Monday, 6 May 2013

Bullying at home




One of the difficulties I find when trying to debate with home educating parents is that they often seem to have a distorted view of the world; a view which blinds them to things which are perfectly plain to everybody else in the country. Take the question of bullying, for example. I remarked yesterday that most bullying  of children takes place in their home and is inflicted by parents and carers. Almost incredibly, there was immediate disagreement! The reason for this is of course simple. It is an article of faith among many home educators that schools are dangerous places, in contrast to homes which is where children may be kept safe. Because of this, there is a tendency to exaggerate hazards in schools and minimise those faced by children at home. Common sense, backed up by all the available evidence, suggests that home is far more dangerous for most children than school. 

Bullying is the use of force, strength or influence to intimidate and coerce others who are weaker than the one doing the bullying. Yesterday, somebody posted some research on here which was so ludicrously irrelevant to the debate, that I was somewhat at a loss to know how to respond; not a common occurrence on this blog! Those conducting the research had  defined bullying as something done by children:

‘Respondents were asked whether they were bullied, discriminated against, or made to feel different, like an outsider by other children.’

Not surprisingly, this survey had gone on to reveal that bullying was something done by children. Obvious really; if you only ask about bullying in relation to other children, then bullying will inevitably emerge as a school problem, rather than one at home. 90% of those asked had claimed to come from warm and loving homes. This settled the matter, at least to the satisfaction of the person who put the results of this research on the comment; homes are loving and warm and bullying takes place at school.  This is of course sheer Alice in Wonderland. People are asked if they have been bullied by other children and this is then used to prove that bullying is an activity carried out by other children. Let us look at the genuine and sustained bullying to which most children are routinely subjected; bullying which has nothing to do with other children and actually takes place  in their homes.

The worst sort of bullying involves the use or threat of violence against the victim. The bully uses superior strength to push the victim around and make her do as she is told. Here are a few surveys that readers might like to examine:

http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-views/press-release/how-safe-are-our-children-only-1-3-adults-see-slapping-high-risk

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096641/Support-end-smacking-ban-parents-say-prevented-summer-riots.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1529321/Punishing-children-by-smacking-wins-widespread-adult-approval.html



As we can see, for children who experience physical violence; 80% of it is in their home. There are a couple of surveys covering around two and a half thousand people in total which suggest that between 67% and 80% of parents have hit their children. It is interesting to think about those 90% of people in the research quoted yesterday who claimed to have come from warm and loving homes. 90% of people also claim to have been hit by their parents when they were children. In other words; 90% of adults were bullied by their parents when they were little.

I don’t propose to waste too much time on this, because the case is so clear. Bullying children, by using physical violence on them to make them do as others wish, is endemic in this country. 90% of adults have been victims of this bullying and it still happens to between 70% and 80% of children. (Other surveys sometimes find higher or lower rates, but I cannot find one where fewer than 25% of parents admit to striking their children). This is bullying in its worst form; not merely the threat of force, but the actual use of violence. This bullying usually takes place in the home and is inflicted by the adults who are close to the child. It results in many serious injuries and not a few deaths. Every three weeks, a child under the age of five in this country dies as a result of a violent attack. In 80% of these deaths, the parents or carer is the attacker.

I do not think that any of this has much bearing on home education, other than to show that many home educating parents have a skewed perspective about risks to children. They have a vested interest in portraying schools as dangerous places for children, but the reality is that for the overwhelming majority of children, their home is the place where they are pushed around and assaulted; bullied and intimidated into submission. I have only looked here at the most extreme form of bullying; that involving physical violence. Add in the name-calling, belittling and humiliation that are often mentioned in surveys about bullying and I can't help wondering how far short of 100% the figure for the bullying of children by parents would be.

68 comments:

  1. Of course bullying takes place everywhere - not just in schools and homes - but you also have a skewed perspective. Let me repeat my comment from yesterday:

    Before using any such data to infer that home is a more dangerous place than school, you should take care to remember that children spend only about 15% of their time in schools.

    For any child, for every hour, what is the most dangerous place? That's not as clear cut as you suggest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not one of those children under five who were murdered were subject to the sort of inspection regime you consider necessary for home educators.
    Given that figure, and how strongly you clearly feel, are you sure you're campaigning for the right cause?

