Discipline and Love: How to Educate a Child
When we establish radical positions about our children’s education, we lose control of the situation. So, we go towards the permissive end and play with words, we could say that we can lead a normal life simply with a child around, instead of planning our lives around our child.
In order for education to be appropriate and adequate, it must meet certain requirements: it must be systematic, there must be clearly established authority, and affection. Systematic education is coherent, it’s when our words and actions are in tune with one another. This is the best way that our little ones can see the values that we want to instill in them within the continuum of our actions. It’s the best way of helping them experience the positive consequences of assuming and internalizing these values.
By authority we mean the ability to assume control of situations with our children, serving as a reliable but not infallible guide. Authority must also be protected between the parents, because if one adult is discredited in front of the child, this adult will automatically lose his authority. When at all possible, different points of view must be addressed and worked out privately.
And by affection, we’re referring to the quality that keeps all lessons from being painful. Instead, they facilitate and stimulate the senses. Discipline and love must go hand in hand in education.
Not talking is not allowed
This is one of the best slogans for Finnish education, which is setting a trend in how to do things better when it comes to educating children in and out of schools.
It is forbidden to not talk in classrooms, because the communicative need is a basic part of every human being. Omitting it, for the sake of rectitude and discipline, only indicates teachers’ and parents’ inability to understand our nature and, therefore, their children’s nature.
It’s simply about giving the child the turn to speak when they want to express themselves. Not anyway they want, but any time they need it. This radically contradicts our ideas of rectitude, but we must consider the following: these old ideas that are repeated over and over…Have they truly been successful in our education?
When we refer to not talking, we mean that the child has communicative needs, and they need to share them. It’s simply about specifying that it’s best to do so with a certain tone and at a certain time, but make sure he understands that he can express himself if he so wishes.
Many disruptive behaviors are caused by the child feeling ignored, without his own thoughts and with one sole motive to act: obedience. Let them speak, communicate and express themselves. Talking lets them learn how to express themselves through speech and not through impulsive actions.
Reprimand in private, reinforce in public
There is nothing more distressing for a child’s self-esteem that suffering reprimands, insults, corrections or even physical punishment in public (this latter case is even reportable by law). Besides being bad for their self-esteem, it’s useless in terms of making your point.
If you want to correct something in their behavior during a get together with friends or at a birthday party, try to talk to him privately or if necessary, pull him out of that situation completely. If you think he has lost control of the situation, you must regain control, but do so privately.