Every educator feels the need to create authority in front of the child. When they fail to acquire it in a natural way, they tend to impose it by force. Then they inevitably apply the wrong upbringing methods of authoritative procedure. Their main motivation is to save the endangered or already lost authority, that is, to try to create at least an apparent authority where it does not exist. An authoritative educator is constantly fighting for his reputation before the child and for his power over it. But the more someone fights for their authority, the less likely they are to gain it. Because it comes by itself if the educator does not fear for it.
The essence of authoritarian upbringing is the constant imposition of the educator’s personality on the child. An authoritative parent or teacher wants to secure absolute authority over the child. This aspiration stems from their sense of insecurity in the role of educator, and then in the face of life’s problems. The strict educator lacks self-confidence above all else. He is not sure that he will gain the child’s loyalty, that he will impress it, that he will build a base of his authority in a young person. In the depths of his psyche, although he does not admit it to himself, the authoritative educator does not expect the child to love him, because he himself does not believe in the possibility of warm and sincere emotional relationships between people. He sees in the child a potential enemy, a constant danger to his prestige, a constant threat to his reputation. This distrust of the child provokes in the authoritative person the need to subjugate his pupil, to paralyze it with austerity, and to keep it obedient by intimidation. Fear is the basic weapon used by an authoritative educator in dealing with a young person. He is intrusive, overly strict and aggressive precisely because he is afraid, because he is insecure, because his fear is the basic emotion with which he reacts to all the events around him. Since he considers fear a necessary factor in creating interpersonal relationships, he then believes that he must develop it in his pupil as well. He himself values only the one he fears, he is disciplined only because he is afraid of the consequences of indiscipline, and he keeps his aggression within tolerance only because he is afraid of experiencing too much trouble because of it. That is why he thinks that a child will treat him politely and respect him only if it is afraid of him. From the mouths of parents and other educators, we often hear the opinion that a child “must be afraid of something” if we want to be diligent, disciplined, and obedient.
Authoritarianism in upbringing is often displayed by people who have never experienced true love for themselves, or have been raised in a very rigid way. Their behavior towards their own pupil is sometimes such that it is difficult to get rid of the impression that they are unknowingly taking revenge for all the insults, punishments and humiliations they have suffered. Many people imitate their own educators in their dealings with children. If they themselves have been brought up in an authoritative way, they treat their children the same way because they do not know how to act differently. The fact that authority neurotizes the educator, makes him unadaptable and prone to rigid, schematic procedures also contributes to this. That is why an authoritatively educated educator usually does not try to find a realistic path to the child’s personality, to understand it and to adapt to it. He prefers to automatically accept the educational actions of his own educators and apply them without thinking in the upbringing of his child. In doing so, he completely excludes from his consciousness the fact – these are typical neurotic scotomas – that he himself suffered because of the authority of his parents and teachers and that he opposed it for years with various forms of defiance.
A characteristic statement of a mother to whom we objected because she mercilessly beats her daughter when she does something she does not like:
“My father also beat me severely, so it didn’t hurt me,” she replied, “that’s why I became what I am, if he hadn’t beaten me, nothing would have become of me.”
The statement of that woman that she is as she is is true, mostly because her father constantly beat her. She, of course, meant the fact that she had successfully completed school, achieved a respectable title, and a satisfactory economic standard. But she does not see that her father’s abuse has left her with very negative character traits: she is aggressive towards everything and everyone, she is rude to her clients, caustic and malicious towards co-workers, she is ridicules her husband, she abuses her child. People don’t like her, they avoid her, her husband hates her, and the child is afraid of her. However, she is convinced that her father’s actions did not harm her.
