Intelligence and Parenting
There are any number of people these days who are proponents of what amounts to military upbringing.
There is a problem with this approach. The World War II generation already did that. And what they raised was a generation of rebels.
My younger brother was raised without violence or authoritarianism, and he has a PhD in nanotechnology from Stanford. He has not been in any kind of trouble; he is effective in a wide range of endeavors; and he is a good man. There were people telling my mother that he was going to become a monster because she did not use corporal punishment. He did not become a monster; he did not become anything close to a monster. He became an impressive, successful, respectable and good-hearted young man.
When dealing with my daughter, I see and treat her as an intelligent life form. When she does something wrong, I explain to her why it is wrong, and she does not do it any more. I do not need to hit her or to be abusive or controlling toward her. I engage her intelligence. She is a very happy child, she behaves very well, and people love her.
Did I get lucky? Maybe I did; but even in dealing with other children I've found intelligence to work better than the military approach. As a tutor, I encounter children who are not as sweet as my daughter, and it's in engaging their intelligence that true progress is made. They need to know why it's important for them to learn. They need to know why it is important for them to be responsible. The fist does not accomplish this; engaging their intelligence does.
In "The World's Strictest Parent," two English teenagers who were partying and neglecting their studies spent a week with an Indian lawyer parent. The first thing he did was take them to see the slums, and that worked to change the attitude of the male teenager, who simply wasn't thinking. With the girl, it didn't work; she was suicidally depressed. What finally did work with the girl was when he showed her real attention and caring, which she did not get from her parents and which was the reason for her misery. The girl went on to do well.
The world will be a better place if more people see and treat their children as an intelligent life form. Instead of practicing Pavlovian reinforcement that is more appropriate for animals than for humans, wanting to "beat the Devil out of them," or raising them "with fear," a far better approach is to treat them as intelligent beings and engage their intelligence toward better behavior. If a child understands the reasons for things, the child will be more willing to act in a better manner. And that will go a very long way toward reducing misbehavior, rebellion, acting out, and other undesirable outcomes.