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Last Updated on February 21, 2018

How Discipline Makes Children More out of Control

How Discipline Makes Children More out of Control

A 7 year old boy was lost and never found in the woods of Nannae, Hokkaido in May of 2016. The bear infested area was scoured by local authorities, but heart-breakingly, the little boy never turned up.

What was a 7 year old boy doing alone in the forest to begin with? According to his parents, little Yamato Tanooka was left there as a form of “punishment” for throwing stones at cars driving by. Shortly returning after the fact, they realized they had made a grim mistake. Their son was nowhere to be found.[1]

The fate of little Yamato will remain a horrifyingly tragic mystery. But what about his parents? It can be assumed that they had good intentions. They were trying to instill discipline in their son and showed him that there were consequences to his actions.

But they had to learn a difficult lesson: there were even worse consequences to their disciplinary tactics.

How Parental Discipline Goes Rotten

Parents set guidelines and boundaries for their children to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others.

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Effective disciplinary action will for the most part keep children out of trouble. If they know there will be consequences to their actions, they are less likely to break the rules. But as sentient beings, they are able to think for themselves and will test the boundaries. It’s normal for children to act out and be a bit naughty from time to time.

The older the children get, the more gifted they become in thinking for themselves. As they reach the teenage years, they begin to question the boundaries that were set before them. At this point they’ve developed their own sense of right and wrong and begin to reject rules that they think are unfair or unnecessary.

As the growing children begins to rebel, parents sometimes feel that they need to tighten the reigns in order to regain control. But all this really does is cause a rift between the children and their parents.

The Sequel of Strict Parenting

At the early stage, children are too young to make the distinction between right and wrong, so they need that discipline to protect them.

For example: You may put your child in “time out” because they tried to turn on the stove. You’re not trying to crush their ambition to cook or be cruel, you just don’t want them to burn themselves.

But as children grow up, they are able to start making that distinction for themselves. Although the child is growing and changing, parents keep their disciplinary tactics the same. Some children will push back because they start to think independently. Other children will remain submissive, but only because they are afraid of being punished.

Good Children Gone Bad

For those who refuse to accept their parents tyrannical influence, there are one of two routes they will take.

Some will become more sneaky. They will improve their deceitful lying skills to avoid conflict with their parents and still follow their own rules. These children can grow up to be very manipulative and dishonest.

The other outcome is an outwardly rebellious child. They refuse to accept their parents’ discipline, so they act out. Believing that their parents still view them as children, they will try to prove them wrong by partaking in adult activities like staying out with friends, having sex, partying, or worse still they may be influenced by bad people and get addicted to bad things like drugs and alcohol. The more the children act out, the stricter the parents become in order to regain control. It’s a vicious, toxic cycle that doesn’t benefit anyone involved.

Disciplined Children Gone Narrow-minded

The children who remain submissive will ultimately suffer too. Although they always manage to appease their parents, their constant willingness to please can be extremely detrimental to their growth. People who mindlessly follow instructions lack critical thinking skills and struggle to analyze what would be best for them.

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These children only know how to follow rules and cannot function without some form of direction. They’ll never rise up into leadership roles because they just don’t possess the skills. In a sense, parents who practice strict disciplinary action are unintentionally setting up their children for failure in the future.

How to Turn Things Around

If parents feel like losing control of their children no matter how hard they try, maybe it’s time to back off a bit. Parents should realize that their once tiny, naïve child is becoming a blinking, thinking adult; and they deserve recognition for this. The harder parents push, the farther they will flee. The only way to bring the children back to the parents is by proving that they don’t just view them as a child. They view them as a human being.

Parents need to be clear about the reasons behind their rules. “Because I said so” just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Speak to the children as equals. Not only will this strengthen the bond between parents and children, but it will also teach the children the concept of respect. As the children grow and change, so should the parenting style.

Rules and punishments don’t make good communication.

No matter how hard parents try, their children will make mistakes. They are only human. Parents need to understand this concept as the child dishes out their punishment.

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Explain to the children why they are being punished. Talk to them calmly. Parents should never slam the children with unreasonable consequences because they are angry. The children can see right through it and ultimately respect their parents less.

Give the children the opportunity to make choices. To make mistakes. They will choose the right path simply because they were given the freedom to choose.

Discipline Is the Last Resort, Always

Don’t rely solely on punishment to develop a child into a well rounded individual. They have a voice, allow them to use it. If they talk back, listen. Explain your reasons to them, and allow them to explain theirs. When you reach a common ground, they will be more likely to stand with you.

Featured photo credit: Pexel via pexels.com

Reference

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on January 6, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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