Even if you have no children yet, open your heart and mind if you wish to see kids develop more easily and peacefully for parents or single parent.
Her Highness Ramona inquired at 1655 how to “handle the request for an allowance?” I struggled with the subject for years. Many people know many different ways, both successful and unsuccessful, I guess. However, I recently developed a way so promising that I wish I had children with whom to test it. Fortunately, I can share it for what it’s worth after you weigh it with your value system and ambitions about raising kids.
We will get to a child’s allowance with Part II tomorrow, but first this. There are two kinds of people. Some respect people after they earn it, that is, conditionally. Others respect people simply because they are another human, no other requirements necessary, that is, unconditionally. Parents with the latter attitude develop successful children more easily and peaceably than the former.
It happens because expecting kids to earn respect before receiving it passes around this five-point teaching process multiple times and keeps compounding negative child-raising results. The process is the same but easier for mothers, so I present a father/son example.
- Once his conscious mind opens during the third year, a child intuitively knows himself to be a person like everyone else. He possesses a free will that quickly teaches him that life is about being free to do as he pleases. Father expects any child of his to earn father’s respect. When son’s behaviors don’t please father, he takes offense and action.
- He expects to see faux-adult behavior in an undeveloped son. Child tries to please but is uninformed as to what is required. Father explains better, but child’s mind can’t grasp how to reshape his ‘want to’ into ‘have to’ with enough regularity to satisfy father. Children are more emotional, immaturely irrational, and only when treated respectfully do they try to duplicate adult rationality.
- Fathers have a much harder time than mothers do of staying abreast of a child’s developing maturity. Father expects to shape the boy into a man, so he aims at the future. Son is only aware of the present. What’s expected of him doesn’t always make sense or be worth doing. Their mental thoughts clash, and father doesn’t perceive what he expects. Thereafter, father respects child less than fully, because father perceives as inadequate what son sees as adequate for trying hard.
- When son receives less respect than he thinks he earns—not really knowing all the combinations and permutations of dad’s requirements—he sees that he fails regardless of how hard he tries. He concludes that he can’t, since he doesn’t know how to please father. Sooner or later he balks and quits trying. Two male competitors thus lock horns, because the father’s attitude is to make the son mature in the father’s image in order to earn respect.
- The self-fulfilling prophecy kicks in. Father sees son can’t earn his respect, so he tightens the screws to expect more than previously. Child feels hopeless and continues to fail. He feels greater pressure and resents, resists, and eventually finds ways to retaliate.
Once the father determines that son should earn his respect, the process described above kicks in. With each passage through the process, father’s intensity grows. Soon, son must be made to earn his respect and troubles really start then. On a regular basis, their relationship goes from 1 to 5 and back to 1. Relations worsen with each circuit, and father’s respect for son becomes more conditional than before. Son’s resistance mounts and their relationship strains further.
There is a better way that produces better results. Respect a child as a person—above and beyond boy or girl—without their having to earn it. Pay them honest and unconditional respect by virtue of their having been born into the human race. They may be small and immature, but they are a full-blown if not full-grown person with self-interest energizing both heart and mind ever since their third year of life.
A child’s sense of worth in the world comes from having control over his life, and today that means having some money to spend or save and dream according to his own wishes and not that of parents. Very few things show greater unconditional respect than for parents to award an allowance that can’t be reduced or withheld for any reason. That is, awarded simply because the child is alive. Stabilized by parental commitment, such an allowance has many benefits to both parents and child, but that’s the story for Part II tomorrow at 1659.