Dear Parents: 6 Things to Remember This Holiday Season

Another holiday season is upon us and if you’re anything like me, you’re equal parts soaking up the things that make this time of year so special (like wood burning fires, carols, and smells of citrus and cinnamon), and loathing all that makes it gloomy (like familial expectations or lack of connection with loved ones).

I know that as a culture we have fallen blindly into some traditions that are pretty saturated throughout society, especially when it comes to our children. Like many things that parents do, we continue on with the ways as it was done to us. Often without thought, but that is why I am writing this (because yay for self-inquiry).

My main point in this article is to remind everyone that the purpose of this year is supposed to be about love, giving, joy, appreciation, etc. Many times we get stressed or start acting in ways that run counter these intentions (like when my mom gets stressed out that the Christmas tree isn’t up yet). It is easy to want to appear a certain way to others, or manipulate, or use the goodness this time of year offers as a way to assert control.  If you find that something you are doing around the holidays doesn’t bring out the love/joy that it is meant to, then it’s important to look at why you are doing it in the first place.

Some of the biggest strikes against the goodness of the holidays are carried out on our kids. Between Santa, Elf on the Shelf, treats, parties, and gifts we finally have all this ammo to leverage their behavior.

But is that really how you want to spend your holiday? Are threats and bribery and manipulation really what the holiday (or any day!) should be about?

If you are a parent, it is important to remember these 6 things always, but especially for the holiday season:

1. Gifts are not bribing tools.

A gift is defined as something that is given freely and unconditionally without expectation of anything in return. If you want to give your children gifts, then do so from a place of unconditional love. If you are only giving gifts so long as your children behave in ‘XYZ’ manner, then that isn’t a gift at all. It is a tool used to bribe, threaten and manipulate their behavior.

If your husband or wife didn’t take out the trash, would you punish them and take away their gift? Do we make memes about how to punish spouses or friends by taking away gifts?

If your child is acting unfavorably, taking away gifts, or throwing them in the fire (as I have seen some memes explain) will only make your children afraid to come to you in times of need or be dishonest and sneaky with their behavior. It will make them untrusting with gift exchange and see gift giving as a conditional that we do to reward people or only when we want something from them.

Not to mention, it is cruel to inflict an entire holiday and tradition upon children and then take it away when you don’t like how they are acting because society’s expectations tend to be too high for children.

The holidays aren’t meant to be stressful (but somehow have almost become synonymous with that), it is a time for peace and goodwill. Your children can learn that by it being modeled to them.

This way of thinking is part of the “I love you if…” mentality. It is a display of conditional love. And yes, as we are adults it is important to use discernment in who we share our love and energy with, but these are our children and our love should always be unconditional.

If you are using gifts in power-play struggles, then rethink your motive and ask yourself what *you* need to feel more connected to the holiday spirit. They are gifts, not rewards.

Which brings me to number 2…

2. Controlling your kids isn’t your job as a parent.

I just read this great article on how controlling our kids isn’t our job as parents (but so many people seem to think it is!).

I mean, isn’t that good news? We can all let out a big sigh of relief! I know I do when I am trying to control my child and then remember that it isn’t my job.

One way we do this during the holiday season is with that stupid Elf on the Shelf. Yea, I said it…

Unless you are trying to raise your kids to be blindly accepting of authoritarian structures, a police state, and/or a life lived under surveillance then I would toss the doll. Or keep him, because you know, he’s cute–

but not as a way to manipulate and control the behavior of your children by lying to them.

I know it’s hard to believe that children can be inspired to goodness without things like God, the government, elves or Santa watching their every move, but they can. People (and children are people) want to be good. No one is just born wanting to cause grief and annoyance for anyone.

This is teaching our kids that you only have to be good when someone is watching, and that it is ok to tolerate authoritarian surveillance (can you say creepy?). It doesn’t inspire self-motivated and genuine acts of kindness and virtue. It has it be that now your children have to be secretive and manipulative (Like you. It is a learned behavior.) as to not upset that elf sitting on that shelf who then reports back to Santa. It doesn’t help behavior, it simply shifts where and when and how it is directed.

What does shift behavior in all humans is connection and an authentic feeling of belongingness and inclusion in their tribe or family unit.

3. Lying isn’t cool.

If you find that you are having to lie to, again, manipulate and control behavior, then I ask, is there a better way?

We understand that lying isn’t good to do to our spouses and our friends, so why is it so widely accepted to do it to our children?