It happens that educators treat a child in too harsh a way because their educators have spoiled them too much. If they are aware that pampering makes it difficult for them to cope in life, they sometimes try to find satisfaction for their life’s failures in raising their child with a “firm hand” to ostensibly “harden” and become resilient enough to fight life’s problems. But cuddling has made them neurotic personalities, and that obscures their clear view of the reality of life in general, and even into the real meaning of raising children. Because the behavior of such people towards the child is governed by completely subjective motives, and not by a sincere focus on the child’s interests, they fall into the wrong attitudes towards the young person. Fearing that they will not be too lenient, having constantly in front of their eyes themselves and their life development, they act in the opposite way than they were treated, but in the same wrong way: they become authoritative educators.
There are parents who do not like their child and perceive it as an unpleasant burden. There are teachers and professional educators who are “not interested” in their students, or their children simply “get on their nerves”. With such an emotional attitude, educators are very prone to act rigidly, impatiently, violently and relentlessly. Sometimes authoritative upbringing — especially when it turns into extreme rudeness toward the child — is an expression of the sadistic traits of the educator’s personality. Such a person enjoys abusing his child or foster child.
In the resort restaurant we met a mother who always carried a few sticks with her when she came to lunch with her son. As soon as the child fidgeted a little in the chair, she hit him on the head with a whip. She often hit him “preventively”, even before the boy did anything that she thought should be punished. She was actually dissatisfied when the child was calm and polite. She beat him until he screamed, which was an excuse to beat him again. We once heard her say with a mischievous smile:
‘See, I brought new sticks today, would you like me to try them? Just try to shout, I’ll beat you up right away! ‘
The child really cried out of fear. Barely awaiting his reaction, his mother mercilessly beat him with a new whip.
Often, an authoritative procedure is an expression of the general mentality of the environment, i.e. social relations in a community. Authoritarian social order inevitably provokes authoritative upbringing of children. A dictatorial regime must, by its internal logic, require its subjects to raise children in a rigid way, in order to break their individuality and turn them into perfectly obedient automatons. This is the reason why religious organizations that are advocates and guardians of reactionary state regimes regularly preach authority in dealing with children. The first “commandment of God” has not been repeated without reason for many centuries, or more precisely: the basic commandment of Moses to his fellow citizens:
“I am Yahweh your God, … You shall have no other gods before me.“
This is the conscious or unconscious motto of every authoritative educator. Even in the recent past, it was the official duty of educators in our schools and various children’s institutions to be authoritative. Those who were not were considered weak and bad pedagogues, because the notion of a “strict educator” was identical with the notion of a “good educator.” Unfortunately, teachers and professional educators have not yet completely freed themselves from the authoritative attitude towards children; it runs through their upbringing procedures like a shadow of the past.
The essence of the authoritative attitude towards the child also consists in the fact that the educator does not recognize the child’s individuality, does not give it the freedom of personality, does not allow it to cooperate on the same wavelength, on horizontal, interpersonal relations. By constantly imposing his will, the authoritative educator creates a relationship “on the vertical” (Künkel), i.e. a relationship of order and obedience, power and subordination, force and helplessness. In such a relationship, the resistance of the one who is subjected to pressure inevitably occurs. In our case it is a child. Its resistance is all the more fierce the stronger the pressure is on it.. For every force there is an antidote, and that means conflict and a struggle for supremacy. That is why an authoritative educator inevitably clashes with his or her pupil.
The strict educator regularly reacts to the child’s resistance with even greater rigidity, because he is convinced that the child’s defiance is a consequence of his insufficient rigor. Thus the child and his educator become more and more entangled in a vicious circle of mutual struggle for supremacy. This undermines the mutual trust, destroys the authority of educators, and leads to negative behavior and neurotic reactions. The struggle is then usually waged over the years, in various ways and by various means. Both parents and children suffer severe consequences. Educators have a whole range of troubles, worries and disappointments, and children have to endure constant insults, humiliation, punishment and abuse. And yet both of them continue to fight indefinitely, because in their neurotic stubbornness they do not know how to leave the vicious circle of mistakes they have fallen into.
