Parenting
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Parenting

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For children who have undergone trauma, transitioning from a caregiving environment to an educational environment, is, at best, a challenge, and at worst, a daily nightmare.

Going to School

In the early years, screaming and clinging children are expected to cease and desist from this behavior as soon as mom is out of sight. So often, they don’t. Instead they collapse in a heap on the floor or lash out physically against teachers, caregivers and other children. Unless the child has trauma-understanding teachers and caregivers this will begin their descent into an ongoing childhood of one difficulty after another in their school career until they drop out, age out, or barely graduate.

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Child Development Ages Six to 12 Years

Trauma affects school-age child development Trauma affects school-age child development

Those early school years, when children ages 6 to 12 are transitioning from a caregiving environment to an educational environment, are challenging from a child development standpoint. Children are learning academic skills, socialization (how to get along with others), structure and boundaries (how to follow rules) and, perhaps for the first time, are influenced by adults other than their own parents.

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Stress Is Not a Calming Interaction

We are a stress and child developmentally illiterate society. We don’t understand our own adult stress. As adults, we are able to ignore and deny our bodily sensations and emotions. Because we are able to get through our day and accomplish our survival needs, we seem to think we don’t get stressed. That is, until late at night we wonder why our shoulders are so tense and tight or we can’t sleep and we need “something” to relax us.

A stressed-out parent cannot calm a stressed-out child.

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Upgrading Your Parenting from Punishing to Disciplining

Punishment and Discipline Are Not the Same

As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, parents have been taught that children need to be punished for their misbehavior to teach them right from wrong. Over the years many fear-based tactics such as spanking, making a child stand in the corner for long periods of time or going to bed without any supper, and severer methods have been used in the name of “for your own good.”

It is true that in the short-term these punishments may stop the behavior in question; however, in the long run they often teach children to be manipulative, lie, distrust adult authority, and turn to the peer group for life’s answers.

If you look up the word punishment you find it means to inflict suffering, pain, or loss as retribution for an offense or misbehavior. That does not sound like a healthy context for parenting. If spanking worked, why do we have to keep doing it or up the ante into shoving, pushing, throwing, hitting, yelling, name calling, shaming, and beating our children?

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Spanking’s Effects on the Development of Our Children

This week’s newsletter is a continuation of my last newsletter, To Spank or Not To Spank? Part 1 in which we discussed violence in society, how children’s thinking differs from adults, and the physiological and neurological effects spanking has on our children. In this issue, we’ll take a look at how spanking affects our children’s behavior.

Spanking and lying

Using spanking as a punishment leads to the repetition, escalation, or alteration of problematic behaviors. The child becomes accustomed to spankings, but is afraid and confused about what the adult is trying to teach about their behavior.

Why do children lie? To avoid punishment. They do this even when they have gotten in trouble before for lying. When we are stressed our thinking becomes confused and distorted and our short-term memory is suppressed. After a few spankings, the child may be in such a fearful confused place they cannot rationally remember that lying leads to spankings. So they lie again.

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