Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
01 Our Future
02 Difference of Opinion
03 Our Anger
04 Punishing Children
05 Child Rearing
06 Our Biggest Problem
07 Evils of Justice
08 Cultural Victimization
09 Rational-Ethical Religion
10 Rational-Ethical Government
11 Global Human Zoo
12 "Homo Rationalis" Wants YOU
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

5. CHILD REARING



This is the fifth of my 12 monthly articles (past articles and "textbook" free at Homorationalis.com), exploring the idea that our species eventually, in the time of "Homo rationalis," may stop producing so much human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED).


Last month I continued my prediction as to what "Homo rationalis" will be like by describing their beliefs about punishment, especially in child rearing. I predicted that they will assiduously avoid punishment, because of its production in children (and adults) of low self-esteem, demoralization, fear, and anger, the latter manifested by cruelty, destructiveness, and rebellion (overt defiance, passive aggression, and sneakiness), all of which can continue in adulthood, with much resulting SPDED. I said that they will use instead, in a much more highly skilled manner than we do, the three "higher levels" of child rearing (reward, teaching, and modeling for identification).


We of course believe we naturally know how to do optimal child rearing. But I recall Harry Stack Sullivan, last century psychiatrist, saying that we are all inferior caricatures of the people we might have been. Indeed, we carry many problems forth from childhood, and therefore as adults we experience, and cause in others, much PSDED. So "Homo rationalis" will believe that child rearing should be carried out according to certain ethical principles, guiding us to do differently than what comes naturally.


"Homo rationalis" will recognize the extreme importance of reward. By reward I mean anything the parent does to make the child feel good because of what the child has done (or not done). Formal reward is giving the child something or allowing the child to do something, and is actually quite problematic. Paying the child to do that which should be the child’s responsibility to the family sends the wrong message. However, informal reward (smiling, hugging, patting on the shoulder, thanking, admiring, listening, praising, etc.) is at the very heart of promoting cooperation, agreement, effort, and compliance. So, it is essential to reward the child for the practicing of those skills that will lead to personal success and to the child’s ultimate value to society. Knowing what to reward can be complex, since the answer will be dependent upon the developmental level of the child, the child’s idiosyncrasies (genetic and acquired), and the culture.


We tend to regard teaching as simply telling the child what the child needs to know. Giving the child "a good talking to" presumably accomplishes the task, though we often wonder why it takes so many such talks to get something into the child’s head. Good teachers, however, know that the most effective learning occurs when the child (or adult) owns the project of learning and enjoys the process. They know that curiosity and the wish to master are precious motivational states that unfortunately atrophy in a punitive environment or in one in which the child’s thinking is done for the child. Endless friendly debate is as rewarding as it is demanding.


Modeling for identification requires that we be what we want our children to be. We can model hostile behavior, dishonesty, cruelty, violence, the need to control, closure of the mind, rejection of feedback, the importance of winning, and unconcern about the welfare of others, but then we should not be surprised when we see the child identify with the model. Of extreme importance is our demonstration to the child that doing the right thing, and therefore figuring out what the right thing to do is, are the foundation of optimal living.


"Homo rationalis" will recognize our extreme interdependence and therefore our basic necessity of operating in groups. Consequently, the family meeting will be the bedrock of family administration, and therefore of child-rearing. The purpose of the family meeting will be to work on any problems interfering with the good life within the family, as well as making plans and decisions regarding family functions and events. And this is where friendly debate will be rewarded, taught, and modeled for identification, preparing the child for effective participation in society.


Optimal child rearing requires mentally healthy parenting figures who are knowledgeable and skilled in the application of principles within the family setting. It requires much time, including time spent learning and seeking consultation. We, of course, do not believe this, but that does not make it incorrect.


Do you think "Homo rationalis" will believe that creation of human adults is the right of every human adult, unless discovered to be incompetent during child rearing already begun?


To be continued….