Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Growing Pains

We all started out as children. From the moment we were born, outside influences began shaping who we were to be, how we were to act and react.
     Though people come in so many sizes and shapes, beliefs and convictions, even prejudices, everyone starts out the same: defenseless, vulnerable and ignorant. The parents then start teaching, through words and actions, how they learned to live in the world.
     So diverse are the teachings most of us have endured that we have gone through several belief systems trying to figure out which one holds the key to understanding, the “meaning of life”, as it were. There are as many interpretations as there are people. No matter what religion, if any, a group of people belong to, though they may have a base agreement on their beliefs, there are always minor differences.
     As children, we cry when we experience pain, fear, indecision, or loneliness. How the adults react to those displays of emotion determines not only how the child will eventually display them, but also how that child will react to others who have been taught differently. The child who is told, “Stop acting like a baby!” will develop a much different attitude than the one who is told, “It’s OK to cry. Just let it all out.” As such, the child who is taught that only “babies” cry will persecute the ones who are told it is ok. In response to being derided by their peers, the child who does cry openly will eventually learn that society does not think it’s acceptable.
     The child who sees their mother being chastised or beaten will assume that is the way of the world. If the child is beaten and berated, the lesson will be to do the same to any who are weaker. The despondent child may be further damaged by being ignored or pushed aside, often leading to addictions or even attempts of suicide. The sexually abused will in turn abuse either another or themselves.
     So many people have made the comment that they would not raise their children the way they were brought up, yet too many of them seem to make either the same or worse mistakes. Along this same line, some even choose to disregard things they either felt or thought as children themselves and deny their children the right to experience certain things which would help them to be better adults.
     For example, look at corporal punishment regulations held in the school systems. Many years ago, it was standard practice for the wayward child to be sent to the principal’s office to receive a paddle to the derrière. In today’s society, such acts are considered child abuse. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that many of the children know this, and will intentionally flaunt the knowledge before those who should be in control. One can barely use spankings in the privacy of their own homes for discipline, and even then have to worry about authorities taking the children away. Without the concern of punishment for wrong doings, many youngsters will repetitively cause trouble, knowing the worst that will happen is a “time out”.
     There are solutions for many of the woes that plague society concerning the rearing of our children, but I feel none of the lawmakers in charge of those decisions will be open to researching them. I could offer my own thoughts on the subject, however, since I have no degrees or long term experience involving children, my opinions would be dismissed faster than I could make them. Therefore, until society realizes that the decline of things such as common courtesy, sympathy for fellows, even fear of consequences are directly related to the fact that people are no longer allowed to discipline their children, the future will continue to look as bleak as it does now.

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