Published On: Sat, Apr 5th, 2014

Mom, You Are Stupid!

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On my way home last night I stopped at an OXXO to buy a few things. As I stood waiting for the cashier, I heard a child crying and screaming. I turned to see a young lady behind me with an embarrassed look on her face.  She had just told her son “no” to whatever it was he wanted her to buy, and the kid, upset by her refusal, called his mom “stupid “.

I could not help but feel sorry for this woman, who had done nothing to deserve this level of abuse from her son.  Nevertheless, she administered no punishment, just a timid smile and the candy to shut him up.

I started thinking about this new generation of parents who do not believe in spanking when it’s justified – for them, spanking is never justified, yet they intend to raise children who will be able to distinguish right from wrong by using words that have little impact on them because of their lack of maturity.  The reason is simple:

According to American physician and neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean, the human brain consists of three parts that work independently.  Each part has its own “nature”, its own sense of space-time, and its own memory among other functions. These three “brains” are the reptilian, the limbic, and the neocortex, interconnected at the neuronal and biochemical level, each controlling different functions of our body and our thought processes and learning.

Reptilian-Limbic-Neocortex

Reptilian-Limbic-Neocortex

The reptilian brain regulates involuntary bodily functions and is responsible for the most primitive part of our reflexes. It does not harbor thoughts, feelings or emotions, it simply executes. To this we owe blinking, breathing, body temperature, thirst, hunger and reproductive drives, just to name a few.

On the next level we have the limbic system, which stores our memories and controls our emotions. This is considered to be the basis of emotional memory and its functions such as fear, anger, love and/or friendship among others.

Finally, at the highest level, we have the neocortex or “rational brain,” which allows us to develop abilities such as memory, concentration, insight, problem solving, and the ability to choose the appropriate behavior at the right time, both on a physiological and emotional level.  Generally speaking, the reptilian and the limbic are known as the “unconscious emotional brain”, while the neocortex is known as the “conscious rational brain.”

brain21

Back at the OXXO, if I had called my mother stupid, her answer would have been a good spanking or slap that would have been stored in my first and second brain, the unconscious emotional. The next time my mother told me “no,” something would trigger in my mind, and before I could even consider causing trouble, my second brain, the limbic, would remember the past correction, and the reptile brain would act accordingly.  In other words, there would be no fit or temper tantrum, and the word “stupid” would not pass my lips.  Why?  Well, because I know how the story ends, there is a strong likelihood it will not be repeated.  And when I am grown up, reason will kick in and it will be perfectly clear to me why my mother acted that way.

Now, if my mother had acted like the woman at the OXXO, a link would have been created between my tantrum and me getting my way, because the tantrum would have been reinforced by the candy.  Thereby, a pattern of absolute selfishness and usually very little empathy will be created.

Unfortunately, we currently see a strong pattern in this generation of parents:  “I do not believe in attacking my children,” “I do not believe that violence is a form of education.” And they are absolutely right, because you can educate firmly without aggression and violence.  How wrong are those parents who confuse the one with the other!

Today we see a generation that has moved away from those values ​​that were instilled by our parents.  Some young people today call their parents friends by their first names.  Very few remain courteous to older people, calling them “Sir or Madam” and not to mention giving up their seat to a lady who is standing.

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What world awaits our children? A world ruled by force where you are treated for what you have and not what you are? If so, I think I would prefer to go live on an island in the middle of nowhere.

For those who say: “It is values that are missing” my response is, no, values ​​have not gone anywhere. They are there for those who want to use them.  It is up to the parents to instill those values in their children.

I ask the readers: What would your parents have done if you had shouted “Stupid” to one of them?  When I listen to parents who say, “It’s just that I’m friends with my children,” it makes me laugh because they haven´t realized something extremely important:  Children need PARENTS, guides and examples.  They already have friends… and you’re not one of them.

