Monday 2 August 2010


I’m watching a morning show where they are arguing whether or not children should be trained like dogs. Yes, I’m serious. One woman who is for the tough love canine approach suggests that children need discipline and training, and it’s the parent’s job to enforce this approach. On the flip side of the argument, horrified twin-set wearing Mother number one, suggests that children should – and can be – reasoned with and should be taught, not trained. Not to mention, the thought of referring to her child as if it was a dog made her shudder down to her sensible flat pumps.

From where I sit, this one falls into the lap of semantics – cause to me I'm not sure I see the difference. For starters, I’m thinking miss Tough Love is not saying kids are dogs (although some have the tenacity of Pitbulls, drool like Sharpei’s, and have the bowel habits of an untrained puppy…I’m just sayin’). Secondly the terms train vs. teach I'm thinking is where the argument hangs. So let’s just say at this point they are one in the same. Train-teach, teach-train, the end result is getting your child to behave, do what you want without crushing it’s little spirit, and enacting discipline so the child feels safe and knows what a boundary is. Trust me, all you have to do is look at a teenager with no boundaries and you’ll be running out and buying dog collars!

More importantly however, the argument that one can reason with a two year old just makes me laugh out loud. Have you ever tried to reason with a two year old? I have, and it’s almost driven me to drink. In fact, there have been copious studies that say that before the child reaches the age of four, children have no ability to see reason, or at least intellectualize it. Hence, they need discipline, order and repetition so that right and wrong is clearly delineated. Not to mention, have you ever spent any serious time with hyper active toddler boys? I mean ones that are so hopped up on their own testosterone they are practically vibrating? As my cousin says who is the father of two very young, and VERY active boys, ‘you gotta take them out into a field and run ‘em like dogs.’ You see the trend here?

I was raised by a very strict mother who believed that rules and boundaries were tantamount. I wasn’t put out back to feed, I didn’t sleep in a wooden house, and I wasn't reared wearing a shock collar. Although I was cleaned behind my ears, given short easy commands that I could understand and was rewarded when I did good and scolded when I did badly. And I think I turned out pretty darn well. I respect my elders, I follow rules but not in any mind numbing way, I know how to behave in a variety of situations without embarrassing myself or others (okay there were a few years where I might have slipped up on this front), and I didn’t end up in jail.

I mean I ain't no dog, but that’s got to count for something.
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