Again, it is about control and placating reactions. I personally notice myself starting to tell lies to my son in an attempt to manage his reaction. Then I have to tell myself that this only creates more trouble for the both of us in the future when/if he finds out I was not telling the truth (like when I say there is no more cake left and he sees it in the refrigerator later on). That is when I take a deep breath and tell the truth, full and ready for his big feelings. “I actually don’t feel like driving all the way to the dinosaur park today. Yes, they are open, but I don’t want to make the commute.”  This is hard because he *knows* that we could go, but I really don’t want to drive all that way. This is good because even though this is hard to hear, we are connected because he knows what is true for me and I know what is true for him in that moment. Therefore, I have maintained a sense of trust between us. He can trust that I will always tell him the truth, which let’s him know that I trust that he can handle the truth. It is actually a really kind thing to do (I originally learned to do this with significant others, but it totally works with kids, too).

I value my connection with my son and undermining his intelligence doesn’t sit well with me. For this reason, I personally choose not to lie about Santa or Elf on the Shelf, which I outline more extensively in this article

I know some argue that it promotes imagination, but I argue it does the opposite since the story is already made up for them and takes away the opportunity to imagine for themselves. I digress. My point isn’t to tell you to stop telling your children about Santa, but rather to examine the way you are telling the story and your motive why you might be framing it in a way that has them believe he is real and that their behavior dictates his.

Some children are really hurt upon finding out that Santa isn’t real. Why would I want to risk that pain for my son? Children can even find it really hard to trust their parents when they discover they are the ones moving the Elf around the house. They might wonder, “What else are they lying to me about?”

4. Your child doesn’t have to sit on Santa’s lap.

If your child is crying and terrified of the jolly man in red, then please, do not under any circumstances force them to just so you can get a picture. It isn’t cute and it isn’t funny.

I know some people will balk at me and claim I can’t have a little fun and that I take things, too seriously.

I am not worried about that. What I am more worried about is how so many parents are numb to the terror and resistance their child is feeling about sitting on a strange man’s lap. How easily it is for some people to ignore those real, legitimate feelings all for a picture.

I understand that *we* know our child is safe, but what is important is that *they* know and feel safe, and if they are crying, then they don’t feel safe. If our goal as parents is to have our children know it is ok to say “no” to things that make them feel uncomfortable, and for them to know it is ok that they don’t have to touch people (or have people touch them) that they don’t want to, then we start here with Santa Claus and respect their wishes. Forcing close encounters like this against their will teaches them that they don’t have bodily autonomy and that their “no” doesn’t matter and people can override it.

5. Affection is only nice if it is consensual.

This touches (no pun intended) on the same point as Santa Claus. It isn’t uncommon to see more relatives and loved ones during this time of year. Some people are tempted to tell their kids to “give Uncle Timmy a hug,” or “come give your granny kisses,” but we should protect our children from such advances if they object or seem uncomfortable.

Again, by forcing affection it teaches them that they have no choice in who they share love with and how, and also makes them uncomfortable to say no to others in the future. This is actually the perfect opportunity to model and show them that they have power here and can say “no.”

We can do this by interjecting, “only if you want to” when someone asks for affection of some kind. If you see your child is not wanting to, you can ask, “would you like to give a high five instead?” Sometimes they won’t even wanna do that, and it’s ok. I just say, “maybe later.”

I wouldn’t worry that it is unkind or disrespectful. It is never unkind to not do something when you feel uncomfortable doing it. What is unkind is forcing someone who doesn’t want to.

6. All kids are good.

This is the time of year where our children will get asked if they have been naughty or nice this year. Don’t be surprised if the cashier in the checkout line asks your child if they have been good because Santa is coming soon.

It is quite a weird thing if you ask me. No one asks adults these questions. The notion that children can be “bad” is skewed anyway.

Children are not bad. What we view as bad is simply behavior that is reflecting an internal struggle that adults misinterpret as bad and take personally. No one wants to be bad and no one was born bad.

“Misbehavior should be a signal, not an offense.” -www.racheous.com 

To address people who speak to your child with this sort of language, I prefer to just say,

“Oh, we don’t believe in that,” or

“Everyone is a good person.”

If your holiday season is riddled with power struggles, threats, bribes, stress, and tears over holiday traditions that are supposed to bring joy and magic, then what are you doing it all for?

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And Now, A Prairie Home Sexual Harassment Complaint

America is in the middle of an agonizing reappraisal of sexual conduct. What constitutes sexual harassment or assault? Where is the line that separates acceptable, or merely rude, actions from unacceptable, and possibly criminal or civilly actionable, behavior?

If you feel like this process has been dragging on for a year, you’re not alone. But as I write this, it’s actually been less than two months since the New York Times brought movie magnate Harvey Weinstein low with its story on his decades of sexual misbehavior and cover-ups.

Weinstein was the first domino to fall, but far from the last. Numerous entertainers, journalists and politicians now find themselves beleaguered by, or even  at career’s end based on, allegations that might, even if true, once have brought a wink, a nudge, and maybe an insincere verbal reprimand.

It’s impossible to know in advance how far any social sea change will go, or how far it should go. But this one may have just seen its first bit of backlash — literally.

