The Norman Transcript

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November 7, 2013

Counterproductive parenting is not beneficial to children

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Second, they want to be liked by their kids. They act, therefore, as if the parent-child relationship is peer-to-peer. When they speak to their children, they bend down, grab their knees (i.e., getting down to their kids’ level, which is what some magazine article told them to do), and ask their kids for cooperation…ending with “OK?” They look and even sound like their asking the king for a favor. In effect, the superior in the relationship is the child.

Why do parents act in this absurd, counterproductive fashion? Because they believe capital letters mean something. People with capital letters after their names — mental health professionals, mostly — injected toxic theory into parenting in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and it lives on.

Take, for example, Swedish psychologist Kajsa Loenn-Rhodin, one of the authors of a Swedish parenting course called “All Children in the Centre.” Says Loenn-Rhodin, “If you want a child to cooperate, the best way is to have a close relationship so the child will want to cooperate with you.”

As do most child mental health “experts,” Loenn-Rhodin proposes that relationship leads to cooperation. Maybe between coworkers, neighbors, spouses and Army privates it does, but not between General and private, CEO and employee or parent and child. Parents should expect nothing less than obedience and reflect the expectation in their body language (relaxed, not threatening) and speech (straightforward, brief, and lacking “OK?”) Parents who expect less than obedience will get less than obedience.

Why should children obey? Because it’s in their best interest, that’s why. This is about the welfare of children, not parents. The best research into parenting outcomes finds, and conclusively so, that the more obedient the child, the happier the child.

But then, one doesn’t need research to know that.

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parent questions at rosemond.com.

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