On Children and Childrearing
understand our society's attitude towards children, we must think
philosophically. We must be philosophical detectives, routing out the unstated
assumptions underlying current beliefs, behavior, and institutions. Otherwise,
our minds remain under the sway of the ancient religious and statist ideologies
absorbed from our parents and society. What are these ideologies?
is the underlying moral foundation of Western culture. It holds that man is not
an animal, and therefore will not mature as an animal does. Instead, he is a
spirit somehow "housed" in an animal body. This "spirit" is
tainted by original sin. It is naturally evil, i.e.
lazy, self-defeating, violent, etc. This "spirit" has "free
will" from birth and thus can supposedly choose to act correctly and
obediently. Therefore, the parent's task is to force the child to act
"right" by any means possible, including withholding love, confining
the child, and using physical violence. Such is the origin of most childrearing
and schooling practices in the West that continue unchanged today.
governments of Western countries are based on religious ideas, in spite of their desire to evade this fact. Where else
could governments get their ideas of good and evil, right
and wrong? Where else could they get their legitimacy? From Science? From
non-existent philosophical ideas? Governments therefore follow religion in
maintaining our authoritarian society. Governments also assume that humans are
born lazy, self-defeating, violent, etc. Governments believe, therefore that
they have the right to force all children into forced servitude in schools
where they are taught to obey authority and to memorize state-approved material
for the entire of their developmental lives from age 6 to 18. This 12-year
sentence of imprisonment and brainwashing prepares them for a mindless life of
conformity and obedience to the government and its chartered professions and
I ask you, aren't we humans animals? Did we not evolve
here on this Earth? Is there not fossil evidence of our evolution? If we are
animals, then why do we hold fast to crazy ideas about ourselves that we would
never dream of applying to other animals? What kind of fool would assert that
puppies are born lazy, self-defeating, selfish, and violent? How about
giraffes? Hummingbirds? Chimpanzees? Why do we single out humans as being bad
at birth? Why do we brand an infant's or child's behavior and thought as evil?
Why do we force children into "adult" behaviors when they're mind are
immature? Why do we insist that they "share" their property with
other children when their brains aren't sufficiently mature to understand the
concept, as we as adults would never dream of sharing our BMWs with our
neighbor? Why? Because humans long ago formed theories about why they were so
different from animals, and those inadequate theories (myth) became religions.
We now know much much more about the Cosmos, life,
and humanity than they did millenia ago. We must be
philosophers. We must toss out old, inadequate, contradictory ideas and replace
them with good theories based on the evidence.
Piaget did the simple research years ago that demonstrated that children to not
develop full logical and ethical cognition until the age of 14 yrs. Children
are born with immature brains. They are not born evil. Treating children, from
birth, as "spirits" with "free wills" who should be forced
to obedience has the disastrous consequences you see all around you. This delusion
becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Treat a child as if he's lazy and stupid
and that's just what he'll become. The child's genetically-determined
behavior is labelled "selfish" because it inconveniences the parents.
The child's cries are considered "manipulation" and ignored. His
needs, expressed by his cries, are denied. (Permit me to use one gender pronoun
instead of two.) The child therefore is ignored and punished for reasons he
cannot possibly understand. The anger and frustration the child feels, much of
which is suppressed, makes him morose, stubborn, shy, aggressive, etc. The way
the child responds to this neglect and abuse depends on his genetic personality
traits and his particular interactions with his
parents, but the results are tragic--anger, depression, acting out,
self-destructive behaviors, self-mutilation, drug abuse, rebelliousness, hatred
of learning, etc.
are consistent wholes. What government's believe and
force on parents, parents will believe and force on their children. Government
control of citizens produces parental control of children. What role does the
government have in our childrearing practices? Obviously, the existence of
compulsory schooling forces all parents into a particular authoritarian
attitude towards their own children. Parents know that their children will go
to school, and it is their fondest hope that their child will be especially
obedient and successful in school. Since being a school-child means sitting
still and obeying adults all day every day in order to
become a "good" person, that is what parents must train him to do
from birth. The modern school, a Prussian invention for creation of obedient
soldiers and technocrats, is our model of "normal" child development.
