There are many debates going on today about how children should be best raised. There are many theories and many "experts" try to invent all kinds of methods. How about just taking our cue from nature once again?
Let's talk about how cats care for their kittens. When kittens are first born, the mother cat takes care of every aspect of her kittens' care. She nurses them almost constantly, and after the infant period, she continues to nurse them for shorter and shorter periods until they voluntarily stop nursing. If they are taken away from their mothers too soon, they will find something to simulate nursing on. I have had two cats that did this, even on into adulthood. When they were in my lap, they would start sucking on the edge of my shirt, or on my arm or neck. No matter how old they got, they still wanted to do this because they found it comforting. Human infants nurse not only for nourishment but for emotional stability. So they should not be stopped too soon. They should be allowed to nurse until they voluntarily stop. In general, it is a good principle to follow that you should not push a child to move to the next stage of development before they are ready. They need to decide on their own that they are ready to give up vestiges of the former stage of development because they have been emotionally filled and are ready to progress.
Kittens cannot retract their claws for several weeks, and they are not too steady on their feet, so you may find that they stick their claws into you a litttle more often than you'd like. When they nurse, you will see them kneading the mother with their claws, but you never see the mother complain about this or try to stop them. You will see the mother starting to teach the kittens little lesons about life, but you will not see her punishing them if they don't get it, she just shows them again and again. If the kittens are someplace that might be dangerous for them, you will see the mother pick them up by the scruff of the neck and move them somewhere else. You will not see the mother hurt the kittens in any way to get them to change their behavior. If they are doing something that bothers her, the mother just meows at them to stop or pushes them away slightly, or gets up and moves away from them. She does not act in a hostile way towards them. In humans, this would correspond with the skills of modeling and redirection. If your child is doing something you don't want him to do, redirect him to another activity without fussing at him that he shouldn't be doing what he was doing. If there is something you want him to do, show him how through modeling, not by threatening him with punishment if he doesn't do it. Always accept your children as they are rather than shaming or blaming them because they are not how you want them to be.
At six to eight weeks of age, the kittens are almost weaned because they have now started to become more interested in sibling play. This is where they practice their social and hunting skills. through playing games. Rarely does mother interfere in this, unless the kittens are in danger. She allows them to learn from experience almost all the time. This is the best way to learn. Indeed, human parents spend far too much time trying to prevent their children from making mistakes, and then punishing them for making them.
Jean Liedoff's research which lead to her book "The Continuum Concept" showed that our expectations of children influence their abilities. As she lived in the village, and watched the native mothers care for their children, it became evident that the native mothers knew more about their children than we do about ours. The mothers would sit around and chat, and let their babies crawl here and there. There was a huge pit or hole in the ground near where the babies were crawling, but the mothers never showed any concern. The babies would crawl up to the hole, sit on the edge, dangle their feet over, and crawl away, all without any concern from the mothers. Liedoff said that in all the time she was there, no baby ever fell in the hole. They were aware of it, and so were the mothers, but no attempt to restrain their freedom was made, and no accidents occurred.
There is a principle of the Law of Attraction that is true for working with children as well: "What you focus on, you get more of." If a child is doing something you don't want him to do, harping at him about how he should stop doing it is only accoplishing one thing...assuring that it will happen more. By focusing on wht you don't want him to do, you are attracting that very thing. Focus more on what you DO want, and you will attrct that instead. For example, if your child is banging a hammer against the table, instead of telling him how wrong he is to do it, how about approaching it from a positive, redirection standpoint. Say "Son, I know how much you like to paint with watercolors. Would you like to paint with me now?" He iwll stop what he is doing without any fussing and you have successfully redirected him to something else. If he says no, he doesn't want to paint, try something else. "I'd like you to choose another activity now. What would you like to do?" Or, you can use a Three Part I-Message to express your feelings to him. "When I hear that hammer hitting the table, it hurts my head, and makes me feel sick. How about we find something more fun to do? You can choose the activity." You have told him how the hammering is affecting you, and you have done it without blaming or shaming him, and you have given him the opportunity to choose a special activity, and to spend time with you, which is the most important thing. Most of all, you have stopped the objectionable behavior without a power struggle, yelling, punishment, or making him feel disrespected. You have led by example. You have modeled helpful behavior. Like the mama cat, you have redirected your young one successfully.