Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Europe, the indulgent parent

A friend who works with troubled families gave me permission to print the following:

I can't help but draw a parallel between the parenting issues I teach and the recent rioting. Very often when a child has an over-reaction to a reasonable rule or request the parent begins to doubt her (or his) own rule. The parent often begins to see the rule itself as unreasonable. In addition, parents are often so reluctant to deal with another tantrum that they avoid imposing this, and other rules disliked by the child, again. Ultimately this means that fear of the child's bad behavior controls the parent and the negative behavior is rewarded and reinforced. A pattern is established. The parallel between Islamists in Europe is obvious. They chose to live in Europe and consequently they must abide by Europe's rules, laws, and mores. Freedom of the press is one of Europe's rules yet Europe acts like a timid and hesitant parent afraid to enforce it due to fear of its oppositional, angry and emotionally disturbed kid. As with parenting, inconsistent enforcement of rules, unclear rules, and empowering out-of-control kids while abdicating parenting authority and leadership leads to disaster. In my experience, parents who loose control of their kids in this way are almost always trying to be nice and understanding. They negotiate endlessly and want badly to be liked. Once they lay down the law the kids ultimately accept the rules and back down if the parent is clear, firm, and consistent - but the parent has to be determined or she (or he) will fail. That's because the child who encounters a passive parent who finally makes a rule, will escalate the bad behavior, testing the parent and waiting for the parent to back down and give up, as has always been the case in the past. If the parent doesn't back down but keeps on enforcing, establishing clarity and authority, boundaries and roles will finally be clear. The child may not love the rules, and may even resent them, testing them from time to time, but since the parent is consistent the child backs down, calms down, and accepts the new reality. Moslems who choose to live in democracies must accept the values and abide by the rules of the countries they live in if they wish to continue to reside in those democracies. Otherwise Europe will find itself, like so many families I have seen, led around by the intimidation, tantrums, insults and defiance of its most infantile and angry member. And it is truly irrelevant whether Moslems in Europe wish to change Europe or not. Europe must clearly convey that these are its rules. Period. Won't abide by them? Jail, deportation, crackdowns, increased security, and the press saying whatever it damn well pleases about Islam.
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