Tooling around Michael Pearl’s No Greater Joy this morning I found this curious question that someone asked the Pearls back in 1995 about an older sibling using that quarter inch plumbing line to discipline a younger child.
“Should a mature ten-year-old be allowed to switch a two-year-old if the mother is unavailable, for example, during a temper tantrum?”
How about no? How about never?
“If a child is not old enough or mature enough to spank the younger sibling, he is not qualified to be the temporary guardian. A child should never be left in the care of one who is not trusted to assume authority to spank when needed. If you can not trust them to execute discipline, then you can not trust them to be the primary care taker of your child. If a child is ever left in the presence of one who does not have full authority, then you are allowing the child a dispensation of unrestrained rebellion. “
The mother never explains if she’s leaving the ten year old alone with the toddler in the house while she’s off running errands, or if this is one of those ‘Watch the baby I need to go hang up washing” scenarios. If we’re talking alone unsupervised for hours situation then ten years old is just too young and immature for that level of responsibility. Would you want to trust a ten year old would be able to tell if a child is acting out because they need a nap, or would they mistake it for rebellion and whale the heck out of their sibling for having needs?
Ten is too young for that level of responsibilities. They lack the judgement to determine what’s a tantrum and what’s an unmet need. It’s not good for the ten year old either. They are learning to use physical violence to force another person into capitulation, that might makes right and the cruelest person always wins. They are learning the power dynamic over those weaker than creates bullies.
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