The “vertical” relationship is a completely wrong attempt to solve the question of how people treat each other. The power of man over man is the weakness and tragic delusion of humanity. The struggle for mutual supremacy is the source of many sufferings, not only of individuals but also of entire generations. This struggle often begins in early childhood. It is first petty competition with the parents, then ever-larger conflicts, and later, especially in puberty, overt or covert hostility and aggression. After many years of practicing such an attitude towards people, a young man finds it difficult to get rid of his wrong lifestyle. He can no longer abandon his combative, aggressive attitude towards other people, so he develops into an egocentric person who seeks his life meaning in a competitive struggle with the people around him. It is the basis of the selfish individualism of a civilized man who has not yet attained a satisfactory degree of psychic culture. Because this manifests itself in diametrically opposed behavior. An emotionally mature man strives to establish a relationship of equality and mutual respect with his fellow men, that is, a relationship “on the horizontal”. He seeks not supremacy but co-operation; he does not demand submission, but provides help and shows understanding; he avoids enmity, and builds love. When a person no longer feels the need to fight for prestige with the people around them, they become able to create and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, to establish a happy marriage and family, and to contribute to building a prosperous society.
The basic method of authoritative upbringing is constant ordering. The educator does not allow the child to do anything on its own or to decide on anything independently. In that way, it provokes a series of negative reactions. An intrusive educator forms a “short-sighted child” – it acquires the belief that it must be obedient because its parents want it to, that it must learn well because teachers demand it, that it must behave decently because educators want it to. With such an attitude towards life, the child loses sight of real life goals, because the educator with his personal demands is inserted between the child and its life tasks. It is the child’s duty to learn the discipline of community life, to practice harmonizing personal needs with the interests of the community. It is a real life task, so it should be the goal of proper upbringing. But authoritative action achieves just the opposite: obedience only out of fear, and inner resistance against any discipline and inability to adapt. The excessive strictness of the educator forces the child into defiance, so that it openly or covertly rejects everything that comes from them. If one practices for years in systematic resistance to discipline and social adjustment, it will be difficult to accept these basic demands of community life later. It is likely that when it grows up it will generalize its attitudes towards the environment it adopted in childhood. Authoritarian upbringing is one of the main reasons why there are many people in the world who do not tolerate discipline, who behave properly only when forced to do so.
The child needs to be able to live independently. Achieving that goal is the basic purpose of learning. But this fact cannot be noticed by the child if it constantly gets the impression that it must learn for the sake of the educator, in order to satisfy their ambitions or not to anger them. Resistance against an authoritative educator is also transferred by the child to work habits. That is why people brought up in a strict way often do not like work, they are not motivated for it. They work only out of necessity, they work exactly as much as they have to, but they do not bring any spontaneity or enthusiasm into their activity, but they try to escape work whenever they are given the opportunity to do so.
The child will not even notice the real purpose of tactical and cultural treatment of people if educators impose such behavior on it as their personal request. It will defy various norms of cultural governance out of defiance. Later, its raw and unpolished way of contact with people will become such a habit that even in adulthood it will not be able to get rid of it completely. It is not necessary to explain how much such behavior interferes with the social affirmation of the individual and causes them difficulties in adapting to the community.
Due to the systematic imposition of the will, the young person becomes hypersensitive to any authority. The long struggle with the educator for prestige instills in the child a certain intolerance towards anyone who represents some force or authority. An authoritatively educated man is already aggressive towards such a person in advance, even when they are not acting authoritatively. That is why people brought up in this way have difficulties in accepting someone else’s leadership, that is, their subordination. But authoritative upbringing also supports a sense of threat, of fear for its meaning. This is why people who have been brought up in too strict a way are usually very sensitive to the actions of others towards themselves. They immediately register the slightest tactlessness towards their persona, get offended quickly, find it difficult to forgive violations of their reputation, and do not tolerate criticism or objections. Due to hypersensitivity to their value, they are unusually irritable, prone to explosive reactions to insufficient tactfulness of the environment towards themselves and poorly adaptable to other people’s shortcomings in behavior.
