Consequences and Discipline

An important aspect of teaching children/young adults is the concept of consequences for behavior.  When I was young, I was told to not touch a hot object, or I would get burned.  Of course, I eventually did touch something hot, and the burn became a highly effective teacher.  My parents didn’t tell me to not touch a hot object just to be in control or to be mean.  They cared about me.

Part of teaching about consequences is caring enough to allow children to suffer the consequences of their actions and love them enough to discipline them.  The purpose of discipline is to teach that actions have consequences.  Discipline must be administered in love, not anger.  Discipline should be coupled with loving communication.  Discipline is not to be administered with a hand; hands are for expressing acceptance and approval.  A loving, approving pat communicates love and acceptance.  Restaurant waiters have learned that an appropriate, brief, gentle touch of a customer almost always raises the tip amount.

Appropriate discipline is minimized in most public schools today.  It is minimized in many homes too.  Too bad!

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Parenting and Public Schools

You’ve probably read about the terrible consequences of newborn infants being denied human touch for an extended period of time.  It is not good!

Public schools deprive students of human touch.  The kids touch each other – hopefully appropriately.  But teachers refrain from touching students – for good reasons.  There are, of course, exceptions.  I teach in a culture where touch is often minimized.  I taught here for several months before I recognized the negative impact that had on me.  My wife, a trained counselor, tells me that humans need at least eight hugs per day.  I often go days without a hug, since my wife and I work in separate locations and sometimes go several days without seeing each other.  That’s tough.  The toughest part, is hug deprivation.  I wonder how much impact that has on public school children?

Parenting and Public Schools

My hypotheses about the current fundamental public school problems are simple.  First, effective parenting is paramount.  And, second, sound relationship skills undergird the entire education enterprise.

Exemplary teachers usually have solid parenting skills.  Must a teacher be or have been a biological parent to acquire these skills.  Not at all.  They can best be learned by rearing children in a nuclear family.  But, they can be learned other ways too.  Most importantly – they can be learned (and taught).

Good parenting skills teach us the importance of letting our children (students) know that we value and accept them, regardless of their behavior.  Simultaneously, we inform them (and demonstrate to them) that bad behavior has negative consequences.

More to come….