    Now I'm not being flippant. I think that it is appalling; and it reinforces my feeling that diverting resources away from the group that needs them to counter a threat that is statistically no greater for a home educated child than for any other and may well be less is dangerously wrong.

    I would also query your point that for the overwhelming majority of children home is where they are pushed around and assaulted, bullied and intimidated into submission. By your definition, I would be guilty of child abuse every time I said the evil words 'Bedtime, hair washing, maths and english and no more TV or computer time.' Because I do regularly say 'right, if you do not do as I ask, then you will not have something you want.' I don't consider that child abuse. I consider that being a responsible parent to strong willed children.

    Atb
    Anne



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Given that figure, and how strongly you clearly feel, are you sure you're campaigning for the right cause?

      Now I'm not being flippant. I think that it is appalling; and it reinforces my feeling that diverting resources away from the group that needs them to counter a threat that is statistically no greater for a home educated child than for any other and may well be less is dangerously wrong."

      I agree completely, Anne. I've raised the point about Simon's absurd - and dangerous - obsession with monitoring home educators and he has taken the flippant approach by dismissing the question as absurd because this is a blog about home education!

      I'm afraid that this leads me to wonder whether this is due to something more than just stupidity on Simon's part.

      Delete
  3. "Every three weeks, a child under the age of five in this country dies as a result of a violent attack. In 80% of these deaths, the parents or carer is the attacker."

    So 20% of these deaths are attributable to someone who isn't the parent or carer; that seems rather a lot, given that under-fives probably spend, on average, rather more than 80% of their time with parents or carers.

    Hence Simon's figure highlights "stranger danger" as being a genuine concern: there are more deaths due to parents or carers because the under-fives hardly spend any time with anyone else, but the time that they do spend with strangers is disproportionately dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 'Not one of those children under five who were murdered were subject to the sort of inspection regime you consider necessary for home educators.'

    As I said, this is not really about home education per se; more about recognising the relative risks to children of different environments.

    'I would also query your point that for the overwhelming majority of children home is where they are pushed around and assaulted, bullied and intimidated into submission.'

    Parents hit children to make them do as they are told. Most of these assaults take place in the home. This is bullying and intimidating children into submission and it is something to which 90% of adults were subjected in childhood. at least 70% of children are still be treated this way in their homes. I would be surprised to see any statistics that indicate 70% or 80% of children are regularly the victims of violence in this way in other settings; for example nurseries or schools.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 'Hence Simon's figure highlights "stranger danger" as being a genuine concern: there are more deaths due to parents or carers because the under-fives hardly spend any time with anyone else, but the time that they do spend with strangers is disproportionately dangerous.'

    Nothing at all to do with strangers; well, hardly ever. The attackers who were not parents were usually other relatives, family friends and so on. Forget about strangers, these are almost invariably domestic crimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The point still stands, here, and more generally: the rate of dangerous incidents or deaths per contact hour is not necessarily greater (and is possibly less) for parents than others.

      I have yet to see anything to contradict this and I've asked you for data in support of your point in the past.

      Delete
  6. I was smacked at home and also bullied at school. So according to you I was bullied and abused at home. However, despite the smacking I would still describe our home as a warm and loving home, so I can see your point to an extent. But the level of threat and stress I felt from the school bullies was several magnitudes higher than I felt at home. I felt safe at home. I didn't feel safe at school. It's far more complicated than you are suggesting.

    BTW, you made sure your daughters brushed their teeth, went to bed at a decent time, etc. How did you do this without using force, strength or influence to intimidate and coerce your weaker children into doing this? Or did they always happily agree with every request and never do anything that required discipline?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "But the level of threat and stress I felt from the school bullies was several magnitudes higher than I felt at home. I felt safe at home. I didn't feel safe at school. It's far more complicated than you are suggesting."

      This is a very important point, but people like Simon draw the lines and define things so that the results fit their requirements. Even then, though, their manipulation of the numbers (I refuse to credit them with the word 'Statistics') is pretty incompetent at best, dishonest at worst - just look at almost any post by Simon that involves numbers.

      Delete
    2. "But the level of threat and stress I felt from the school bullies was several magnitudes higher than I felt at home. I felt safe at home. I didn't feel safe at school. It's far more complicated than you are suggesting."

      Similarly for me, but the odd teacher was the problem, rather than other kids. I did very well in the end in spite of these, rather than because of them, and missing a lot of school helped a great deal for my academic success.

