grows to a complete and unharmed adult.  But in my home, my child will never experience the insecurity, uncertainty, or lack of my utmost respect for their existence.
Even when I am angry, I will never isolate or reject my child so she can “think about what she’s done wrong”.  I will work with her to understand her motives, and work with her (that means use words and conversation, body language and compassion) so that she understands my responses.  If, however, she goes off on her own, to spend time alone by her own choice,  I will not prevent it – which goes back to respecting her autonomy and value.
“First, you need to respect other peoples’ views and discipline as long as they are creating well rounded kids, who respect everyone, are friendly, treat everyone equally, and are raised with great values. If I see parents who do this…  I don’t question their discipline procedures. For kids who are disrespectful, mean, etc. I would question that.”
Again, I don’t judge anything based upon the child. I don’t impose myself or my beliefs either. However, if asked, I will respond with the information and education I have. And if given a chance to demonstrate, I welcome people watch that education in action with my own child.
“You can’t judge….my daughter is one of the happiest kids I know and I’m not the only one who thinks that….”
Actually, I can judge; I have a fairly well developed sense of discernment. What I think you want to tell me here is that you are angry and offended and feel as though I have passed judgment upon you.  In other words, by my actions, you feel like I have asserted that I am somehow superior to you.  I would be just as pissed if someone tried to do that to me.  But what might not be so apparent is that instead of asserting a superiority, I just got in your face, as an equally intelligent and capable person.
Instead of being wishywashy, going with the accepted norm,  and allowing you to speak and not responding in turn,  I responded in a manner that is very similar to what our society forces upon its children routinely, in the name of good parenting and good child rearing.  Our society even goes so far to promote this method as the most humane, most considerate, and most concerned with the welfare of the child.
If you think about it, that exact same mantra was propagated across the planet, by well meaning, upright peoples with excellent values, only the context was to spank, to segregate, and to subjugate the female gender – just in the last few generations.  The masses bought the blah then, and they buy it now.  But science quietly presses on, discovering and sharing with those who wish to educate and inform themselves.   – Again I refer to Mr. Roddenberry… may he rest in peace.  😉

“Yeah, I was pissed b/c you are judging me based on not knowing me and what my situation is and how I raise and discipline my daughter. I’m proud of my husband and I, we are on the same page with raising and disciplining our daughter and we are bringing up a very well-rounded, respectful, happy child! Now do you have power over me??? No. Am I pissed again? No… I realize what you are doing. I respect you and your thoughts and like hearing other people’s thoughts, ideas, research etc, even if I don’t agree with all of it!”

I am not actually judging you.  I have questioned you.

I have spoken against something you feel is just fine and you have taken it personally.  This is a reasonable response.  But I wonder if you might be interested in substantiating your chosen belief and actions, as not being harmful, in response to my assertion that it is, in fact harmful and damaging.

I am happy that you are satisfied with your choices, that your husband and you concur (which makes it a lot easier, definitely), and that you believe your daughter is being properly cared for.  However, I still do not approve of, nor condone the use of ostracism or any form of manipulation or abuse.  That’s the funny thing about abuse… we all know it causes damage, but we use it in so many different ways that often it is hard to pinpoint or even recognize, until much, much later.

No, I do not know you or your daughter, but I don’t need to either.  What I do know is that you use this method, you think it’s just fine, you are willing to defend it in theory (hopefully you’ll substantiate, as mentioned), and that you don’t like it when I turn the method around and you are the target.

Your blog describes an episode of your daughter hitting you.  That same post has your description of your assigned consequence, which was one that she was given a choice to allow to occur.  She continued hitting you, thereby choosing to test whether you would follow through (the consequence was your refusal to read her a story before bed, as is the routine).  Then, after enforcing your threat, you left her alone to cry. Your post indicates her father intervened by showing her security, love, and affection.  She accepted his comforting, accepted the consequence of her action, and everyone got some sleep.
S O U R C E

  • My question is, why you allowed her to cry alone, after executing her consequence.
  • My other question concerns why she was hitting you in the first place.

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If there is anything to understand about me, it is that I do not function on the approval of a collective.  I also don’t take anything for fact just because multiple people will “agree” it must be fact.  Proof is one thing, opinion is quite another.
That said, I choose my beliefs, actions, and values based upon fact, knowledge, and experience.
I invite your solid responses.  And if any of you are interested in discovering what can be an option for raising a child without damaging them, by any form of abuse, I encourage you to begin to follow the threads related to the alternative ideas I will start presenting, as I compose them with some resemblance of logic and coherence.

My best to all of you.

Instead of “Timeouts”, Try a “Hold Everything”

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Never punitive.  Never diminutive.


Purpose: Re-establish Calm, Cooperation, Harmony

For everyone.

Please go read this and this (you’ll see how they align)

In our house, we do not spank, nor do we incorporate isolation, refusal, ignoring, or “timeouts”.

Our daughter doesn’t just do whatever she wants either; when her preferences are damaging, interfering, or otherwise not in her best interest, we intercept.

If behaviors, attitudes, or actions become a concern, the first thing we use is assessment of why (what is the cause) they became a concern.  Then we employ understanding, followed by patience and compassion.  If necessary, we use a Hold Everything (this means the grownups too), and then we activate our resolution and/or solution superpowers.

 

I want to introduce you to what our house calls PAWS.

  • (Pause – to recreate harmony and re-establish calm and cooperation.  Pause to remember to respect, to honor, to approve, to admire… Pause to stop anger response, frustration, impatience, aggravation. Pause to remember the most important thing in whatever has caused the need to pause in the first place – the life on center stage – child, adult, dog, turtle.)

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Perspective (a spontaneous shift in viewing portal, not only in complexity and understanding, but in physical height and life experience)

Attention (purposed focus)

Wait (observe. reflect. observe)

Solve (resolve and grow)

Think on that for a few.

Natural Consequence, Example One

Unedited – my kiddo woke up before I could… I will later tonight if I can.

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Sometimes a natural consequence is one that occurs beyond our control, due to physics.

Sometimes, in my opinion, a natural consequence is one that I effect for my child, but that is wholly associated with the cause of the resulting effect.

In a previous post, I discussed a child’s actions that were concerning his father -> Read Here
These two particular incidents, and my suggestion of a parental response, fit into the Parent Derived Natural Consequence category.

Here’s an example of physics at play:  Joseph, if you carelessly put the dishes away, you may discover what will happen.  Joseph continues to haphazardly put the dishes away and he drops a plate.  Lucky for him, the floor is only wood instead of tile, but the unfortunate thing is that on its way to the floor (physics-gravity), it somehow twists just enough that instead of landing in a manner that just ends in a thud, it triggers a release of energy known as a bang, that results in the splitting in two (or four) of the material that once was a single piece, otherwise referred to as a plate.

Sucks to be Joseph… jeez, he probably could have thrown the plate on the grown and it would have landed just fine, but nooooo, it accidentally “mishandled” it just so that instead, there is now a huge mess and no longer useful plate to put away.

