Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Monday, July 30, 2007


Often, adults become overly controlling or overly permissive with their children.
Both are destructive. The overly controlling parent must 'let go' as the child demonstrates responsibility. C Discipline literally means 'teaching' and it should be employed only where their exists harm to another person. Children, as do all people desire freedom and autonomy. Freedom comes with responsibility. Freedom is not to be equated with chaos or merely doing what one so chooses without thinking of the community around them. Children want their parents involved, but they as everyone else do not desire to be controlled.

I have noticed that in conflicts between children, adults are often rushing to intervene. How is a child expected to learn conflict resolution unless they are given the opportunity to work through their own conflicts (even if it takes many attempts). With the current divorce rates and the current number of conflicts in the world, children themselves may be better at handling conflicts than most adults! Once again, the adult only need intervene where their exists serious harm to another, and in this, the role of the adult is to provide feedback and guidance, not to suppress or merely provide the solution. The child will never think critically if this is done.
Parental hypocrisy is another problem and frequently noticed by children. The idea of 'do as I say but not as I do". This is often a tactic of control. Families often also establish forbidden fruits. For instance, little Johnny says the word 'shit'. The parents tell little Johnny- 'don't say that word, its not allowed." Not to mention, mom and dad are frequently shouting it out at various occassions. Now it has become something little Johnny finds immensely curious and wants to do frequently. To me, the use of swear words as an expression is not as much an issue as the person who spreads malicious gossip. Of course the person who uses these swear words throughout their conversation, for no apparent reason, or compulsively will be looked upon in a negative way. But the occassional release of such a colorful word is not something that is something to make into a enormous issue. Actually making it an issue, does exactly that- makes it an issue!
Humiliation is often a tactic employed by adults on children. Making them an example is thought to 'set them straight'. It only causes them to shut down and become emotionally distraught. In many situations where children no longer have a zeal for learning in school and a lack of motivation, it often stems from a period where humiliation was used upon them.
Parents and teachers often pressure children to adhere to their definition of 'success'. They MUST learn! But children learn in spite of school. Many of the greatest lessons I learned in life were certainly not in a classroom. Learning should be tailored to the innate strengths of the child. Learning should be a desired activity not a mundane one. However, when one pressures a child or forces them to conformity to rote tasks, learning will become a mundane activity, motivation will decrease and possibly never be regained.

In my work with families, I have often developed a family constitution. This is a list of what all feel are their rights and responsibilities. It is designed collaboratively and certain laws are agreed upon. Grievances are worked through at family meetings where each party is given a voice and the right to speak uninterrupted to present their viewpoint. This helps to work through conflicts and use shared energy for problem solving. The family meeting also allows for together time, something very important but sorely lacking in today's society. It helps families to once again come together in community.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

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