Psychologist John Rosemond advises parents to quit fawning over kids
Forget most of the parenting advice you've heard during the past few decades. A lot of it is bunk, says bestselling author and psychologist John Rosemond.
In his new book — “Parent-Babble: How Parents Can Recover From Fifty Years of Bad Expert Advice” — Rosemond debunks what he calls several parenting myths that have been pervasive since the 1960s, and have grown worse over time. The Charlotte, N.C.-area author says that parents have been duped, and generations of kids are growing up with behavioral problems.
“I'm saying exactly that,” says Rosemond, whose syndicated column appears every Tuesday in the Tribune-Review. “The book, to a certain degree, is going to be regarded by people in my profession as something outrageous.
“I'm exposing the truth, and I'm hoping the American public realizes that this new parenting paradigm set forth in the late '60s and early '70s ... hasn't worked, and it's never going to work,” he says.
A key myth Rosemond addresses in his book is that parents should focus on helping their kid acquire high self-esteem. While kids should learn that they have value and worth, a focus on thinking highly of themselves can lead to self-centeredness, lack of concern for others and an inflated sense of their abilities, he says.
“To me, the healthiest view of oneself does not involve esteem of oneself,” Rosemond says. “The healthiest view ... offers the idea that whatever gifts one has been given, whatever challenge one has, are not to be used for self-promotion, but to be used to improve the lives of other people.
“The way to bring that out in children ... is to pay attention to other people, look for opportunities to help other people and train your children with a service mentality. This is the kind of mentality, to me, that strengthens culture.”
The negative consequences of parents who overly indulge their kids with an emphasis on high self-esteem, Rosemond says, can include lower school achievement, children who have difficulty controlling their emotions at later ages, and children who become bullies.
Sometimes, kids who are overconfident and have been told that everything they do is wonderful actually can fear failure and be less likely to take on challenges, says Rosemond, who cites studies and figures in his book to back up these statements. Children who are told that they have a talent that they really don't have can face a rude awakening, he says.
Take “American Idol” auditions, for instance. People who can't sing, but think they are brilliant singers, seem shocked and devastated when judges tell them otherwise.
Another big, erroneous parenting practice, Rosemond says, is behavioral modification: Using awards and punishments to manipulate behavior. This works with pets, but there's no evidence it works with human beings, he says.
In “Parent-Babble,” published in October by Andrews McMeel Publishing, Rosemond also discusses toilet training. Parents used to complete training by the time the child was 2, but now delay past what is healthy, he says.
He talks about the popular style of attachment parenting — a strong mother-child closeness that can include breast-feeding into toddlerhood — which Rosemond says can foster a crippling dependence in a young child and smother the mother.
“There's no indication whatsoever that this is producing superior children,” he says. “What I say to women is, you can have a child and still have a life. But if you choose attachment parenting, you will not have a life.”
Some might be surprised with Rosemond's parenting approach and find it to be draconian, he says. Some might call his style “old school,” but he wouldn't use that term.
“I'm a guy who believes there's nothing new under the sun,” Rosemond says. He has two adult kids and six grandchildren. “My signature is parenting with love and leadership. You love them a lot, and you provide them with a lot of good, competent leadership.”
How could the experts have gotten it so wrong with parenting advice? Their thoughts are opinions rather than facts, he says.
“Psychology is an intellectually arrogant profession,” Rosemond says. “We pretend to be scientists when, in fact, we would more accurately be called ideologues.
“This isn't about psychology — and coming from me, that means a lot,” he says. “It's simply about loving your children and providing leadership to them.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Icy roads slow traffic across Western Pa.
- Pitt receiver Boyd continues to grow on and off the field
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Penguins GM prepares for emotional series against Carolina
- Allegheny County Council wants to hike members’ $3K expense accounts
- Youngwood gets 1st full-size grocery in nearly 20 years
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Black Friday trends, tactics change, but Americans still love bargains
- Penguins notebook: Winning home games crucial for Penguins