EMPATHY AND CONSCIENCE
There has been a lot of talk about Emotional Intelligence in recent years.
In 2010, I attended a lecture on Emotional Intelligence by a famous author on the subject. After an interesting talk about the need to be aware of the emotional needs and emotional education of our children a mother asked him if she should continue to use time-out to control
her little boy.
The respected researcher, answered yes to the mother's question.
I was shocked and dismayed to hear this learned man give a mother the go-ahead to subject her little boy to the old Behaviorist technique of love withdrawal.
A 2010 book by a respected Developmental Molecular Biologist, researching and teaching at a major university, gives us a jarring example of the challenges we face in extricating ourselves from the
deeply ingrained Behaviorist mind-set.
After interesting descriptions of the effects of the emotional environment on an infant's brain, the last chapters of his book find this writer falling back into reliance on Behaviorist control. He actually prescribes Operant Conditioning and describes how the Behaviorist method of shaping could be used on a three-year-old boy to get him to go outside to play.
The Behaviorist approach calls forth no empathy from a parent. The child is simply treated as a rat in the Behaviorist's maze. Without getting to know her own little boy, why he resists going outside, what fears or discomforts are undermining his ability to enjoy the outdoors, a mother is directed to treat him the way we would treat a rodent, or in this case a chicken, in a laboratory.
NO EMPATHY IS REQUIRED OF THE MOTHER TO FURTHER HER GROWTH AS AN UNDERSTANDING, FEELING HUMAN BEING OF A PARENT. AT THE SAME TIME SHE MISSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO MODEL EMPATHY FOR HER CHILD.
I could go on and on about the books flooding the market suggesting novel ways to manipulate and control children. Although some writers are moving away from punishment, most are still advocating control through manipulation. One such book tells us to handle a child who hits with hard toys by having the child punish the toy, banishing it to the time-out box for bad toys. We are to have a child believe he was not responsible for the hitting by blaming it on a toy. What happens to honesty in this scenario? The toy truck hit the other child? The author, in looking for kinder and gentler control tricks, is failing to have us look for the source of the hitting behavior as we are misleading the young child into transferring responsibility to an inanimate object.
Hitting and other forms of aggression are outward symptoms of unmet needs and a child's overwhelming frustrations. When we divert him away from his personal motivations with games and other distracting and contolling tactics, we trample on his inner-self and thwart his drive for autonomy.
I bring all this up here to emphasize the obstacles confronting us as we work toward the full humanization of parenthood and the importance of HONESTY, RESPECT, AND EMPATHY in our interactions with children.
We are models for our children every minute they are with us. If they do not develop their faculty for empathy under our care they may never achieve it.
Like all other humans, you were born with a capacity for Empathy. However, having grown up in a culture in which power and control are major driving forces, much of our Empathy lies in latent pools of this underdeveloped emotional resource.
Our culturally driven behaviors of yelling, hitting and sending our children away from us into Time-Out have overridden our natural propensities for Empathy.
When we are able to overcome our conditioning and treat our children with kindness and respect at all times in all situations our dormant inborn Empathy can become our automatic response to difficulties.
There is nothing natural in Traditional coercive Parenting practices. Our reliance on them has stifled our own development of Empathy.
By treating our children as little machines, without needs or feelings, look what has happened to us! We have been turned into machines ourselves. Automatic delivery systems of Punishments and Rewards.
Empathy is the basic ingredient in the growth of conscience. People who do not "feel" and sympathize with the feelings of others and have developed no conscience are known as sociopaths who go through the world exploiting and hurting everyone they meet.
The Behaviorists have held sway for many years and depressing statistics are a clear testament to the damage this thinking has done to our society.
Everything in this book is about emotional intelligence; how we develop it in ourselves and in our children when we follow the precepts of PARENT EFFECTIVENESS TRAINING and learn to maintain the Attachment vital to our child's ability to cooperate and feel safe moving forward in the world.
A Mindful approach to parenthood is informed by researchers and authors who have grown beyond and turned away from Behaviorism. By our examples and our nurturing, we see each child grow into an emotionally Intelligent individual and highly functioning empathic adult with a well developed conscience.
Our own personal growth and finding parenthood to be EASY AND FUN are our rewards for making this fundamental change in what we do and who we are.