Constant ordering creates dependence. Such an educational procedure stifles the child’s initiative. There is no motivation in it to think with its head because the educator thinks for it. It has no need to just make decisions, because the educator does that for it. Authoritative upbringing inhibits spontaneity; the child is reluctant to accept activities on its own initiative because it is never certain whether the educator will agree. So it prefers to wait for an order. In this way, passivity develops, a lack of initiative, and the sense of responsibility for work remains stunted. In more severe cases, passivity — when accompanied by defiance — turns into passive resistance to all that is required of it. Then the child is in principled opposition to everything and everyone. It is lazy, disinterested, slow, clumsy, pretends to be incompetent and stupid in front of the tasks that are imposed on it.
Such behavior often continues when it grows up. Since the authoritative process is a very widespread method of education, it should come as no surprise that many people simply do not listen when they are culturally asked or required to do something, or when they are patiently waited on to spontaneously show kindness. Each of us has experienced that, for example, an individual waiter, sales assistant, public servant “becomes deaf” when you treat them in a cultural way. But they usually “hear” right away, become helpful and even polite when you raise your voice or shout at them. This difficulty in interpersonal relationships is a typical consequence of authoritarian upbringing.
A particularly favorite method of authoritarian parenting is intimidating a child. Parental imagination is inexhaustible in inventing various scarecrows for children, ranging from chimney sweeps and police officers to witches, the Boogie Man and other fantastic characters. The fact that a strict educator must use some scarecrow to maintain his authority indicates how insecure that person is in his relationship with the child. But a healthy person cannot be built on fear. The basics of proper mental development are emotions that are just the opposite of fear. It is the trust in people, in the reality of life and in oneself. Long-term fear, and especially one that is artificially constantly supported in the child’s psyche, hinders the development of a sense of security and self-confidence. Fear is the basic driver of the vast majority of neurotic reactions and behavioral disorders. And a child raised in an authoritative way constantly lives in fear. It is afraid of the strictness of its educators, it is afraid of their threats, it is afraid of the painful punishments it will experience if it fails to govern itself as educators demand.
Systematic intimidation causes timidity. The child is timid in contact with other people, distrustful and indecisive. Or it becomes aggressive in order to get rid of fear by attacking the environment. Then it constantly teases someone, challenges, fights, quarrels, is rude with them, or destroys objects. Authoritative upbringing causes restlessness, irritability, creates the need for outbursts. Sometimes suppressed fear turns into neurosis. Therefore, a strictly raised child may experience stuttering, night terrors, tics, and other neurotic disorders. If the authoritative process continues throughout the developmental age, it is very likely that the personality traits created under the influence of fear will be maintained, and perhaps even strengthened.
The characteristic method of authoritative procedure are: non-stop warnings, objections, warnings, questions and orders. Among the authoritative personalities there is a type of educator who believes that he must constantly “educate” the child, that he must always be on its heels, that he must not leave it unattended for even a moment. Such an educator intrusively interferes in the child’s every activity, comments on every movement of the child, always complains about something.
“Why are you doing that? Leave it alone! Where are you looking again? Don’t kick your feet! Sit decently! Don’t touch those things! Leave your pants alone! Where are you going? Don’t walk around the room! ”And so on, indefinitely.
With such an endless torrent of words, the grandmother showered her grandson in the counseling hall. When she came to talk it wasn’t hard to guess what she was going to complain about. The boy was unusually disobedient; he simply did not hear what was being said to him, he ignored all his grandmother’s orders and prohibitions in cold blood. And when he reacted he was very irritable, explosive and impudent. His behavior is a typical consequence of unbearable boredom by constant nagging. It causes so much tension in the child’s psyche that the child becomes extremely irritable and aggressive, or defends himself with apparent deafness and misunderstanding, i.e. by completely ignoring all the educator’s warnings and orders. It can also cause various neurotic manifestations such as nail biting, tics, stuttering, grimacing and others.