      Delete
  7. 'But the level of threat and stress I felt from the school bullies was several magnitudes higher than I felt at home. I felt safe at home. I didn't feel safe at school. It's far more complicated than you are suggesting."

    Yes, we enter into a very complex and unhealthy relationship when the bullying is being undertaken by those whom we love. I agree with this entirely. It is because we love those who are tormenting us in this way, that we often refuse to give the bullying its correct name. You are right; it is a very complex situation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'I agree completely, Anne. I've raised the point about Simon's absurd - and dangerous - obsession with monitoring home educators and he has taken the flippant approach by dismissing the question as absurd because this is a blog about home education!

    I'm afraid that this leads me to wonder whether this is due to something more than just stupidity on Simon's part.'

    To be fair, the only ones talking about monitoring here are those commenting! I have already said that I do think this is really connected with home education.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More intrusive monitoring and the legislation to enable it is a frequent - and always underlying - theme of your blog, and in the past you have used similar arguments to those you've presented in this post, in order to justify calls for more monitoring. You can't disentangle those - unless you're retracting them now - and your past is catching-up with you (in more ways than one, from skimming the comments).

      Delete
  9. So how did you get your daughters to do what you wanted them to do?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Simon said,

    "Yes, we enter into a very complex and unhealthy relationship when the bullying is being undertaken by those whom we love. I agree with this entirely. It is because we love those who are tormenting us in this way, that we often refuse to give the bullying its correct name. You are right; it is a very complex situation."

    You are very good at twisting things to suit your argument but not very good at attempting a genuine discussion to explore the issues. I didn't feel 'tormented' by couple of smacks over 16 years. If this were the case, then 89% of the population were tormented and had unhealthy relationships with their parents (since 89% have admitted to smacking their children occasionally according the ONS).

    According to your definition of bullying, only those bringing up their children non-coercively, like autonomous educators for instance, are attempting to avoid bullying at home. But strangely you brand this approach as 'sloppy thinking and touchy-feely lifestyles'.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 'So how did you get your daughters to do what you wanted them to do?'

    By explaining what was required. I certainly never struck them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if they still didn't want to do it?

      Delete
    2. "I certainly never struck them."

      Of course not. But did you force your children to brush their teeth as you were forced to brush your teeth? How did you do this?

      Delete
  12. 'If this were the case, then 89% of the population were tormented and had unhealthy relationships with their parents (since 89% have admitted to smacking their children occasionally according the ONS). '

    People here often make my points for me with far greater force than i could myself. Yes, the fact that almost 90% of parents bully their children by using violence against them is shocking. I quite agree that relationships of this sort, which rely upon brute force are unhealthy. I cannot imagine how else to describe them.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 'And if they still didn't want to do it?'

    You mean if my daughter would not come with me when I asked or refused to clean her teeth? I honestly do not recall that happening. We had a good relationship and usually wanted to be on good terms with each other. I would oblige her to the best of my ability and I think she felt the same way. The threat or use of violence was never necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The treat of use of violence is not the only behaviour covered in your description of bullying though. According to you (and I agree), it 'is the use of force, strength or influence to intimidate and coerce others who are weaker than the one doing the bullying'.

      You speak approvingly elsewhere about training children to brush their teeth,

      "They make the child get into a fixed routine of doing the thing every night until it becomes a part of the child’s innermost being."

      How do they 'make' their children do this without using their 'influence' and control over the lives of their children?

      Delete
  14. I am very intrigued to see how many people here are defending their abusers. We might profitably examine things like the Stockholm Syndrome at this point! Obeying somebody under the threat of violence, because you know that the person will hit you if you do not say and do what they want you to, is being bullied. At least 90% of people in this country have been victims of this type of bullying and the fact that even now, as adults, they do not seem to realise that they have been bullied is deeply disturbing. I am not a psychologist and do not feel myself competent to comment too much on this phenomenon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe any use of any kind of power over a weaker person is bullying. That's why we are autonomous educators. You however disagree.

      Delete
  15. '"I certainly never struck them."

    Of course not. But did you force your children to brush their teeth as you were forced to brush your teeth? How did you do this?'

