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How to Parent a Challenging Child in a Challenging World (or Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child)

Apr 14, 2008
Parenting is one of the most important skills to have, especially in today's fast-paced high-tech world. Some parents rear their children to become moral, productive, and responsible adults; some parents rear their children to become immoral, unproductive, and irresponsible adults. Why?

Every child is different. Some children are extroverted, while others are introverted. Some children are high-strung, while others are easygoing. Some children are athletic, while others are academic. Much of a child's personality is genetic, but not all.

Yes, genes do have some affect on a child's behavior; but environment, the way a child is parented, also has some affect. Environment enables a parent to mold a child's behavior to some extent.


"Okay, this makes sense so far. Now tell me how to use environment to mold my child," you're probably saying right about now. The answer is simple. There are only two things that you need to know. First, what are your child's likes? Second, what are your child's dislikes? If you know these things, then you can mold your child's behavior.

Reward and punishment are the two forces that dictate human behavior.

Most people go to work and perform their job adequately, because they get paid (reward). Most people don't skip work or perform their job poorly, because they fear getting fired (punishment). Most people respect others, because others probably will respect them in return (reward). Most people don't disrespect others, because they fear others probably will disrespect them in return (punishment).

Knowing this, you can mold your child's behavior. Some examples are as follows.

Knowing that your child likes watching television, if you want him to do his homework after school, you can use television to motivate him to do his homework. You say, "Jimmy, you may watch television after you do your homework." Then you back this up with action if necessary.

Knowing that your child likes playing with his friends or going to the malls, if you want him to clean his bedroom over the weekend, you can use play and mall activities to motivate him to clean his bedroom. You say, "Jimmy, you may play with your friends (or go to the mall) after you clean your bedroom." Then you back this up with action if necessary.

Knowing that your child likes being helped by you, if you want him to stop having inappropriate hissy fits, you can use your help to motivate him to stop hissy fitting. You say, "Jimmy, I will help you after you stop yelling and screaming." Then you back this up with action if necessary.

I think you get the point. Experiment with your child's likes and dislikes, and see which ones work best in motivating him to do or not do certain things.


Children need supervision. The more you supervise your child, the more chance your child will become a moral, productive, and responsible adult. The less you supervise your child, the less chance your child will become a moral, productive, and responsible adult. In parenting children, you get what you put into it.

Children's brains aren't fully developed, rendering them incapable of sound judgment and insight. That's why they require the supervision of responsible adults. Another reason for supervision is that children are easily influenced by pedophiles, drug dealers, juvenile delinquents, and other miscreants.

Children in the crime-ridden ghettos are often supervised by "the streets" - because their fathers are nowhere to be found and their mothers are too busy getting high on drugs, barhopping, or sleeping around! And it's not surprising that many of these children grow up to be huge disappointments, committing crime and going to prison.

Indeed, lack of supervision has ruined many children who later become ruined adults.


Parenting can become tiresome and frustrating, especially for single parents. Many single parents work full-time and parent their children alone. This can be exhausting, but it doesn't have to be.

Single parents can better manage their children by busying them with pro-social youth organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, 4-H club, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, DeMolay International, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Junior Achievement, Leo club, Royal Rangers, Students Against Destructive Decisions, YMCA, and World YWCA.

These organizations help to build children's moral character, leading them to become moral, productive, and responsible adults. The pro-social youth organizations, in their guidance, function almost like an extended family, unburdening single parents to some extent.

But beware! Antisocial youth organizations also exist, aiding and abetting children's self-destruction. Some examples of these organizations are Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Bloods, Born to Kill, and Nazi Lowriders. So it's best to encourage children to join pro-social organizations before they foolishly fall prey to the antisocial ones.


The phrase "spare the rod and spoil the child" came from Samuel Butler's poem "Hudibras." For several centuries, the phrase "spare the rod and spoil the child" was the rule of thumb for disciplining children. Do I agree with this phrase? Yes, if the phrase is interpreted figuratively rather than literally. I interpret "the rod" not as a wooden rod, but as punishment in general.

I hesitate to recommend physical punishment, since some children have been accidentally killed or maimed from parents taking physical punishment too far. I believe that psychological punishment can be just as effective as physical punishment - without the possible side effects of killing or maiming!

I believe that physical punishment may have a place in disciplining children - but only as the last resort!


Parenting children can be easier, if you follow a few tips.

Tip #1: Use your child's likes and dislikes to motivate him to do the right thing and avoid the wrong thing.

Tip #2: Supervise your child. The more you do this, the better.

Tip #3: Encourage your child to join pro-social youth organizations.

Tip #4: In disciplining your child, use psychological punishment instead of physical punishment.
About the Author
The Guaranteed Cure for Failure, an electronic publication, costs just $19.95 and is available through http://www.theguaranteedcure.com
The Guaranteed Cure Company, founded by Al A. Gammate, specializes in cures that cure.
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