Garrison Keillor is an unparalleled icon of state media as entertainment. Foremost among his accomplishments is creating Minnesota Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion and hosting it (with breaks) for 40 years.

On November 29, MPR announced that it had fired Keillor and severed all contractual relationships with him over allegations of “inappropriate behavior” with a co-worker.

Keillor might, like so many others, have donned a hair shirt and beat his chest while screaming public apologies for a few days before conspicuously entering rehab. As a liberal of his age (75), he’d probably have been quickly forgiven by his admiring public, who would award him a  moral golf handicap for being from way back when.

Instead, he shrugged off the firing (“I’m just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and for everything else.”) and politely explained himself without pillorying himself:

“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

The explanation has the ring of truth to it. As he himself points out, he’s well-known for being physically stand-offish and describes himself as being on the autism spectrum (of which aversion to physical touch is often a feature). Groping a colleague isn’t just out of radio character for Keillor. It’s out of character, period. If he’s not lying, there’s no sexual harassment here.

If Keillor’s travail, and how he’s handling it, marks the point in time where we pause to reconsider the content of our suddenly evolving set of standards instead of plunging headlong into a new Salem witch hunt, he will indeed have brought us good news from Lake Wobegon.

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As They Perpetuate Their Endless Crimes

Many Americans become enraged in response to reports of personal misbehavior by politicians (of the other party), especially sexual misbehavior. The news media cover the matter 24/7. Allegations are periodically resurrected decades after the public has lost interest.

Meanwhile, the president, kingpins in the national-security bureaucracy, and members of Congress combine to carry out nonstop murder and mayhem in many parts of the world, killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children and destroying thousands of homes, business, schools, and hospitals, year in and year out. Hardly anyone takes notice, and those who do soon become drowsy and fall asleep.

I realize that sickness is not precisely the right concept to describe the American public’s reigning attitudes and outlooks, but it is very difficult to observe all of these things without concluding that Americans, to a very great extent, are ideologically twisted and disgustingly hypocritical. They don’t even recognize real obscenity when it hits them in the face, and very often they enthusiastically support the political sickos who act ostensibly in the public’s behalf as they perpetrate their endless crimes.

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Why Our Coercive System of Schooling Should Topple

Written by Peter Gray.

I’ve been called a crazy optimist, a Pollyanna, a romantic idealist. How can I believe that our system of compulsory schooling is about to collapse? People point out that in many ways the schooling system is stronger now than ever. It occupies more of children’s time, gobbles up more public funds, employs more people, and is more firmly controlled by government – and at ever-higher levels of government – than has ever been true in the past. So why do I believe it’s going to collapse – slowly at first and then more rapidly – over the next ten years or so? Here are four reasons:

1. Our coercive schools have become increasingly and ever more obviously harmful to kids.

Decades ago, schools were tolerable primarily because they didn’t take too much of young people’s time. Children and teens had much time after school, on weekends, and all summer long for self-directed pursuits. But over the years, the school system has intruded increasingly, and ever more disruptively, into children’s and families’ lives. The length of the school year has increased (it now averages 5 weeks longer than in the 1950s). The number of years of required attendance has increased. The amount of homework has increased immensely, especially in elementary schools. Recesses have been reduced, or even been eliminated. Creative activities, such as art and music, have regularly been dropped from curricula in favor of more time for worksheets and test preparation. Teachers have been given less freedom to depart from the standard curriculum, and ever-greater pressure has been placed on children to score high on standardized tests.

Children now often spend more time at school and at homework than their parents spend at their full-time jobs, and the work of schooling is often more burdensome and stress-inducing than that of a typical adult job. A century ago we came to the conclusion that full-time child labor was child abuse, so we outlawed it; but now school is the equivalent of full-time child labor.

The increased time, tedium, and stress of schooling is bringing many kids to the breaking point or beyond, and more and more people are becoming aware of that. It can no longer be believed that schooling is a benign experience for children. The evidence that it induces pathology is overwhelming. Here is just some of that evidence:

  • A large-scale study involving hundreds of students from many school districts, using an experience sampling method, revealed that students were less happy in school than in any other setting in which they regularly found themselves.1
  • Verbal abuse from teachers is a common occurrence. In one survey, for example, 64% of middle school students reported experiencing stress symptoms because of verbal abuse from teachers.2 Another study revealed that nearly 30% of boys are verbally abused by teachers in kindergarten, and the abuse increased in years after that.3 Surveys of adults indicate that between 50% and 60% recall school-related experiences that, in their view, were psychologically traumatic.4
  • In a study in which adults were interviewed to find out about positive, peak learning experiences occurring in their schooling, few could recall such experiences, but many recalled negative experiences, which interfered with rather than supported their development.5
  • Hair cortisol levels in young children were found to be significantly higher in samples taken two months after starting elementary school than in samples taken two months prior to starting elementary school.6 Hair cortisol level is reflective of chronic stress, the sort of stress that can seriously impair physical growth and health.
  • A large-scale national survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (reported here) revealed that U.S. teenagers feel more stressed-out than do adults and that school is by far the main cause of their stress (noted by 83% of the sample). In the same study, 27% of teens reported experiencing “extreme stress” during the school year, compared to 13% reporting that during the summer.
  • The rate of emergency mental health visits leading to at least one overnight stay (the sort of visits that derive from serious breakdowns or attempted suicide) at a children’s medical center was found to be more than twice as high during school months as compared to summer vacation months (here).
  • At present, 20% of school-aged boys are given the diagnosis ADHD, a “disorder” that is largely defined in terms of failure to adapt to the tedium of schooling, and most of that group are treated with strong drugs to get them to adapt (here).

