OVER-CONTROL

Summary

There is a happy medium that should be sought for in the amount of control which parents or teachers should exercise over the behavior of the child. The goals of good character and worthy citizenship will not be reached by either too much or too little control.

Principles

1. Too much control is as bad as too little.

To direct the child's development without hindering it by undue control should be the study of both parent and teacher. Too much management is as bad as too little. Ed. 288

2. To go so far as to "break the will" of a child is a terrible mistake. Minds are constituted differently; while force may secure outward submission, the result with many children is a more determined rebellion of the heart. Even should the parent or teacher succeed in gaining the control he seeks, the outcome may be no less harmful to the child (Ed. 288).

3. The one who trains children to submit unthinkingly is like the trainer of an animal who becomes mind, judgment, an will for the beast.

The discipline of a human being who has reached the years of intelligence should differ from the training of a dumb animal. The beast is taught only submission to its master. For the beast, the master is mind, judgment, and will. This method, sometimes employed in the training of children, makes them little more than automatons. Mind, will, conscience, are under the control and another. It is not God's purpose that any mind should be thus dominated. Those who weaken or destroy individuality assume a responsibility that can result only in evil. Ed. 288

4. Children subjected to over-control, when released from it, may give themselves up to ruinous indulgence.

While under authority, the children may appear like will-drilled soldiers; but when the control ceases, the character will be found to lack strength and steadfastness. Having never learned to govern himself, the youth recognizes no restraint except the requirement of parents or teacher. This removed, he knows not how to use his liberty,....

5. Children who are over-controlled by force or rear, are seldom prepared for the stern responsibilities of life.

Those parents and teachers who boast of having complete control of the minds and wills of the children under their care, would cease their boasting, could they trace out the future lives of the children who are thus brought into subjection by force or through fear. These are almost wholly unprepared to share in the stern responsibilities of life. When these youth are no longer under their parents and teachers, and are compelled to think and act for themselves. They are almost sure to take a wrong course, and yield to the power of temptation. They do not make this life a success, and the same deficiencies are seen in their religious life. 3T 133, 134.

6. Although complete control or over-control may produce certain short-range results, such as keeping order in the classroom, the probable future outcome of such training must be considered as of greater importance.

Could the instructors of children and youth have the future result of their mistaken discipline mapped our before them, they would change their plan of education. That class of teachers who are gratified that they have almost complete control of the wills of their scholars, are not the most successful teachers, although the appearance for the time being may be flattering. 3T 134

7. The outcome of severe training without a parallel development of self control is likely to produce a person weak in both mental and moral power.

The severe training of youth, without properly directing them to think and act for themselves as their own capacity and turn of mind will allow, that by this means they may have growth of thought, feelings of self-respect, and confidence in their own ability to perform, will ever produce a class who are weak in mental and moral power. FE 17

8. The person who tries to have the individuality of his pupils merged in his, and to control their reason, judgment, and conscience, is assuming too much responsibility.

He who seeks to have the individuality of his scholars merged in his own, so that reason, judgment, and conscience shall be subject to his control, assumes an unwarranted and fearful responsibility. FE 58

9. It is possible for parents to command and dictate too much.

There is danger of both parents and teachers commanding and dictating too much, while they fail to come sufficiently into social relation which their children or scholars. FE 18

10. Iron rule and set rules are alike dangerous.

There are many families of children who appear to be well trained, while under the training discipline; but when the system which has held them to set rules is broken up, they seem to be incapable of thinking, acting, or deciding for themselves. These children have been so long under iron rule, not allowed to think an act for themselves in those things in which it was to move out upon their own judgment, having an opinion of their own. And when they go out from their parents to act for themselves, they are easily led by others's judgment in the wrong direction. They have not stability of character. They have not been thrown upon their own judgment as fast and as far as practicable, and therefore their minds have not been properly developed an strengthened. They have so long been absolutely controlled by their parents that they rely wholly upon them; their parents are mind and judgment for them. 3T 132, 133

11. In place of too rigid control the parent should try to develop judgment, independence, and self-confidence in the child.

There are many families of children who appear to be well trained, while under the training discipline; but when the system which has held them to set rules is broken up, they seem to be incapable of thinking, acting, or deciding for themselves. These children have been so long under iron rule, not allowed to think an act for themselves in those things in which it was to move out upon their own judgment, having an opinion of their own. And when they go out from their parents to act for themselves, they are easily led by others's judgment in the wrong direction. They have not stability of character. They have not been thrown upon their own judgment as fast and as far as practicable, and therefore their minds have not been properly developed an strengthened. They have so long been absolutely controlled by their parents that they rely wholly upon them; their parents are mind and judgment for them. 3T 132, 133

12. Do not restrain the young with rules so rigid as to be oppressive an cause insubordination and folly.

Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed, and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. CT 335

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