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Civilizing Little Monsters, Part I

Updated on January 24, 2017

Working With a Child's Absorbent Mind

It is the potential of every child to become a wild uncivilized creature. Only by living with civilized people can he become civilized. Furthermore, to the extent that they are civilized, will he become civilized. A child who is exposed to the gang life-style, watches his brothers use guns, and allowed to handle guns, will become adept at using guns. A child who is exposed to ideas, philosophies, and literature will most likely become quite scholarly. In an athletic family, the child who is encouraged and coached by his father, may emerge as a star athlete.

The truth is, nature within the child causes him to absorb, accept and adapt to any environment he lives in. In one documented case, a toddler was placed out of harm's way in a chicken coop while her mother tended the fields. In time, the child exhibited the same flapping, pecking and scratching behaviors as the chickens she had spent her days with. Also, consider the boy who had been adopted by wolves as an infant and rescued by humans as a boy. Needless to say, they found that he behaved exactly like a wolf. The story of his rehabilitation is an interesting one, and illustrates the power of the absorbent mind in childhood. Therefore, the time to set the boundaries is in early childhood when they are not only accepted and absorbed, they become indelible (permanent) as well.

Nature equips the child with this ability to absorb the behaviors of its parents for the sake of survival. For instance, in the animal kingdom, a baby bear follows its mother, learning to forage for nuts and berries in the woods, catch fish in the rivers and navigate the mountain sides. Without a word from Mama Bear, Baby Bear, watching her every move, learns to survive in his rustic environment. In human life, the boundaries we set help the child survive in his world, whether it be simple or complicated, humble or glorious, or middle class.

There are rules and boundaries for the child to absorb in order for him to navigate the unsafe waters of life. Parents need to set these boundaries in order to assist the child in its survival. He needs us to provide them, for they are based on what we know about life. The fact is, he knows nothing. How could he? He was just born, and being human, does not have instincts as other creatures do. Don't pretend your child knows that what he wants is good for him or not. Stay in a position of authority and let him know that you will allow what is good for him. Tending to reality, rather than illusion is really a matter of common sense.

And science backs up common sense. Consider the discoveries of Dr. Montessori who studied children in a scientific way. She discovered that all children absorb their environment through what she identified as the sense of order. Many people mistake the term to mean orderly as in neat and orderly... No. In fact, the child who lives in a cluttered house will absorb it into his sense of order. He absorbs this environment and is able to navigate through that unorganized house just fine. As long as it stays the way it is.

The following list is a good set of boundaries to set in any environment, whether home, school or day-care. The caregiver is part of the child's environment and lays the foundation for the rest of his life.

1. Never allow a child to tell you what to do. If you decide the child can have what he wants, give it to him later, rather than at the time of the demand. This delay will establish the power of your authority. Caregivers must always establish the reality that the adult is in charge. Do not put into the child's sense of order that HE is charge! This will produce insecurity within him for he does not yet have the experience or knowledge to go by.

2. Never allow a child to talk back to you. The reply, "I will not talk to you, if you talk to me this way." will motivate him to be polite. Follow through and keep quiet if he does continue. (But, keep in mind every child wants to please the adult in charge. Children don't like to disapoint us.)

3. No means no. Do not be blackmailed by crying. Maintain your stand. Tears will eventually stop when the child gets bored of crying. (You might have to wait for a while. Also, tell family members to let the crying child be. She'll get over it in her own time.)

4. Never allow a child to hit you.

5. Never allow a child to hit another child.

6. Never allow a child to talk rudely or meanly to another child.

7. Never allow children to rough house or run through a room.

8. Never allow equipment or tools to be misused.

9. A place for everything and everything in its place. Children should put back what they have used so others can use it after them.

10. If a child wishes to borrow something from another child he should ask in a polite manner. If the other child's response is "no", then his answer is to be respected.

Children's Rights:

1. Children have the right to be respected as children of God.
2. Nature is working to build a man. Children have the right to be understood in terms of their development, as guided by nature.
3. They have the right to be accepted 100%. We must properly guide their behavior while maintaining our acceptance and love for them.
4. We must properly guide our own behavior, realizing they are absorbing everything in their environment… which includes us.
5. Children have the right to an environment conducive to their psychological health.
This environment includes: purity, goodness, beauty, patience, gentleness, kindness and cheerfulness.
6. Children have the right to nutritious foods which are conducive to their physical development.
7. Children have the right to an education which is conducive to what the child will require in order to become a healthy, strong and functional adult able to fit into / be able to survive in the society unto which he was born.
8. Children have the right to liberty within boundaries for the sake of pursing what is interesting and stimulating to them. We can facilitate their natural interests and love of learning regarding all the amazing aspects of life.
9. Children have the right to learn the rules of proper behavior for the sake of common courtesy, common sense and safety.
10. Children have the right to be protected from all that would harm them mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.

