The Parent Taboo by Michael Mendizza (quotes from..)

September 21, 2008 at 3:53 am 2 comments

For a child, belonging, feeling safe and accepted is a matter of life or death. The driving force for an infant is to maintain the bond at all cost. This expresses as a deep need for physical closeness, touch, body contact, movement, audio-visual communication and gentle affectionate play. Not being part of the group is devastating. The greatest punishment anyone and especially a young child can feel is rejection, abandonment. Sensory deprivation is more traumatic than physical punishment. Much of the rage we see in the world emanates from this rejection – religious wars, rape, domestic violence and endless cycles of child abuse.

Bev Bos, one of the nation’s most respected early parent-child educator, describes how parents are under a spell, caught in a trance. We, more or less, blindly do onto others what others have done to us.

Lifelong learning and practice is the key to mastery regardless of skill or craft, including parenting.
The classic tool for mass behavior control is to invent an outside threat. It works every time. Culture tells us, it is a jungle out there. The world is full of terrorists, predators. Children must be conditioned for their own good and it is our job to do so.

Chris Mercogliano argues In Defense of Childhood that nearly all children are domesticated, fenced in like pets or livestock, and so are we. Domesticated children become domesticated adults.
Taboo means forbidden. Its opposite is freedom. Which invites more wisdom and adaptive intelligence, freedom or prohibition?

Children are told ‘no’ eleven times to each encouraging ‘yes.’ No! Don’t touch. Keep your hands to yourself. You’ll poke your eye out. No. No. No. Do that again and it’s time-out for you Buster. Go to your room. We are conditioned from early childhood to obey…We are compared, graded, judged, sometimes praised (a shadow form of punishment), labeled, pigeonholed, categorized and certified.

We are led to believe that inner and outer anarchy will spread widely without constraint. Taboos prevent us from even questioning this assumption. J. Krishnamurti insisted that intelligence is innate, not learned or accumulated. All the so called higher spiritual qualities, as the wise have said for ages, are innate. Only in freedom can these most valued qualities express.

Maher Baba said it wonderfully. Love must spring spontaneously from within and is in no way amenable to any form of force or coercion. Inward, psychological freedom is our birthright.



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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Theresa  |  December 3, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Praise is a shadow of punishment? How so?

    • 2. klaroche  |  December 8, 2008 at 2:21 am

      hi theresa.
      praise is a shadow form of punishment because, whether we intend this or not, praise manipulates children and is evaluative. when we say ‘good job’, we take the child away from their own sense of how they are doing and turn their attention outside of themselves towards us. we are approving. this leads them to change their behaviour in order to gain more approval and they lose touch with themselves more. you can see the cycle. praise and punishment are harmful in the longterm for children. they may lead to temporary obedience, at best. praise and punishment both cause children to become more selfish because they focus the child on ‘what’s in it for me’, rather than ‘what was the impact of my behaviour on the other person’.


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