Parents Should Rear Kids, Not Be Pals

Today’s parents are trying to have wonderful relationships with their children. Our foremothers and forefathers were not, realizing that a child required leadership first. And that while the parent/child relationship should by no means be “bad,” a parent could not provide proper leadership if the parent’s energies were focused primarily on having a “wonderful” relationship with the child. Some things just had to wait.
Yesterday’s parents were married to one another. They knew, intuitively, that their relationship had to be stronger than either of their relationships with their children. In today’s all-too-typical family, the parent-child relationship is stronger than the husband-wife relationship, which is a clue to why so many marriages dissolve after the emancipation of the last child.
Yesterday’s parents were attuned to the voice of common sense, which is why they did not complain that raising children was the hardest thing they’d ever done. For today’s parents, the voice of common sense has been drowned out by a deluge of psychobabble, which is why so many parents tell me that raising even one child leaves them emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of many a day.
Yesterday’s parents took child rearing, but not their children, seriously. Today’s parents – the ones who are likely to read this column, at least – take both child rearing and their children seriously. The former is essential; the latter is a form of self-oppression that drains all humor from the enterprise and turns it into drudgery.
Why are today’s parents having so many more behavior and school performance problems with their children than did parents just two generations ago?
It’s simple really: You cannot approach child rearing in two entirely different ways and arrive at the same outcome.
John Rosemond

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