From the I'm Sorry to Have to Tell You Department: Parents who say they want to raise kids who "think for themselves" are not being exactly truthful. It's a nice and very democratic thing to say, for sure, but let's face it, folks, you want your kids to think like you do. For example: If you're a liberal, you want your kids to be liberals when they grow up. Right? Right! The same is true of conservatives, libertarians, people of faith, people of no faith, and people with COEXIST bumper stickers on their cars. Furthermore, that's the way it should be. When you conceive a child, you pass along your genes. As you raise the child, you pass along your worldview. If you are not trying to pass along your worldview, then you must think your worldview isn't worth passing along, and I've yet to meet such a person.
From the Can't We All Just Get Along? Department: When I was a child, my parents repeatedly told me not to get into conversations about religion or politics. Those subjects were divisive, they said, and it is especially the case in America that people need to find common ground. My parents would not be pleased to know that their admonition fell on deaf ears. I would rather talk about matters of religion and politics than anything else (having a good deal to do with the fact that I am one of a small number of males who care nothing about sports). But I will propose that my parents, if they were still with us, would add a third item to their "don't discuss" list: parenting. Where once there was general agreement on how to raise kids, today there is little; therefore, the subject is likely to provoke conflict. Furthermore, given that such agreement is essential to perpetuating, strengthening, and constantly renewing culture, a lack of consensus concerning how American parents should be raising American children is the most divisive and dangerous of all disagreements. Comparatively speaking, disagreements over such things as climate change and health care are small potatoes.
From the Here's a Prime Example of What I'm Talking About Department: One of the questions I am most asked is "How can my spouse and I get on the same page?" The answer is simple. The reason husband and wife are not on the same page is because the two people in question are no longer husband and wife; they are mother and father to a child or children. When they began having children, they began acting as if they had taken a vow saying they would be husband and wife "until children do us part." When two married people with children function primarily as mother and father, they will view their kids through two very different sets of eyes — male and female. When they raise kids as husband and wife, they are far more likely to see their kids and their parenting responsibilities with one set of eyes. And nothing puts a more solid foundation of well-being under a child's feet than that set of circumstances.
From the It's Really Quite Simple Department: The reason a child does not do what he is told is he is not being told. Instead, his parents are pleading, bargaining, bribing, explaining, reasoning, cajoling, encouraging, promising, threatening, and screaming. You want your kids to obey? Tell.
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Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents' questions on his website, Rosemond.com.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services