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In Pakistan, according to Wikipedia, there are blasphemy laws which can even result in death.

In the USA, where I am, we have a constitutional right of free speech, which does extend to children (all constitutional rights extend to every citizen). Although there is some political and legal confusion around these rights, generally children can say nearly anything without any response from authorities.

The question is: "What (and why) are some healthy ways to control the actions of a child (young adult), when parents are not present (e.g. at school) and the child may not completely internalize the seriousness of the matter at hand?"

This question is a rephrasing of an original question, which is linked at the end of this post. The following is my consideration of the question.

If a young child is playing with something dangerous and they do not comprehend the danger, as a guardian, it's easy to overreact and cause an emotionally painful event.

One does not desire to foul a young person's fire (no matter if it is personal, political, religious, or ... in nature) with unnecessarily harsh or restrictive conditions. However, it is important that this vigour be realistic in nature. If it isn't real, it is in fact pretend and does not need to be respected.

If it is real, your child may be someone who is unafraid to speak his mind and seek real answers when presented with, in his mind, an insufficient explanation, and might be very successful in his adult life due to this.

Since the original question is a serious matter where the mother is concerned about the Pakistani law, I would suggest keeping the child at home / homeschooling until his life is no longer at risk.

I thought this was a very well formed and appropriate question, but it was closed, apparently without consideration to the seriousness of the subject. How to stop my 8 year old son from doubting and/or speaking against the existence of God?

  • I think that this still will depend on the child. I have 5 children in all and one whom I think was born with no filter and was very hard to teach any rules about appropriate talk, to a ridiculous level. She would be the one I think would be nearly impossible. I have another who is overly careful to such a degree I have no idea why he has formulated that saying certain things is improper. He gets upset if his brother tells people he is "male" while playing a game. He wants to tell no one anything ever and say nothing that might remotely be "wrong" or seen as rude. – threetimes Aug 31 '17 at 19:50
  • My point there is that one kid, I do not think I could have found a "healthy" way to control her mouth. I did all the healthy ways I could think of and even as an adult she is far less careful with what she says than she should be many times to the extent that it causes her problems socially and professionally. I was sure when she was younger she would be taken by someone. No matter what I said, she would talk to anyone, tell them nearly anything, etc. She simply would not get it and when I would tell her the danger she would say, "That makes no sense" rather than accept it was true. – threetimes Aug 31 '17 at 19:56
  • You can't control the actions of a young adult even when you are present. As long as you've informed them of the consequences you have to trust they will make their own decisions with that knowledge. – CyclotomicField Sep 4 '17 at 7:30
  • Regarding your final paragraph - that linked question was not written in a way suitable to be answered here, even after multiple attempts to edit it. The seriousness of the subject didn't come into it. – Rory Alsop Apr 3 '18 at 21:08
  • If you had thought of editing it instead, you may have improved it enough to reopen. – Rory Alsop Apr 3 '18 at 21:10
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It seems there are two issues here:

  • What is acceptable speech in a public place, and how to teach a child what that means and how to model this behavior.
  • How to balance a child's needs to learn societal legal/ethical conformance along with authentic truth-seeking and questioning.

First, if a child's life is at risk, then conformance is a pre-condition for any kind of existence. This should be presented as clearly as possible as non-negotiable, while remaining kind rather than censuring.

This is similar to a very young child's desire to run out into a busy street. They can't do that, and survive, so censuring a child's desire to "run free" or "follow their impulses" is non-negotiable.

The same is true with speech in all societies, though of course the actual danger may range from social censure to actual death.

By the way the "constitutional right of free speech" is a lot more limiting that many assume, and in fact children are not full citizens with those same rights. It is best to treat this not as a legal issue but rather as a cultural formation/childhood/developmental psychology approach.

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