The children mingled with the adults, and spoke and were spoken to. Children in these families, at the end of the nineteenth century, were different from children before or after. They were neither dolls nor miniature adults. They were not hidden away in nurseries, but present at family meals, where their developing characters were taken seriously and rationally discussed, over supper or during long country walks. And yet, at the same time, the children in this world had their own separate, largely independent lives, as children. They roamed the woods and fields, built hiding-places and climbed trees, hunted, fished, rode ponies and bicycles, with no other company than that of other children.
This idea that children won't learn without outside rewards and penalties, or in the debased jargon of the behaviorists, "positive and negative reinforcements," usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat children long enough as if that were true, they will come to believe it is true. So many people have said to me, "If we didn't make children do things, they wouldn't do anything." Even worse, they say, "If I weren't made to do things, I wouldn't do anything."It is the creed of a slave.
Children remind us that we're all children.
Research shows that what works and is healthy for adults also works well for children, if adjusted to be age-appropriate. Children, like adults, do not suffer from a deficiency of white sugar, white flour, junk food, or processed foods. A growing child as well as an adult is hurt by junk foods and benefited by healthy foods.
For many years I have been asking myself why intelligent children act unintelligently at school. The simple answer is, "Because they're scared." I used to suspect that children's defeatism had something to do with their bad work in school, but I thought I could clear it away with hearty cries of "Onward! You can do it!" What I now see for the first time is the mechanism by which fear destroys intelligence, the way it affects a child's whole way of looking at, thinking about, and dealing with life. So we have two problems, not one: to stop children from being afraid, and then to break them of the bad thinking habits into which their fears have driven them.What is most surprising of all is how much fear there is in school. Why is so little said about it. Perhaps most people do not recognize fear in children when they see it. They can read the grossest signs of fear; they know what the trouble is when a child clings howling to his mother; but the subtler signs of fear escaping them. It is these signs, in children's faces, voices, and gestures, in their movements and ways of working, that tell me plainly that most children in school are scared most of the time, many of them very scared. Like good soldiers, they control their fears, live with them, and adjust themselves to them. But the trouble is, and here is a vital difference between school and war, that the adjustments children make to their fears are almost wholly bad, destructive of their intelligence and capacity. The scared fighter may be the best fighter, but the scared learner is always a poor learner.
Many children are naturally picky eaters. It may even be genetic, or developmental. But given a range of healthy choices, children will choose a balanced diet—so long as junk food isn't included in the mix. Children are tempted by sweets and fried food just as much as we are.
A generation of children is not only being raised indoors, but is being confined to even smaller spaces. Jane Clark, a University of Maryland professor of kinesiology . . . calls them "containerized kids"--they spend more and more time in car seats, high chairs, and even baby seats for watching TV. When small children go outside, they're often placed in containers--strollers--and pushed by walking or jogging parents. . . Most kid-containerizing is done for safety concerns, but the long term health of these children is compromised. (35)
Children are children.
Are You a Parent or a Bully? Mentally and physically abusing your children is NOT okay. Real parenting does NOT consist of bullying your children, belittling your children, manipulating your children, beating your children, or cursing at your children. Children are a blessing! Many women can’t get pregnant and/or carry to term. Think about that! Parenting should be taken seriously. Children need LOVE, support, and guidance, NOT a bully! Children shouldn’t fear their parents. It’s important to create healthy relationships with your children, seriously.
Our choices are going to determine the future for our children, our children's children, and their children. I take that responsibility very seriously.