    I honestly do not see what you are driving at. I would say, "Time to clean your teeth now" and the child would clean her teeth. I never encountered any protest. Why would my daughter have objected to cleaning her teeth?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yet you talk in favour of parent's making their children brush their teeth. If you don't agree with it, why do you talk so approvingly of it for others and believe they are neglectful if they fail to do this?

      Delete
  16. Simon said,

    "I never encountered any protest. Why would my daughter have objected to cleaning her teeth?"

    Presumably you were joking when you said,

    "I hope you don't imagine C, that I was suggesting that there were never any battles here about teeth cleaning! I could tell some hair raising anecdotes about this myself."

    A 'joke' is your usual get out clause, going by past performance.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Previous comment by Simon, the bully.

    "Consider the case of a toddler who refuses to cooperate in having her teeth cleaned. We know that this can lead to terrible problems and so after all the debate has been exhausted, we will clean her teeth for her anyway."

    "I always worked from the perspective that I knew more than my child, which is quite true. She might have wished to avoid a little temporary discomfort now, but I was aware of the future advantages of what I was doing. Sometimes I rode roughshod over her wishes and she did indeed become the passive object of my actions. Anything less would have been an abdication of my reponsibilities as a parent."

    ReplyDelete
  18. So let's get this straight; Simon said:

    "I would say, "Time to clean your teeth now" and the child would clean her teeth. I never encountered any protest. Why would my daughter have objected to cleaning her teeth?"

    Simon has also said:
    "I hope you don't imagine C, that I was suggesting that there were never any battles here about teeth cleaning! I could tell some hair raising anecdotes about this myself."

    and (also in reference to teeth cleaning):
    "Sometimes I rode roughshod over her wishes and she did indeed become the passive object of my actions."

    Do I detect some inconsistency in Simon's recollection?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Place your bets for the excuse; I'll wager he was talking about two different daughters.

      Delete
    2. He'll use the phrase "no inconsistency".

      Delete
    3. Time for him to rattle-off a few new posts to divert attention.

      Delete
    4. He was only joking or being ironic.

      Delete
  19. Here's another example of how he coerced one of his daughters by using his power and control of household resources,

    "So all the education she received, including being taught to read, compelled to study eight IGCSEs at an early age, being forbidden the watching of television and so on;"

    The definition of bullying provided by Simon includes using influence to coerce someone to do something they wouldn't otherwise do. Influence is
    the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behaviour, opinions, etc., of another or others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Simon been a teacher (or at least claimed to be one). Then by that very fact, he cannot - by definition - have performed anything that could remotely be described as bullying.

      Delete
    2. Restricting TV isn't a bad thing - I'd actually agree with Simon if that's what he did - but otherwise life in the Webb household sounds a bit like being stuck in a Stockholm bank for years, and so it's not surprising that Simon jr has embarked on the life of mass social harm that Oxford PPEs bring about.

      Delete
  20. I have seldom read such a lot of foolishness as that to be found in the last few comments. To begin with, I am guessing that those talking about keeping babes and toddlers clean are probably not themselves parents. When one is dealing with a baby, then for at least the first couple of years, much has to be done for the baby; she being incapable of washing herself, cleaning her own teeth, getting dressed, controlling her bladder and so on. These things have to be done for the child. because babies tend to wriggle and squeal when they do not know what is happening, this can give the appearance of coercion; but only if you have never raised a child of your own.

    Take for example the case of an eighteen month old child who inadvertently gets excrement smeared on her hands. She does not like having her hands washed and struggles. The parent knows that to allow the child to pick up and eat food when her hands are covered with shit can cause serious illness or even death. I do not regard it as bullying under such circumstances to wash the child's hands without consent. Cleaning a baby's teeth comes into the same category; the baby may resist, but her health and wellbeing are more important than a little discomfort. By the time that the child can speak and understand, typically by the age of two, this sort of thing will no longer be necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So your daughter wa compelled to study eight IGCSEs whilst she was a baby. Amazing.

      Delete
  21. "I have seldom read such a lot of foolishness as that to be found in the last few comments."

    Aha! All guns blazing with aggression - I guess that's about all one can do when caught in a deep hole of inconsistency and dishonesty.

    Simon's having to resort to this a lot lately.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I still don't see any reconciliation of the inconsistencies in his statements about tooth brushing:

    "I never encountered any protest. Why would my daughter have objected to cleaning her teeth?"

    and

    "I hope you don't imagine C, that I was suggesting that there were never any battles here about teeth cleaning! I could tell some hair raising anecdotes about this myself."

