Training children like the animals they are

Kingdom: Animalia

I was reading this book on

Disciplining children,

And it offered this strategy:

Don’t think of your children as

Adults-in-the-making,

Using

Reason and

Logic to

Help them

Understand

Why

They should

Behave in certain ways.

Instead,

Think of them as

Wild animals

To be

Trained.

Huh, I thought.

We are animals after all.

Kingdom: Animalia

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Genus: Homo

Species: Homo sapiens

When my son was born,

I remember studying the

Whorls of the hairs between the small shoulder blades,

And running a finger down the

Knobs of his spine.

“He’s a little animal,

A small creature,” I marveled.

Five years later,

The whorls have faded to blond and the

Spine knobs are usually covered by a t-shirt.

He is starting to be

Civilized.

Which I guess is my job as his

Mother-trainer.

It’s difficult to not rely on

Reason and logic to

Make a case to him.

But it’s true.

When I ask him

Why

He did a certain unacceptable thing,

He shrugs and says,

“I don’t know.”

And I believe him.

I think he really doesn’t yet have the

Self-awareness to

Know why.

Or when I try to create

Golden Rule parallels for him:

“How would you feel if someone

Did [something inconsiderate] to you?”

He just looks blank.

Or when I try to explain the layers of

Reasoning behind why I tell him not to do things:

“Do you see how sharp this knife is

That you just tried to grab?

It could slice into your finger,

We’d have to go to the hospital,

You could get nerve damage,

Maybe lose the use of your finger!”

I’ve lost him after “sharp knife,”

Which is more of a fascination than a

Deterrent anyway.

Best, the book says,

To just say “No,”

Offering no explanation or reason,

And follow with immediate–

Humane–

Consequences.

Time-outs.

Wow, it’s hard.

I have to pretty much

Train myself to shut up

Before I even start to train him.

It’s probably good for both of us.

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