Since obedience and conformity are the child's primary tasks in life, parents
think that they shouldn't "spoil" the child by answering his cries or
meeting his natural needs.
needn't bother to breastfeed infants even though millenia
of evolution have perfected breastfeeding as a means to
the nutrition and mental development of children. If the mother does
breastfeed, she thinks its perfectly good to wean the
child early before he weans itself--mustn't give into to the child's selfish
desires! Parents force the child to use a potty before he's ready, which
creates more problems and is just the beginning of all the things that they and
the schools will force him to do before he's ready and before he wants to. The
child should get "tough", should learn that his job in life is to
obey, not to enjoy. Children are abandoned to day care at an early age, often
within weeks of birth--inspite of the overwhelming
evidence of the damage this does to the child's development. Parental
convenience and control, not love and respect for the child, dominates modern
childrearing. This is blessed and even supported by the government. The
government also interferes with the formation and functioning of the nuclear
family in many other ways which I shall not go into here.
we produce children who have not had their emotional needs met, who are
frustrated at the total control of their lives by parents and school, who
are not allowed to know who they are or what they want to do. Their
natural love of the world and of life is destroyed by lack of response to their
needs and by the disrespect and coercion they experience everyday--and
they cannot hope that it will ever end. They become depressed, or they act out
in self-destructive ways, or they rebel. In any case, the society and its
psychologists do not admit their role in the child's tragedy. They do not
question the rightness of their own institutions and behavior. Instead they blame the child. They attempt to coerce him
into "right" behavior, or worse, they diagnose him with some disorder
or other and drug him into more "normal" behavior. A vicious cycle of
blame and self-hate in the child leads either to death, permanent mental
disorder, or a mechanical conformity which conceals, superficially, his lack of
mental and emotional development.
you ask. What's the solution? I'll tell you what the best science and
philosophical understanding based on that science have to
1. The newborn is like any other
immature creature. He is exquisitely sensitive to its environment and has
definite needs. His brain is growing rapidly and forming permanent connections.
The first minutes, days, months, and years of life are the most crucial. As
parents you should put all your efforts into meeting the child's needs early
on, avoiding any act that traumatizes the child or makes him feel that he is
inadequate or "bad". The only way the child can communicate their
needs is by crying, do not ignore his cries or you will destroy him. What
appears to be a minor cruelty done to an infant will have more profound effect
than you can imagine. Meet the child's needs. Let him grow through his
egotistical stages naturally. Work hard for at least the first three years and
you'll have a joyous, bold, happy child forever. Daycare is out, of course. No
other adult will love your child and foster their development. If you
don't want to raise a child yourself, don't have one. Otherwise
you and your child will pay the price for the rest of your lives.
2. Research has shown that schizophrenia
and depression in later life are strongly correlated with separation from the
mother (bonded adult or adults) in the first three years of life. This is
understandable as the infant is genetically wired to sense separation as a
threat to his life. That is why he cries so forcefully. Therefore
be extremely careful to avoid such a separation. Do not allow separation in the
hospital after birth. Do not allow separation at any time for any reason. It
has been shown that even the birth of a second child when the first is less
than three years old is traumatic and has lasting deleterious consequences. From the moment
an infant is born, until the age of at least three, the Mom
or significant adult must always be available. Of course, the father or other
familiar adult can (and must) relieve the mother as much as possible.
3. Children are immature animals who
will learn to speak. Treat them at least as well as you treat your pets. What
do dolphin trainers do when they want a dolphin to perform at trick? Do they
give an order and threaten punishment? NO. They offer a fish in return for the
animal's cooperation! Why doesn't your child deserve at least that much
respect? What right do you have bully and coerce another human being into
conformity to your wishes? Aren't humans as sensitive and intelligent as
dolphins? You must not train your child with punishment, you must guide the child by your own words and
actions. If you meet his needs with love and respect, you will form a strong
love-bond. The child will want to avoid making you unhappy when you have done
so much to make him happy. This creates a relationship based on love and
cooperation with the child as opposed to one based on coercion and disrespect
of the child's person. As a parent, you must choose one way or the
other; love and cooperation or disrespect and coercion, there is
no middle ground.
