Don’t Bypass Your Children (Part 1)

There is one extremely key aspect of how Scientologists approach parenting which is beautifully depicted in the video for the free on-line Scientology course on Children, available here.

Any law that applies to the behaviour of men and women also applies to children.
Any law that applies to the behaviour of men and women also applies to children.

It’s the simple fact that any law that applies to the behaviour of men and women also applies to children.  It’s a datum that becomes more and more profound the more you think about it – and certainly the more you consider those laws that do apply to men and women – and also to that body of knowledge which covers the interaction of people in groups.

One that I’ve been seeing more and more of as my toddler gets more competent, is the action of something that Scientologists call the Condition of Danger.

The Danger Condition

To understand where this post is going, it’s important to understand the concept of the Condition of Danger.  Rather than attempt to sum it up in this post, this video explains it beautifully:

Video: Ethics and the Conditions Course - Screenshot of a baker bypassing his junior.
Video: Ethics and the Conditions Course – scene of a baker bypassing his junior. (click to watch)

This video gives you the essence of each of the Conditions, but specifically the Condition of Danger, where the baker steps in when his junior baker doesn’t know how to make a proper muffin, and then does his work for him.   In an unfortunate number of occasions, in the real world, the senior baker would just end up copping the work the junior baker couldn’t handle, and would either fire him, or remain an overworked mess.  The way out is through wittingly or unwittingly doing the steps of the Danger formula.

Applying the Danger Formula to Parenting

L. Ron Hubbard had a lot to say about the Condition of Danger, and it was an important topic in a number of his essays on management.  He brought up frequently not only the need to execute the Danger formula fully if a dangerous situation is encountered, but more importantly, how to avoid such conditions in the first place.

In one such essay he wrote, written on 19 January 1966 and entitled, Danger Condition – Responsibilities of Declaring, Mr. Hubbard says:

“…if you habitually do the work of others on a bypass, you will of course inherit all the work.  This is the answer to the overworked executive.  He or she bypasses.  It’s a simple as that.  If an executive habitually bypasses, he or she will then become overworked.” — LRH

Simple enough to see in the context of an organization, or for that baker in the film above.  But think of it in terms of being a parent.  If you are always telling your child that you’re “late for work” or “late for school” each morning, and as such always have to put your kids clothes on for them because they “take too long”, you’ll always be doing that work, and it will never be their job.  If you are always cleaning up all their messes and refuse to just allow them to (even if they do a terrible job at it because they’re two years old) – you’ll cop the work they don’t do. I don’t know about most parents, but I’m rather looking forward to not having to do every last scrap of work related to my kids, and am hoping that as time goes on, I’ll be more and more working myself out of a job as a parent – much the same as any executive would want to work himself out of a job of having to do all of the lower jobs under him.

This principle has been absurdly evident for me, with my daughter.  She will ferociously defend her ability to do something on her own – be it tying her shoes, cleaning up after she’s spilled something, putting on her undies, buckling her seatbelt, etc.  Anything that she knows how to do, and feels that it’s within her purview to actually do it, she wants to do, and without intervention.

But it does seem to be a key point in parenting – and key alignment with what one is generally trying to do in Scientology counselling:  you’re not trying to make the child “obey” or “learn a lesson” or subjugate them or make them less annoying or any other bizarre tack on child-rearing.  You’re trying to make it so that they are responsible for themselves, are responsible for their own future, and can move on to create their own life.

As such, the technology contained in Mr. Hubbard’s writings on Danger Conditions is something I feel any parent would do well to study fully, and work out for themselves how to apply to parenting.

See part two of this article here.

11 thoughts on “Don’t Bypass Your Children (Part 1)

  1. Wonderful article. You’re right, I would HATE if someone constantly bypassed me, and I strive to not do that to my children.

  2. Very good point, and one I definitely had to work on in my parenting. It was a weak point for me. Being very busy and working and always on the go, it was hard not to just “do it for them” when I was in a hurry or when it was easier. But I then inherited the work. So I had to work on it. It’s much improved now, and loads better for the kids and for me. your article makes a very valuable point!

    1. Thanks, Steph! It is rough – especially when it’s something you’re frustrated about – like being late for work, or staining the carpet, etc. You want to just brush them out of the way. But the more we’ve seen the results of our handling it each way, it’s pretty apparent that when we don’t bypass them on things they CAN contribute on – they just get more and more helpful on their own.

      I’ll bet you have a house-cleaning BRIGADE on your hands, by now!

  3. I can relate to this good application of the Danger formula. Long before I got into Scientology, I intuitively applied it to our three boys and one girl.

    We’d spend a whole Saturday or Sunday at the beach on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii and had a long trip back to Hilo on the east side of the island. My kids were mostly in junior high. As I pulled with our big station wagon into the garage, all four would pile out to head for the house. I would stop them and tell them, “Before I’ll unlock the back door to the house, you will clean up all your candy and gum wrappers in the station wagon.” After a a few incidents of this sort, it became a habit, as they piled out of the wagon, our oldest would remind the others, “Hey guys, we got to clean up our mess before we’re allowed in the house.”
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    1. Peter – nice. I’m certainly hoping to be able to keep up with this all through their early years so that they maintain that spirit of help & contribution into their teens.

  4. Great article! I have heard of it (not bypassing) before, so have tried to apply it ever since my daughter was born. Even if she has not mastered doing something yet, she would ask, no, insist, on doing it herself. She is also quite helpful and mostly cooperative. I’ll keep going!

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