ENTER MOM

Scenario one:  Mom is irritated, starts telling Joseph that if he’d listened to her in the first place, which he already knows, that this wouldn’t have happened.  So, now he feels dumb for letting it happen, knows he’s going to be further demeaned by some sort of punishment for not being more careful in the first place, and he’s gained his mother’s disapproval yet again.

Some children will cry because they are grieved at both the loss of the approval, but also the failure they perceive is theirs.

Some children will laugh and defy as a response to the disapproval and impressed failure to “do as told” to “prevent problems”.

Some children will be compelled to make reparations.  This is guilt.  The concern here is how far the parent decides to let the guilt be used – in other words, they see a way to manipulate, er… that’s more politically correctly termed “teach a lesson”.

Scenario two: Mom hears the crash.  Waits.  Child either begins to clean up or starts calling for mom.  This depends on how the same situation has been handled before, and on the child’s personality.

Mom enters the kitchen a moment or two after the crash (a younger child will need you sooner to prevent injury).  But she comes quietly, not in judgement or disapproval, but understanding.  She knows what the law of gravity is. She knows that we, as a human race on planet earth, are stuck with this reality.

If child is already attempting to clean up, mom must ascertain the safety of this.  If it’s not safe, mom must intervene.  If child is capable of cleaning up the mess, mom just allows it and makes a note to come after the child is finished and make sure no shards of glass are left anywhere.  – This, by the way, is either the child who is terrified of the parent’s response, or, hopefully, the child who is wholly valued and respected, and is therefore confident enough to reason that he wasn’t quite attentive enough, which resulted in gravity winning, and well, now there is a mess and so to prevent anyone from getting hurt, it needs to be tended to.  No guilt, though there might be some grief, especially if the broken item was of special meaning to someone and the child is aware of it.  No disapproval imposed… by outside forces.  And hopefully, the child is whole and confident, so while they may tell themselves to be more careful next time, they don’t take a hit to their “value”, nor do they hit it themselves.  No humiliation.  No failure.  Just physics.

Now, if the child is, for whatever reason, not attempting to clean up the mess himself, the mother can initiate the process as follows:

“Hum… Looks like we better get to work cleaning this up before someone gets hurt.  I will pick up the pieces if you will go get the broom.”  The glass might hurt the child, so the parent is preventing injury, but the child is still actively involved in assisting.

Child returns with broom, mom encourages “Joseph” to start sweeping in an area that is safe, as she continues to work on removing potential harm.  Child is contributing, and building his confidence in his ability to resolve the concern he allowed gravity to cause.

Once everything is cleaned up – Mom tells child, “Great! Looks like it’s all clean.”  AND THEN LEAVES the area and says nothing more about the incident. Period. Like as in doesn’t ever mention, unless the child brings it up in the future.  If there are still more dishes to be put away, the mother also doesn’t mention this to the child.  She waits.. gives the child the credit that he is intelligent enough to see that there are more dishes to finish.   – Now let’s say he goes ahead on his own and finishes the task.  Great.  Nothing more is said, except if the mother knows he needs reinforcement.  If so, she still waits and unless he initiates, the most she says is something like, “Thanks for taking care of the dishes.  I appreciate you.”

However, if the child is shaken, or perhaps not entirely driven to be responsible without encouragement (like how I said that??), then the mother is put into the position of refocusing.  Again, she waits.  She observes.  Wait = Observe.

Child abandons task and goes to play.  Mother notices.  An hour later, mother reminds child, “Joseph, I noticed there are still dishes in the dishwasher waiting for your attention.”

Joseph’s reply will range all across the board.  Mother simply affirms his response with, “ok”.

That looks like this –

Joseph:  “I know, but I don’t want to do them anymore.”
Mother: “Ok.” – Now wait, don’t walk away, just stay silent.  Give Joseph a chance to explain himself.  Pretend you are having this conversation with another adult.  If he doesn’t begin explaining, prod, a little, but with respect. “Joseph, you don’t want to do any more?”  Keep the look on your face neutral but inquisitive. Don’t lace your words with a tone and motive.  He knows.

Joseph: “Yeah, I don’t want to.”
Mother: “Can you help me understand why you don’t want to?”
Joseph: “I’m worried I will drop more.”  (This is what a confident child will say.  A child who knows he is respected and treated as a valuable member of the family.  A child who doesn’t know he holds his mother’s respect will be defiant and simply state that he has better stuff to do, or insist it’s just a preference.)

If the child is concerned over a repeat failure, the mother can offer her approval and encouragement by stating that if it happens again, we’ll just clean it up again.  If appropriate and beneficial for the CHILD, the mother might also offer a little advice in the form of a trick… NEVER stating that if the child were just “more careful” (or whatever other version of that concept) that it won’t happen again.  Why never state this?  Because no matter how careful you, as an adult, are, eventually gravity will get the better of even you!  Don’t pretend it won’t, and don’t expect your kid to agree to be bound by that double standard either.

Advice in the form of a trick:  “You know Joseph, when I put the dishes away, I’m worried I might drop them too.  So, I give each one a name as I pick them up.  Then, I keep my eye on it from the moment my finger first touches the plate until it’s safely where it belongs.  Then, when I’m all done, I try to remember the names so that next time I see that same plate, I won’t have to wonder what I named it.”

Result

Child is upheld, child is respected, child is approved of
Dishes get done, even if it takes the rest of the day
Child has a new game, and it keeps him focused on his task, which hopefully decreases the chance of gravity winning

Now, there is only one additional note to make here.  In the event that you have a kiddo that hasn’t had the luxury of the high level of your respect and admiration, and doesn’t thrive in his autonomy and self worth…. OR you have a kiddo that is just not into the task for his own purposes (that being it’s boring, he has other stuff that he enjoys more, etc), you’re going to need to use a bit of parental control to make sure the task is completed and the child respects the value of his contribution.

Here’s my suggestion… and it requires patience, tolerance, foresight, and effort on the part of the parent.
Let’s say the child just outright opposes and does not finish the task of emptying the dishwasher.
Ok, this isn’t a problem.  Yes, it annoys you (mom/dad) because it means you will have to do it and the child won’t gain the good from completing it.  But that’s not all that’s going on…

Mother:  “Joseph, I noticed there are some dishes still waiting for you in the dishwasher.”
Joseph: “I don’t want to do anymore.”  – Go through the reasoning and get to just that – kid doesn’t want to comply.
Mother: “Ok Joseph, I’ll take care of them now then.”  Say nothing more, walk away and go do the dishes right then.  It will take you 2 minutes.  Just do it.  Be quiet.  Wait. Observe.  Don’t pass judgement and don’t resent or become annoyed at your kid.

If Joseph shows up to finish before you complete the task, simply thank him for his willingness to take care of the task (don’t go into helping you out, chipping in, whatever else, just focus on the task, as if it is itself worth valuing), walk away and let him.

If Joseph shows up too late and you’ve already finished, simply tell him as much.  “Joseph, I have completed it.”  Say nothing more.  He gets the point.  Trust me.  He’s not stupid.  You don’t need to add insult. He needs your respect.  He gets the point.  (Keep reading – don’t tell me that well yeah, he gets the point, that being that if he doesn’t want to do something he can just refuse and mom will do it for him.)