We must respect the inner life of the child and not bombard him with too much outer stimulation in the form of screen technologies, and even too much conversational input from us. These influences can be addicting to the psyche of the child.

We must not expose the child to sexual input in the form of adult themed movies. We risk sexualizing our children too early and robbing them of their innocence in childhood. (Children who are molested are left permanently scared with devastating psychological consequences. Who knows how early exposure to provocative images in film or real life will affect them!)

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    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      You said, "Black Lives Matter and the Pro-Lifers both have money and momentum, it would be nice if they could join forces for just a little while and put an end to this outrage once and for all."

      I think that's a great idea, wB.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      Thanks, wB. It needs to be addressed. Now. As you say.

      Why isn't it? Because it doesn't affect that many people directly. We are a civilized society and the majority of people are striving to be positive, move forward and hopefully spiritually evolve. It is tragic that some people justify this type of child abuse with false, non-spiritual religious doctrine. In one report I read, Catholicism was the religion which allowed this practice the most.

      Thanks for bringing this darkness, which still lingers in our society, to light. It is child abuse. Every state needs to acknowledge it and deal with it Realistically and Humanely.

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 

      2 years ago

      This only underscores the fundamental problem with this system. Women have been trying to get the ERA passed since 1923 with no success, and children can be legally sexually abused with parental consent. But that's just the tip of the snow cone!

      Since Black Lives Matter and the Pro-Lifers both have money and momentum, it would be nice if they could join forces for just a little while and put an end to this outrage once and for all. In fact, I really don't know why everybody isn't out marching in the street. But I will trouble you no more on this topic. It simply makes me sick inside that people continue to accept this.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      "Marriage is a legal contract and it should be reserved for adults. The dangers of child marriage are, after all, very clear: A recent report found that child marriage “undermines girls’ health, education and economic opportunities, and increases their risk of experiencing violence.”

      The solution is relatively simple. State legislators should eliminate the archaic legal exceptions that allow children to wed. This is the only way to end child and forced marriage in the United States."

      FROM https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/opinion/america...

      READ ALSO: http://preventforcedmarriage.org/wp-content/upload...

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      Religious freedom! Its evil! To ignore the Bible and call this type of "marriage" religious freedom is a crime born of Satanic delusion. Of course it needs to be stopped! Religious freedom! ???? Hard to believe, wB!

      Children's Rights:

      1. Children have the right to be respected as children of God.

      2. Nature is working to build a man. Children have the right to be understood in terms of their development, as guided by nature.

      3. They have the right to be accepted 100%. We must properly guide their behavior while maintaining our acceptance and love for them.

      4. We must properly guide our own behavior, realizing they are absorbing everything in their environment… which includes us.

      5. Children have the right to an environment conducive to their psychological health.

      This environment includes: purity, goodness, beauty, patience, gentleness, kindness and cheerfulness.

      6. Children have the right to nutritious foods which are conducive to their physical development.

      7. Children have the right to an education which is conducive to what the child will require in order to become a healthy, strong and functional adult able to fit into / be able to survive in the society unto which he was born.

      8. Children have the right to liberty within boundaries for the sake of pursing what is interesting and stimulating to them. We can facilitate their natural interests and love of learning regarding all the amazing aspects of life.

      9. Children have the right to learn the rules of proper behavior for the sake of common courtesy, common sense and safety.

      10. Children have the right to be protected from all that would harm them mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 

      2 years ago

      Well, that seems to be the problem. Pedophiles have been hiding behind "religious freedom" since 1776. The Mormons are one of the most obvious sects that promote child marriage to old men, but there are others. To say this is an outrage is a gross understatement because I understand that it is legal in most every state. Since parental consent is the primary loophole, parents are able to legally sell their children. We can't imagine a ten year old girl is going to challenge the decision in court!

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      King James Bible

      "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

      Matthew 18:6

      PS We should be able to stop it easily!!!! Isolate the difficulty! I wonder what it is! Are we no longer a Christian nation? A spiritual nation? a spiritual people?

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      Hi Ronnie wB:

      Jesus said if you harm a child you might as well put a mill stone around your neck. The karma for harming a child in any way, either physically or psychologically, is heavy. And just as we must be very careful with what our children experience in real life, we must also be very careful with what they see in the movies, on TV and on the internet. Violence, hatred, terror and the like are detrimental to the psyche and the soul of a child. Presently, we are too casual in regards to the development of the child's psyche.

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 

      2 years ago

      I don't have children and was never interested in the notion of replicating myself. However, I am a giant among men because I have always loved to read and explore. I read your essay only because it was you who wrote it. And I would like to know your opinion.

      You commented at the end of this essay: "We must not expose the child to sexual input in the form of adult themed movies. " I am sure you are aware that New Jersey gov. Chris Christie recently refused to sign a bill prohibiting child marriage. This has been going on since forever all across America, and I find it beyond disgusting! A 70 year old man can marry a 10 year old girl with the consent of her parents here in the United States. Christie calls this "religious freedom" . I call it legalized pedophilia! How do you think we can stop this ?

