Thursday, October 29, 2015

Physical Boundaries and the Petulant Child
If someone posted a 5 second video of the way I've had to deal with my 2 year old children, I would probably be black balled by the internet as well.  What they would miss is the loving care I give day in and day out, and the moments after those five seconds were up where the children I've dealt with have come to terms with their obstinate behavior.

There was even a time, dealing with my 2 year old foster child, when I had to hold her in her bed in order to get her to lie down at night.  She was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, but was adamant that she didn't need to be in bed.  She had skipped her nap, and her behavior was deteriorating, so I held her hands and forced her to lay on her pillow.  She was in no danger. I certainly left no bruises, but I allowed her no physical option but to comply.  When she finally calmed down about ten minutes later, and I let go of her hands, she cried in distress for me to hold her hands again. It gave her a sense of security.

She was a little child and I far outweighed her.  I was stronger and could easily have taken the situation to violent levels, but didn't.  I understood that she was young, and foolish, and needed an adult to show her the meaning of boundaries.  She had no physical choice in the matter.  I decided for her that she was going to lie down. Given her own way, she most likely would have continued to fight sleep until she hurt herself.

Because I chose to enforce boundaries with my children when they were two years old, they have learned to operate within the boundaries placed around them.  Because I chose to enforce boundaries with my foster child, she has learned to operate within the boundaries of the rules in my house, and has been content since then.  Of course she doesn't always like going to bed, but she knows that she must comply.  

Proverbs 22:15 is clear: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away." Many interpret this verse as a literal rod, other's see it as more of a metaphor.  While I have no problem physically spanking my biological children, I am not comfortable spanking a foster child, nor am I legally allowed to do so.  Like the cop in the video, I have had to find other ways to physically restrain a petulant child who refuses to respond positively to authority.

If you have never been in this position with a child, then perhaps you shouldn't pass such harsh judgment on the cop who was put in this position.  The girl was acting like a two year old.  She was breaking all the rules.  She was emotionally distressed and had probably never been forced to understand the boundaries of authority.

After you have dealt with this kind of behavior without resorting to physical force, please let me know what you did, how long it took to come to a peaceful agreement, and how the child responds to you weeks and months after the incident.  I would especially like to know if the child respects your authority, if they seem happy within the boundaries you've agreed on, and if the incident has ever come up again.