If Joseph doesn’t show at all, fine.  Complete the task yourself.  Say nothing to him.  Don’t resent, don’t reject, and don’t allow him to feel your disapproval at any point.

Make plans for that night’s dinner to be something Joseph really, really likes.  Include courses in the meal that go together, but omit one of them.  For instance, make macaroni and cheese with ham and apples on the side.  Omit the cheese (use butter so it’s palatable, but don’t make it as “good” as normal).

DINNER TIME

Everyone sits down, your partner knows what’s going on, but other children do not.  Everyone, including Joseph begins eating.  Someone states that the macaroni tastes different, like it doesn’t have enough cheese.

Mother:  “Well, it doesn’t actually have enough cheese because I didn’t have enough time left after taking care of emptying the dishwasher today to give to cutting up enough cheese for our dinner tonight.”  Older kid, “Oh come on, it only takes three minutes to empty the dishwasher!”  Mother, “Well, yes I know, and Joseph started it and so today it only took me two minutes.  It also only takes two minutes to cut up the appropriate amount of cheese, but I allocated those two minutes to the dishwasher instead.”  (NOT I had to allocate, I ‘did’ – chose to – simple fact.. NO DIGS at the kid that caused all this – don’t point fingers, ever. And don’t omit so that the opportunity for someone else to opens up. No passive retaliation here.)

Say nothing more about it.  If the kids complain about the taste, agree with them.  Don’t apologize, don’t lay blame, just agree.

Takes a lot of work… I know. But by doing that work, you’ll grow a whole, confident, capable, and responsible child into an adult that will hopefully continue the work in is own life.

 

Either the consequences of the act will be enough, or they won’t be- and then a parent’s job becomes to modify the environment or provide supervision until the fascination with the forbidden thing ends.

Getting Away With It: Being Accountable To A Child


From “Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way”

by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

I’ve been teaching Nonviolent Communication to parents for 30 years. I would like to share some of the things that have been helpful to both myself and to the parents that I’ve worked with, and to share with you some insights I’ve had into the wonderful and challenging occupation of parenting.

I’d first like to call your attention to the danger of the word “child,” if we allow it to apply a different quality of respect than we would give to someone who is not labeled a child. Let me show you what I am referring to.

In parent workshops that I’ve done over the years, I’ve often started by dividing the group into two. I put one group in one room, and the other in a different room, and I give each group the task of writing down on a large paper a dialogue between themselves and another person in a conflict situation. I tell both groups what the conflict is. The
only difference is that I tell one group the other person is their child, and to the second group I say the other person is their neighbor.

Then we get back into a large group and we look at these different sheets of paper outlining the dialogue that the groups would have, in the one case thinking that the other person was their child, and in the other case, the neighbor. (And incidentally, I haven’t allowed the groups to discuss with the other group who the person was in their situation, so that both groups think that the situation is the same.)

After they’ve had a chance to scan the written dialogues of both groups, I ask them if they can see a difference in terms of the degree of respect and compassion that was demonstrated. Every time I’ve done this, the group that was working on the situation with the other person being a child was seen as being less respectful and compassionate in their communication than the group that saw the other person as a neighbor. This painfully reveals to the people in these groups how easy it is to dehumanize someone by the simple process of simply thinking of him or her as “our child.”

I had an experience one day that really heightened my awareness of the danger of thinking of people as children. This experience followed a weekend in which I had worked with two groups: a street gang and a police department. I was mediating between the two groups. There had been considerable violence between them, and they had asked
that I serve in the role of a mediator. After spending as much time as I did with them, dealing with the violence they had toward each other, I was exhausted. And as I was driving home afterwards, I told myself, I never want to be in the middle of another conflict for the rest of my life.

And of course, when I walked in my back door, my three children were fighting. I expressed my pain to them in a way that we advocate in Nonviolent Communication. I expressed how I was feeling, what my needs were, and what my requests were. I did it this way. I shouted, “When I hear all of this going on right now, I feel extremely tense! I have a real need for some peace and quiet after the weekend I’ve been through! So would you all be willing to give me that time and space?”

My oldest son looked at me and said, “Would you like to talk about it?” Now, at that moment, I dehumanized him in my thinking. Why? Because I said to myself, “How cute. Here’s a nine year old boy trying to help his father.” But take a closer look at how I was disregarding his offer because of his age, because I had him labeled as a child. Fortunately I saw that was going on in my head, and maybe I was able to see it more clearly because the work I had been doing between the street gang and the police showed me the danger of thinking of people in terms of labels instead of their humanness.

So instead of seeing him as a child and thinking to myself, “how cute,” I saw a human being who was reaching out to another human being in pain, and I said out loud, “Yes, I would like to talk about it.” And the three of them followed me into another room and listened while I opened up my heart to how painful it was to see that people could
come to a point of wanting to hurt one another simply because they hadn’t been trained to see the other person’s humanness. After talking about it for 45 minutes I felt wonderful, and as I recall we turned the stereo on and danced like fools for awhile.

So I’m not suggesting that we don’t use words like “child” as a shorthand way of letting people know that we’re talking about people of a certain age. I’m talking about when we allow labels like this to keep us from seeing the other person as a human being, in a way which leads us to dehumanize the other person because of the things our culture teaches us about “children.” Let me show you an extension of what I’m talking about, how the label child can lead us to behave in a way that’s quite unfortunate.

Having been educated, as I was, to think about parenting, I thought that it was the job of a parent to make children behave. You see, once you define yourself as an authority, a teacher or parent, in the culture that I was educated in, you then see it as your responsibility to make people that you label a “child” or a “student” behave in a
certain way.

I now see what a self-defeating objective this is, because I have learned that any time it’s our objective to get another person to behave in a certain way, people are likely to resist no matter what it is we’re asking for. This seems to be true whether the other person is 2 or 92 years of age.

This objective of getting what we want from other people, or getting them to do what we want them to do, threatens the autonomy of people, their right to choose what they want to do. And whenever people feel that they’re not free to choose what they want to do, they are likely to resist, even if they see the purpose in what we are asking and would ordinarily want to do it. So strong is our need to protect our autonomy, that if we see that someone has this single-mindedness of purpose, if they are acting like they think that they know what’s best for us and are not leaving it to us to make the choice of how we behave, it stimulates our resistance.

I’ll be forever grateful to my children for educating me about the limitations of the objective of getting other people to do what you want. They taught me that, first of all, I couldn’t make them do what I want. I couldn’t make them do anything. I couldn’t make them put a toy back in the toy box. I couldn’t make them make their bed. I couldn’t make them eat. Now, that was quite a humbling lesson for me as a parent, to learn about my powerless-ness, because somewhere I had gotten it into my mind that it was the job of a parent to make a child behave. And here were these young children teaching me this humbling lesson, that I couldn’t make them do anything. All I could do is make them wish they had.

And whenever I would be foolish enough to do that, that is, to make them wish they had, they taught me a second lesson about parenting and power that has proven very valuable to me over the years. And that lesson was that anytime I would make them wish they had, they would make me wish I hadn’t made them wish they had. Violence begets violence.