You must respect the child as a person, with all the rights of an adult PLUS special dependency
needs. You have no right to force the child or any other human
to do anything unless there is an immediate threat to health or property.
They are not yours, you do not own them. If they don't
want to get in the car to go shopping, you must, as a general
rule, offer to do something with them or get something for them in order
to gain their assent.
all animals, but more so, children are born with immature brains. (Read Jean
Piaget). You must not expect them to think like adults until at least 14 yrs of age. If they have been shamed and schooled, they
will never mature but will remain fixated at immature levels. They will act
outwardly in conformity to your rules but will not develop self-regulation or
judgement. They will be completely unable to manage their own affairs when they
leave home and school. This is the typical outcome of coercive child-rearing today
and its tragic consequences are obvious.
you meet your child's needs and respond to him with respect
at all times, he will love himself and by extension other people. He
will respect the rights of other people. If you do not respect your child as a
person, he will not respect you or others.
me offer some specific advice on raising a child from birth. The best book on
this issue is The Baby Book, by Sears and Sears. Every parent should
buy and read a copy before their child is born.
1. Attempt to have a natural childbirth.
Hold the baby and place it on the breast as soon as possible after birth. Do
not let the baby out of your sight or out of your arms. Do not let the nurses
take it away to a nursery. Respond immediately to your child's cries. Never allow
someone to give the baby a bottle as this will create nipple confusion.
2. Breastfeed the baby whenever it wants
to suck, as long as it wants to suck. Educate yourself
about breastfeeding and get help from a breastfeeding expert. The child will
cry for other reasons, of course, and you must try, through trial and error, to
see what it wants. Do not wean the baby at any age. Let it quit when it's
ready. (See the kids with the pacifiers in their mouths? That's caused by
breast-deprivation.) Do not force any food or other fluids on a breastfeeding
baby. They will start eating or drinking when they're ready--usually by 6 to 8
3. Sleep with the child or at least in
the same room with the child. Do not put the child in another room. Don't let
him wake up alone or cry for long periods. That's child abuse a la Dr. Spock. If you do isolate them and
ignore their crying, they'll learn not to cry alright, but what will they have
learned about human relationships? What have they learned about love? Never
leave an infant alone unless he's happy to be by himself for a while. In all
things, let the child be your guide, not visa versa.
4. To the females of our species, let me
say that you have a unique biological function. Only you have breasts and the
greater biological drive to nurture an infant. Do not return to your (usually
stupid) job after childbirth. Forget the corporate rat race. Do not leave your
child at all until he's at least 3 yrs. old, and preferably not until he's
happy to leave you. Put your child's mental health first, your own prestige and
money second. Live in a smaller house and drive an older car. Live within your
means for the sake of your child's happiness and development. If you want your
career, don't raise a child. You can't do both well, period.
5. Men, nature has given you the easier
role. Breastfeeding and raising a child properly while keeping house is much
more difficult than your job, whatever it is. So when you're home, you must work hard to
provide relief for the mother. Babies cry for many other reasons than needing
to suck. If he doesn't want to suck, he probably just wants to be held, to
experience some rhythmic motion, or to see something different. Take him out
for walks, dance with him, entertain him.
6. Do not send your child to daycare or school.. Educate yourself with the vast amount of good
literature available on what's wrong with schooling and how normal development
will proceed without coercion. Let your child grow up free and develop their own
unique personality, knowledge and abilities. See Readings
Bottom Line: Love your child and meet his natural needs.
Respect his unique individuality. Don't force him into your mold, the
church's mold, or the government's mold. Let him discover the world and himself
in his own way, in his own time. He'll learn reading and math soon enough, in
his own way when he wants to. If you let him develop his own unique talents,
knowledge, and abilities, he'll be a happy, successful, self-regulating person
for the rest of his life.