Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How to Raise a Spoiled Brat

From the Globe And Mail:

In the consensual living model, father doesn't know best. Neither does mom. Instead, parents and children are equal partners in family life, according to the principles laid out at consensual-living.com.

It's been tried. It does not work. Kids need parents to tell them what to do. Adults often know better than the kids.

When the kid goes out in the real world, people are not going to validate his feelings in order to make him feel better and get them to co-operate (unless they're customer service agents, but even then...)

Kids must learn that while acknowledging and expressing one's feelings is important, it's usually secondary to other goals. Your feelings and wants are not more important than others-- in fact, you have to learn how to control and be considerate of others, especially in public.

As the mother of two kids on the autistic spectrum, this method strikes me as a load of baloney. Now to be sure, parenting ASD kids with traditional authoritarianism doesn't work-- goodness knows I've tried. But it's up to the parents to strategize and modify the environment to get the children to produce appropriate behaviour.

I'm very co-ercive that way.

But making sure the kids produce the right behaviour leads to greater happiness and self-esteem. I have to say that my children are generally well-behaved in public, especially considering their autism. (Saying that, of course, is just inviting a meltdown, :) Nonetheless...)

Because they behave in public, they get to enjoy public outings. They are appreciated by other people. They learn to discipline themselves so that they can continue enjoying their experiences.

That's what kids need to learn.

Not that their needs and (especially) their wants are just as "valid". Any parent with common sense knows that a kid who hears their concerns are as valid will interpret it as meaning that they are more valid.

It's a recipe for raising a self-centred child.

Parents should not be afraid of asserting the fact that they have more knowledge, logic and wisdom than their kids. It doesn't make them infallible, but it makes them better equipped to know what's good for their kids than their kids do. They have the authority and the experience to raise their children. They shouldn't give in to the irrational wants and feelings of their children. That's setting up their children for misery. Sometimes that may upset the children. But parents know what's best. Kids are driven by immaturity.