Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


By Domenick J. Maglio, PhD. Traditional Realist

Parents have taken permissiveness to the next level. Too many modern parents feel they want their child to be free to do whatever he desires at any moment. This is accomplished by the parent thinking of every conceivable dangerous feature in the house and then making it safe for the child to explore. It involves rounding off corners, covering up electrical plugs, storing remotes outside the reach of the child and making sure furniture is immovable and stable. All glass windows have to be impact windows so as not to shatter.

This child proofing the home idea is not good for the child’s although it may make it easier for the parents. Parents would never have to say no since the child’s physical safety has been ingeniously provided but the child’s social, emotional health has been ignored. Other authority figures will eventually handle these difficult issues. They will be responsible to say ‘no” to the child and absorb the child’s anger. The parents will be isolated from the child’s anger as long as they acquiesce to the child’s every demand. 

This child rearing approach excuses a parent from taking the time and energy that prepares the child to learn appropriate limits to functioning wisely. In the short term it may be in the parent’s interest but certainly is not in the child's as it leaves the child with gaping inadequacies and less than civilized.

A child needs to be taught how to deal with different environments not only for his and other's safety but to learn what is appropriate in different situations. He should not
throw around objects and act wild when visiting the homes of family and friends. Not only could he hurt himself or others but would appear to be out of control.

The lack of parent training in listening, speaking, obeying and establishing parameters in this modern culture could be initially passed off by the parent as an immature child. In due time this persistent developmentally delayed behavior will be interpreted as annoying and disruptive behavior. Others will see it as the child having a mental disorder. Rarely would the parent be seen as the culprit.

In reality it is parental malfeasance that goes undetected in our modern culture. The inability or unwillingness to say "no" to a child is an abusive act. Children need to learn what they should not do, more than doing what they want to do. Many things we might want to do could adversely affect others and might even be illegal. Narcissistic and anti-social personalities are not the types of people parents should want to develop. Yet this is what they are doing.

In a stable nation people have to abide by society’s moral and social code of behavior. An individual is not free to transgress against the freedom of others.  One person’s rights end where another's begins. All of us are obliged to respect the rights of others or suffer legal consequences. In an orderly society no one can take another’s property without his permission.
Children need to be taught limits to act appropriately to be successful. They cannot take another child’s toy just because they decide to. They cannot assault someone just because they feel like doing it.

The word “no” has to be taught to “child proof” him for the realities of life.  Someone has to say no and then follow it with a consequence.  The person then has to follow up the child’s behavior on numerous occasions to catch him in dangerous or abusive actions.  This repetitive correcting establishes a better behavior pattern. The child becomes more thoughtful and inhibited in attempting annoying or disruptive behavior.

The person who plays the role of teaching the child the word “no” means to stop and listen has given the child the gift of learning about the world from an adult perspective. “No” is an essential ingredient in raising a normal child.

Child proofing a house is giving a child license to be a self-absorbed lunatic. This insane child proofing of the house does not do anything to prepare a child to deal with reality appropriately to become a successful person.

Dr. Maglio is an author and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


Blogger Jason Brazinski said...

Where I normally enjoy and agree with 99% of what you write and express I think your opinion on this matter is misguided at best and irresponsible at worst. You mention items that are designed and functional at preventing children from getting seriously hurt BEFORE THEY CAN UNDERSTAND THE WORD NO. As a 17 year Captain/Firefighter/Paramedic I've seen the unfortunate examples of what can happen when the most responsible of parents turn their back for the slightest of time on a young toddler. As a father of two children (6 and 2) my wife and I have no problem whatsoever with the word no and teaching our children. It is also our responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment to learn these life lessons. There is nothing "insane" in preventing an electrocution or crush injury to a small child. No parental malfeasance involved if we can prevent severe facial deformity, blindness, or head injuries that may occur from sharp corners or glass when a fun loving 18 month old goes running through the living room even as his/her parents say stop. What I think we have here is a great message with a very poor illustration. No disrespect intended.

6:42 PM  
Blogger chrissy bauman said...

the gate around the pool and the tabs in the electrical sockets aren't there to stop the child from being hurt, they're there to slow the child down so an adult can run over and scoop them up. you have obviously never seen a child with an electrical burn before, i assure you, that kind of thing can happen even to the most responsible of parents. equating childproofing a house with the inability to say no is a logical fallacy, the two are not related. unless you happen to have an uncited, large-sample study? i didn't think so.
you run a montessori school? when i was young, i begged my parents to send me to the montessori school. and they said, "NO."

7:12 AM  

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