It is not unreasonable to say that standard schooling is state-sanctioned (or even state-mandated) child abuse. More and more people are coming to that realization, and that is why more and more people are looking for ways to remove their children from the schools. (For more about the harm done by standard schooling, see here.)

2. Evidence has mounted that children and adolescents can educate themselves remarkably well without coercive schooling.

Summerhill (the famous boarding school for Self-Directed Education founded by A.S. Neill) has been operating in England for nearly a century. Sudbury Valley (the famous day school for Self-Directed Education founded by Daniel Greenberg and others) has been operating in Massachusetts for nearly half a century, and dozens of other schools have been modeled after it. Forty years have elapsed since the educator and philosopher John Holt coined the term unschooling to describe the homeschooling practice of allowing children to pursue their own interests, with no imposed curriculum.

Over the last few decades, many thousands of young people, from a wide range of backgrounds, have educated themselves through these means, and follow-up studies have shown that they are doing very well in life. They have had no apparent difficulty being admitted to or adjusting to the demands of traditional higher education, if they choose to pursue it, and they have been successful in the full range of careers that we value in our society. As adults, they generally report that their experience with Self-Directed Education benefitted them by allowing them to develop their own interests (which often turned into careers) and by fostering such traits as personal responsibility, initiative, creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, and ability to communicate well with people regardless of status.7 [Note: I have elaborated on the biological foundations for Self-Directed Education, and the reasons why it works so well, in many previous posts, but for concise definitions and explanations see here and here.]

In recent years, partly because of increased awareness of the success of Self-Directed Education and partly because of the growing toxicity of coercive schools, ever more families are choosing Self-Directed Education for their children. As more families are choosing it, many others are getting to know people who have chosen it and can see firsthand the evidence of its success. At some point, when everyone sees the evidence, the gates will open and the coercive schools will begin to empty out. People will begin to demand that some of the public funds currently spent on coercive schools be spent on learning centers and other facilities that support Self-Directed Education, so all families, regardless of income, will have that option.

3. Self-Directed Education is easier to pursue now than it was in the past.

Self-Directed Education is becoming ever easier to pursue. One reason for this lies in the increased numbers of families taking this route and, consequently, the increased acceptability of Self-Directed Education in the culture at large. The availability of schools and learning centers designed for Self-Directed Education has been increasing, and the number of homeschoolers engaged in Self-Directed Education has likewise been increasing. As Self-Directed Education becomes more common, as more and more people, including education authorities, know young people taking this route and see their success, the social barriers against it are decreasing.

Another reason for the increased ease of Self-Directed Education lies in technology. Today, anyone with a computer and Internet connection can access essentially all the world’s information. Self-directed learners who want to pursue almost any subject can find articles, videos, discussion groups, and even online courses devoted to it. They can gain information and share thoughts with experts and novices alike, throughout the world, who have interests akin to theirs. Students in standard schools must study just what the school dictates, in just the ways that the school decides; but self-directed learners can find subjects and means of study that match their own particular interests and styles of learning. Self-directed learners are not held back by the slow pace of a school course, nor are they rushed ahead when they want more time to think about and delve deeply into any given aspect of the interest they’re pursuing.

4. Changes in the economy favor the skills developed by Self-Directed Education.

Because of changes in how we make our livings, the skills exercised by coercive schooling are even less valuable, and those exercised by Self-Directed Education are even more valuable, now than they were in the past. We don’t need people who can memorize and regurgitate lots of information; we have Google for that. We don’t need many people to do routine, tedious tasks dictated by others; we have robots for that.

What we do need, and will continue to need, are people who think critically and creatively, innovate, ask and answer questions that nobody else has thought of, and bring moral values and a passionate sense of purpose into the workplace. These are the kinds of skills that are continuously honed in Self-Directed Education. In coercive schools, the requirement that everyone follow the same curriculum, motivated by reward and punishment rather than genuine interest, guarantees that most students will not develop passionate interests, deep understanding, or a sense of purpose other than that of making it through the next hoop.


