The difficult child
The difficult child is the child who is unhappy. He is at war with himself and in consequence he is at war with the world. A difficult child is nearly always made difficult by wrong treatment at home. To bring up children and to handle them is a delicate matter. A child is learning all the time. He inevitably models himself to his parents. That’s why grown-ups should be too careful about the way they speak and behave. Parents are to create such an atmosphere in their households where a child would feel relaxed, not vulnerable, confident and secure. If he is constantly criticized about his actions, as a result, he will have a low self-esteem in future and will be quite unable to cope with difficulties and problems. Adults take it for granted that a child should be taught to behave in such a way that the adults will have as quiet a life as possible. Hence the importance attached to obedience, to manner, to docility. But to impose anything by authority is wrong. Obedience must come from within – not from without. The problem child is the child who is pressured into obedience and persuaded through fear. Fear can be a terrible thing in a child’s life. Fear must be entirely eliminated – fear of adults, fear of punishment, fear of disapproval. Only hate can flourish in the atmosphere of fear. The happiest homes are those in which the parents are frankly honest with their children without moralizing. Fear doesn’t enter these homes. Father and son are pals. Love can thrive. In other homes love is crushed by fear. Pretentious dignity and demanded respect hold love aloof. The happiness and well-being of children depend on a degree of love and approval we give them. We must be on the child’s side. Parents are to remember that children are defenseless and vulnerable creatures and we should love and care for them. That’s why our task is to be patient and affectionate towards a child, to respect...
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