Such a procedure with a child is a type of coercive action that the educator performs automatically as soon as he comes in contact with the child. Nausea is a symptom of severe insecurity and helplessness in upbringing. By annoying the child with constant “upbringing”, the authoritative educator lives in the illusion that he is doing everything that can be done. He believes that a child would immediately go the wrong way if he only interrupted his unbearable sermons for a moment. The educator that is constantly busy with the child, is often considered its victim, because he does not get to anything else because of it”, it destroys his nerves. It is an expression of the neurotic need of an insecure person to “flirt with the martyr’s crown of his overburdening and his sacrifice,” as Bedenic says. If the child, despite the maximum effort of the educator, does not develop properly, he has a perfect justification in front of himself and in front of others: means that the cause should be sought in the child and not in the educator’s treatment.
The consequences of nagging can also be found in the character of an adult. People who are raised under the pressure of nagging often become tedious, annoying and nagging pedants, who criticize everything and always know everything best. Despite defying their parents’ nagging for years, they still identify with them and accept their rule.
When, in spite of all the means of strict upbringing, the educator still fails to make the child listen to him in everything, then he resorts to constant insults. He blames it for its shortcomings, scolds it, and constantly points his finger at its mistakes. The truth is that one should not keep silent about a child’s weakness and ignore its mistakes. He needs to be alerted to what is negative in its behavior. But this should be done tactfully, without insults and harsh words, without annoying repetition of one and the same objection. Along with the rebuke, the child should be encouraged, confidence should be expressed in it as well as satisfaction with its success and positive qualities. Then the objections have an effect, because the child receives them with confidence in the educator and without resistance.
It is completely unnecessary to repeatedly warn because of an error. In most cases the child itself knows full well that it was wrong. But many parents and educators only know how to scold, as if they can’t wait for the opportunity to do so, and are much more stingy in acknowledging children’s success and positivity, as if it’s self-evident that a child has them. Criticizing the child should always be opposed by encouragement; it should be criticized as rarely as possible, and encouraged as often as possible. Persistent criticizing not only does not correct children’s shortcomings, but also strengthens them, because they discourage the child and lead it to defiance.
A strict educator is very happy to extort from the child the promise that it will recover. But everyday practice shows that children’s promises are very unreliable. Because a child does not promise to change its behavior because it really intends to change, but because it avoids punishment or other trouble. Parents gladly accept their children’s promises because they imagine that they have solved the educational problem in the simplest way. But extorting promises is a triple educational mistake. First, it gives the child the opportunity to avoid correcting its behavior in a very easy way and to always find refuge in its “good intentions” for its mistakes. Second, the educator’s trust in the child decreases when it does not keep its promise. Then the educator becomes even more prone to authoritative action. Third, despite promises, the behavior does not improve, but usually worsens, because the child is less and less appreciated by the educator, whom it can easily deceive.
An authoritative educator does not trust the child. He regularly expects the child to behave badly and does not believe that it could be treated in a positive way. With his skepticism about the value of the child, he also cultivates distrust in it, and thus undermines his own authority. A strict educator is often biased towards children. He has his pet to whom he allows everything, and he denies other children the same. He is unjust to children, biased in judging their shortcomings, and reckless in punishing. He often brags in front of children, emphasizing his virtues in order to raise his reputation in this way. He is very sensitive to his prestige, unusually insulting, he immediately associates all children’s outbursts with the reputation of his personality. The consequence of all these actions is always the same: the child’s distrust, resistance, defiance, and the ever-deepening degradation of the educator’s authority.