“Okay,” I hear some say, “these are all good reasons why our forced system of schooling should topple soon; but will it topple soon?” Yes, it will, because it really is reaching the end of the line. In fact, much of the increased odiousness of school has come about precisely because of the increased recognition that our schools are failing. Stupidly, in recent times we’ve tried to “fix” the schools by doing more of what doesn’t work. But that can’t go on forever. The revolution will come not because authorities within the coercive school system become enlightened, but because a growing number of families who are victims of that system will realize that they have an option – a good option – and they will take it.

But let’s not just wait for that social change to occur; let’s push it along. Let’s develop an organized movement to inform people about this option and how they can pursue it. That’s the purpose of a new nonprofit organization that I’m a part of – the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Maybe you’d like to join it.

References

1 Csíkszentmihályi, M., & Hunter, J. (2003). Happiness in everyday life: The uses of experience sampling. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 185–199.

2 Irwin A. Hyman & Donna C. Perone (1998). The Other Side of Student Violence: Educator Policies and Practices That May Contribute to Student Misbehavior. Journal of School Psychology, 36, 7-27.

3Brengden, M., Wanner, B., & Vitaro, F. (2006). Verbal abuse by the teacher and child adjustment from kindergarten through grade 6. Pediatrics, 117, 1585-1598.

4 A. G. McEachern, O. Aluede & M. C. Kenny (2008). Emotional abuse in the classroom: Implications and interventions for counselors. Journal of Counseling and Development 86, 3-10.

5 K. Olson. Wounded by School. Teachers’ College Press, 2009.

6 Groeneveld et al (2013). Children’s hair cortisol as a biomarker of stress at school entry. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 16, 711-715.

7 See research studies reported in: (a) American Journal of Education, 94, pp 182-213; (b) Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 4, 33-53; and (c) Book by Greenberg, D., & Sadofsky, M. Legacy of Trust: Life after the Sudbury Valley School Experience; and (d) book by Greenberg, D., Sadofsky, M., & Lempka, J. The Pursuit of Happiness: The Lives of Sudbury Valley Alumni.)

Adapted from the Alliance for Self-Directed Education.

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28 Signs That U.S. Public Schools Are Rapidly Being Turned Into Indoctrination Centers And Prison Camps

Written by Michael Snyder.

It has been said that children are our future, and right now the vast majority of our children are being “educated” in public schools that are rapidly being turned into indoctrination centers and prison camps.  Our children desperately need to focus on the basics such as reading, writing and math, but instead a whole host of politicians, “education officials” and teachers are constantly injecting as much propaganda as they possibly can into classroom instruction.  Instead of learning how to think, our children are continually being told what to think.  Not only that, our children are also being trained how to live as subservient slaves in a Big Brother police state.  Today, nearly everything that children do in public schools is watched, monitored, recorded and tracked.  Independent thought and free expression are greatly discouraged and are often cracked down upon harshly.  If students get “out of line”, instead of being sent to see the principal they are often handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station.  In addition, law enforcement authorities are using weapons such as pepper spray and tasers against young students in our public schools more than ever before.  Children in U.S. public schools are not learning how to live as strong individuals in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.  Rather, they are being trained how to serve a Big Brother police state where control freaks run their entire lives.  If we continue to allow all of the liberty and freedom to be systematically drained out of our school children, then there is not going to be much hope for the future of this nation.

The following are 28 signs that U.S public schools are being turned into indoctrination centers and prison camps….

#1 All 50 U.S. states are now constructing federally-mandated databases that will track the behavior and performance of all public school students in America throughout their entire school careers.  According to the New York Post, the Obama administration wants to use the information that is gathered for a wide array of purposes….

The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.

#2 All over America, school children are being immersed in the radical green agenda.  In fact, in many areas of the country children are actively trained to watch how their parents behave and to correct them when they are being “environmentally unfriendly”.  The following is from a recent New York Times article about this phenomenon….

“I have very, very environmentally conscious children — more so than me, I’m embarrassed to say,” said Ms. Ross, a social worker in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. “They’re on my case about getting a hybrid car. They want me to replace all the light bulbs in the house with energy-saving bulbs.”

Ms. Ross’s children are part of what experts say is a growing army of “eco-kids” — steeped in environmentalism at school, in houses of worship, through scouting and even via popular culture — who try to hold their parents accountable at home. Amid their pride in their children’s zeal for all things green, the grown-ups sometimes end up feeling like scofflaws under the watchful eye of the pint-size eco-police, whose demands grow ever greater, and more expensive.

Later on in that same article, a district superintendent is quoted as saying that they try to inject the green agenda wherever they can into the curriculum….

“We’re trying to integrate it into anything where it naturally fits,” said Jackie Taylor, the district’s superintendent. “It might be in a math lesson. How much water are you really using? How can you tell? Teachers look for avenues in almost everything they teach.”

#3 One 13-year-old student down in New Mexico was recently handcuffed and forcibly removed from a classroom just because he burped in class.  In all, over 200 students in Bernalillo County “have been handcuffed and arrested in the last three years for non-violent misdemeanors”.

