Parenting Laissez-faire (non-interference)

                         (Leaving alone, or non-interference)

If you are just joining us, we are in the middle of a month-long parenting series where we are striving to receive the highest honor in parenthood.  We were privileged to have Jim Laudell share some parenting faux pas to stay away from and today we will be sharing how to take a more active approach to parenting.

This will be a challenging read with a heart-wrenching story that I hope you will stick with to the end.

The ear-piercing screams and blatant wailing has finally stopped. Little pudgy fingers can be seen sticking out from under the door reaching for someone or something. They wiggle and squirm to reach as far as the space under the door allows. A subdued whimper can be heard behind the closed door.

Against protocol, one teacher reaches down and places her hands gently over the child’s fingertips.  “They’re so cold”, she whispered.  A tear threatens to spill down her cheek as she is moved with compassion for the one behind the closed doors.

The child’s “quiet” room is small with no windows.  There are no chairs; not one piece of furniture exists.  The floors are bare.  Carpet is a luxury not afforded in this room. 

He is here by his own bad choices.  It is a last resort for those his age that cannot be controlled.  The child is not mentally or physically challenged.  He or she simply has not been taught to control their emotions; therefore they react in a harmful manner when their demands are not met.                                  

The child learns at a very young age early on that kicking, screaming, and throwing a fit gets him what he wants.  Mom and dad give in because it would hurt Little Johnny too much to discipline him, and after all, it’s just a stage he will outgrow soon.  Little Johnny learns his tactics are successful and he uses them to manipulate his parents, grandparents, and teachers to give in to his selfish desires.

Time goes on.  Little Johnny gets older and bigger.  He does not grow out of the fit-throwing stage.  His fits are just bigger, louder, and more dangerous.

Unless he responds to brute force (which sadly some parents revert to), things will just get worse.  Sometimes he will inflict pain to his own body to get what he wants.  He takes on the role of a victim and his parents feed that mentality by giving in to his demands.  They are helpless to change Little Johnny now.

The parents can no longer do anything with Little Johnny and neither can the school system.  He has been in trouble so many times with his teachers that it is no longer leverage for anyone. Long gone are the days of writing his name on the blackboard or making him stand in the hall.

He cares nothing for authority.  Being in the principal’s office does not scare him.  They call his mom because his dad is no longer part of the picture and she feels the school system is hurting her poor helpless baby. 

She enters the principal’s office for the 26th time this year and there sits Little Johnny, red-faced, sweating, panting and teary-eyed where he has just finished throwing a tantrum demanding his own way.  She runs to him, siding with him, glaring at the principal.  Little Johnny has won again, or so it may seem.

The principal expels him for the last time and Little Johnny has lost his right to go to the local elementary school.  He has now been enrolled in a school consisting of a few other children and one teacher to every other child. 

This school’s daily routine is to try and convince the child to do the smallest task without a meltdown.  Each child is consumed with the victim mentality on one hand and the false sense of a successful achiever on the other. 

For the second time, Little Johnny is told to wait his turn in line.  He then gives way to a torrent of angry emotions: biting himself, screaming, kicking, and spitting.  It takes two grown men to usher him into the “quiet” room where he must stay until he is once again rationale.  He is allowed no food, drink, or communication of any kind for the duration of his stay.  His actions are documented carefully tiny window located in the door.

After more than an hour, the room is once again silent.  Tiny fingers slide out from under the door…

This may seem like an exaggeration. I assure you it is not.  I have described an actual scene that actually took place in a public school THIS year.

What happened to Little Johnny and what actions could have been taken to secure an entirely different outcome?

 Little Johnny’s parents thought his fits as a toddler were sometimes cute and laughed at how funny he looked when he flopped around kicking and screaming.  They often mocked him by saying that he could get over it because they weren't going to do anything about it.

What if the first time Little Johnny didn't get what he wanted and threw a fit, his parents took the time to train him that this was unacceptable and unbiblical behavior? 

There are different ways to train a child, even a young child.  Biblical child training seems to advocate corporal punishment as a means of training your children in these verses found in Proverbs 3:11-12, 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, and 29:15.  Hebrews 12:6-7 also alludes to that fact.

I would NEVER advocate child abuse!  You should study the Word of God thoroughly and spend much time in prayer with your spouse to come to an agreement on the methods of discipline you will adopt.  There are obviously extremes to both sides of this controversial argument, but I believe it is vitally important that you find the balance of love and discipline for wrong doing – not childish behavior, but defiance and rebellion.

After much research, I have found that this is a topic I am surely to write more about, but will stay on track with the message of this article: Parenting laissez-faire, (leaving alone, non-interference), and where the parent does not apply rules or guiding.

The next advancement in doing nothing is what I refer to as parents “spanking at” their child.  This is where a child has repeated a certain offence or multiple offences and the parent has finally reached a level of frustration and gives the child several swats that results in nothing short of provoking the child to “wrath” (anger accompanied by destructive actions) which Ephesians 2:4 tells us not to do. 

If a parent has decided to use spanking as a means of training, then for their journey’s sake, make it a training session.

  • Teach Ephesians 6:1
  • Be consistent, even to the point of being methodical
  • Speak in a firm, but gentle and soft voice (Proverbs 15:1)
  • Teach Scriptures that tell the child that they have disobeyed God’s Word
  • Pray with the child after punishment
  • Affirm the child with hugs and praise for right behavior
  • Praise more than you punish

I realize this is a bit more heavy and lengthy.  My heart’s desire is that you stuck it out to the end and will come back for some more Parenting A La Mode where we are learning to qualify for the honors of Summa cum Laude in our parenting methods.

Do you believe in proactive parenting?  Or do you have a more que sera sera style where you feel that whatever will be will be?  Which approach did your parents take with you?

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Parenting A La Mode Series
Parenting Suma cum Laude
Parenting Faux Pas
Parenting en Rapport

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1 comment:

momstheword said...

It is amazing how many parents reward bad behavior but it's also amazing how many times you don't even realize you're doing it.

I once had a gal tell me that she had to give her daughter things because if she didn't her daughter would hold her breath until mom gave in, and mom gave in quickly.

I said, "So? So what?" and she said "Well, she could faint."

I again said "So? What's the worst that could happen? She'll faint, wake back up again and she will have not gotten her way."

A neighbor's child learned that if he threw up, his mom would give in. So when he built up into a crying fit she would quickly give in so he wouldn't throw up.

I knew another gal whose five year old would hit her, the mom, when he didn't get his way, so mom gave in, much easier for her.

A bit extreme, of course. In the last two cases the family got tired of being controlled by their children and started doing some disciplining instead of being at their child's mercy.

No more hitting and no more throwing up.

I do know that some people really DON'T believe in discipline and believe that their children should be allowed to "enjoy" their childhood.

But sometimes I think some people are just overwhelmed and don't know what to do.

Great post, my friend! Thanks so much for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today! :)