Parenting for a Caring World
Goals, Methods and Results
Would you like to learn about the child-rearing methods of two fascinating cultures and the kinds of adults they produce?
To look at the issue of goals, methods and results another way, people often justify their methods by saying "The ends justify the means." Meaning that if their goals are good, it's fine to use questionable or even immoral methods.
We disagree with this philosophy, with extremely few exceptions. Most of the time, it is just plain wrong to use unkind, dishonest, immoral or illegal methods, no matter what the goal. A legitimate exception might be if we could save an innocent person's life by lying to people with evil intentions about his whereabouts.
We can't think of any situations in parenting, however, when it would be acceptable to use harsh methods to produce "good" children. And research findings from many fields show that callous or disrespectful methods are not even effective in producing caring, confident and competent children. On the contrary, harsh and callous methods produce people with problems who create problems for others.
Research findings from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology and other fields demonstrate conclusively that:
► We cannot use harsh infant-rearing methods and expect our children to
become kind and caring adults.
► Callous methods “wire” the brain and nervous system for antisocial behavior.
► Warm and responsive methods wire the brain and nervous system for moral
and prosocial behavior.
► Children learn what they live.
► Our methods must be congruent with our goals.
Your Resource for CARE Parenting
Conscious, Attuned, Responsive and Empathetic
"Secure Babies, Strong Children, Successful Adults"
What happens to a plant if we tug on it to make it grow faster?
We damage it and may even kill it. It's good to want a plant to grow, but trying to
force that growth not only results in slower growth, we may damage it beyond
However, if we put our plant in a container of the right size with good soil,
and also provide it with sunshine, water and plant food, it will grow as quickly
as it is capable of, and not one bit more quickly.
In the same way, when we try to force our children to grow at a pace beyond their
developmental capabilities, we damage them. We can even push them to an early
death through suicide or high-risk behavior.
But if we provide our children with security and unconditional love, acceptance
and support, as well as limits and opportunities to explore, grow and learn,
they will grow as quickly as they are capable of. They can be forced to act in
an independent manner, but they cannot be forced to feel competent and