#4 All over America, students are being taught that the First Amendment does not apply in public schools.  Expressions of free speech in school are often cracked down upon very hard.  For example, one group of high school athletes was recently suspended for “Tebowing” in the hallways of their school.

#5 Many public school sex education classes have totally crossed the line.  Instead of just “educating” children about sex, many sex ed courses are now “indoctrinating” children about sex.  One recent example of this was detailed in the New York Times….

IMAGINE you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, he and his classmates were given “risk cards” that graphically named a variety of solitary and mutual sex acts? Or if, in another lesson, he was encouraged to disregard what you told him about sex, and to rely instead on teachers and health clinic staff members?

That prospect would horrify most parents. But such lessons are part of a middle-school curriculum that Dennis M. Walcott, the New York City schools chancellor, has recommended for his system’s newly mandated sex-education classes. There is a parental “opt out,” but it is very limited, covering classes on contraception and birth control.

#6 Sadly, this “sexual indoctrination” appears to be working.  According to one recent study, sexual conduct between teen girls in the United States is now at the highest level ever recorded.

#7 Putting kids in jail has become standard operating procedure in the United States.  Today, nearly one-third of all Americans are arrested by police by the time they reach the age of 23.  At this point, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire globe, and yet our society just continues to become more unstable.

#8 In some U.S. schools, RFID chips are now being used to monitor the attendance and movements of children while they are at school.  The following is how one article recently described a program that has just been instituted at a preschool in California….

Upon arriving in the morning, according to the Associated Press, each student at the CCC-George Miller preschool will don a jersey with a stitched in RFID chip. As the kids go about the business of learning, sensors in the school will record their movements, collecting attendance for both classes and meals. Officials from the school have claimed they’re only recording information they’re required to provide while receiving  federal funds for their Headstart program.

#9 Increasingly, incidents of misbehavior at many U.S. schools are being treated as very serious crimes.  For example, when a little girl kissed a little boy at one Florida elementary school recently, it was considered to be a “possible sex crime” and the police were called out.

#10 Even 5-year-old children are now being handcuffed and arrested by police in public schools.  The following is from a recent article that described what happened to one very young student in Stockton, California earlier this year….

Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old.

#11 A teenager in suburban Dallas was recently forced to take on a part-time job after being ticketed for using bad language in one high school classroom.  The original ticket was for $340, but additional fees have raised the total bill to $637.

#12 It is not just high school kids that are being ticketed by police.  In Texas the crackdown extends all the way down to elementary school students.  In fact, it has been reported that Texas police gave “1,000 tickets” to elementary school kids over a recent six year period.

#13 Our children are being programmed to accept the fact that they will be watched and monitored constantly.  For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending large amounts of money to install surveillance cameras in the cafeterias of public schools all across the nation so that government control freaks can closely monitor what our children are eating.

#14 If you can believe it, a “certified TSA official” was recently brought in to oversee student searches at the Santa Fe High School prom.

#15 Last year, a 17 year-old honor student in North Carolina named Ashley Smithwick accidentally took her father’s lunch with her to school.  It contained a small paring knife which he would use to slice up apples.  So what happened to this standout student when the school discovered this?  The school suspended her for the rest of the year and the police charged her with a misdemeanor.

#16 According to blogger Alexander Higgins, students in kindergarten and the 1st grade in the state of New Jersey are now required by law to participate “in monthly anti-terrorism drills”.  The following is an excerpt from a letter that he recently received from the school where his child attends….

Each month a school must conduct one fire drill and one security drill which may be a lockdown, bomb threat, evacuation, active shooter, or shelter-in place drill. All schools are now required by law to implement this procedure.

So who in the world ever decided that it would be a good idea for 1st grade students to endure “lockdown” and “active shooter” drills?  To get an idea of what these kinds of drills are like, just check out this video.

#17 In some U.S. schools, armed cops accompanied by police dogs actually conduct surprise raids with their guns drawn.  In this video, you can actually see police officers aiming their guns at school children as the students are lined up facing the wall.

#18 The U.S. government is now encouraging children to spy on their parents as part of the “war on terror”.  If a school official hears that a parent has said the “wrong thing” at home, that parent could potentially get labeled as a “potential terrorist”.

#19 The U.S. government has also been increasingly using “polls” and “surveys” as tools to gather information about all of us.  In previous articles, I have noted how government authorities seems particularly interested in our children.  According to Mike Adams of Natural News, the CDC is starting to call parents all over the U.S. to question them about the vaccination status of their children….

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has been comprehensively exposed as a vaccine propaganda organization promoting the interests of drug companies, is now engaged in a household surveillance program that involves calling U.S. households and intimidating parents into producing child immunization records. As part of what it deems a National Immunization Survey(NIS), the CDC is sending letters to U.S. households, alerting them that they will be called by “NORC at the University of Chicago” and that households should “have your child’s immunization records handy when answering our questions.”

