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Question About Parenting

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Communism rots one's mind alright, though one can withstand it if brain is used.

Bad parenting can rot one's mind as well, so a simple answer is "Yes, it can." The details however are important, since parenting Communism within Capitalistic country won't have the same effect.

When it comes to Communism in USSR, there wasn't much place one could go away from it.

(One description of USSR is a really big jail: you can get in but it's hard to get out. Imagine this situation: you are going some place from USSR during your college break. You present a ticket for a plane, and get the following serious question: "Where is the return ticket?" ..... Think this is crazy, and could only happen during crazy USSR times? Think again: year 2000, "Democratic" Ukraine, 9 years since USSR broke apart. This was asked by a guy in his late 20s, thus it had to have been told to him to ask for such things (!))

That said, if you can think, you'll figure it out, and hide your views and survive one way or another. If you don't, you'll be like Ayn Rand's sister, who grew up in USSR, and couldn't adjust to Capitalism at all.

Bottom line is that some people choose to give up and never question, while others study and think. For those who choose to think, bad parenting will only postpone their final 'breakthrough.'

EDIT: clarifications

Edited by Olex
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Arg, just thought of a problem/hole with my reasoning above.

How does an individual choose to think? If this is taught or taken as an example from others, then parenting would have a larger effect on the child than I thought.

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Just one quick question:

Do you think that horrible parenting can have the same effect on a child that the communist government had on Leo in We the Living?

I don't think there's many things that can damage a person more than what a parent can do.

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I think all communist states had a similar effect to horrible parenting- life in the USSR at the best of times was like being at school, but the only country I can think of which may be despicable enough to have the same effect is totalitarian North Korea.

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Though there are some exceptions here, here, here and here (Stalin gulag pix). Not at all for the faint of heart: do not click unless you want a concretization of the damage that an evil government can do.

Mass graves are not restricted to government activities. Even so, which is worse, the government in place or the parents who teach their children that the government is good even though it creates these kinds of things?

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People’s philosophies usually come from their environment, so the way a given family raises their kids is likely to reflect their society or community. As Ayn Rand once said, the people of a free society cannot even conceive what it is like to live in a dictatorship.

Also, unless the parents keep their kids permanently locked up inside the house, their influence is tempered by peers and other adults.

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which is worse, the government in place or the parents who teach their children that the government is good even though it creates these kinds of things?
I think the 10 million mudered by the Nazis, the 20-30 million murdered by Stalin, 20 million executed under Mao's dictatorship, the 2 million slaughtered by Pol Pot's regime, the 5,000 Kurds massacred in Halabja... and vast numbers of others who I haven't listed -- would argue that those governments were worse. They would, but of course they were murdered, so they can't.
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I think the 10 million mudered by the Nazis, the 20-30 million murdered by Stalin, 20 million executed under Mao's dictatorship, the 2 million slaughtered by Pol Pot's regime, the 5,000 Kurds massacred in Halabja... and vast numbers of others who I haven't listed -- would argue that those governments were worse. They would, but of course they were murdered, so they can't.

I think you are missing the point of my question, and my original statement. Yes, these government types end up killing innocents, yes, they bring horrors upon the world. The church has also murdered millions in it's cause.

There is a trust that is established between a parent and child as the child develops. When a government abuses it's citizens, it's at the end of a gun, it's through fear of dying. When a parent abuses it's child, the worst kind of abuse isn't at the end of a gun, it's through that bond of trust, the fear that if the child doesn't accept what's taught, they will lose that trust. Parents don't threaten to kill their children like the governments do to keep order, there are much more effective and damaging methods. A government might kill you, but a parent can screw you up for life. Bad parenting leads to the thugs that those governments use to fill those mass graves.

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Unless early in his life a child is around the "government" more than his parent, I agree that the parent has a greater potential to screw a kid up. I don't think it necessarily has to be a parent, but more like a parental figure who is around a child the most.

Even still, personally I have never placed incredible importance on a parent's role in a person's life. In the end, one must decide to do everything on his own, for himself anyway, which certainly plays into the creation of terrible governments. But my parents are still and were always around and supportive, and I have received contrary judgements from people whose parents were not.

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I find this a bit puzzling: did you mean "can only screw you up emotionally". I think the fundamental question is which form of damage is worse, being emotionally conflicted or being killed.

Well, which do you consider worse, dying to try and gain freedom or living in slavery? Is there worse things then death? To me, screwing up someone's head is worse than killing them. Dead people don't suffer.

As for what I consider bad parenting, we had a discussion this weekend over the OPAR book and the three axioms, about how really, every child manages to grasp them. The question was then asked, what makes a child disregard them, why isn't the world full of rational people? That question sums up what I consider bad parenting, at least now. I had different views on it before.

Edited by Lathanar
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Just one quick question:

Do you think that horrible parenting can have the same effect on a child that the communist government had on Leo in We the Living?

Let me know if I need to elaborate on this!

It absolutely can. I won't get into specifics much, but abstractly imagine being required to work for the common good of the family. Random punishments of all types for any manner of unspecified crimes, ostrization and physical abuse for verbal dissent, intentional holding back of the able for the benefit of the less able, and not just holding back...but expressly attempting to hurt the stong for being strong and benefiting the weak for being weak often at the expense of the more able, reversal and/or removal of cause and effect ..and these are just a few things I have experienced first hand and I promise you that they have an effect on your sense of life like you wouldn't believe. I left home when I was 18 and regret not leaving at 12 or earlier.