They taught me that any use of coercion on my part would invariably create resistance on their part, which could lead to an adversarial quality in the connection between us. I don’t want to have that quality of connection with any human being, but especially not with my children, those human beings that I’m closest to and taking responsibility for. So my children are the last people that I want to get into these coercive games of which punishment is a part.

Now this concept of punishment is strongly advocated by most parents. Studies indicate that about 80% of American parents firmly believe in corporal punishment of children. This is about the same percentage of the population who believes in capital punishment of criminals. So with such a high percentage of the population believing that punishment is justified and necessary in the education of children, I’ve had plenty of opportunity over the years to discuss this issue with parents, and I’m pleased with how people can be helped to see the limitations of any kind of punishment, if they’ll simply ask themselves two questions.

Question number one: What do you want the child to do differently? If we ask only that question, it can certainly seem that punishment sometimes works, because certainly through the threat of punishment or application of punishment, we can at times influence a child to do what we would like the child to do.

However, when we add a second question, it has been my experience that parents see that punishment never works. The second question is: What do we want the child’s reasons to be for acting as we would like them to act? It’s that question that helps us to see that punishment not only doesn’t work, but it gets in the way of our children doing things for reasons that we would like them to do them.

Since punishment is so frequently used and justified, parents can only imagine that the opposite of punishment is a kind of permissiveness in which we do nothing when children behave in ways that are not in harmony with our values. So therefore parents can think only, “If I don’t punish, then I give up my own values and just allow the child to do whatever he or she wants.” As I’ll be discussing below, there are other approaches besides permissiveness, that is, just letting people do whatever they want to do, or coercive tactics such as punishment. And while I’m at it, I’d like to suggest that reward is just as coercive as punishment. In both cases we are using power over people, controlling the environment in a way that tries to force people to behave in ways that we like. In that respect reward comes out of the same mode of thinking as punishment.

There is another approach besides doing nothing or using coercive tactics. It requires an awareness of the subtle but important difference between our objective being to get people to do what we want, which I’m not advocating, and instead being clear that our objective is to create the quality of connection necessary for everyone’s needs to get met.

It has been my experience, whether we are communicating with children or adults, that when we see the difference between these two objectives, and we are consciously not trying to get a person to do what we want, but trying to create a quality of mutual concern, a quality of mutual respect, a quality where both parties think that their needs matter and they are conscious that their needs and the other person’s well-being are interdependent—it is amazing how conflicts which otherwise seem unresolvable, are easily resolved.

Now, this kind of communication that is involved in creating the quality of connection necessary for everybody’s needs to get met is quite different from that communication used if we are using coercive forms of resolving differences with children. It requires a shift away from evaluating children in moralistic terms such as right/wrong, good/bad, to a language based on needs. We need to be able to tell children whether what they’re doing is in harmony with our needs, or in conflict with our needs, but to do it in a way that doesn’t stimulate guilt or shame on the child’s part. So it might require our saying to the child, “I’m scared when I see you hitting your brother, because I have a need for people in the family to be safe,” instead of, “It’s wrong to hit your brother.” Or it might require a shift away from saying, “You are lazy for not cleaning up your room,” to saying, “I feel frustrated when I see that the bed isn’t made, because I have a real need for support in keeping order in the house.”

This shift in language away from classifying children’s behavior in terms of right and wrong, and good and bad, to a language based on needs, is not easy for those of us who were educated by teachers and parents to think in moralistic judgments. It also requires an ability to be present to our children, and listen to them with empathy when they are in distress. This is not easy when we have been trained as parents to want to jump in and give advice, or to try to fix things.

So when I’m working with parents, we look at situations that are likely to arise where a child might say something like, “Nobody likes me.” When a child says something like that, I believe the child is needing an empathic kind of connection. And by that I mean a respectful understanding where the child feels that we are there and really hear what he or she is feeling and needing. Sometimes we can do this silently, just showing in our eyes that we are with their feelings of sadness, and their need for a different quality of connection with their friends. Or it could involve our saying out loud something like, “So it sounds like you’re really feeling sad, because you aren’t having very much fun with your friends.”

But many parents, defining their role as requiring them to make their children happy all the time, jump in when a child says something like that, and say things like, “Well, have you looked at what you’ve been doing that might have been driving your friends away?” Or they disagree with the child, saying, “Well, that’s not true. You’ve had friends in the past. I’m sure you’ll get more friends.” Or they give advice: “Maybe if you’d talk differently to your friends, your friends would like you more.”

What they don’t realize is that all human beings, when they’re in pain, need presence and empathy. They may want advice, but they want that after they’ve received the empathic connection. My own children have taught me the hard way that, “Dad, please withhold all advice unless you receive a request in writing from us signed by a notary.”

Many people believe that it’s more humane to use reward than punishment. But both of them I see as power over others, and Nonviolent Communication is based on power with people. And in power with people, we try to have influence not by how we can make people suffer if they don’t do what we want, or how we can reward them if they do. It’s a power based on mutual trust and respect, which makes people open to hearing each other and learning from each other, and to giving to one another willingly out of a desire to contribute to one another’s well being, rather than out of a fear of punishment or hope for a reward.

We get this kind of power, power with people, by being able to openly communicate our feelings and needs without in any way criticizing the other person. We do that by offering them what we would like from them in a way that is not heard as demanding or threatening. And as I have said, it also requires really hearing what other people are trying to communicate, showing an accurate understanding rather than quickly jumping in and giving advice, or trying to fix things.

For many parents, the way I’m talking about communicating is so different that they say, “Well, it just doesn’t seem natural to communicate that way.” At just the right time, I read something that Gandhi had written in which he said, “Don’t mix up that which is habitual with that which is natural.” Gandhi said that very often we’ve been trained to communicate and act in ways that are quite unnatural, but they are habitual in the sense that we have been trained for various reasons to do it that way in our culture. And that certainly rang true to me in the way that I was trained to communicate with children. The way I was trained to communicate by judging rightness and wrongness, goodness and badness, and the use of punishment was widely used and very easily became habitual for me as a parent. But I wouldn’t say that because something is habitual that it is natural.

I learned that it is much more natural for people to connect in a loving, respectful way, and to do things out of joy for each other, rather than using punishment and reward or blame and guilt as means of coercion. But such a transformation does require a good deal of consciousness and effort.

I can recall one time when I was transforming myself from a habitually judgmental way of communicating with my children to the way that I am now advocating. On the day I’m thinking of, my oldest son and I were having a conflict, and it was taking me quite awhile to communicate it in the way that I was choosing to, rather than the way that had become habitual. Almost everything that came into my mind originally was some coercive statement in the form of a judgment of him for saying what he did. So I had to stop and take a deep breath, and think of how to get more in touch with my needs, and how to get more in touch with his needs. And this was taking me awhile. And he was getting frustrated because he had a friend waiting for him outside, and he said, “Daddy, it’s taking you so long to talk.” And I said, “Let me tell you what I can say quickly: Do it my way or I’ll kick your butt.” He said, “Take your time, Dad. Take your time.”