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      This is true. It the resentment that is detrimental to the spirit. These children are fresh from the astral realms of joy and peace. They thrive in happiness. In fact, childhood is a happy time and should be enjoyed by parents and families! Why make life miserable for them with our tyranny?

      Nevertheless, I see it (parental and teacher tyranny) a lot.

      The relationship, as you say, is everything! Thank You for this insight.

      PS you inspired me to put this understanding in hub form. :-)

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 

      2 years ago from upstate, NY

      "That something good is this: allowing the child's ability to guide his own will to develop. He cannot follow our will until it is his will to follow our will. His willingness to apparently follow our commands stems from not obedience but receptivity to what is done and not done."

      This I feel is why relationship is so important. If a child knows our heart, it saves a lot of grief in misunderstandings. Also, ruling with rigid rules and fear, we may get some outward obedience but with long term rebellion and resentment.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      To explain just a little further: The child cannot follow our will until it is his will to do so. His apparent willingness or obedience in following our commands stems not from obedience, but from receptivity to what is done and not done in the world around him. It also stems from his desire to please us. Children love their parents and those caring for them. Repeating: Human free-will is not fully developed until the age of fifteen. They are learning to guide it toward true happiness their entire lives. We were not born to be merely obedient and perfect specimens of humanity, but joyful and powerful within our own beings and in our OWN WAYS.

      Thanks again for coming 'round, wba!

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      Thanks for your comment, wba 108

      Boundary setting is an art, based on science.

      Boundaries are set for the sake of the freedom and safety for the child. They are to promote something good. That something good is this: allowing the child's ability to guide his own will to develop. He cannot follow our will until it is his will to follow our will. His willingness to apparently follow our commands stems from not obedience but receptivity to what is done and not done.

      As guardians, we are allowing the child to develop his will. We are not shutting it down. We are not to shut it down.

      This can happen when we put into his sense of order that he is to strictly follow our directions. No. We are to facilitate his ability to guide and follow his own will.

      This inner directing is complete at age 15 years. We want our children to have strong wills, to know their interests and be able to follow their intrinsic motivations. If we merely order them around until they're eighteen or so, how are they to have free will and guide it appropriately … toward the direction of their own happiness, which only they can decide about and know?

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 

      2 years ago from upstate, NY

      I agree, children need and want to know their boundaries. Children feel insecure and will continue to test you until they know where the line is. I am continually perplexed at parents who allow their children to boss them around and refuse to set meaningful limits on behavior.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      5 years ago from LA

      You know, any thinking, reasonable woman can agree with you: "Parents must be prepared financially, emotionally, and psychologically before they have children and they should have no more children that they can support emotionally, financially, and psychologically." I was not such a woman when I was younger. I really wish I had been. But, I have learned so much through the school of hard knocks. I am still learning now that my son has a new baby! Will he listen to advice from us? Good question. He certainly should!

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great article, children should have boundaries. Also children should be born into the best of socioeconomic circumstances in order to fully flourish mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. No children should be brought into impoverished socioeconomic surroundings as poverty has a deleterious effect upon children in myriad ways. Parents must be prepared financially, emotionally, and psychologically before they have children and they should have no more children that they can support emotionally, financially, and psychologically.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      7 years ago from LA

      Thank you, Joynette. I hope you will check out the hubs about Montessori by He Must Increase (Above) She has it right, as well.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 

      7 years ago from Dominica

      Your list of boundaries provide good guidelines, Kathryn. Modern parenting seems to suggest that authority is to be shared between the parent and the child. Parents need to take back control. Voted useful!

    • profile image

      hemustincrease 

      7 years ago

      Great hub. When parents refuse to step up to their job as protector and guardian trouble is sure to follow. And children who have no boundaries may initially appear to be happy, but it soon becomes apparent that they are truly miserable. Dr Montessori’s wisdom in observing children’s need for freedom ‘within adult defined boundaries’ is part of what set her apart from her contemporaries.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      7 years ago

      Great!

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      7 years ago from LA

      Let me know! I can help explain what she meant if you need explanations.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      7 years ago

      Great advice. I will look up that book.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn L Hill 

      7 years ago from LA

      Oh, I do encourage you... with a warning. Many Montessori schools today do not really understand Montessori. They do no refers to her books and have lost their way. You should read her books: Secret of Childhood, Absorbent Mind and the Montessori Method. Then compare what you read to what you observe in any Montessori School. I would try a search and compare schools. Remember the first six years is nature at work: Very crucial period and should not be left to chance. I am so happy that she is being home schooled by you. The Montessori Method might interest you the most, in this case.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      7 years ago

      I have visited a montessori school for my daughter. The environment is a wonderful training ground. She is homeschooled now. Maybe I will use some of these techniques.

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