Parents and teachers often compare children in ability, behavior, and success. A more diligent, successful, or decent child is set as an example to a disobedient, lazy, or in any way awkward in behavior, asking it to emulate its more positive rival. Such a comparison can be useful only if these children are already more or less successfully developing, so there are no significant contradictions between them. Then it is good to occasionally encourage productive competition. The situation is completely different with children who are discouraged by anything, so they do not have a lot of self-confidence or there is envy, jealousy, or a feeling of neglect of one child towards another. In this case, the comparison deepens the already existing contradictions among children, so the exact opposite result is achieved from what educators expect.
If a more successful child is set as an example to a less successful one, there is a danger that both will be harmed, especially if they are siblings who already live in a certain rivalry. A more successful, constantly valued and praised child becomes vain. Seduced by praise, it begins to overestimate its value, so it no longer tries to increase it with a more constructive attitude towards the environment. From now on, it is only interested in what can raise its reputation even more in the eyes of its parents, often it is just formal success and apparent positivity without real content. Such a child becomes greedy, conceited, egocentric and selfish. It tries to show itself in the way its parents want it to be, at least seemingly, because it doesn’t really care about really positive behavior.
And the other, less successful child, to whom its competitor is constantly presented as a role model, is increasingly losing confidence and courage for constructive competition. It becomes even more envious of its rival and jealous of it, its hope for its own success diminishes, and it feels resentment towards its surroundings, which soon turns into resistance, defiance and open hostility. Such a student behaves worse and worse the more it is shown the example of the better; the more successful it is, the less it learns, the more decent it is, the more it becomes a wrecker, a liar, prone to vulgar behavior, wandering and other forms of defiant reaction.
Therefore, when children are compared, it is likely that they will develop in opposite directions, i.e., in personalities with opposing character traits. Then the parents wonder how their children differ “as if they were not siblings.”
The parents of a 15-year-old are also surprised by this. He is a boy with above-average intellectual abilities, and yet he has a number of negative grades in school, so he is threatened with repeating the grade. In addition, he is prone to vagrancy, spending most of his free time with his “gang”, which means with a similar type of people at school. He commits minor incidents and petty thefts with them. At home he is grumpy, shaky and depressed. In the first years of his life, the boy was extremely spoiled because he was frequently sick. His parents spared him too much from all the burdens, they aided him in everything, so the boy got used to living like that, not trying anything and not considering himself responsible for anything. The consequences of such mental development were clearly shown when he went to school. The lack of work habits did not allow him to achieve more than mediocre grades.
The parents were already disappointed at the beginning of the boy’s schooling because they expected great success from their bright son. Disappointment led them to an increasingly stringent procedure. He was increasingly reprimanded, blamed for his relatively poor performance and lack of interest in school. A spoiled child finds it very difficult to tolerate such a turn in the process of the environment towards itself, which is, after all, a very common occurrence. Objections and the request to be an excellent student, that is, to accept systematic work, deeply discouraged him. This forced him into a defensive attitude towards his parents, which manifested itself in an increasing slackness towards learning, distraction and restless behavior at school, and harsh behavior towards his parents. Understandably, such a boy’s behavior provoked even more complaints from the parents and dragged them into a vicious circle of neurotic relationship with the child.
The situation was taken advantage of by the boy’s older brother, who has been jealous of the younger one for many years because he believes that he is his parents’ favorite. Now he, too, joined in the parental reprimands, began to treat him in a superior manner, with a humiliating willingness to help him with his school assignments. At the same time, he tried to be as good a student as possible, day by day he was more and more attached to his parents, he was perfectly obedient to them in everything, he didn’t care about them in any way. His parents, of course, instilled in his example and began to encourage the young man to imitate his brother. Then the younger boy became even more defiant, rudely refused any attempt by his brother to help him, became very jealous of him, completely abandoned learning and began to roam. All this was prompted by a feeling of neglect towards his “exemplary” brother, to whom nothing was ever objected, and a very stunted self-confidence that did not allow him to compete with his brother in a constructive way. He followed the line of least resistance, trying to stand out at least in his “gang”, so that at least there he would be appreciated when he could not prove the value of his personality in his family and at school. It was only when the parents realized their mistake and stopped comparing the boy to their more successful brother that the young “desperate” brother began to recover mentally. He abandoned vagrancy and theft and diligently embraced books.