So yes, I would rather take my time and come from an energy that I choose in communicating with my children, rather than habitually responding in a way that I have been trained to do, when it’s not really in harmony with my own values. Sadly, we will often get much more reinforcement from those around us for behaving in a punitive, judgmental way, than in a way that is respectful to our children.

I can recall one Thanksgiving dinner when I was doing my best to communicate with my youngest son in the way that I am advocating, and it was not easy, because he was testing me to the limits. But I was taking my time, taking deep breaths, trying to understand what his needs were, trying to understand my own needs so I could express them in a respectful way. Another member of the family, observing my conversation with my son, but who had been trained in a different way of communicating, reached over at one point and whispered in my ear, “If that was my child, he’d be sorry for what he was saying.”

I’ve talked to a lot of other parents who have had similar experiences who, when they are trying to relate in more human ways with their own children, instead of getting support, often get criticized. People can often mistake what I’m talking about as permissiveness or not giving children the direction they need, instead of understanding that it’s a different quality of direction. It’s a direction that comes from two parties trusting each other, rather than one party forcing his or her authority on another.

One of the most unfortunate results of making our objective to get our children to do what we want, rather than having our objective be for all of us to get what we want, is that eventually our children will be hearing a demand in whatever we are asking. And whenever people hear a demand, it’s hard for them to keep focus on the value of whatever is being requested, because, as I said earlier, it threatens their autonomy, and that’s a strong need that all people have. They want to be able to do something when they choose to do it, and not because they are forced to do it. As soon as a person hears a demand, it’s going to make any resolution that will get everybody’s needs met much harder to come by.


This is an excerpt from Raising Children Compassionately, by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. which is available from ourbookstore.© 2000 by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. &

Center for Nonviolent Communication

Peace-Centered Parenting, Non-Violent Children

S O U R C E

I came across this site today in search of an image that depicts my hope to gain the attention of those who skim over the front page of this blog.  You’ll see I added a pic from the page, and have linked it back to the page.   But I also wanted to take a minute to commend and outwardly appreciate the efforts of those who have created this work of art.

People always say that children should come with an instruction manual, well that is part of the problem. There are tens of thousands of manuals out there and all of them say different things.

Even in the new millennium the experts can’t quite agree on the “right” way to raise a child.

The problem is, each of us has our own idea of what defines successful parenting. Sometimes those ideas change from day to day. Experts can’t agree, and we can’t agree.

For me, my parenting philosophy came from many sources. My own childhood was a huge factor but so was my fascination with psychology, with finding out what makes the human mind tick.

When I realized how easily we can damage our children for life, how careful we must be with their fragile minds I actually scared myself. As parents, we have one of the most important jobs on earth, shaping a future generation.

… What we do in our home can affect society for many years to come. That sort of puts your parenting goals in perceptive doesn’t it? …

… All I really intended to do in the beginning was remove the hypocrisy from my parenting. I refused to ask something of my children that I was not willing to demand from myself. I didn’t realize I had become an advocate of non-violent parenting until well after the decision had been made. I just began wondering why people hit their children and then tell them not to hit. Why they are disrespectful of their children yet demand respect from them.

We are our children’s first and best models of expected behavior. Our children are going to do what we do, not do what we say. When we lie to someone saying we aren’t feeling well so we can’t attend that birthday party, our children are watching us. The person on the other end of the phone might not know we are lying but our children do. They are learning from us even then. –

… I had to work very hard with my own children to help them understand that being disrespectful of another person, even if we don’t like them or what they are doing, is always wrong.

I didn’t do it just to protect the teacher, I did it to protect myself in the future as well.

If I am going to demand respect from my children, I must demand it in all situations, not just situations of my choosing –

I am in complete agreement.  I have witnessed the carelessness with which some parents behave in the presence of children and am appalled by their complete lack of respect for themselves, the entity in question, and their children.  However, I am then not at all surprised when I see the poor behavior and attitudes of their children displayed either when the parent is not present, or often in direct confrontation of the parent.

… What goes on behind closed doors often transfers to public. Respect is important in public, but even more so in private. When parents are openly disrespectful to their children, or even towards one another they are encouraging the cycle of disrespect to continue.

Such a crucial understanding to accept and adopt, religiously.  Seriously.  If the masses would do just this one thing, many of the world’s conflict and sorrow would cease.  Just think, in a single generation, if enough of us chose this path, what difference could be made in our communities and society of the future!

Dysfunctional King; Queen Waif; Child Broken

S O U R C E (for comments)

The Quiverfull movement saddles women with a life of submission and near-constant pregnancies. One mother explains how she embraced the extreme Christian lifestyle — and why she left.

_____________________________________

One woman’s response –

Nope. Men NEED Women as partners, not servants! We get along better NOW because we treat each other as equals; we’ve learned to share the load with each other, and work together.

While the womens submissive role is the most awful, we often forget that it’s also very stressful to be the SOLE breadwinner and leader of the family. When you have no one to help make critical family decisions or help with needed income, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I can see how a submissive mate could be resented and seen as “adding to the load”, “less than”, “weak”, “childish”- no matter how hard they work at home (womens work is devalued, no matter what the religious say). The more submission, the more stress on the man. Especially the many men that aren’t cut out for the bread-winner role!

When gender roles are so strict, the man is not allowed to be anything less than the ideal masculine provider, and they aren’t allowed to question this set up, so many are furious but don’t realize why. Add bad advice (be more submissive to your man! Husband rebuke your wife!), a belief system that tells you divorce goes against god, and you have a recipe for the resentment, disrespect and anger that fuels abuse.

Why you would WANT this, now that women don’t have to live like this, is beyond me. The frog in the kettle is all I can say….

And another –

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Giving your spouse all or most of the power in the relationship WILL eventually make that person–whether male or female, straight or gay– abusive. This situation can be compounded when the husband has all the power because men biologically already have so much of what is, in some situations, an advantage: they typically are physically stronger than women and do not give birth to kids. Women may feel tied to their man because they are pregnant and unable to work. What makes good relationships work: cooperation, trust, compromise, and mutual respect. NOT kowtowing and submission.

A man’s opinion –

All I can tell you as a single guy is the thought of the Widdle Christian Wifey (“What is Thy will, Milord Husband? How may I better Submit?”) both attracts and repels me. Attracts because after all the times I’ve been burned by women, she’d be “safe” and I know she wouldn’t dare ditch or dump me like the others. Repels because you can’t have any respect for a doormat like that and I KNOW in the absence of such respect I’d start trying to throw my weight around — Hard. Then harder because in the absence of respect I’d start thinking about payback for what other women have done to me, and things would just deteriorate from there. Yes, the attraction of “safety” and finally being able to marry would be there, but so would the danger of me going out of control in the absence of any respect. The archetype of female which has always attracted me is the “Cuddly Amazon” — soft and nurturing, but with a core of tungsten steel and strength of personality. Widdle Christian Wifey (TM) has no core. All nurturing, no strength. And I can’t take on all the strength for two without breaking myself.

S O U R C E

Ending the Silence in Your Relationship

The use of withdrawal and refusal is a coping mechanism and learned behavior by someone who was not permitted to experience his or her feelings in safety, likely beginning in childhood. It is a damage response. It is also what these emotionally crippled people employ as a defensive, damage control device.