    Perhaps we'll hear about excrement on the teeth, next; eough already!

    ReplyDelete
  23. 'I still don't see any reconciliation of the inconsistencies in his statements about tooth brushing:

    "I never encountered any protest. Why would my daughter have objected to cleaning her teeth?"

    and

    "I hope you don't imagine C, that I was suggesting that there were never any battles here about teeth cleaning! I could tell some hair raising anecdotes about this myself."'

    Again, this comment is perhaps made by somebody who has no children. The struggles with teeth cleaning took place when my daughter was a baby. Babies sometimes do not like to be washed or have their teeth cleaned. If the habit can be established at that age; so much the better. The other comment of mine about not encountering protest was referring to when the child was of an age to talk and protest; from perhaps eighteen months onwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's still a protest and you still overwhelmed with force if it happened at 12 or 18 months. A baby cries in the same way if they are tapped on the leg by their parent's hand or held down and had things put into their protesting mouths against their will. Or how do you propose they can tell the difference?

      Delete
  24. "To begin with, I am guessing that those talking about keeping babes and toddlers clean are probably not themselves parents."

    Why would people without kids bother with this blog? I guess there might be the odd childless character from LA/SS or civil service interested in reasons to monitor/hang/flog home educators, but I don't imagine they'd comment along the lines you've suggested.

    You may find this remarkable, Simon, but others here have experience as parents - and some without the dreadful messy difficulties that you seem to have encountered.

    ReplyDelete
  25. '"I have seldom read such a lot of foolishness as that to be found in the last few comments."

    Aha! All guns blazing with aggression'

    I am sorry if pointing out the folly of those with whom I am debating should be seen as aggression! I can see that some readers come from rather more refined and delicate environments than I am used to. The idea that saying that people are foolish could be described as aggression is a novel one to me. Oh no, I have just noticed above that I have been described as stupid and dishonest. Am I a victim of aggression?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Simon - as usual - seems to be deploying the Alastair Campbell gambit here.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 'They have a vested interest in portraying schools as dangerous places for children,'

    This is such an odd perspective. Can you not even begin to conceive of the comments being from parents whose children have direct personal experience of schools actually having been dangerous places for their children.

    If not, I suppose there's no dialogue possible with you on this subject.

    A Former Minion

    ReplyDelete
  28. Simon said,
    “When one is dealing with a baby, then for at least the first couple of years, much has to be done for the baby; she being incapable of washing herself, cleaning her own teeth, getting dressed, controlling her bladder and so on.”

    So when you contrived ‘natural consequences’ like missed trips to the park or a booked session on the library computer, as a punishment when your daughter failed to tidy her room or fulfil her other duties, this wasn’t using your power over her to ‘influence’ her into doing what she didn’t want to do, or bullying in other words since this fits your definition of bullying above?

    http://homeeducationheretic.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cooperative-parenting-replying-to-my.html

    ReplyDelete
  29. 'So when you contrived ‘natural consequences’ like missed trips to the park or a booked session on the library computer, as a punishment when your daughter failed to tidy her room or fulfil her other duties, this wasn’t using your power over her to ‘influence’ her into doing what she didn’t want to do, or bullying in other words since this fits your definition of bullying above?'

    There was no question of 'punishment'. Anybody reading this account is welcome to put that construction upon the thing; but would be quite mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You gave the impression that you thought it was a punishment on that page. Someone described the commonly used parenting technique of using 'natural' consequences to control and discipline children (the parent decides on a punishment, like not going to the park, and then arranges it so that it appears to be a natural consequence of the child not doing what the parent wanted - of course it isn't because the room could be tidied after the trip to the park or not at all). Another person followed this by suggested that it was a 'nonconfrontative punishment'. You didn't dispute this suggestion and merely said, "I take it that 'punishment' is being used here as a pejorative term for something bad?"

      So do you now dispute the description of your technique as a form of punishment without confrontation?

      Delete
    2. 'Another person followed this by suggested that it was a 'nonconfrontative punishment'. You didn't dispute this suggestion and merely said, "I take it that 'punishment' is being used here as a pejorative term for something bad?" '

      Failing to contradict something which has been said does not imply approval; or at any rate, it does not for me. I do not think that I was imposing punishments, nor did I am the time. If you wish to interpret it in this way, you are of course free to do so.

