Upon the occasion of a family member expecting their first child... and my researching
for appropriate gifts for them... one being swaddling blankets... (which I ended up buying)...
and while watching videos on that subject... and seeing commentaries about swaddling
being a form of "oppression" rather than comfort... and happening across other child-discipline
videos that made me a little sick to watch... I've thought that I should write down a few
of my own feelings on the subject of babies... and child rearing.
I wouldn't label myself as a "baby expert," but... my feeling is... I couldn't do
any worse than those who say that they ARE experts. In fact... I can almost trace some of their
"expert concepts" back to religious doctrines... of harsh disciplines... authoritarian dictates...
and old-fashioned and ignorant ideas of CONTROL and SUBMISSION to authority.
Like I said... some of these ideas make me sick.
I happened to land on the new "hot sauce" discipline technique... where the
misbehaving child must submit to the placing of a drop of Tobasco on the
tongue. It reminded me of the medieval "hot irons" used to blind the eyes of heretics.
In the video that I watched about the "hot sauce technique"... a very pretty and educated
woman hailed the great benefits of it... saying, "the parent
must establish their authority." This is sick stuff... blessed by the authoritarian
mentality of religious principles... "obedience is salvation" and "children are born sinful."
Maybe this torture concept can be adapted to adult indoctrinations, as well... geez...
The logical math done which results in the believability of these types of techniques is
hard to resist. Everyone is familiar with the problems of child-rearing... and the need
to shape and discipline the behaviors of children... and how important it is to imprint
concepts of duty, work, and respect on growing children. But... if the beginning point
is a belief that children are born sinful... a child could never prove himself otherwise
without such a parent reacting with disbelief and amazement. And... as logical as it
may all seem... it is bad math... and has no reconciling. Its premise is... simply...
DISTRUST and ENMITY.
In my treatise "A Covenant With Truth" I discuss the subject of children... and love.
I say that "children are only dancing to the tune that has been sung to them."
I say that "children need to be able to trust and also need to be trusted."
I say that "life is... what it is... as it is," and all the thinking otherwise is
a form of delusion. Parents are not fooling the natural instincts of children with
their predetermined and prejudiced excuses. Children can sense... and do their own
logical math... and seem to know without knowing... the absence of genuine affection
and love for them.
In my opinion... bonding with love and affection for your children is the most
important thing that you can do as a parent. If you can manage to genuinely bond
with sincerity of affection for your children... you have mastered much of the job of
parenting. If you fail to do this well... then... you will need to turn to the techniques
of oppression and submission and torture... to control their unease and distrust of you.
How can a child depend upon and trust... and allow himself to be instructed by...
someone who doesn't like or trust or understand... him...???
I think highly of midwifery and breastfeeding. A knowledgeable midwife will know
how to handle a newborn carefully. Children can develop spinal and neck problems
from the day they are born... if they are handled too roughly. The parents must be
certain to support the correct spine position until a baby has developed the proper
muscle strength to support their large head... an argument for "swaddling."
And in general... respectful handling of a child reassures the child... that it is cared
for... and it can trust those around him.
My son never had a bottle... or a pacifier. In my opinion... bottles are for animals who
have no mother to feed them. And pacifiers are ready germ repositories... and totally
unnecessary if a child is fed and content. As soon as my son could sit up and hold a cup...
he had a sippy cup of water or apple juice always conveniently nearby. As soon as he
could eat solids... he had nutritious food. I encouraged weaning from the time he
could walk. Each child is different on this process... and so I'll leave my own story
to myself. Mothers who work... must make their own breastfeeding decisions. The
LaLeche League has good information on this.
Different foods must be introduced in small amounts... one by one... to detect any
reactions or allergies that might exist. It is important to begin with organic quality
foods with the simplest and most bland of consistency... oatmeal milk made by
soaking oats in water... potato... yam... broth... gravy... vegetables and grains with
little salt that have been sieved through a plastic sieve (not metal) to remove strings or
fibers. Sugar should be introduced a little at a time... and the quantity measured
and controlled... in fruits and juices... according to a child's body weight.
Yes... a parent must protect a child from hazards... but... it needn't be done in a hateful
way. If a crawling baby gets close to an electric outlet... the first reaction shouldn't be
to slap the hand... and wave a finger in the child's face saying "no... no... no." It seems to me...
a better way of handling such a thing would be to pick the child up and hug it...
and say... "oh... no... that will hurt my baby... see that...? do not touch it... it will
hurt my baby really bad." The child will understand the fear in your voice.
Potty training begins with a child who can understand words well enough to follow
instructions... and by casually introducing the process of using a toilet.
"When you eat food... your body uses it to keep healthy and give you energy... and
then it gets rid of the rest of the stuff... the poop. This... is what mommy and daddy do...
when they have to go poop. We come in here... sit down... etc etc. And THAT is the
little toilet... just for you. And when you're finished... you dump it in the big toilet.
Pretty cool, stuff, eh...??? Now... don't forget... ok..??"
