Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 23: How to Effectively Brainwash your Child

Today I was reading in a baby magazine, and came across an article with the title:

What Do You Value?
There are ways to improve the chances of raising adults who share your outlook on life

The article first sets out to explain the importance of getting the ‘values of your choosing’ integrated within the first 7 years of the child. The reason why they believe that it is important to ‘get them’ in the first 7 years, is because apparently the child within those first seven years, will simply perceive everything which happens in the home environment as ‘normal’, and will accept whatever it perceives without questioning. Only later do they start questioning things, and then it becomes more difficult for the parents to get the child to absorb the values they want the child to internalize. Within this, fascinatingly, they are implying that we should indoctrinate our children with our values while ‘they aren’t yet able to think critically’. This in itself should raise a few flags about what we value and why we value things – because what the article seems to be saying is that it is hard to teach a child values, when these values don’t make sense (so get them while they can’t see it!!!)

Although the article does not wish to prescribe which values a parent should or should not pursue – as this is one of those ‘sacred/holy/protected free choice’-areas – it assumes that all parents wish their children to grow up to be fulfilled and to be ‘assets to humanity’. It then lays out some ‘tips’ on how to best ‘control your child’ through things like ‘Inductive Control’-style Parenting – where you utilize reasoning and discussion to control your child. The point of this style, is to basically reason with your child and get them to a point of understanding. Yet, what is quirky about this, is that it is still meant to ‘control’ your child. Wouldn’t one rather discuss and talk with your child from a starting point of empowering the child in the ways of common sense? Rather than utilizing reason and logic as a means of control, where all you care about is in essence to ‘keep your child in check’. While it all sounds ‘nice’ because you are treating your child as a ‘rational being’, the Inductive Control Style parenting basically comes down to your skills of persuasion and ability to convince your child of your righteousness, rather than looking together at how and why something is a common sensical thing to do, and to allow the child to give actual input which means that one as a parent has to be able to re-consider and re-evaluate one’s values or one’s living application of values if need to.

Another tip, which will come to no surprise, is that of a Reward system. Instead of asking your child to do something directly, or explaining them why something needs to be done directly – present a reward at the end of your sentence. Don’t just say: clean up after yourself – rather say: clean up after yourself so we can go outside and play. The child won’t even know what is actually happening, but somehow he/she will be less resistant! So within this section of the article, they are basically laying out all of the subtle ways of manipulation you can get your child to do something, where you teach yourself to respond to positive rewards rather than common sense reasoning. What is not considered within this article, is that this method in itself envelopes a value system. Though applying this method, one is actually indicating to one’s child that you as a parent aren’t too concerned with the child’s ability to understand things and act in a way that is best for all, but that you value them doing what they are told, and that they should value doing what they are being told so they can get a reward at the end of the day. This itself, is completely incompatible with teaching your child actual values and principles to live by, because the very method of presenting rewards / positive enforcement – takes away the focus from the common sense, the reason, the logic as what a particular value / principle stands for – and instead moves the focus to how one experiences oneself, and that one should act on how one ‘feels’ rather than acting on that which makes sense as the principles/values one decided to live by.

The last tip mentioned, is to be the example, and to treat everyone around you as how you would like your child to end up treating them. This is the trickiest part, because it soon becomes clear that parents have no real focus and no real self-discipline within living and applying the values they want to promote to their children – and in the end just end up being hypocrites with no credibility left. Yet, this point is emphasized to be ‘the key’. So long you are the example, and you are real about it – your child will follow your example. This is then also the problem parents face, because one is merely acting in particular way in the hope that the child will learn from this ‘one event’, where the parent is being mindful about caring for others, while 99% of the time while the parent is not deliberately spending time on indoctrinating values – the real nature of the parent as what the parent actually lives by is revealed – and thus, this is what the children end up following. It’s those moments where you’re not paying attention and you’re lying to someone as to why you can’t do something and your child just has to witness this for a second and understands that it’s okay to lie, deceive and manipulate – even to those closest to you.

To be continued
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