Accidental Apathy and the Dangers to the Development of Your Child.

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

Accidental Apathy and the Dangers to the Development of Your Child.

I knew a family once who had a horribly behaved preschool child. He would open the door to their house and leave it open just to get a reaction from his parents. They would close it and lock it, and he would just do it again. He laughed as he ran up to turn off the television as the adults were watching it, just to get a reaction. Once it was back on, he would do it again, and again. He abused the family pet, threw food around, broke things and was just terribly behaved. These are just some of the examples, and all of them, he would do repeatedly. You may ask, why he kept doing it after his parents punished him. Well, that’s the issue. They would say this to the child, “Don’t do that please, Bernard, we love you.”

Now you may think that the child needed punishment, but the answer is actually worse than that. When you tell your child, “I love you,” you are saying one thing. When you don’t react in a shocked way to their shocking behavior with some form of redirection or consequences, then you are actually telling your child the exact opposite of “I love you.” The opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. You are acting apathetic to this awful behavior and the reason the child continues to act that way is because he is subconsciously seeking someone to really love them, to follow through with consequences, to hopefully redirect them to doing something good and then praise them for it. They are getting mixed messages and you’ve broken their trust.

I’m not saying spankings or screaming at your child are good things, but to the emotional state of a child, they are better than saying you feel nothing towards them. At least getting upset with them shows you care enough to get upset.

Recently we had a child come in and the parents warned us repeatedly, “He’s a special needs kid.” Well honestly, that’s about 25% of our population and we specialize in helping these students to find a more typical or normal path through life. Several of our Black Belt adults and teens were severely affected by their autism or Aspergers’s as children, and today, you would never even know it. This child was remarkably disrespectful towards the instructors here, which we understand, he just doesn’t know better. Even non-special-needs kids have to be taught how to behave in a martial arts setting.

Mom was a little rough with him one minute and the next minute, she did nothing, mostly, she did nothing. The confusion this child’s subconscious felt was just driving this behavior to ludicrous extremes. The parents want to blame it on his condition, but the reality, they were the issue. We could have helped if they would have been more receptive to using redirection or setting expectations and consequences, but they made it clear they were going to use the child’s condition as their excuse. We have helped with hundreds of kids, just like that one, but their parents were on our side, and those parents knew that sometimes, love is shown with a scowl, a time-out or consequences.

By the way, that kid Bernard grew up into the worst kind of attorney you can imagine, (there are good attorneys). He became the kind of attorney who prefer to get large, greedy corporations and deviant criminals off, instead of seeing justice done. His personal life too, was a trail of ruined lives strewn behind him. He has destroyed more lives than I can count and his parents are to blame.

Set your expectations for your child’s behavior and communicate those expectations to them. Correct their behavior with redirection whenever possible, and consequences when redirection isn’t going to work. They need our love and need to feel it and see it in our actions.

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