My New Heartbeat: Kids Are Not Pets To Be “Trained”

By Katie Saltz

Sometimes you hear about another parent’s approach to child-rearing and you can just breeze past it and think, “Eh, doesn’t really sound good to me.”

Other times, you hear about another parent’s approach to child-rearing and your inner voice screams.

The latter is how I feel when parents tell me they are “training” their children.

I bristle at the word “training.” I am referring mostly to “behavior training.”

It implies indoctrinating someone to follow a strict set of guidelines.

It means you have some sort of system to “get rid of” undesirable behavior.

To my mind, behavior in a child is communication.

By attempting to eliminate certain behavior in a child, you are not really ridding them of the emotion causing the behavior.

You are teaching them to suppress it.

On one hand, parents want obedient children.

Children who listen without questioning. Children who do not throw tantrums.

“Good behavior.”

But on the other hand, parents want their children to grow up to be independent.

To be creative thinkers. To be go-getters and self-starters.

How does that work when we spend their childhood training them to quiet down and just listen?

My child is not a circus animal. I am not leading a boot camp.

I am not a trainer. I am raising a human being.

We often draw a box of what a “good child” looks like, but we can’t expect to squeeze and stuff our child in that box.
Most children don’t fit.

To get them in that box nice and neatly, you will likely end up breaking something.

I know not everyone who uses the word “training” means it in such a literal way.

So instead of training, let’s teach our children. Let’s guide our children.

Let’s model behavior we want to see in our children, and leave “training” for the pets.

Watch ABC36 News at Noon on the first Monday of every month to see Katie review her favorite products for mom and baby.