By José E. Urioste-Palomeque

Mexico Travel Care

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  1. Excellent article Jose. Extremely well written, and you really supported your points with FACTS. I loved it.

  2. Interesting that you think being slapped by a parent results in a “subconcious emocional” response. If you were spanked, as you say, then do you not remember the burn of the shame and humiliation you felt? Not humiliation at being caught in some mis-deed, but the humiliation of being hit by the ones supposed to love you most? I do, and let me asure you, it was quite “concious.”
    I am in no way condoning the mother’s behavior in OXXO, but the child’s lack of respect is much deeper a problem. The child needs parenting! And this can be accomplished in many ways without hitting.
    What I understand your article to say is basically this…If you do not spank/slap your children, they will be little monsters, ill behaved, without respect and without manners. As a mother of two generally well-behaved children, I am happy to dissagree with you. And I have NEVER hit, spanked, or slapped them.
    I would just ask you this one question: would it be ok for my husband, my friend, a stranger, to hit ME, an adult, when I am out of line? Why is it ok to hit a child? Are we really so anxious to release our frustration, anger, or embarrassment at a child’s wrong choices that we find a slap on the bum such a better alternative to parenting? To kneeling down and looking the child in the face, like a person, and speak to them?
    And, with all due respect, you, the grown up, called this mother “stupid,” just like the child. So I guess you didn’t learn the lesson of respect when you were spanked after all. 😉

    • Maria says:

      Linde, nowhere in this article did the author call this mother “stupid”. In fact, there was no reference like that at all. He showed great empathy and compassion for the mother in the Oxxo. I think you should read the article again and maybe edit your response. Many things in this article are so true. This younger generation seem to have lost their empathy and compassion for others. This is taught by parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and others around them. We were raised, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Be kind, be respectful and yes, we occasionally received a crack on the behind. It got our attention. It did not “damage” us. Moderation is always good! 🙂

  3. Kristina says:

    I am curious to know if the author has conducted or reviewed any research on child psychology and/or discipline methods and their long-term outcomes. It appears not.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend spanking because it has been linked to aggressive behavior in adolescents and adults, it provides an increased risk of mental illness, and is simply the most ineffective form of “discipline” there is. (AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, “Guidance for Effective Discipline.”) It simply doesn’t work. It may stem or alter a behavior *in a given situation* and under certain circumstances, but it does nothing to shape the heart and mind of a child. Nothing positive, anyway. How would you feel if you were hit? Kids feel the same way.

    The author demonstrats a lack of understanding of child psychology, the complex emotional world of children, and the complexities of family dynamics. Children–little humans–are not animals. Please do not hit them. They are not dogs.

    Actually, and quite ironically, most people would never dream of hitting a dog for misbehavior. Why would we treat a child with any less love and respect?

    • It is amazing how people such as yourself see letters that forms words but actually DO NOT READ what it says. It is irrelevant if the author conducted or reviewed any research on child psychology since he never said nor recommended to “spank children”.
      He stated: “Unfortunately, we currently see a strong pattern in this generation of parents: “I do not believe in attacking my children,” “I do not believe that violence is a form of education.” And they are absolutely right, because you can educate firmly without aggression and violence. How wrong are those parents who confuse the one with the other!” I agree a 100 per cent with what he said, that once again was “you can educate firmly without aggression and violence”.
      Now what is relevant and no one seems to point out is that kids that were well educated by their parents today are people of value. Ask and every one of them will tell you that their parents had discipline at home.
      You say “The author demonstrats (demonstrates perhaps?) a lack of understanding of child psychology, the complex emotional world of children, and the complexities of family dynamics. Children–little humans–are not animals. Please do not hit them. They are not dogs” but the one that “demonstrats” an absolute lack of reading capabilities is you… Maybe your parents should´ve been a bit more demanding back when you went to school and you wouldn´t be making a fool out of yourself by writing something without understanding it well.
      Sean Ian O´Leary
      New York USA

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