Raising children (was GUNS something)

From: Chris Russo (extropy@russo.org)
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 22:45:18 MST

>You'd be surprised at how rationally children behave when they're
>give the opportunity. I can't see why a child would NEED to come up
>against hard realities. Sometimes the hard realities can't be
>avoided, but it seems very strange to wish them upon your child or
>anyone else you love.

Why would you say that I "wish" them upon my child when I never even
remotely implied such a thing? I dare say that I love my child every
bit as much as I'm sure you love yours, so let's avoid maligning each
others' motives, okay?

Do you think that people who believe in using discipline do so to
make their children's lives more difficult? Maybe out of some sort
of sadistic impulse? Are you surprised to learn that we do it
because we love our children dearly and want to make their lives

> Do you really believe that you need to come up against hard realities?
> What sort of hard realities do you need to come up against?

Sure. My income isn't infinite, so my wife and I have to discipline
ourselves to spend wisely. I've had to learn lots about my taxes and
the business world, not because I enjoy it, but because they're
skills I've needed to achieve my goals in life. I have customers to
keep pleased when honestly, I'd prefer to be with my family,
exercising, reading, or playing video games. As time goes on, I'll
come up against other hard realities, as I and my loved ones are
victims of crime, disease, or our own stupidities. These limitations
of life are what I term "hard realities".

>> And yes, sometimes, baby has to be left in her crib to cry for a
>>few minutes before she falls asleep.
>No, baby does not HAVE to be left in her crib to cry. This is
>something you choose to do to her.

Yes, when our daughter cried upon being put to bed at certain times,
we let her cry for a bit before going to bed. Training her to go to
bed at a certain time early on means that she's now very reliable
about knowing her limits concerning bedtime. When mommy and daddy
say it's time for bed, she goes to bed without many problems. We
could have done like my close friend's wife. She couldn't stand to
hear their baby crying, so even though the child is 3 1/2, the mother
*still* has to rock the child to sleep and cater to the child's whims
about where he wants to sleep and when. The kid has an absolute
panic attack if she isn't there when he wakes up from a nap. You
were mentioning "independence"?

[Barbara's personal experience snipped]
>believe they WERE required to pass certain state tests for standard
>stuff such as reading and math skills--is this not the case for all
>CA schools?)

Regardless, every year in the news, we heard about how California was
typically somewhere between 46th and 48th in the nation in terms of
how well California students scored on standardized tests.

My wife taught at a private school that had a very traditional
(somewhat Asian) approach to education. Every year, she'd get a few
public school kids in her class, and they were always the ones who
had the most difficulty. They lacked knowledge, they scored poorly
on standardized tests, they had more conduct problems, and they
required a lot more personal attention. My wife felt that they were
bright kids, but that public school had left them unprepared to learn
in a focused environment.

>I think rather than more discipline, what's needed is for people to
>understand the learning and thinking process and to acknowledge that
>learning and thinking cannot be forced.

When I was an employee at a company, and my boss said, "We need to
implement this totally different X with this new technology Y." You
bet your sweet bippy that I did some forced learning and thinking.
That's the way life normally works, and to shield children from being
trained in methods of coping with that is a tremendous disservice to

>Here's an excerpt from an article by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD.
>Abstract with references at

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look at it, although the excerpt you
posted really was just a vague theory, and not scientific evidence.
I'm looking for more of the latter type of information.

>> I'd certainly be willing to change my mind on the subject given
>>some evidence, but currently, I find a 5 year old tugging on his
>>mom's bra to get a quick bite to eat to be more of a potential
>>problem than a gain.

[Barbara's own successful long-term breast feeding example snipped]

Actually, when I mentioned the above, I had a family in mind that I
knew in California. The mother was a big believer in not forcing her
kids to do anything. The older boy was 4 when I last saw him. Twice
that day, he tugged on his mom for a snack. He and his little sister
are total brats - they don't listen to any adults, they destroy
things, they have no sense of limits or.... *discipline*... and it
shows. Hmmm, I *wonder* how that happened.


Chris Russo

"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

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