The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 22, 2013

Controlling children can be harmful

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I am writing again to complain about the syndicated columnist John Rosemond who never fails to disappoint my parental sensibilities. In his last column, “It’s not too early to toilet train your son,” Mr. Rosemond was responding to a woman whose 18-month-old son was kicking her when she changed his diaper although he did not do this when his father or grandfather changed his diaper. Mr. Rosemond advised her to immediately begin potting training because of this willful behavior, contemptuous of the idea that a child needed to be physically ready for toilet training.

On the contrary, it is glaringly obvious to me that the woman is hurting her son’s very sensitive private area and he’s letting her know in the only language God gave him to communicate. Children are not born with adult skills. They communicate through behavior and it is up to the parent to learn how to understand. I would advise her to take some instruction from her husband about how to handle her baby more sensitively. Furthermore, potty training children when they simply don’t have the muscle development to control themselves sets up the parental relationship for a life-long power struggle and the child for incredible frustration and failure.

I again protest that surely The Norman Transcript can find a better parenting expert than Mr. Rosemond whose sole approach is controlling the behavior of a child with no thought to what the child may be trying to express. I shuttered but said nothing when he recommended that a mother send her three-year-old to bed after dinner, banished from family contact for the rest of the night for some minor infraction that had occurred earlier in the day. I was appalled but mute when he recommended recently that the solution to problems in the schools was a public shaming to improve learning skills and whacking a child in the back of the head with a yardstick to improve posture. His advice centers on coldly controlling a child in a way that is actually hurtful, exhibiting no focus on the emotional needs of the child. I believe The Transcript could find a parenting columnist who could balance his or her advice with some empathy toward the child.

FRANCES WHITE

Norman

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