Kids learn social rules to thrive

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are celebrated every year in September. Families actually can celebrate them throughout the year whenever rules come up in family discussions. There are checks and balances in families, too.

In clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s best seller “12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos” he tackles the difficult concept of rules for children in chapter five. The title is Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them.

Social Rules

According to Dr. Peterson, children should be taught social rules by parents by about age 4 or their peers and other around them will do it for you by ignoring them, excluding them, taking away liberty or bullying them. Your children will be ignored, pushed aside and become isolated, antisocial, unable to interact with other people, resentful, unpleasant, unstable, and sometimes exhibiting dangerous antisocial behavior-stealing, hurting and killing. Very harsh. He points out that even dogs must be socialized so people like them. Children are much more complex than dogs and much more likely to go astray.

Instead he puts forth some interesting rules for parenting children before the age of 4 to shape and maintain with minimum necessary force, or they cannot thrive. “Kids are utterly desperate for attention from both peers and adults because such attention, which renders them effective and sophisticated communal players, is vitally necessary.” Children and adults must be fun to play with.

Limited Rules

Dr. Peterson suggests limiting rules and figuring out what to do with the least force necessary and in a reasonable manner when one gets broken.

Here are his rules:” Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defense. Do not torture and bully other children, so you don’t end up in jail. Eat in a civilized and thankful manner, so that people are happy to have you at their house and pleased to feed you. Learn to share, so other kids will play with you. Pay attention when spoken to by adults, so they don’t hate you and might therefore deign to teach you something. Go to sleep properly, and peacefully, so that your parents can have a private life and not resent your existence. Take care of your belongings, because you need to learn how and because you’re lucky to have them. Be good company when something fun is happening, so that you’re invited for fun. Act so that other people are happy you’re around, so that people will want you around.” They are a Constitution with checks and balances and Bill of Rights for happiness in families.

Then he teaches his very effective approaches of practical baby step teaching and discipline of “mercy and long term judgment” and effort in chapter five.

For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.