As parents, we want our children to be safe, but sometimes we confuse safety with control. Most parents establish a few sensible rules to keep their children safe. Some parents, though, go too far. They control their children more from selfish motives than any desire to help them grow up safely. Of course, if you ask them, they’ll invariably tell you it’s for the child’s own good.
Now, a great deal of child abuse has been accompanied by the words “for your own good,” and it must be stopped. It’s a tragic mistake to believe that a child’s will needs to be broken, much like a ranch hand breaks a horse. We create a legacy of fear and pain when we engage in power struggles with our children for no other reason than to show them who is boss – especially when intimidation, force, humiliation and other forms of abuse enter into the picture.
This kind of abuse, whether physical or psychological, is often repeated from generation to generation. Parents who do it almost always believe it is right because it’s so familiar and they just have never learned different, better ways. But there are better ways, and they can be learned.
If kids don’t have parents who model good parenting skills – and many of them don’t – they can’t be expected to know how to be good parents themselves. It’s a proven fact that human beings seek the familiar, whether it’s good for us or not. It is time that a nurturing environment, one that helps a child grow up, becomes the “familiar” that we all seek.
It would seem that relationship and parenting skills are basics that should be taught right along with reading and math, from the elementary grades right on up, in all our schools. Bravo to the schools already doing this!