      Delete
    3. Simon said,
      "If you wish to interpret it in this way, you are of course free to do so."

      Thanks, I will.

      A parent decides on a task they want their child to do (e.g. tidy their room). They decide on a 'consequence' that the child will dislike if they choose not to do the task (cancel a trip to the park). They ask the child to do the task, and if they fail, the parent carries out the 'consequence'. You could easily substitute 'smack' for 'consequence'. The point is the child dislikes the smack and wishes to avoid it; they dislike the 'consequence' and wish to avoid it. There seems little difference.

      If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

      Delete
    4. 'The point is the child dislikes the smack and wishes to avoid it; they dislike the 'consequence' and wish to avoid it. There seems little difference.'

      There is all the difference in the world. In real life, we are seldom punished as such. Instead, certain behaviours bring certain consequences. If I wish to watch something on the television and linger too long in the park, then I might miss the programme I wanted to see. Nobody is punishing me, it is just that there are a certain number of minutes in the hour and I need to take that into account. I cannot blame anybody but myself for missing the programme.

      It is as well to bring children to a realisation of this state of affairs. If punishment is imposed externally, whether by a parent or teacher, then the child will devise ways to evade it. This can create cunning and deceitful children. If, on the other hand, the child learns to manage her time effectively and get on with things, then the rewards and sanctions will be of her own creating.

      This is important, because we all know adults who refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. Everything that happens to them is somebody else's fault. I am sure that most of us would not want our children to grow up like this. The best way to avoid this happening is to make your child the architect of her own happiness or misfortune. This can be done by letting the child know that there is only a certain amount of time to spare for getting ready and going out. If everything necessary has not been done when it is time to leave, perhaps because the child has preferred to mess about, rather than get her shoes and socks on as she has been asked, then she will see that the delay in leaving the house is her own responsibility and nobody else's. Children who do not learn this when young are in for a terrible shock as they get older. As adults, we do not have mummies and daddies to tidy up after us and get things organised. Nor is anybody standing over us to punish or reward.

      Delete
    5. Simon said,
      "It is as well to bring children to a realisation of this state of affairs. If punishment is imposed externally, whether by a parent or teacher, then the child will devise ways to evade it. This can create cunning and deceitful children."

      I'm sure the world will teach this to children (well before they are adults) without the need for parents to be cunning and deceitful in order to teach them that lesson. Hardly a good role model either.

      Simon said,
      "If punishment is imposed externally, whether by a parent or teacher, then the child will devise ways to evade it. This can create cunning and deceitful children."

      So you assume that no child ever sees through such subterfuge? You mentioned before that children talk to other children about their home life. How right you are. I remember well the discussions about how parents get their children to do what they want them to do. Maybe you were a better actor than those parents though?

      "The best way to avoid this happening is to make your child the architect of her own happiness or misfortune."

      So why make yourself the architect of her misfortune? I'm sure she would have had plenty of opportunities to experience this naturally without your 'help'. For instance, one of my children tended to leave their painting materials out and accidentally knocked the water jar over, damaging their current piece of artwork. Lesson learnt.

      "Children who do not learn this when young are in for a terrible shock as they get older. As adults, we do not have mummies and daddies to tidy up after us and get things organised. Nor is anybody standing over us to punish or reward."

      Our children learnt this without us needing to go out of our way to cause their misfortune. Many people in the past have used just such justifications for not ‘interfering’ when children are bullied by their peers at school or elsewhere. After all, bullying happens in the workplace, so shouldn’t we ensure our children are fully prepared for the real world and not interfere? After all, as adults we do not have mummies or daddies to protect us from bullies, do we?

      Delete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  31. '"It is as well to bring children to a realisation of this state of affairs. If punishment is imposed externally, whether by a parent or teacher, then the child will devise ways to evade it. This can create cunning and deceitful children."

    I'm sure the world will teach this to children (well before they are adults) without the need for parents to be cunning and deceitful in order to teach them that lesson. Hardly a good role model either.'