You can see a copy of the letter that the CDC has been sending out to selected parents right here.

#20 Last year, a high school student in Southern California was suspended for two days because he had private conversations with his classmates during which he discussed Christianity.  He was also banned from bringing his Bible to school ever again.

#21 In early 2010, a 12 year old girl in New York was arrested by police and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly wrote on her desk.

#22 Back in 2009, one 8 year old boy in Massachusetts was sent home from school and was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross.

#23 A little over a year ago, a 6 year old girl in Florida was handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#24 Other students in Florida have actually been arrested for bringing a plastic butter knife to school, for throwing an eraser, and for drawing a picture of a gun.

#25 Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has announced that school officials can search the cell phones and laptops of public school students if there are “reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.”

#26 Increasingly, authorities are using “pre-crime” technology on our children in order to identify potential problem individuals.  For example, the Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice has announced that it will begin using analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents and will place “potential offenders” in specific prevention and education programs.

#27 At one public high school in McAllen, Texas earlier this year, students were ordered to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance.  School authorities have failed to explain how reciting a pledge of allegiance to a foreign nation has any educational value whatsoever.

#28 All over the United States, tasers are increasingly being used to “subdue” high school students.  The following are two very shocking examples of this that were cited in a recent Alternet article….

On September 29, Keshana Wilson, 14, was shocked in the groin with a Taser while shoved against a parked car by Allentown, Pennsylvania police officer Jason Ammary, just outside her high school. The incident was captured on surveillance footage. Allentown police argue that the officer’s behavior was justified because “Wilson was cursing and inciting a group of people” as well as resisting arrest. While defending his fellow officer, Allentown Assistant Police Chief Joseph Hanna argued, “officers are trained to use the justified amount of force dictated by the actions of the resister, not their age or gender.”

Zahrod Jackson, a 17-year-old student, “was eligible to receive free lunch” at Middletown High School in Connecticut, according to a June report in the Middletown Press. Last September, Jackson exited the cafeteria line with a slice of pizza, but returned for a beef patty after spotting both pizza and a beef patty on the tray of a student who also receives free lunch. A screaming match ensued between Jackson and a cafeteria worker who accused the teen of stealing. The commotion quickly caught the eyes of SROs Kurt Scrivo, who “threw Jackson onto the cafeteria floor,” and Alex Rodriguez, who Tasered him five times.

So is all of this brutal repression helping our children get a better education?

Of course not.

The truth is that the American population is rapidly being “dumbed-down”.

Today, American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

Not only that, our public schools are also producing kids that are woefully unprepared for college.  The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world.  Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12th.

Our public education system absolutely stinks and it is getting worse all the time.

I went to public schools all of my life, but I would never want to send my children to public schools now.  They are going downhill really, really fast.

Just sending different politicians to Washington D.C. is not going to change the course of this nation.  We need a complete political, economic, educational, moral, spiritual and philosophical renewal.  Right now America is becoming a little more like North Korea every day.  If we continue on this path there will be absolutely no future for our children and our grandchildren.

It is absolutely disgusting that our public schools are being transformed into indoctrination centers and prison camps.  This is not what America is supposed to be about.

If we do not choose to stand up and fight for the future of this country, then we are going to get the future that we deserve.

Originally published at EndOfTheAmericanDream.com.

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The Case Against Time-out

Written by Dr. Peter Haiman, Ph.D.

For generations, parents have sought a reliable and dependable way to handle childhood misbehavior. The most recent and popular discipline technique is time-out. Although time-out is better than spanking, it is not an appropriate way for parents to cope with the misbehavior of their children. Moreover, the use of time-out can create subsequent childhood behavior problems. These problems can affect the well-being of the child and severely strain the parent-child relationship.

Child Behavior – A Symptom

The behavior of children has a legitimate cause. Childhood behavior is determined, for the most part, by how children feel about the current state of their physical and psychosocial needs. Needs are strong in every child, and children are, by nature, sensitive to their own needs. If one or more of their needs are not met, children will soon feel uncomfortable.

Children will cry out when they feel uncomfortable. An infant or toddler’s cry announces feelings of frustration. These cries have evolved as a survival mechanism. They attract parental attention. The purpose of a cry is to obtain the kind and quality of parental love and care that will properly attend to unmet needs and, therefore, establish feelings of security in the child. The misbehavior of older children and adolescents is a cry for help announcing that their needs are frustrated.

Cries and misbehavior from children and adolescents are, in a way, very much like a sore throat, stuffed up nose, aching muscles, or a fever. All are symptoms. All have causes. A medical practitioner knows that when the virus or bacteria that is causing physical symptoms is eliminated, the noxious feelings will be quelled. Similarly, when parents correctly diagnose and provide remedies that address the needs of children and adolescents, the symptoms of crying or misbehavior will also disappear.

