Rewarding Bad Behavior

When Big Brother was not so very big, Mom took him to a department store to buy him a new winter coat.  They took the escalator up to the second floor.  Big Brother was so enthralled with the joy ride that he begged Mom to take him – again and again.  Finally, she told him that it was the last ride, and then they’d have to go home.

Angry that there were to be no more rides, he threw himself on the floor in a five-alarm temper tantrum, hammering his hands and feet, and screaming as loud as he could.  The shoppers all stopped to watch the show.  Mom was mortified.  She didn’t believe in spanking, especially not in public.  But she also didn’t believe in letting a 3 year-old get the best of her.  She told him that if he didn’t get up, she was going to drag him out of the store on his behind, right out to the car.

He just went on screaming.  So, Mom took him by the hood of his coat and dragged him through the store, still screaming, apologizing to the other customers as she went.  The store floor was nice and smooth; the entrance was concrete.  She got him to the curb and stopped.

“Are you going to behave now and get up and walk or do you want me to drag you all the way to car?” she asked him.  He got up, wiped his nose, and walked sullenly to the car.

Spanking is a most under-rated form of punishment for kids.  It’s something only parent should do.  The interesting thing about spanking is that it doesn’t take very long to get the toddler’s attention.  Spanking doesn’t have to turn into an adult angst-fest, beating the kids until they can’t walk.  A firm swat is plenty.  The time to stop is the first wail.

By the age of five, spanking should no longer be necessary.  By that time, kids have enough of a vocabulary and enough reasoning ability for more effective, less physical methods of behavior modification.

However, the board of trustees for the American Psychiatric Association recently voted to revise the definition of “temper tantrum” in their diagnostic manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A temper tantrum will no longer be regarded by the APA as a normal learning process of childhood.  Their new diagnosis for this behavior is “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.”  Their recommendation is to medicate normal temper tantrums.  Critics argue that medication would relieve children of the responsibility of their own actions.  Even supporters fear children will be misdiagnosed and prescribed powerful psychiatric drugs normally reserved for conditions like bipolar disorder.

The new diagnosis would be given to children and adults who can’t control.  The new diagnosis would be given to children and adults who can’t control their emotions and have frequent temper outbursts in inappropriate situations.  Like the Occupy Wall Street protestors, perhaps?  Or, not infrequently, our current president, rumor has it.

This redefinition of normal childhood is yet another attempt to infantilize our citizens.  Soon we will have a generation of Peter Pans; 25 and 30 year-old little girls and boys.  Since it would be unseemly to have a six-foot man have a temper tantrum on the board room floor, medications will be issued to control their frustration when they find they can’t have the corner office yet.

When I was younger, I once watched a boss kick all the cabinet doors in his office because there was a mistake on a letter.  In another job, our young supervisor screamed at an editor for being more concerned with her upcoming wedding than with the difficult book she was editing, even though the girl stayed late every night to finish her work, and often came in on Saturdays.  These young editors were furious when they found they were promoted to managerial status, with all the perks that that entailed, but that with that set salary, they’d be expected to work longer hours without overtime pay.  Older than they were, I tried to explain the facts of the business world to them.  But I hadn’t been promoted and I was going home and they weren’t.

There was of course that amazing office where everyone took their frustrations on the copy machine until they broke it.  When I told our abusive boss the reason why the machine was broken, how you had to be careful with it because the copier was essentially a very big camera, he sacked me.  They went out of business shortly afterwards, though, and I wound up at the very company whose project they had been consulted on.

At my last job, I was quite a bit older than some of my colleagues.  I listened as they gathered together in the center of the aisle for a confab about the possibility of marijuana being legalized.  Their attitude, sneering (not towards me, just in general) and malicious, was disturbing, to say the least.  Young as they were, their college days were still at least five to ten years behind them.  For some, it was high school.  Didn’t they know that the party was over and it was time to settle down and get to work?  To grow up?  To control themselves?

Soon, people will be beyond the ability to control themselves at all.  We will degenerate from enfeebled children to infants to human vegetables.  We won’t be able to do anything for ourselves, nor will we be permitted to.   Our willpower eviscerated, we won’t even care that we’re basically enslaved, that we won’t be able to call anything our own, that we can’t care for ourselves, speak or think for ourselves.  Anyone who tries will be punished via medication.

Big Brother’s gal pal’s mother is only in her seventies.  Yet she does nothing all day long but lie on her couch in front of the television then struggle to get up to go to bed.  Her husband is in a nursing facility already.  Our 88 year-old mother, on the hand, when the brothers refused in their own extended adolescent rebellion to cut down a tree for her damaged by Hurricane Sandy, she went out into the backyard with a handsaw and cut it down herself (it wasn’t a very big tree).

The Greatest Generation may be dying off, after having lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Sixties.  But at least they lived.  They grew up and grew old.  Today’s generation will never grow old because it will never grow up.

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Published in: on December 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I had to fight with the Kinnelon school system for most of Melody’s school years over their desire to load her up with Ridilan. I can’t even spell it but I know it’s bad stuff. She managed to get through all her school years drug free and she thanks me to this day for putting up the fight so she could become who she was meant to be and not something her teachers wanted her to be.

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