The person who uses this control technique does so often out of a feeling of hopelessness; they feel they have no other recourse. And many do not as they simply lack the emotional skills necessary to use two-way, emotionally open communication. They are terrified of being open because that is where they’re vulnerable. Chances are, as kids, the parental environment was one of emotional instability, covert retaliation, and continued manipulation and diminishing (which causes a hypersensitivity to it in the future).

The resulting adult will avoid these abuses, even if only perceived, using the only method of control they were able to generate as children: Silence and withdrawal (read internalizing). In this state, the emotional abuser can’t keep getting to them and the tables are turned. The trouble is, this behavior becomes a conditioned response that outlives its usefulness and is continued into the adult’s future relationships, where he or she then perpetrates the damdge instead of being the victim of it. And in all honesty, they self damage, but will rarely become aware of it.

Understand me clearly, the person who believes themself to be whole and fully functional but then employs this control technique is not whole, they are damaged. Internal scars and survival techniques are at play, deep beneath the surface. These people often live with partners who rountinely feel as though they must be crazy, because along with the harm done to the receiving end of the silent treatment is often a distortion of reality by the one who has withdrawn. The act of withdrawal is often accompanied by a very covert shift of blame. This can occur in situations where there was not even reasonable cause for any blame to exist in the eyes of the partner who doesn’t employ the technique. There is a cycle going here.

If you rountinely find yourself using the withdrawal and internalization method, you know that all the stuff you shovel down inside just stays there, piling up. Just like it did as a child. The difference now is that you could be on a level playing field emotionally with those you love and/or live with. You could choose to seek help in gaining healthy coping mechanisms and helpful methods of interaction at such intimate and vulnerable states as are created in committed relationships. You could choose to save yourself future hurt, spare your partner the anguish you cause them, and prevent any future generation you create from the damage. You can choose to stop the cycle of pain and harm, for all involved, including you. But chances are without that pain, conflict, it whatever causes the weight of your burden to remain, you would be lost. It would be foreign and therefore not safe for you to experience these sort of interactions with freedom to feel, security to explore, and trust that your partner doesn’t want to harm you. Fear of being hurt and harmed drives your reluctance, and for good reason, your fear is a learned response.

But you can change your responses. You can change perceptions and understanding. There is another option. An entirely other world that you could exist in that is safe and makes conflict useful. Where love and compassion are the ulterior motives. Trouble is that as long as you keep yourself securely in your hole, back against the wall, where you think you are safe, there is a huge likelihood you’ll never realize the love and compassion staring you in the face.

And the reason they will never see it is because they are indeed damaged souls. Deeply hurt during a time when they could not prevent it (childhood, naive first relationship, illness, etc). These people can change, but need help from an outside source that can teach them and help them develop the the tools they lack.

In the mean time, it you suffer the effects of another imposing their rejection, withdrawal, and/or isolation the best thing you can do is turn to education. Inform yourself of the patterns, the cycles, the experience of life through their eyes. If you can part ways, do so. If you are not in a position to separate and sever your relationship, find an educated source to talk to and locate your unending supply of inner strength. Most importantly, define your boundaries and set them at the place just in front of allowing yourself to become a victim.

If there are any on here that are struggling with this topic and would like to talk to someone via email, I invite you to contact me directly, or another unbiased, uninvolved person.  Don’t struggle alone, and in isolation. Reach out and find help, find someone with the necessary education and experience to talk with, so that you can rise out of the hurt and difficulty that surrounds you.

Why Spank? Well, It Works. Embarrassment is a Powerful Tool

Yesterday I received a comment related to the Bare Bottom Spanking post that has me thinking beyond my initial response to the father that sent the comment.  I have copied in the conversation below, but want to add a few additional thoughts on this subject before letting it snooze for a while.
Concerning the subject of humiliation as it relates to development of the very young through to adulthood, I want to offer you a few morsels to chew on.
Here is an excellent site, and one that I encourage any of you who might struggle with some of the issues on either side of the wall to take a look at.  (Click the title link for source)

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

My interpretation of spanking a child is to force the will of the person who wields greater physical strength and a faster intellect than the child entrusted to their care.  To spank does not solve a problem, does not teach wisdom or deliver knowledge.  To spank stops an annoyance, teaches fear response, and closes the door on a willing spirit to learn (both of the parent and the child).  It serves to do nothing but give the adult some immediate satisfaction that they’ve done something to correct the issue at hand, but they have not.  Though it may seem as though this has been achieved, it is simply a facade.  When we use violence, physical or emotional, verbal or nonverbal, we instill our children with the need to develop response systems that provide them with some sort of self protection and survivability.  This is the complete opposite from teaching respect, appreciation, wonder, confidence, responsibility, and love.
Today I feel like I am banging my head against a wall because of how obvious it is to me that violence begets violence, regardless of the intensity level.  Yet, so many are completely unable to see this.  I think I might have an inkling of an idea what Magellan must have felt when trying to explain to the populous that the earth is indeed a sphere and no, we won’t fall of the edge if we keep going.
I’ll try to write more later tonight.
Take a look at this article, somewhat inserted here but you’ll need to visit the site.
(Source is Title Link)

Humiliation

No one likes being treated like dirt
You have been insulted, your ego is bruised, your pride is hurt, you have been show powerless and diminished in some way, and now you are hurt and mad as hell! You have just been humiliated, it is unfair, and you don’t like feeling foolish. Humiliation often results in violent retaliation and revenge.
Remember, at the end of the day, the only opinion of yourself that matters is your own.

Definitions:

  1. Feeling disrespected.
  2. A loss of stature or image.
  3. An image change reflecting a decrease in what others believe about your stature.
  4. Induced shame
  5. To reduce the pride or fail to recognize the dignity of another
  6. An event perceived to cause loss of honor and induce shame.
  7. Feeling powerless.
  8. Being unjustly forced into a degrading position.
  9. Ridicule, scorn, contempt or other treatment at the hands of others

Root: from Latin humilislow, lowly, from humusground. Literally, “reducing to dirt”.

Synonyms include losing face, being made to feel like a fool, feeling foolish, hurt, disgraced, indignity, put-down, debased, dejected, denigrated, dishonored, disrespected, dis’ed, defamed, humbled, scorned, slighted, slurred, shamed, mortified, rejected, being laughed at. While humility is considered a strength, humiliation is hurtful; the distinction pivots on autonomy.

Appreciation is the opposite of humiliation.

Humiliation involves an event that demonstrates unequal power in a relationship where you are in the inferior position and unjustly diminished. Often the painful experience is vividly remembered for a long time. Your vindictive passions are aroused and a humiliated fury may result. There are three involved parties: 1) the perpetrator exercising power, 2) the victim who is shown powerless and therefore humiliated, and 3) the witness or observers to the event.

Because of the powerlessness and lack of control that it exposes, humiliation may lead to anxiety.

is recognizing and accepting our own limitations based on an accurate and modest estimate of our importance and significance. The humble person recognizes he is one among the six billion interdependentpeople on this earth, earth is one planet circling the sun, and our sun is one of a billion stars in the presently known universe. Because of this broad and sound perspective on her significance, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.

