How then, without using force, do you get a child to do things?
If you take an individual and make him play a musical instrument (as parents and schools do), his ability to play that instrument will not improve. We would first have to consult with him as to what his ambitions are. He would eventually at least have to agree with the fact that it is a good thing to play an instrument.
Take, for example, a “bad boy.” He cannot be put in school and has to be sent to a military school. They are going to force him in order to change him. Occasionally this bad boy is sent to a school which simply thinks the best way to handle such cases is to find something in which he is interested and to allow him to do it. Such a school once existed in California and consecutively produced geniuses. The
What actually happened was this: They took a boy with whom nobody got any results and said, “Isn’t there anything you would like to do?” The boy said “No,” and they answered, “Well, fuss around in the lab or grounds or something and someday you may make up your mind.” The boy thought this over and decided that he wanted to be a chemist. Nobody ever sent him to a class and told him to
People will permit you to take things away from them if you do it gracefully and don’t upset their willingness too much. The way you make a greedy or a selfish child is to make him, against his will, give up things to other children. You will eventually drive him into the “only-one” category—feeling he is the only person who really matters at all. Parents usually never consult the child’s willingness. They consult his
It is interesting to watch a child that has been around somebody who always consulted him but didn’t take very good care of him as opposed to a child who had the best of care but who never was consulted.
A little boy is sitting on the floor playing with blocks and balls and is having a good time. Along comes the nurse who picks him up and takes him into the other room and changes his diapers, and he screams bloody murder the whole way. He doesn’t like it. She keeps on doing this to him, placing him around, never consulting his power of choice and he will eventually grow up obsessed with the power of choice. He has to have his way. He becomes very didactic—assertive of his own rightness. He is trying to hold down the last
Now, this is quite different. You know the child is hungry, and you know he ought to eat. The child will eat if he is kept on some sort of routine. If supper is served routinely at 6:00, he will get used to eating at 6:00, and his willingness will never quite be overwhelmed. He finds out that food is there at 6:00 and so he makes up his mind to eat at 6:00. You provide the food and he provides the willingness. If you don’t override that, he will never have any trouble about food.
Then somebody comes along and talks to him and says, “Wouldn’t you like to go into the other room and change your clothes?” and the answer is “No.” You are making a horrible mistake if you proceed from that point on the basis of “Well, I’ll give you a piece of candy,” persuade,
You take one of two courses. Either you use excellent control with lots of
A child sometimes says “I want to stay up with you” and they insist on doing so, exerting their power of choice. Just letting children do what they are doing and not interfering with them and not exerting any control on them is psychology. 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, but it certainly takes good communication to override this—not persuasion but good communication.
People think that persuasion works with children. It doesn’t. It’s communication that does the trick. You say, “Well, it’s time for you to go to bed now,” and he says, “No.” Don’t stay on the subject. Leave it alone and just talk about something else, “What did you do today?” “Where?” “How?” “Oh, did you? Is that a fact?” “Well, how about going to bed?” and the answer will be “Okay.”
One doesn’t have to use force. Go into communication with the child, and control follows this as an inevitability. Omit control from the beginning when bringing up a child and he who looks to you for a lot of his direction and control is gypped. He thinks you don’t care about him.
However, as in the case with the playing of musical instruments, learning of languages or the arts and abilities, consult the child’s willingness.
any list, especially of names.
to open and read or study.
the feeling that one owns or possesses; it can also be described as the concept of being able to reach or not being prevented from reaching.
stages or degrees in a scale.
try to get someone to do something by offering rewards.
an interchange of ideas across space between two individuals.
handled or dealt with in a rough manner.
to face without flinching or avoiding. The ability to confront is actually the ability to be there comfortably and perceive.