I’m right now in the midst of another fantastic Scientology Life Improvement Course at the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. – this one entitled the Successfully Raising Children Course. Today’s course period was reading a jaw-dropping set of essays on dealing with children – one that specifically answered some of the more deep questions I’ve had brewing about parenting.
Specifically, one very central argument that is sometimes brought up in parenting circles is the age-old question of how much leash to give to your kids – how much do you try to control what they do and boss them around, and how much do you leave up to them?
Some parents, perhaps because they were brought up with overbearing families themselves, think that they should just let their kids do whatever they want to do – and not be “so controlling”. Others are the total reverse, and end up with kids constantly throwing temper tantrums because mom or dad is just dragging them around everywhere, not letting them do anything of their own choosing.
The answers to a lot of this came in one particular section in the course, which deals with Consulting the Child’s Willingness. In the article, L. Ron Hubbard said, when referring how to handle children:
You take one of two courses. Either you run expert control with lots of communication back and forth between you and the child and so on, or you just let him grow. There is no other choice. Kids don’t like to be mauled and pulled around and not consulted. You can talk to a child and if your A-R-C (affinity, reality and communication) is good with him, you can make him do all sorts of things. He will touch the floor, his head, point you out and find the table if you ask him to do these things. He will fool around for a while and after that you can just say do so-and-so and “Let’s go and eat” and he will do it. He has found out that your commands are not necessarily going to override the totality of his willingness. So your commands are therefore not dangerous. You have confronted him and he can confront you and he can do something.
He then goes on to say:
Sometimes, when it is time to go to bed, a child says, “I want to stay up with you” and will insist on doing so, exerting power of choice. Just letting a child do what he is doing and not interfering with him and not running any control on him is psychology. If you treat children like this, they are never going to be in communication with anybody. They won’t grow or get experience in life for they didn’t change their havingness. They didn’t have to change their mind, work, exercise or do anything. But they respond very readily to good control and communication. It certainly takes good communication to override this – not persuasion but good communication.
The article then proceeds to detail the positive ways to go about working with the childs’ willingness and using communication to solve these conundrums of how to get children to do something that they factually need to do (like eat, sleep, not put their head in the oven, etc) without making it a competition between your will and theirs.
Just an outstanding article that I’m going to read a few more times to brew on fully.
If you’ve you’re a parent and haven’t yet gotten yourself onto one of these Life Improvement courses for parents, they’re just a treat. Very inexpensive and they’re only 3 days part time, and available at any Church of Scientology or Mission.