|During my childhood, my parents would occasionally remark that I was developing “some very bad habits.” They were, in fact, spot on. Looking back, I did develop a handful or two of bad habits as a child, a habit being something a person does repetitively, without thinking. That is not to say that people are not responsible for the habits they develop and foist upon the world. That may be true concerning, say, a muscle tic, but that is not the sort of habit to which my parents referred and I am now referring. The habits under discussion are emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. And they are, as my parents defined them, bad. They serve no constructive purpose.|
Psychologists assign diagnoses to the habits in question. They call them by such names as “bipolar disorder,” “schizophrenia,” “depression,” and “attention deficit disorder.” They explain these emotional, cognitive, and behavioral phenomena in terms of biological processes that have never been verified – biochemical imbalances, for example, or the equally bogus, all-purpose “brain differences.”
Since no biological explanation has been proven, the simplest explanation becomes “bad habits.” How do the habits in question get their start? Who knows? How does any bad habit get its start? The fact is that very few people can identify when and how a bad habit began. They simply begin and sometime later, they are noticed. By the time they’re noticed, they’ve strengthened to the point where getting rid of them is problematic.
The reason no psychiatric medication has ever reliably outperformed a placebo in clinical trials is because such medications are developed on the basis of theories that have no basis in proven fact. But, even though several psychiatrists have admitted that to me (quote: “We all know that nothing we tell people has ever been proven”), psychiatric medications continue to be prescribed because of the incredible profits they generate. Furthermore, as research has determined, placebos work. The problem is that the sanctioned placebos in question have bad side effects and cost lots of money.
The point of this treatise is to say that the process of disciplining a child is all about preventing him from developing bad habits and motivating him to replace bad habits he has already developed with good habits. It’s really that simple. When discipline fails, the ever-increasing likelihood is that the child in question will become the subject of a psychological evaluation, performed by a person who believes in things that just ain’t so.