As a psychology teacher and Marine Corps veteran, its clear to see that military discipline and developmental psychology are truly tracked together. Regardless of the scuttlebutt, or rumors, the Ribbon Creek incident and the 1991 video showing Marines earning their ¨blood wings¨ are nowhere near acceptable forms of individual behavior modification according to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, Article 93, Cruelty and Maltreatment.
In the civilian world, legislators and international governments are taking a very serious stance to corporal punishment like spanking and physical manhandling. In fact, many member nations of the Council of Europe have made corporal punishment illegal.
There is clear scientific research to support the negative effects of physical abuse in sociology and psychology . According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children who are beaten by their parents tend to perpetuate the same parenting style on their offspring. Additionally, children who are punished physically tend to have lower self-esteem, tend to bully others and possess some antisocial behaviors.
The Marine Corps has spend years modifying their discipline style to create better, initiative-driven warfighters who aren’t afraid to make mistakes. Consider the following tips for parenting your own children that come from my observations of corporals and sergeants who have molded positive, effective Marines under their watch:
Make sure that you are clear and constant with your rules and reward systems. Any whiff of unfairness or ¨because I said so¨ has the high likelihood of sedition or rebellion in the future. If you have to modify your rules, explain to your children the situation in a calm manner why there needs to be a rule change. If the situation permits, have your children collaborate on future rules. Even if your children tend to say ¨whatever, dad, ¨ state the rule change and ask ¨do you see any problems that I may not have noticed?¨
Drawing people’s attention away from negative behavior in a sneaky way can also be effective. It’s not easy and calls for more dedication than spanking (but who said raising children was easy?) If you have toddlers, draw them from crayons on walls to a more appropriate toy that you and your child can play with. Nothing means more than attention and quality time with grown ups. It’s their way of reading how much you want to play a role in their lives.
Public Formal Reward
One of the highlights every month was standing in formation and watching as Marines were recognized by their commanding officers for promotion or special awards. It was even more rewarding when I was one of those Marines. Stickers, a night out for ice cream with the family or a sacred dry erase board describing the event your child did that was commendable can encourage your child to do great things in the future. It’s also great vicarious motivation if they have siblings or visiting friends.