Sunday, April 5, 2009

Children are responsible for their own behavior!

By: John Rosemond *Family Psychologist -
(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; E2/ Sat. Feb. 28, 2009)

One of the defining features of today's parenting mindset is guilt.

Before the psychological parenting revolution of the late 1960's & 1970's, mothers were more immune to guilt.

Back then, when a child behaved badly, the mother made the child feel guilty. These days, when a child behaves badly, the child's mother is likely to experience the guilt. This has happened because today's moms - the primary consumers of parenting information and therefore its primary victims - believe that parenting produces the child.

The only conclusion upheld by common sense: Parenting does not produce the child. Parenting is an influence, and it is certainly prudent for parents to do what they can to maximize positive influence, but in the final analysis, the child produces himself. He takes your influence and he decides what to do with it.

Before, parents understood that they could do only so much. They understood that no matter how "good" their parenting was, their children were still capable on any given day of doing bad things. So when a child misbehaved, they punished him.

Too many of today's parents, in the same circumstances, punish themselves. They search themselves for the answer to "why?" Consequently, their children are not being held fully responsible.

Of late, I've been asking my audiences two questions: > Is parenting more or less stressful, do you think, than it was in the 1950's? > Are today's children more or less happy than were children in the 1950's?

Every audience's answers have been, respectively, more and less.

I propose that much of the stress is because of parents holding themselves responsible for their children's misbehavior. And I propose that much of the unhappiness is because children are not being held responsible for their own behavior.

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