In my previous two blogs I touched upon the idea that society wants to make us believe that children need to be controlled, and I suggested that this is a dupe.
I want to talk about why this dupe is pursued and also the consequences upon a child`s behaviour.
(Let`s just make it clear that there are degrees of control used upon children and we are not talking about the occasional necessity to curb behaviour. Neither are we here including other factors that impact upon behaviour, such as health issues. I will write about this at a later date.)
A dupe? Well, what do you mean, you might ask? A dupe implies that there is something covert going on here, some mass dissembling. The truth is that it is indeed a dupe, but that there is, generally, no conscious intent to feed us false propaganda about children. It just passes from one parent to another, one teacher to another without question, generation to generation. Yet, though there is little or no awareness for the need to hoodwink everybody into thinking that children will not comply unless forced, there is a group need for everyone to believe this ludicrous defamation of children.
The need is that this long established guilt in regard to children, is in serious need of people to go on justifying it, and all parties perpetuate the same myth about children to keep the belief going. (Honestly, if this negative regard for children were to be transferred to blacks or women or any other sub-group in society, the human rights, anti-discrimination lobbies would go ballistic!!!)
This belief about children uses our old friend the compartmental conscience to slip the whole notion past most of us. As you will know if you have stuck with me so far (!), the compartmental conscience is a psychological mechanism that allows things that are problematic to our conscience to be put into another mental box so that we can send our guilt somewhere else in our minds. In regard to the boarding school debate, for example, parents say that sending a child to boarding school is ultimately good for them and this justifies their strategies to force them to separate.
When we are legitimising threat, force or punishment towards a child, we compartmentalise by putting "guilt" onto the child in order to justify using duress to get what we want from them. The form this takes is to decide that all children are "guilty" of an inability to behave the way we want them to, unless we make them!! Once the child becomes the "guilty party" (and not us) we can legitimise our behaviour. For example: The argument for forcing a child to learn is that if you don`t make a child learn he wont learn anything. It is therefore perfectly acceptable to MAKE him do it.
So we see from this that the propaganda we hear all the time about children is essential to alleviate the guilt parents might otherwise feel about their attitude to their own children...There certainly is a vested interest, in group allegiance and for group guilt avoidance, to make children LOOK like they are "guilty"!!!! There would be no escape from conscience if it were proven that children aren`t animals that need to be tamed !!!! and I think that therein lies much of the problem that society has with home education: It simply does not want to find out that children are not guilty of an inability to learn unless forced to.
Now onto the point of this particular blog: When we force children to do as we wish, we teach children about power. Not just the power of the underling who is the child, but the power of the overlord, the parent.They don`t JUST learn how to submit and they certainly don`t learn to accept the power of their parent/s like a good child is expected to, without resentment. They learn the whole package. That is, they assimilate that the parent experiences the NEED to have power over them and they see that this is something to be desired.They want it too, and they will inevitably mirror this behaviour to some degree. As the child learns to want power, just as the parent does, the parent will have to use more power to enforce it`s will. You then have set up two people who, often desperately, need power over each other, both feeling this as an urgent need.
When parents get locked into power with their kids, they find that their offspring use, just as they do , strategies to gain power. This, in my view, is a prominent reason for much aggravation between parent and child.
Children copy parents behaviour...and parents usually don`t see it coming back at them !!!! Controlling parents get controlling children, to a commensurate degree. Parents who are chaotic emotionally, with mood swings or temper tantrums are reciprocated in kind. So in general terms, children are the parents manifested.
The fact is that a belief that tells us that children need to be controlled and the resultant behaviour parents deliver based upon this belief, is actually a major cause of misbehaviour in children. It`s like this: As an adult, if you try to make me do things and you use all sorts of threats and controls to get your own way, I am going to feel pretty bad. I will feel disrespected and powerless. From this sense of upset I may use the same behaviour back on you. I wont feel secure, I will feel vulnerable and unsettled, on edge. If you force me to learn, I will always retain, even as a forgotten imprint, an experience of learning based upon force. If you punish me for not learning what you want me to, it will always tarnish a subject that I might otherwise have wanted to learn of my own free will.
So let`s take this back to a child`s eye view.....If you do this to me as a child, I may be so humiliated that I refuse to learn altogether and you and the teachers will have to use more force to make me do it. If I still am turned off learning, I may start to hurt your world to pay you back for treating me like a thing that has to do as IT is told. But you know, even if I do what you want and I learn because I am told to, and I get qualifications and a good job, do you know what I`ll do??????Simple: I`ll do the same thing to my kids ........unless, unless I become one of the few who see that this is not the right way to behave towards children.