The frustration of important needs does not feel good at any age. However, children can become quite upset and demanding when their needs are not met. Their often intense outbursts stem, in part, from their dependent nature. Unlike most adults, young children lack the ability to meet their own needs. They are physically unable to do most self-care tasks. By nature, they also have strong emotional needs and vulnerabilities. Moreover, unlike most adults, young children are unable to tolerate frustration well. In addition, infants, toddlers, and many preschool-aged children are unable to identify the frustrated needs that are making them upset. This makes it impossible for most young children to tell their parents what is bothering them and why they are often unable independently to get their needs fulfilled.

Time-out

When time-out is used, parents first firmly demand that their child stop misbehaving and be quiet. The child is then usually required to go and sit alone in a room, away from parents, and admonished not to come out of the room until they are sure that they can control their behavior. Being placed in time-out prolongs the time that a child must endure the frustrated need that caused their misbehavior. Thus, unmet normal needs become increasingly uncomfortable as the time-out continues. Young children depend upon, want to be with, love, and need their parents.

What exacerbates this increasingly uncomfortable state of being frustrated is the fact that the child must be alone, away from the parents who they must rely upon to meet their needs, This enforced separation from their basic source of comfort, security, and well-being adds considerably to the woe of a child. Moreover, being alone in time-out can create additional disturbing feelings that the child must endure. Painful emotions like fear and worry often develop. A frustrated child who must sit quietly and alone in time-out frequently becomes angry. Although the youngster dare not express this anger when in time-out, the child often expresses it by becoming angry and defiant sometime after being released from time-out. The practice of separating a child in time-out from parents can in itself become the cause of future misbehavior, because being alone and in time-out increases the frustrations felt by a child who is already frustrated.

Interpersonal dilemmas and conflicts are best resolved when each individual has sufficient opportunity to talk to and be heard by the other person. Modeling, initiating, and practicing the process of open dialogue is essential if a youngster is to learn healthy problem solving. Does time-out lend itself to this process? Helping children talk about how they feel, combined with parental patience, is required if children are to develop the ability to verbalize their feelings and needs rather than act them out.

Lifelong Effects of Frequent Time-out

For the frustrated and uncomfortable child, time-out offers enforced silence and the feeling of being rejected by one’s parents. A youngster who misbehaves and then is given time-out feels hurt. This hurt, combined with the frustration that caused the youngster to misbehave, gives birth to anger. And discipline practices like time-out, which create hurt and anger, can harm a child.

A serious cost of being given time-out in childhood is the lesson that one should bottle up uncomfortable emotions. Upset in time-out and unable to express distressing feelings, youngsters desperately need to stop the painful feelings going on inside them. To cope, children learn to ignore and/or distract themselves from the energy of their hurt and angry feelings. Thus, children learn to repress their painful feelings. In the process, nervous habits emerge such as thumb sticking, fingernail biting, hair pulling, skin scratching, tugging at clothes, self-pinching, and many other similar behaviors. The purpose of these behaviors is to ward off uncomfortable feelings and, in identification with their parents’ criticism of them, to punish themselves. These defense strategies serve to release anger and ignore uncomfortable feelings.

As a result, being unaware of true feelings can often become a characteristic feature of a person’s life. This reduces a person’s self-awareness and can affect the quality of life throughout an entire lifetime.

Developing the Well-behaved Child

Parents can develop a well-behaved, self-disciplined child best by responsively and continuously meeting their child’s developmentally normal needs and drives; by demonstrating and articulating humane values in day-to-day interactions with their youngster; and by exposing their child to life experiences that strengthen and reinforce these values. Troubled and spoiled children are created when parents do not meet their child’s normal needs and drives consistently and appropriately.

What are the basic, normal childhood needs? If a child is physically healthy, well nourished, satisfactorily exercised, and not tired, the youngster’s physical needs are being met. A youngster who has received sufficient and continuous satisfying attention, affection, and recognition from parents and other adults and children to whom the child is emotionally attached, the child’s social and emotional needs are fulfilled. If a child’s normal curiosity, exploratory nature, and intrinsic interests are regularly allowed opportunities to unfold and develop, the intellectual needs of that child will be satisfied. When young children are given opportunities, within a securely supportive and trustworthy environment, to become increasingly more independent, make choices, and meaningfully participate in decision making, their normal need to exercise some control over their life and to express their own will are being appropriately addressed.

It is very important for parents and parents-to-be to learn the developmentally normal characteristics’ of each stage of early human development. It is also important to recognize a virulent myth that still exists in our society: that fully meeting a child’s needs will spoil the child. The research literature clearly says that the opposite is true. The well-disciplined child is created when parents appropriately fulfill the needs of childhood and adolescence.

Originally published at NaturalChild.org.

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