And in reponse to the comment above that it is each person's decision to make as to how to live their life after that point, I agree to a certain extent, but when you say that, you have to realize what those decisons can mean in actuality. It could mean leaving home at a tender age with no money, no family,no friends, no support structure of any kind(economic, pychological, or otherwise). Walking 10 miles to work and back while hefting a 90lb jackhammer for all of the hours inbetween in the blazing hot texas sun for slightly above minimum wage. Begginning life in the above circumstances under a mountain of debt accrued by the improper use of your credit by your parents...I could go on and on about the "possible" repurcussions but you probably get the point. One ought to be very careful to make judgements about what someone ought to choose in those circumstances. It is very easy to say as an adult" I wouldn't put up with that" or "why would anyone stay?" But you have to put yourself in a universe like the one I describe without the benefit of half-way decent self-esteem from quasi-functional parents and the independence of mind achieved slowly over the 25+ years where many are slowly weened and simultaneously prepared for the world.

I have also personally noticed an instant report with people from bad families(who have noticed the same thing) probably not unsimiliar in many ways to soldiers who have experienced combat. It can be so horrendous an experience that description pales next to the actuality and few can even begin to comprehend it after even a very detailed real life description without having experienced it themselves.

And no, public schools in the US are not a reprieve or a beneficial influence in any way. Their impact is small to begin with by comparison to parents and that impact as many know is usually far from positive.

So, yes, you do make your own decisions in life, but those decisions are only made with regard to the world you find yourself in. In other words, your freewill begins and ends with the small sphere of your perception. The best thing I have found to do with regard to altering your sense of life when coming from this environment is to experience as much of the world as possible first hand. It changes slowly over time of course, but as your world gets bigger and life gets longer those horrid begginings become a smaller and smaller percentage of the world as you know it. The people are smaller, the events are smaller, and their impact is therefore smaller. I highly recommend the morally right choice. It is the best of all possible outcomes in those circumstances but it is not easy and it is not pleasant and I, having made that decision would not dare to criticize someone else who chose otherwise.

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Do you think that horrible parenting can have the same effect on a child that the communist government had on Leo in We the Living?

Let me know if I need to elaborate on this!

But Leo wasn't a "child," really. Doesn't that make it different?

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Well, at least it's a consistent view, and would explain your answers. What is the standard by which you judge "good" versus "bad"?

I'm trying to find one actually and constantly fret over whether I'm doing harm to my children or not. Right now my goal is simply to teach my children how to think and reason for themselves. Only time will tell if I succeed or not.

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Then, to the question: "Do you think that horrible parenting can have ...a negative... effect on a child...?",

My guess would be: yes, parenting -- whether horrible or great -- usually does have a negative or positive (respectively) "effect" on a child. On the other hand, within certain boundaries of reasonableness, I guess a child can be willful enough to resist.

Parents can effect the options a child has. They can also affect his thinking. Again, within reason, a person can overcome a previous lack of options and can change his thinking.

In terms of thinking, my guess would be that the easiest part to change is a one's explicit ethical & political ideas. A little more difficult would be changing a fundamental epistemological approach or changing some fundamental aspect of one's psychology.

Perhaps one thing the child has going for him is that the teenager-phase, where it's pretty natural to rebel.

That's my layman's view of a question that is cast in very broad terms.

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I think the worst thing a parent could possibly do to their child is teach them that it's wrong to think for themselves. Although it's possible that the child will figure out that it's actually the right thing to do, it's very unlikely, and many will not be able to, having never known how to think for themselves or that it's right. The way this would happen would be by the parent using phrases/ideas like 'because I said so' or 'children should be seen and not heard' or 'don't ask questions' or 'that's just fantasy, it's not real, so I won't play imaginary games with you.' Well, that last one would be phrased differently, but you probably get the idea.

The second worst thing a parent could probably do is instill a belief in their child that he's not worthwhile, or not a good person. This happens with stuff like 'you're doing this wrong' or 'you're being bad' rather than saying 'don't you think this way might work better' or 'that's not a good thing for you to do because ...'; basically, it's much better for the child's self-esteem if you keep the focus on his actions rather than the child. This is especially important when you're frustrated or upset because it's a lot easier to say things you'll regret, and you really can't take those back. Saying 'I didn't mean it when I said you're a loser/idiot/[insert personal insult], I'm sorry' won't bring back the self-esteem the child has lost.

I am, of course, excluding insanity or physical abuse- I'm talking about rational people who are trying to be good parents and not succeeding.

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We the living is the last book of AR I have left to read.

It just so happens I have a fantastic example of bad parenting.

This morning I was minding my own business lecturing on the immune system of all things to my class. A fairly random comment was brought up from a currently pregnant 22 year old. She states that her friends child at home who is 4 years of age has been suffering from bronchitis for that last six months. She wanted to know what this person could do to help her child other then the obvious and current treatment of antibiotics she received from her initial ER visit, and the following visit to the "free" clinic .

Not even thinking I asked the obvious, does the child come into contact with allergens, something like cigarette smoke? She looked at me and paused, and said "Yes she smoke, but that isn't the problem, besides I (oops she slipped here) never do it in the same room, or usually anyways".

I explained to her what smoke does to the mucus lining etc and she of course just got quite. Someone else in class piped in that smokers are getting a raw deal now, and that our parents parents smoked etc during pregnancy.

I agreed stating it would be nice if we had to take a parenting test in order to have kids and the smoker question would be on it.

The same girl who posed the question then said that "Who has the right to tell another person they can or cant have kids"

"I do if I'm paying the health care bills"

Not the PC response but its amazing the degenerates having litters.

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