When yesterday I wrote about fear, I briefly mentioned that parents need to give their children certain fears to protect them from any harm. They are not bad people because of this although it sometimes seems in today’s society that they are. This is a difficult topic and I would like to state my point of view and would love to read yours in the comments.
There are some points that everybody, I hope, will agree upon. Parents need to teach their children not to do things that harm them. They have to get this small mind to understand for example that it is dangerous to put a finger into the power outlet. They have to learn not to run across the street without looking. They should not put their fingers in a fan either and they should not go into deep water or put plastic bags on top of their heads.
The question is how to teach them this. The first way that people suggest is to explain them seriously and with much love what the consequences could be if they did all that. I completely agree that you should do this. Sit down with your children and explain that it will hurt if you do any of those things. It will not only hurt, you may even die. But will your child understand this?
Of course it depends on the age of the children whether they can understand that it will hurt if they do such things. The concept of electricity or also death however will most certainly be something that they cannot understand. And as they cannot understand, you show them that it is something to be afraid of, don’t you? You would take something that they understand to tell them, for example ‘It will hurt, ouch, okay?’
Obviously you make your child afraid with this. Do you think this is wrong? I don’t. You will do the same thing a bit later, when your children get older and start doing other things which may not be a threat to their lives – or at least not immediately – but definitely something you don’t want them to do, for example cursing, hitting others, destroying things willingly and later smoking, drinking and more. How do you keep them from doing this?
You will actually early in their education start telling them off. You show them that you don’t agree with what they do. You show them anger sometimes when they don’t listen to the word ‘no’. You may get loud to make clear that you are very serious about it. You even have to find punishment for your children sometimes, be that a ‘time-out’ in which they are not allowed to play or a certain time that they are not allowed to do what they like most. It is all done to make them understand they did something wrong. And it makes them afraid of doing the same thing again and facing the same consequences.
You all know that I am against any kind of physical punishment, so I want to say here again that you should never hit your children. You should also not overdo it with the punishment or scream and yell like crazy at your children. You love your children, you are in control of the situation, you just need to teach them what is right or wrong. They should not get afraid of you, they should be afraid of the consequences of wrong actions, a reason not to do wrong.
Here you can see TV spots from the government showing pictures of people with cancer in the mouth to prevent people from chewing tobacco. These pictures create fear of the consequences. I believe it is right to show them. It is a necessary fear!
I believe that today’s western society has become very careful with such statements and often I feel that parents have lost control because they could not make their children understand the fear of what is wrong. They did not want to do what their parents did – beat them, lock them up, create a deep insecurity, fear and anger inside them. There has to be a way between this and letting your children completely loose and get wild – and the way is to make them understand, with love, that there are some things they have to be afraid of. I am sure that very intelligent people have found another name to call this fear and make it sound nicer but in the end it is fear.
This fear will change with the development of their awareness, with what they learn and understand and then they will see why you did what you did. Once they are in an age when they can understand electricity, they will not be afraid of it anymore but just careful, knowing that you can get a shock.
The love of parents is one of the most wonderful things here on earth. Making your child afraid of certain things is just a part of parenting love. Some overdo it, some don’t do enough of it. I am sure you do your best if you go with your feeling of love for your child!