Every educator is a little vain. He cares that his pupil develops into the most successful person possible in order to please him – the educator. This is a completely natural aspiration. But vanity can be represented in someone’s personality with very different intensity. If it is excessive – and this is characteristic of authoritative educators – there is a danger that it will set too high goals for the child. Then they burden it with demands and tasks that the child can satisfy only with maximum effort, or it cannot fully satisfy them at all. Vanity educators do not take into account the child’s abilities, personal characteristics and interests. They seek perfection in everything, in good conduct, in obedience, skill, and knowledge, and do not take into account the fact that no upbringing can achieve perfection. When a child goes to school, it is always expected to have the best success, regardless of whether the child is capable of being the best student in school. Vanity educators often predetermine the profession that the child will pursue when he or she grows up, without even thinking about whether he or she will show interest in the job. They are completely biased in assessing the child, overestimating its abilities, and they will not see its weaknesses and failures.
The vain educator demands too much from the child, and at the same time does not encourage it enough to successfully solve life’s tasks. On the contrary, he teaches it to achieve external effects and formal successes, regardless of the reality of their content. It thus makes it too greedy, sickly ambitious and oversensitive to its prestige, and incapable of patiently achieving real success in life and of achieving essential life values. In the psyche of a vainly raised child, there is a deep gap between the goals that the educator presents to it and its confidence in itself, that is, in the possibility of achieving those goals. That is why such a child flees into passivity, or turns into defiance by which it defends itself from overload. Sometimes it seeks to save its prestige by achieving at least formal successes that will satisfy ambitious educators. It succeeds in this as it moves among people who are already accustomed to admiring it, praising it and indulging it in everything, even if the child does not show much success. Such a situation is encountered in families who are in love with their favorite child, so they consider it a “miracle of a child”, although there is no real justification for it. The same happens in many classes in which individual excellent students achieve such a reputation that teachers become biased towards them, so they grade them better than they deserve. Then you are distinguished by living “from old glory,”
But excellent grades in school and constant admiration at home are no guarantee that a child will really succeed in life. Many excellent children fail in later life as soon as they are confronted with real life problems that they can no longer solve only formally and seemingly. The so-called miracle of a child often not only does not achieve above-average life success but in the effect of its activity gives much less than it could give.
It is characteristic of an insecure educator to constantly change his or her attitude toward the child. He is fickle in educational methods. Once he is stern, another time he is lenient; now he scolds the child, another time he praises it for a moment; once he places great demands on it, to relieve it of all duty a little later. An insecure educator is very capricious in requirements; once he allows it various mischief, and the second time it forbids it to do the same. Once he is very child-friendly, another time he is cold and repulsive. He is usually also very suggestible, i.e. he is easily subject to other people’s influence. Unfortunately, he much rather accepts the advice of like-minded, neurotic people than the advice of people who are successful in raising children. The child is subject to the educator’s inconsistency, and even loses orientation itself, does not know how to govern and what attitude to take towards its environment. Educators cease to be an authority for it, but the child resents them for not finding emotional support in them, for not treating it as a solid object of identification. So it starts defying them.
The last resort of helpless authoritative educators is punishment and physical abuse. Therefore, the educator usually punishes the child for not being able to deal with it. In doing so, he does not notice the natural consequences of his awkward behavior, but acts in person, defending his prestige and avenging the damage to his reputation. With such punishment, the child feels very well that the educator is personal, that he is taking revenge, so this provokes fierce defiance. It is then motivated to return the favor, without taking any risks. It is known that there are children who do not let out a voice or tears under the blows, although educators require them to cry. That is why children defy silence, because they have experienced that there is nothing they can do to infuriate educators so much as the absence of a reaction to their punishment.
