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Parents: We are not Correction Officers

I hate to see children who are rigidly controlled like cattle, poked and prodded; or like lab rats, rewarded or punished based upon an adult's perception of successfully meeting expectations.  Control and compliance, the handmaids of shame,  assault my spirit to the core and this is an issue I am currently researching and writing about. 

I thought I was doing much better at stepping back from over-correcting my kids, refusing to control their every decision ...until I tried this little experiment:

Experiment:  Try not to correct your child for a day, or even one hour.  [Unless, of course, there's a safety issue involved.]  Try not to say, "no" or evaluate their behavior.  Don't pressure them to conform to your expectations.  Just connect with them

The experiment was all too revealing for me.  Though I think my parenting has changed for the better in the last few years, and I'm much more conscious of trying not to unnecessarily control my kids, the experiment showed me just how ingrained and reflexive my need to correct them was. 

It's also draining and takes an enormous amount of energy to control others -- energy that could be used to connect with them rather than getting them to comply with our often rigid expectations.



  • Just one day.  Or even one hour. 
  • No corrections, except for safety concerns:  Just connect with their hearts. 

Try it and let me know what you discover.


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Reader Comments (5)

Great idea Jim...I think I would be scared to see how I would do...I thought hit me while I was reading and thinking about what type of Father I am, why are we taught to think that our heavenly Father acts this was? Yeah, I know the answer, but crazy to think about.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug G

You are a good dad, Doug. We're not the same men we used to be. Despite our bumblings, our heart is noble and growing with an "ever-increasing" glory.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

That sets me thinking.I found out just thinking about it makes me feel i would be uncomfortable.God help me

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfadeke

Hi Fadeke! Can you tell me a little more what you mean? What makes you uncomfortable? Thanks for connecting. Hope you're well.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

Your advice can really help a lot of parents. It's important for people to know how they should treat their kids. After all, you are supposed to raise them as good citizens who would make you proud someday.

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