It’s time for parents to get their heads out of the ’60s
By John Rosemond
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the 1960s to be over and donewith. That destructive decade has ruled American parenting for 40 yearsand pretty well ruined it in the process.
Before the ’60s, parents sought child rearing advice from their elders.
Since then, parents have sought advice from a professional class — whichis to say, people like me. Courtesy of Dr. Joyce Brothers (Spock hadnothing to do with it, really) we so-called “experts” were able toconvince the American parent of a truly absurd proposition: to wit, thata 35-year-old who possesses a graduate degree in child psychology, hasbeen married for five years and has one child, age 2, knows more aboutchildren and how to raise them properly than an 85-year-old woman whonever finished the eighth grade but who raised 10 kids into successfuladulthoods. Like I said, absurd.
I was driving (creeping is more like it) down the 405 in Los Angeles theother day, getting really worked up about all this. Instead of roadrage, which is justifiable in Los Angeles, I was having an attack ofpsychobabble rage. I started thinking about the really dumb things thebabblers began telling parents in the 1960s. Take, for example,”children need to be able to freely express their feelings.” In 1969,when Willie and I became parents, we believed that. It took three yearsfor us to snap out of it, but by then our first child ruled our familywith his habit of freely and loudly expressing his feelings whenever wefailed to obey him.
It took a while, but I finally realized that children should not beallowed to freely express anything. The natural inclination of the childis anti-social, narcissistic. Children believe that what they want,they deserve to have, and because they deserve it, the ends justify themeans. Tyrants believe the same thing. Therefore, children are tyrantsby nature. Give a tyrant/child an inch, and the tyrant/ child willdemand a mile.
Parents show their love for their neighbors by forcing their children tosubdue their “inner bullies” and show respect for the needs of others.And yes, force is required. You cannot talk a child into giving up hisdelusions of grandeur and omnipotence. Once force has succeeded increating a child who will give his parents his undivided attention, thenand only then can his parents teach. Force is the horse that pulls thecart of teaching. And before the child abuse zealots go nuts, allow meto clarify: I ain’t talking about spanking (although I am not completelyeliminating the option, either). The most effective parenting force isapplied calmly, but with steely resolve.
Just as a child should learn that certain behavior is inappropriate tocertain situations, a child should learn that the expression of certainfeelings is inappropriate to certain situations. Children should learnthat it is just plain wrong to get angry when one loses a game, laughwhen someone else trips or cry when one doesn’t get one’s way. Just as achild’s behavior must be disciplined, so must a child’s feelings.
So must a child’s thinking. Children should learn that certain thoughtsare correct and other thoughts are wrong. After all, wrong thinkingleads almost inevitably to wrong behavior. On all three counts —behavior, feelings and thinking — parents need to be unequivocal. Theyneed to make themselves perfectly clear what they expect and what theywill not tolerate.
Yes, American parents need to wake up from the 1960s, take the flowersout of their hair, roll up their shirtsleeves and get back to the workof raising good citizens, defined simply as people who would ratherserve than be served, people with more other-esteem than self-esteem.
Now there’s some change I could really believe in.
Now you can follow me on Kindle.