Sunday, Nov 23, 2014
Columns

Childproofing the house so as not to have to say no is lunacy


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Parents have taken permissiveness to the next level. Too many modern parents feel they want their children to be free to do whatever they desire at any moment. This is accomplished by the parent thinking of every conceivable dangerous feature in the house and then making it safe for the child to explore. It involves rounding off corners, covering up electrical plugs, storing remotes outside the reach of the child and making sure furniture is immovable and stable. All glass windows have to be impact windows so as not to shatter.

This childproofing the home idea is not good for the child, although it may make it easier for the parents. Parents would never have to say no since the child's physical safety has been ingeniously provided. But the child's social and emotional health has been ignored.

Other authority figures will eventually handle these difficult shortcomings. They will be responsible to say "no" to the child and absorb the child's anger. The parents will be isolated from the child's anger as long as they acquiesce to the child's every demand.

This child-rearing approach excuses a parent from taking the time and energy that prepares the child to learn appropriate limits and to function wisely. In the short term it may be in the parent's interest, but it certainly is not in the child's as it leaves the child with gaping inadequacies and leaves them less than civilized.

A child needs to be taught how to deal with different environments, not only for his and other's safety but to learn what is appropriate in different situations. He should not throw around objects and act wild when visiting the homes of family and friends. Not only could he hurt himself or others but would appear to be out of control.

The lack of parental training in listening, speaking, obeying and establishing parameters in this modern culture could be initially passed off by the parent as an immature child. In due time this persistent developmentally delayed behavior will be interpreted as annoying and disruptive behavior. Others will see it as the child having a mental disorder. Rarely would the parent be seen as the culprit.

In reality, it is parental malfeasance that goes undetected in our modern culture. The inability or unwillingness to say "no" to a child is an abusive act. Children need to learn what they should not do, more than doing what they want to do. Many things we might want to do could adversely affect others and might even be illegal. Narcissistic and antisocial personalities are not the types of people parents should want to develop. Yet this is what they are doing.

In a stable nation people have to abide by society's moral and social codes of behavior. An individual is not free to transgress against the freedom of others. One person's rights end where another's begins. All of us are obliged to respect the rights of others or suffer legal consequences. In an orderly society no one can take another's property without his permission.

Children need to be taught limits to act appropriately to be successful. They cannot take another child's toy just because they decide to. They cannot assault someone just because they feel like doing it.

The word "no" has to be taught to "childproof" him for the realities of life. Someone has to say no and then follow it with a consequence. The person then has to follow up the child's behavior on numerous occasions to catch him in dangerous or abusive actions.

This repetitive correcting establishes a better behavior pattern. The child becomes more thoughtful and inhibited in attempting annoying or disruptive behavior.

The person who plays the role of teaching the child that the word "no" means to stop and listen has given the child the gift of learning about the world from an adult perspective. "No" is an essential ingredient in raising a normal child.

Childproofing a house is giving a child license to be a self-absorbed lunatic. This insane childproofing of the house does not do anything to prepare a child to deal with reality appropriately to become a successful person.

Domenick Maglio is an author and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.

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