Notes Psychology

Rule 5: Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them (12 Rules For Life)

It’s not strange that misbehaving children exist, or that some misbehaving adults exist. It’s strange that anyone at all is civilized, calm, and well-adjusted rather than being barbaric, drug addicted, and chronically anxious. It’s easy to lose focus and it’s easy to not discipline your children.

We are more sensitive to losses than to gains. Anxiety overpowers hope, and risk overpowers reward. But overprotecting your child from the world will turn them into weak, naive adults.

Children who are not socialized will get rejected by their peers, and the experience of rejection in children leads to anti-social behavior in childhood and adulthood. As an adult, your friends socialize you by giving you small nudges in the right direction when you stray too far from proper behavior. This keeps you sane and well-adjusted, but socially corrective behavior must start very early in a child’s life.

Discipline Your Children

Set limits for your children. If you don’t, they will behave like tyrants – which reflects badly on them socially (as well as on you). Undisciplined children will bully their classmates and younger siblings. If you (as a parent) do not discipline them, you are turning a blind eye to the detriment of everyone.

If you choose to not discipline your children properly, someone else will eventually, and they will be a lot harsher in doing do.

Rousseau believed that society corrupted children, but society is not the only corrupting influence – even chimps engage in warfare.

It would be wrong to limit the existence of violence to the corruptibility of human societies. More industrialized and organized societies are more peaceful – not less. Hunter gatherers are more dangerous than urban dwellers, and the crime rate of Honduras eclipses that of the UK or the US.

Society also reforms, educates, and civilizes children. Indeed, socialization is vital for a child’s survival. The scientific literature suggests that structure is good for creativity.

First, instances of true creativity are very rare. Second, limitations are conducive to fostering creativity, not detrimental to it.

The right way of dealing with children involves disciplining them, and not rewarding their bad behavior. They will like you more for it. Good discipline involves limiting the number of rules and exerting the least amount of necessary force to enforce those rules.

Parents make the mistake of trying to befriend their children, but it comes at the expense of being a proper parent. They cannot choose to be both, as each role undermines the other.

Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.

Read 12 Rules For Life

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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