Humility reduces our need for self-justification and allows us to admit to and learn from our mistakes. Our ego stands down.

Humiliation and Shame

The essential distinction between humiliation and shame is this: you agree with shame and you disagree with humiliation. Humiliation is suffering an insult. If you judge the insult to be credible, then you feel shame. Others can insult and humiliate you, but you will only feel shame if your self-image is reduced; and that requires your own assessment and decision. A person who is insecure about their genuine stature is more prone to feeling shame as a result of an insult. This is because they give more credibility to what others think of them than to what they think of themselves. This can result in fragile self-esteem.

People believe they deserve their shame, they do not believe they deserve their humiliation. Humiliation is seen as unjust.

Forms of Humiliation

Humans have many ways to slight others and humiliate them. For example:

  • Overlooking someone, taking them for granted, ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, treating them as invisible, or making them wait unnecessarily for you,
  • Rejecting someone, holding them distant, abandoned, or isolated,
  • Withholding acknowledgement, denying recognition, manipulating recognition,
  • Domination, control, manipulation, abandonment,
  • Threats or abuse including: verbal (e.g. name calling), physical, psychological, or sexual,
  • Assault, attack, or injury
  • Having safety or security reduced by intimidation or threat,
  • Dismissing, discounting, or silencing your story,
  • Losing basic personal freedoms such a mobility, access, or autonomy; being controlled, dominated, intruded on, exploited, or manipulated,
The list goes on.  See the article here -> S O U R C E

(from) Mark
August 5, 2010 7:01 pm

As a child who was spanked and later as a parent who has chosen to spank, I see nothing sexual about spanking. What made spanking effective as a discipline tool for me as a child is its dramatic nature. Grounding may ultimately hurt many children worse. However, telling me I was going to be grounded carried nowhere near the emotional connotation for me as hearing that I was going to get a spanking. When I heard that I would be spanked, my throat would get tight and I would feel genuine fear.

I have tried to resort to other punishments for my own children besides spanking for several reasons. First, any punishment that is used too much becomes ineffective. Second, I would prefer to discipline without using the kind of physical force necessary when you spank. Three, I would prefer to give out a punishment that doesn’t leave my children crying.

Even so, I have found a couple of situations as a parent that I felt really called for a spanking. One involved a situation when my eight year old son insisted on playing with firecrackers and a friend when he had been told not to do so. Another involved a situation with the same son a couple of years later where he took a spray paint can and with the help of two friends sprayed some bad words on the wall of a house that was for sale. His misconduct here involved lying about where he was and taking a spray paint can from an open garage of a neighbor. Other discipline was used as well. However, I felt nothing could have conveyed my message as effectively as an over-the-knee spanking of his butt.

I disagree with bare butt spanking. Its unnecessary. I have taken down their pants though and spanked them in their underwear. It preserves their modesty and still causes enough embarrassment that they think long and hard about what they’ve done.

I applaud this father for his choice to speak, to describe, and to add his insight.  And I want to encourage further conversation on the subject matter from all of you.
Here is my very long winded reply  –

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your remarks and insight. It is encouraging to hear the voice of a father who is actively parenting his children. I want to take the opportunity to reply to your thread because I think it raises a couple of interesting and thought provoking concepts.

First, I’d like to address your concluding remarks on the effectiveness of embarrassment as punishment, and the long and far reaching effects it has on children, and adults. I’m going to site a few articles and tie together a couple thoughts on the subject; I welcome responses.

Please review the following posts/articles:

Corporal Punishment, Psychological Effects

Obtaining Obedience at What Cost

The Long Fingers that Dig Deep

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“Children should not be the scapegoats of adults’ painful experiences. The claim that mild punishments (slaps or smacks) have no detrimental effects is still widespread because we got this message very early from our parents who had taken it over from their own parents. This conviction helped the child to minimize his suffering and to endure it. Unfortunately, the main damage it causes is precisely our numbness as well as the lack of sensitivity for our children’s pain. The result of the broad dissemination of this damage is that each successive generation is subjected to the tragic effects of seemingly harmless “correction”. Many parents still think: What didn’t hurt me can’t hurt my child. They don’t realize that their conclusion is wrong because they never challenged their assumption.” S O U R C E

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Next, I’d like to draw a connection for some of you that perhaps you’ve not yet considered. The act of punishing our children’s deeds by use of spanking, grounding, or time out is something that doesn’t make sense to me because the consequence has nothing to do with the offense. Let me paint a picture for you that addresses this concept from one angle.

Our judicial system is full of people who have done something that the community views as wrong. They’re stuck in a cell, and our taxes basically keep them out of our way because of what they have done. Most of them will never have to confront the victim of their wrong doing, nor will they be expected to make reparation. And if reparation is ordered it is very unlikely it will have any direct correlation to the actual crime they committed, and even less chance that the offender will be expected to make any personal reparation to their victim. This lack of expectation of one to take personal responsibility has a lot to do with a given individual’s propensity to continue to commit crimes throughout his or her life.

There is a movement among some judicial systems to pave a path of justice and reparation, instead of simply trapping the offender. In Colorado, there is a group called Restorative Justice and their goal is to cause offenders to take personal responsibility, make personal reparation, and ultimately reintegrate into the community a whole person who is then capable of not continuing in their ways of difficulty because they wholly understand what harm it does. In the few cases where the individual is unable to rehabilitate and reintegrate satisfactorily, the typical judicial recourses are employed and basically, the system gives up on them.

My contention is that spanking, grounding, and other forms of punishment (this is not discipline, these are punishments) are ineffective in the long run because they are in essence no better than sticking the offender in a box and saying, “You did something bad, now sit here and think about it until the judge thinks you’ve thought long enough.” And how will that judge know? Recommendations from those who control this individual’s every move. They see how the individual responds and chooses to behave in this controlled environment with instant psychological and sometimes physical consequences that sometimes fit their actions. Further, the judge asks the person what he’s been thinking about while stuck in this box and told to think, which if he had done in the first place, he wouldn’t have been stuck in the box in the first place… so if he’d been able to figure things out properly on his own then, or after his incarceration, we wouldn’t have repeat offenders.

This, alas, is not how it works most of the time. In my opinion, we treat offenders much in the same way parents who use certain forms of punishment do. Natural consequences don’t apply, authority derived and determined punishments are instead delivered. And the only connection the offender is allowed to conclude is the authority figure decided I did something wrong, so they’re going to punish me in a way that satisfies them, but doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whatever I did, oh and it will humiliate me, which is the only thing I will remember (unless there is physical pain), but chances are I’ll forget what that humiliation was really for… just that on that day, I lost another piece of me and my self-confidence.

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That said, I want to just throw out a couple of alternative ideas regarding the two incidents you described where you felt it appropriate to spank your son:

For the offense of playing with fireworks after having been warned against it, AND after (your son) having been informed of the reasons for the warning (i.e., dangers to self, to others, to property – not just because mom/dad said so), I submit the child be taken for a session of volunteering at the Burn Unit at Children’s hospital. Such an event will offer the offending child a very real world and tangible experience to call upon when decided whether to involve himself with the play of fireworks in the future. And if you can get the other child’s parents to agree, have them both go at least twice. (Note: Discussing the situation with the adult coordinators in advance of arriving to volunteer, and in the absence of your child, will allow you to censor appropriately for your child’s age and sensabilities.)