Learning is not about OBEDIENCE TRAINING... so much as it is about
REMEMBERING. There is no GOOD and BAD... there is just stuff that you learn
step by step... and REMEMBERING... ok...?? The authoritarian dictates of a parent
are like being forced to drink vinegar... when... all you needed to do was whisper in
the child's ear... "remember what I told you about sharing your toys with
And then... if the child "forgets" the rule... you don't have YOUR OWN temper tantrum...
you don't drag the child into the garage and swat the daylights out of him... what
you do is... call him out of the room with your finger... and an innocent expression...
and ask him why he forgot the sharing rules for company...
"The only nice thing to do is to share your toys with company. You can ask Bobby
to be very careful with your toys... but you need to share them nicely. And don't make
me have to explain this again. I will if I have to... but I sure don't want to keep saying this."
I have heard so many people talking to their children... using the APPROVAL words
of "good job...!!" It just reminds me of... dog training... using key words that
imbecile minds can comprehend easily. It almost seems to me to be saying... "good
dog, Fido...!!" As for myself... I remember casually using the words "I love it" which
felt just a bit more friendly and less authoritarian.
Once a parent has established a loving bond with a child... disapproval needn't be
loudly or forcefully expressed... as the child will delight in instruction... and try to
avoid disapproval from that loving parent. Yes... children can feel dignity... and
shame... but the shame must come from within themselves... not imposed by a parent.
Think of it this way... would you talk to any other person like he was an idiot... or
like you would talk to a dog... ??? So... why would you talk to a learning child...
who surely wants to know the right things... and who seeks your approval... with a rude
and hateful attitude... in a mistaken attempt to instruct that child...??? Does rudeness
and aggression deserve respect...???
When my son came of an age where he was becoming more independent...
I made an effort to not say "yes" or "no" when he asked me about doing things.
Instead... I reasoned with him... and told him the pros and cons of it... and how he
could do it safely and properly. For instance... he wanted to go to an arcade... and
I warned him about people that might want to steal his money... that he should
never let anyone see how much money he had... to keep it in his shoe or something...
and also... not to stay around people who look like they were making trouble. Then...
he had to think... on his own... did he really... want... to go...?? (Yes... I do admit to
being a bit dramatic in certain circumstances.)
In my opinion... everything has rules... everything has hazards... everything has good
points and bad points... and the trick is... to learn how to deal with it all... at an age
when a young person is capable of understanding those things. Then... when a parent
really HAS to say "no" to something... it means a lot more... it is more serious and
more clear... that such a thing is just far too hazardous to do... the odds of trouble
happening are too risky... and it is a "no go."
When my son was in school... he had classmates that behaved badly. I told him
clearly... that... even if he was the only one in the whole school who knew how to
have manners and behave nicely... that he... would behave nicely. It didn't matter
what they did... it mattered what HE did. He should not be a part of things that
would only bring him regret and trouble.
My son had a bible that he could read if he wanted to... but I never forced religion
on him. There are good people in every religion... and there are bad people in
every religion... and the point of it... is to learn to be a good person. I didn't say
things to him like... "God said that you can't eat meat on Friday" or that God said
anything... like I knew what God was thinking all the time. To me... religion is
vanity... and you don't do a child any favors by telling him that he is better than
anyone... just by reason of what religion he follows.
And this gets me back to my basic premise of writing on this subject...
and that is... if you learn your child-raising techniques from a 3000 year old
piece of religious literature... written by ancient and uneducated religious
fanatics... who liked their power... and whose dictates have been translated
through several ancient dialects... you may well be teaching your child the
doctrines of slavery.
Why...?? are these doctrines....?? doctrines of slavery...??
Well... think about it. The best way to control masses of people... is to have a
wrathful god... who will punish those who do not worship him properly.
This... gives the excuse to the slave masters... who reason that it is saving the
people from damnation... and it gives the excuse to suffer under those
slavemasters... awaiting paradise AFTER YOU DIE. Your life here may be
miserable... but... heaven awaits... and torture is good for you.
Shouldn't we learn to live well...? while we live...? among all of our human family...?
no matter what religion...? no matter what belief...? no matter what god they
worship or don't worship...? shouldn't we allow every being to live in peace...?
But... with religion... one gets permission to dictate to others... and allows each
believer to become their own slave master... to help other people get saved from
eternal damnation...?? And what... is the color of your vanity...?
That... is not brotherly love. And... that... dears... is not parental love. It is a mindless
dictate of child-rearing... in the style of dog-training and horse-breaking.
It is the abandoning of love... in the belief that doctrine is the only truth... and
that obedience is the only important thing to know.
It is the doctrine of the slave class... or should I say... it is the doctrine FOR the slave class.
If a parent wishes a child to mature into a whole and healthy person... capable of
respecting and loving others... why tell him that he is better than they are...???
and that... at the same time... he was born sinful... but saved from the damnation
of a god who doesn't know what love is himself...?? Why instruct a child how to
love his neighbor using the parental art of torture and obedience...?? Does this
not... sound... a bit... NUTS...????
And that... dears... is why... we have children... with discipline problems. They
were not taught proper respect... or proper reasoning. Their parents did not practice
proper respect... or proper reasoning... and now... they remain in ignorance...
thinking in their vanity... that obedience is freedom... that preaching sermons is
love... and that torture... is learning.