    No cunning or deceit was ever necessary; the situation was set out plainly and openly. "If you tidy your room and put on your shoes and socks, then we will go to the park at half past nine." The child has a free choice; autonomy, if you like. She can tidy her room and put on her shoes and socks, or she can mess around and not do those things. If she chooses that option, then we will not leave the house at half past nine to go to the park. It was made clear that this was contingent upon certain actions of the child. if she chose not to do those things, then that was entirely her affair and the resulting circumstances were of her own choosing. There was no deceit about this. There were never any angry words or reproaches involved; the child had made a decision and that decision carried with it certain consequences. If at half past nine the room was not tidy and the shoes and socks on, then those things would need to be done before we left the house. This would mean that there would be less time at the park.

    I have to say, that from the age of three or so, this system worked perfectly well. There were never any tantrums and the child would just get on and do what was expected. I cannot see why the opposite case would have been desirable for either parents or child!

    ReplyDelete
  32. You can only envisage two alternatives?

    ReplyDelete
  33. 'You can only envisage two alternatives?'

    Would it be overly pedantic of me to point out that there can only ever be two alternatives? The suggestion was made that this method of childcare might constitute bullying. I am now explaining why I do not believe that to be the case. This does not of course mean that I think that the way I raised my own children was uniquely wise and benevolent; merely that bullying and coercion formed no part of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A third alternative might be that two people negotiate and reach agreement that might, shock, horror, involve going to the park and not tidying the bedroom.

      Delete
  34. Simon wrote,
    "If you tidy your room and put on your shoes and socks, then we will go to the park at half past nine."

    He also wrote,
    “If punishment is imposed externally, whether by a parent or teacher, then the child will devise ways to evade it. This can create cunning and deceitful children.”

    How is this not an externally imposed punishment? Why would a child in this position be any less likely to attempt to trick a parent into believing that their room had been tidied as you fear would happen if you used alternative punishments?

    Simon wrote,
    “The suggestion was made that this method of childcare might constitute bullying. I am now explaining why I do not believe that to be the case.”

    How is this not bullying according to your definition? You are using your greater power and control over household resources and your daughter’s movements to influence her behaviour (unless your daughter was free to go to the park without tidying her room, of course). You describe bullying as, “the use of force, strength or influence to intimidate and coerce others who are weaker than the one doing the bullying”. This seems to cover your described behaviour extremely well though your robotic description of your daughter in your recent comments jar with your previous descriptions of a strong willed child and talk of battles and compelling the study of GCSEs.

    Admit it. Your definition of bullying is faulty. It’s so wide as to include all conventional parenting techniques!

    ReplyDelete
  35. 'Admit it. Your definition of bullying is faulty. It’s so wide as to include all conventional parenting techniques!'

    Alas, another epic fail for the Oxford Dictionary of English! If only those pesky folk putting together the dictionary would first consult with home educators, I am sure that they would be able to define words more accurately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fine. Then you are fit the definition of a bully.

      Delete
    2. "you are fit the"

      you fit the

      Delete
  36. 'your robotic description of your daughter'

    I confess myself foxed here! Is it my description that is robotic; that is to say my style of writing suggests that it was undertaken by an automaton? Or are you, on the other hand, trying to say that although my prose is as lucid as ever, it appears to be describing a child who apparently behaves like a robot? You might wish to invest in a good dictionary, such as the Oxford Dictionary of English, although I am reliably informed that their definitions of some words in it leaves a great deal to be desired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was rather badly worded - that's what you get when you are rushing to type when you should be working! It's the second option - you appear to be describing a daughter who acts like a robot - or some kind of Stepford daughter - 'from the age of three or so, this system worked perfectly well. There were never any tantrums and the child would just get on and do what was expected.' But as I said, this description is contradicted by others that mentioning battles and compulsion.

      Delete
    2. "by others that mentioning battles"

      by others that *mention* battles



      More haste, less speed.

      Delete
  37. 'Stepford daughter '

    I like this; it is a wonderful vision of home education!

    'contradicted by others that mentioning battles and compulsion.'

    No real contradiction when you bear in mind that sometimes I am talking about a baby or toddler, but more often about a child over the age of three. Behaviours change with age. Also, it must be borne in mind that there are two children in the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you compelled your baby to study for IGCSEs? Or were you talking about your school going daughter when discussing the obedient child?

      Delete
  38. Genuines Works of Data Entry, Copy Pasting, Add Posting, Clicking, Web Surfing, Website Visiting, Article Sharing, Data Sharing, Google Business Plan and Much More Business Plans
    www.jobzcorner.com

    ReplyDelete