This sort of experience gives the kids the chance to make the very real connection what fire and like items can do to a human child, and they won’t forget what they learn. They will have the opportunity to turn the experience into good for the community as well. Instead of humiliation they will gain wisdom and a sense of pride for their contribution and new found knowledge. This is something useful for your future and theirs, and in ways that may not be immediately obvious.

Responding with this sort of discpline allows you, the parent, to gain the same end result you’re after – the kids stop being careless with really dangerous stuff. They, the children, grow in maturity, wisdom, compassion, and self control, instead of learning how to play the game better and just not get caught the next time.

It is then the continued responsibility of the parent to enforce the experience by discussing any concerns or thoughts the child might have, perhaps facilitating a friendship between your child and one that has suffered a burn (if there is a need for an ongoing reminder of real world consequences).

I realize this sounds like a ton of work and time commitment for the parent, and how much easier would it be to get your way by spanking once, and assuming the humiliation will sit long enough that they’ll not commit the same offense ever again. But you and I both know that the moment your son is old enough to stare that humiliation in the face and turn it back on you in rebellion, and the moment he’s old enough to figure out how to control his time and resources (I wager, about 14 years of age), he will again do exactly what you have insisted he not. He will do it because of his curiosity that has been intensified by it being put off limits, and because he is strong enough to reject the humiliation you put on him. He may also be reluctant every year the country uses fireworks as a celebration, and may not understand why he has these feelings, but you will know that they stem from the humiliation that his mind unconsciously attaches to the objects.

Alternately, he will never challenge you and will follow in blind obedience, and our world will have another drone.

Forgive me for my bluntness, but if you’ve read any of my posts, you’re probably well aware of it already.

Concerning the spray paint incident… My gut reaction is that your son is acting in a pattern and if it were me, I’d be trying very hard to figure out what was behind/beneath his actions (say, perhaps any/all of the wrong doings over the last 5 years) and address the source before I did anything else (literally, before dinner, before tomorrow, whatever). However, as a response to the incident, instead of spanking him and telling him that I, the authority figure, disapproved of his choices, I’d again allow real world consequences to prevail, and real world lessons to be learned.

In the event that my child made the decision to be so disrespectful of another’s property, I would begin by asking him just that, “Why do you think it is you don’t have more respect for these people, and the things they have that matter to them?” Then, I would listen to his response. Very intently. I would continue to ask him questions that encouraged his thoughts and feelings, and at each response I would not respond with my own, but acknowledge his words and remember well what he is communicating (and what isn’t successfully being transmitted, but is there nonetheless).

Then, I would explain to my child that he must make reparation for the damage he chose to cause. Further, I would plainly inform my child, in the presence of the other child, that they have both made decisions that are now going to prevent them from spending unsupervised time together for the forseeable future. Then, I would inform him that his reparation would incude him either cleaning the marks off the house himself, or if that was not possible, he would join the professional and do whatever the professional would have him do to repair the damage. If new siding or something similar were necessary, he would offer whatever money he had to pay for it. He and I would take our time to help the home owner obtain whatever supplies they might need, and do any of the work they’d allow us to do to repair (us, yes us, meaning my offending child and me, the parent ultimately responsible). If my son’s funds were insufficient and mine had to be tapped, my son would be in my debt and he would commence working whatever was necessary to gain the real money necessary to repay me.

My son would be as present as the owners would allow, and if they wouldn’t allow it, he’d be at the next Habitat for Humanity opportunity, or something similar, doing the same physical work related to building/caring for a house. AND it would be his hands that would hurt because of a splinter, having to grip a hammer for a long time, or whatever other discomfort just comes along with that sort of work (hot sun, standing for a long time, carrying heavy stuff back and forth, tending to the needs of the grown ups who can do what he cannot, etc).

Additionally, for the second part of his offense, his room would be left open for strangers to come visit during a garage sale (this would be a surprise to him). If there were many valuable items that would cost me, I would prearrange a visit from some neighbors that he didn’t know, and ask them to take what they wish from a selection of items that will get the point across to him, but not hurt my pocket. And no, I would not then replace the items out of my own pocket.

Finally, I would address what was behind his choice of words. What satisfaction did he gain from the selection of words he chose? Does he perhaps harbor some resentment toward these people?? Has he made some sort of judgement of them and felt the need to passively tell them? Were these words specifically “taboo” according to his parents, and therefore if he managed to not get caught, would the resulting level of satisfaction and passive statement made be worth the risk?

When our children act out, whatever their age, we must take a moment to look inward. Chances are, there is something there we could improve, change, or cease that would make a difference in our children. However, the younger they are when we take this responsibility and awareness upon ourselves, the better chance for success and well developed children in their older years.

– I was three years old when my mother first spanked me, and I lost a considerable amount of respect for her intelligence and compassion that day. I had lied about taking some stickers off the refrigerator, and as a result I was forced to endure the humiliation of being bent over her knee. I complied, I complained, and I learned that next time either lie better or don’t get caught. Did I mention I was three?

The kicker was that I didn’t know ahead of taking the stickers that it would matter, but when my mom confronted me I sensed that she thought what I had done was wrong, so I responded because I didn’t want to feel her disapproval. Even though I hadn’t intentionally disobeyed an order or expectation, I knew I would suffer her disapproval anyway if I fessed up. So, my tiny 3 years of experience prevailed and in my effort to not have her disapprove of something I had done with no malicious or rebellious intent, I figured my best option was to pretend I didn’t know what she was talking about thereby preventing her disapproval of ME specifically. I hoped that she would just be sad that the stickers weren’t there anymore and leave it at that… and maybe give me a chance to return them since it had become apparent it mattered to her.

No such luck. She cornered me, I lied, she countered, I gave in, she spanked me, I was humiliated, she tried to reconcile, I rejected her, she left me alone, I drew my own conclusions and you know what, I don’t give a hoot about stickers anymore – they annoy me. Now, my two year old loves them and sticks them everywhere! My mother uses them as a reward and gift for her grand daughter. I think it’s great because it’s an activity they mutually enjoy and share untarnished between the two of them. But you will never find a single sticker or even a magnet that resembles one on my fridge, as it would serve as a reminder of a dark and brooding feeling inside of me that turned to resentment toward my mother. A small amount of resentment, perhaps, but there just the same.

That was the one and only time my mother ever spanked me. Maybe she was wiser than I thought she was.


Parenting Disciplin (Source of below quote ->)

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists the definition of discipline as:

1. punishment

2. obsolete: instruction

3. a field of study

4. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

Why is punishment listed as the first definition and the Latin root meaningto teach has become obsolete?

I suspect that this description perfectly mirrors our current parenting paradigm in which generation after generation has passed down parenting discipline advice and techniques based on cycles of punishments and rewards, dangling carrots and taking away privileges and love in an attempt to modify behavior. This philosophy of discipline has not taken us very far.