When it comes to most libertarians it is easy to acknowledge that we, in general, dislike those who believe they have some kind of authority over us. We generally don't want other people telling us what to do and how to live our lives. We often say that we just want to be left alone so that we as individuals can best choose our path, regardless if it is a good path or not.
Most people would agree with this, libertarian or not, but the subject of individuality and no authority often becomes mute when the issue is raising children. Most of my friends are completely shocked when I mention that I have zero intentions of spanking my children as discipline. They usually say that this type of discipline is effective and necessary. It might very well be effective but is it necessary for raising well behaved children? I believe the answer is no.
Now I'll be the first to admit that my experience is very limited in this regard since I have no children of my own. I also have trouble following my own rules at times. I don't think this detracts from the message though.
As rampant is the problem of children who don't listen, constantly misbehave, and even hit others it is usually said it's the lack of a good spanking these days. Back in the day when you got out of hand it wasn't taboo to get a good whack to be set straight. But is this the only way to get children to be good?
Even if it was is it justified in a libertarian mindset? Again I think the answer is no.
What exactly are you doing when you decide to discipline your children in such ways? In my mind you're doing exactly the opposite of what your true beliefs are. Even those who are not libertarians it is acknowledged that initiating violence is wrong and a peaceful world is usually wanted.
How can you possibly try to teach your children that violence is bad with the very use of violence? How can you teach your children that they are individuals and no person has a higher power of them other than themselves when you use power over them?
People wonder why the use of violence is so prevalent in our society. As children we are raised knowing violence can stop bad behavior. We know that someone can claim higher power than ourselves over us. So it follows that later in life the use of violence is not that big of a deal.
Raise your children so that they know initiating violence is always the wrong choice. (Self-defense is not initiating violence it is instead responding to the initiation of violence.) We can't possibly have a world with peace without teaching that peace is the answer.
How do you go about disciplining bad behavior then? Children do not act out because we want to discipline them, it seems that in their learning environment they are merely trying to find out what they can do. This is definitely something I do not have an answer to since I don't have children of my own. I found this short post to be something I'd like to follow in the future.
I'd like to add something I've thought about and something I might try as well in the future. It seems as us capitalists we realize that certain actions lead to reward and others to failures, and some actions have a risk that lead to an uncertain future. This is something I'd like to teach my children. Learning from an early age that doing good isn't good for me as a parent but good for the child. It seems to me that it would follow later in life with grades and the like that they can find out that good grades and such are good for them, not necessarily just because I want to see good grades as a parent, but because they're conscious choices that lead to better outcomes.
Why not allow for a profit loss incentive for children? It would help them understand that their choices have consequences, some good some bad. I don't connect this with bribing your children for goodies though.
Maybe I'm wrong, but that will be for me to find out and adapt my situation for the better of my future children.
We can't have peace when we teach violence and we won't have violence when we teach peace.