The revenge of a child who is systematically punished by educators is shown by the example of an 8-year-old girl. When she finds herself in front of strangers, for example visiting someone, her father forces her to recite poems. The girl has long been tired of this recitation, but she still satisfies her father’s vanity, because she knows that she will be beaten if she tries to resist. One day there are guests in the house again and the girl has to recite so that her parents can brag about her talent. This time she refused to do so, so her father slapped her. So she had no choice but to obey. But when the guests said goodbye and greeted each other warmly, the girl shouted at them: “If you only knew how mom and dad would gossip about you now!”
In an authoritative process, punishment becomes permanent, and sometimes the main means of education. In most cases, it is corporal punishment. An upbringing based on beating children cannot actually be called upbringing but dressage. But a person is not an animal which we can train. A child is a free person; so we can’t force it to govern properly if it won’t. Positive is only that behavior which is positive for the child which is free to choose to behave however it wants and not because it is afraid of punishment. When a child behaves satisfactorily only out of fear, then it is an fictive successful upbringing. Sooner or later, the child will develop defiance in the form of various ways of misbehavior, cunning childish tricks, lying, and neurotic disorders.
Physical punishment sometimes turns into real child abuse. Such punishment is a very bad way of punishing. This procedure is never used for a child, and it regularly severely impairs its mental development. Yet many parents and other educators are still happy to use beating. This is because some educators are very happy to squander resources that provide them with quick and instant, even if only apparent and short-term success when they lose authority. In the upbringing of children, beatings are such a means of a “short circuit”.
It is true that a child who has been beaten is likely to obey the educator. But he will be angrily deceived if he hopes that by beating he will achieve lasting obedience, that is, that he will strengthen the child’s trust and strengthen his authority. By abusing a child, the opposite can only be achieved – the child’s declining trust and authority. It would be completely unnatural for a child to respect and love an educator who inflicts physical pain on it and thus humiliates it. One of the basic tasks of proper upbringing is to develop a sense of community in a young person. It is impossible to expect a child to build a positive emotional attitude towards an environment that humiliates and beats it.
Physical punishment is always a sign that the educator is not coping well with the child, that he feels defeated and powerless. Abuse of physical superiority over a child is a common cowardice, because a child cannot resist an adult. But that is why it uses cunning to return the favor. It happens, for example, that an abused child constantly wets the bed at night, despite the fact that it has long since matured to control the sphincter in its sleep. The unconscious goal of such conduct may be a desire for revenge on the parents. Because they are not the least bit comfortable when they have to wash dirty children’s sheets every morning. The child, however, suffers because of it urination in bed new punishments and humiliations; but revenge is sweet, says the proverb. Therefore, the child will risk pain and other inconveniences if it can take revenge on the hated educator for that price. But this is not the way in which a young person could develop into a socially positive being, but it is much more likely that the struggle with educators will lead it to brutality, egocentrism and asociality.
There are cases when child abuse turns into sadism, into torturing a child simply because the educator finds satisfaction in it. This is often due to the fact that he himself lived through a painful childhood, so now he unconsciously takes revenge on the child for all the humiliations, beatings and other abuses he suffered. The barbaric custom of beating children is giving parents an opportunity to pursue their sadistic aspirations with impunity. Sadism is not nearly as rare as one might think at first. While laws apply in human society, a sadist can only be satisfied in such a “milder” way as abusing children or a woman. But in the hour of profound disturbances of social life, in the course of wars and revolutions, the hidden sadism of many people comes to light in full force.
Physical abuse of children causes severe consequences. The child can react to such an educational procedure in two ways: either it actively opposes it in terms of open defiance, or it turns to passive behavior which is sometimes accompanied by psychogenic disturbances in physical functions, e.g. stuttering, bedwetting, etc.