“If you can’t sit still, the clowns will come and get you,” I eavesdropped a mother saying that sentence to her child.
I’d be lying if I said the little girl on her mother’s lap next to me wasn’t being a bother as she couldn’t sit still and kept mumbling incoherently. We were at a packed food court with waiters scurrying with trays of (delicious despite their appearance) meals, people chattering like flies bugging your hearing, and oh, stray cats staring and meowing at you but refusing to take bits of your fried chicken you gave them. Seeing her worn-out expression, I knew that the mother must have had a long day. I wouldn’t dare trying to imagine how it’s like raising a child (that’s why I don’t get why you all want to get married so quickly, seriously, learn about selflessness and commitment first) but using a child’s fear in order to make her obey you does not sound like a good parenting method to me. Fear is a powerful motivation, though. When you use fear—or if they fear you—children will do as you say simply to avoid the undesired consequences: being punished. Instill one since they are little, and there you go: authority. Effective to gain control… only when you can maintain it. Children will eventually grow out of it and your ‘source of power’ vanishes along the way. As they grow, you also indirectly teach them that dominance is the way to get what they want, thus, making them do the same thing to get their way. Moreover, you damage their trust, knowing that instead of helping them get through it, you turn it back against them.
Overcoming irrational childhood fears is not as easy as it may seem, in many cases, they still haunt you up until adulthood. Even Sam Winchester whose life involves dealing with monsters and ghosts has a phobia of clowns (huhu, poor Sammy). It will be a huge drawback in life as phobias can cause severe anxiety, depression, and isolation. Nurturing their fear to grow taller causes bad impacts to their emotional/mental state, so teach your children to have respect instead. When you love or respect someone, you do things for them for that sole purpose, not because you are afraid of the consequences or the imaginary monsters hiding in the shadows. Fear cripples you down. It shuts you right up. Respect through understanding, on the other hand, helps you grow. When I made a mistake, my father used to sit me down and ask me carefully on why I did such a thing. He listened and tried to see things through my lens, we would talk it out to see sides of the story, and as opposed to beating around the bush or circling about the root of the problem, he offered the solution. I have always been a strong-headed person, but he taught me that being righteous is not the same as being self-righteous which helped me to put things in perspective and see where he came from. Making a child fully comprehend the rules is worlds apart from them knowing the rules. As long as they can grasp the reason why—and that it is all for their own good—they will comply with what you ask of them. Develop their thinking, don’t just make them listen to you without question, especially by turning their weakness into a weapon.
I wish I could have said this to the food court mother.