To let a child know that they are unconditionally loved, wanted and accepted means automatically that no behavior on their part will ever break that bond. Once a child is thoroughly bonded in that sense - they want to do what the parent wants them to do. And if they sense if what they want to do is acceptable by their parent, then anything the parent asks of them is equally acceptable. The same reciprocation that we spoke of a while ago of which are awakening in the parent the intelligence to then awaken in the child intelligence itself. That same reciprocation carries through. Children who are thoroughly bonded in this sense never want to disobey. To disobey is the equivalent of breaking the bond. Their whole life is a single bond with their world and their family. To break it is tantamount to death. The last thing they want to do is disobey.
In my third book, “Magical Child” I made the outlandish statement that no child ever willfully disobeys, they’re driven into what we call disobedience by conflicting demands on the part of their society and nature. And so only if they’re driven to these positions where there’s no out, these double bind situations continually, then we finally have what we would call disobedience. Then once they sense that the bond is broken and that they’ve been rejected and outcast, from then on you have a totally different ballgame. Then you have warfare.
So if the parents are obeying the child, in a sense, it is critically important that the child obeying the parent, then that reciprocation can never be denied. And it’s been denied today in fundamentalist circles particularly. There is no reciprocation. It all comes from the parent. And that child must be, in effect, beaten into submission. You must break the child’s will. That’s a very common term now. You must break the child’s will in order that some theoretical higher will be done. This, of course, the child interprets as massive rejection and it builds in them a great deal of resentment.
If we are seriously bonded to the child, that is, we’re picking up the child’s cues on many different levels, and the child is picking up from us on many different levels, if that kind of reciprocal understanding and awareness is there, the child will always move to maintain that bond. They always want to do the right thing. They do not to be censored. They don’t want to be punished. They don’t want to be outcast. They don’t want to be rejected.
This goes back to our most ancient days. They don’t want to be Saber-Tooth Tiger’s lunch either. They want to remain in the safe place. The safe space is the space of nurturing of the heart, the safe space of the nurturing caretaker and caregiver. They want to be in that space. They don’t want to be excommunicated from it. So they want to do the right thing. That means following the parent’s directives.
On the other hand they have to follow nature’s directives also. They’ve got to explore their world. They’ve got to build a structure of knowledge of it in the neural system of the brain and so forth and so on. Now Jean Leidloff and others have found in some preliterate societies there’s never restraint of the child’s behaviors. Why, because they don’t have a preconceived idea of how a child should behave, that they hold us as a prism for which they’re watching the actions of the child. This child picks up. They perceive this as unquestioned acceptance of themselves as who they are. As a result of that then this reciprocation again, whatever the parent asked them to do it’s impossible for them to do anything else other than that because that’s part of the reciprocal agreement. They accepted the questioning by their parent. They accept the parent in the same unquestioned early standpoint.
So if the parent can say do this, it would be the last thing on the earth to think of not doing it. That’s what they want to do because they find that all the joy, all the juice of life is in that reciprocal relationship with another. And so, as a result they would never demand that the other simply which is out of keeping with their relationship either. So we find that these children in such societies as the Ocana in South America, have no word for disobedience, nor can they understand the concept of disobedience because the child simply is always simply being a child. How does the child behave? The way a child behaves. They’re not behaving according to some book or parent’s criteria. They’re behaving from the reciprocal interaction with another person and that reciprocal interaction, back and forth, one never moves against the well-being of the other. Everything moves through the well-being of the situation.
Now that sounds like utter nonsense. But you find that the child never restrained – never needs restraint. The child not brought up under thou shall do this or else, or shall not do that or else, never brought up under any of that, always does what is socially acceptable because it’s the way of maintaining the bond. So maintaining the bond is vastly more powerful because it operates on many different levels; intuitive, subtle, psychological, physical, biological, the heart, the heart’s electromagnetic field, all these different levels are involved, not just some words here on the surface.