The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

Do we make obnoxious children?


How to avoid having obnoxious children – use discipline!

The new ideas that children can be taught to behave by using emotional abuse on them, is just shifting parents from one “abuse” to another – from physical abuse to mental abuse. How to discipline children and practise the idea of doing no harm to them, is a truly tricky problem.

I’m old fashioned, but here are some thoughts.

Small children have to learn how to behave in society. When behaving in non acceptable ways here are some options for quick and easy training taken from observing how most animals train their offspring.

First option – Distraction

Second option – NO! (in an IMPORTANT voice – with quieter explanation why not)

Third option – SMACK (followed by leaving the crime scene and offering pleasing distraction/hugs)

Do NOT  use confusing emotional abuse like –



make child sit on stairs

make child take “time out”

make child go to bed without supper

(or any other spitefulness)

In praise of smacks

A smack is instantaneous, focused, over in a flash, preemptive, and a completely understandable non verbal communication used by all animals for behaviour training.

NB –  A smack is NOT a beating.

In the Furlong household we used the “democracy” method (below) as soon as our children could understand it. In a family meeting everyone could input ideas or complaints. We had five children and two adults at out meetings. Sometimes they were quite pandamonious! Always there was lots of love, physical hugs and verbal rewarding. It worked for us. Not sure what our kids think, but they all turned out great.

See bottom of the page on Mumsnet advice sharing page (link below) for a modern person using the same idea…….

Tips for changing a specific behaviour pattern

(suitable from age two upwards)

  • Decide what behaviour you are trying to change and a reasonable target to achieve: ‘I want my child to stop using that whining voice for everything.’ ‘I want my child not to leave the table at teatime.’
  • Have a very formal family meeting. Set it up around the table, with paper and pens. Get the whole family involved (even if that means just you and your two year old). Explain that this particular behaviour is unacceptable because . . . Tell them because of that, from right now, it isn’t to happen again. Write down the aim for the family and ask everyone to sign it, even the little ones.
  • Agree the process: ‘If you whine when you want something, I won’t be able to get it for you and we’ll have to wait until you ask nicely.’ ‘When I say that tea is ready, you will sit at your place until you’ve finished your meal and then ask to get down.’
  • Agree the reward: ‘If you manage to sit at the table nicely and ask to get down when you’ve finished, then you will get a sticker on your chart or a small prize.’
  • Get them to buy in. Ask your child if he understands, then write it all on a Post-it and stick it on the fridge. You can then constantly refer to it: ‘Do you remember?’

Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.

10 thoughts on “Do we make obnoxious children?

  1. Yes, I agree with you. Time out is bullshit. A good smack does wonders, if you ask me.


  2. I sometime wish that I had never smacked my children. But no parent is perfect. I usually sent a recalcitrant child into the garden until they felt like behaving.
    I am totally opposed to physical violence of any kind, but sometime parents get exasperated. But in my experience it is only a brief loss of temper which doesn’t actually harm the child. It is much more likely to make the parent wish that they never had.

    I once took a swipe at one of mine with a wooden spoon, which was in my hand at the time, and broke it on the table which I actually hit instead of him.
    Not one of the little horrors have ever let me forget it. Do you remember, Mum, when you tried to hit Julian with a wooden spoon, and broke it?
    It remains a memory of much hilarity, for them. Me? I am ashamed.


    • After I wrote that blog, I remembered a terrible thing I did. It prompted another post coming out in a day or so. Strange thing is the person I abused doesn’t remember it. But it changed me – I STILL feel shame.


      • There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling Shame. Far from it. This is how basically kind people feel when they lose it. And we all do that from time to time.

        However, there are times when we didn’t lose it, and are left feeling that we might have done. It all depends on what you think of yourself.

        Generally, I try not to tell other people of how they have let me down. It serves no purpose, and would be unkind if I did.

        Like I said, Love. It is often what you don’t do that matters.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yep, well I do get a bit pissed off from time to time because I have spent most of my life trying not to hurt other people.
          I told my children that they could do whatever they liked, so long as they paid attention to whom they might hurt.

          I don’t think that any of my children ever hit any of their children, although I don’t actually know. I would have been right in there if I had ever seen it, and I would have torn them off a strip. The fact that I occasionally did is no bloody excuse.

          I totally despise physical violence in any shape. As I despise emotional violence. Both of which I was subjected to. But that is by the by. I survived. But then I wasn’t at all protected. I was just ever a tough old cookie.

          Just don’t ever hit your children.


        • So good your kids turned out well. I should think, modern psychology will gradually realise how emotionally abusive some of the methods they suggest are to children. A quick smack indicates to a small child that you care about what they are doing – and it’s wrong. A smack is not a punishment – its a communication. I think emotional abuse is very much worse.

          Smacking and hitting or beating are a punishment method.

          Well that’s what I think.


        • So you think that smacking is not good? Although it doesn’t really matter. It is only what you and the child thinks that actually matters. Some little horror story will see a passing clout as abuse. When in fact it was just a passing clout.
          Sorry, Kiddo, I lost my temper.

          I just know that hitting children is never going to cure anything. But I seriously cannot give myself too much of a hard time because I occasionally did.


        • I think a smack is good. Yes. A passing clout too.

          But it is not legal in many countries. THAT offends me.

          Most parents are trying their best and kids can be deviously horrid too. We are all humans after all.

          In the old days a smack was an accepted form of behaviour training by adults – after all, parents ARE the adults! I can’t see much wrong with it.

          Thanks for continuing this conversation so nicely. Interesting thoughts.


Please do comment! That's part of the fun...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s