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The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline That Really Works! Paperback – September 12, 2011
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About the Author
John Rosemond is a family psychologist, popular speaker, featured guest on major television talk shows, author of thirteen books on parenting issues, and syndicated columnist for more than two hundred newspapers. He and his wife, Willie, have been married more than forty years and have two adult children and seven grandchildren.
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To clear things up, let's start with "because I said so." Rosemond makes it very clear that giving reasons to children is fine. In fact, he states that there are only about six reasons for why a parent ever denies a request. They're good reasons to US (and offer them if you want to), but the child won't like them anyway, so don't waste your breath. Ultimately, the reason a child needs to take "no" for an answer is because you said so. Anyone who denies this reality would much rather spend time and energy trying to get a little child to see things the way Mommy and Daddy do, so that he or she will be happier about hearing the word "no". Trying to convince the child that your reasons have MERIT (and therefore, should be appreciated by the child) is NOT FINE. This is called establishing a "power struggle" between parent and child. Not a formula for happiness or family harmony, but an excellent formula for creating rude, argumentative, and manipulative behavior... in children as young as three years old.
As for punishment, Rosemond also states that it is rarely needed --- IF you come across as someone who means and does what they say, is calm and confident about your position of authority, and you communicate with an expectation of obedience. If you haven't been that kind of a person as a parent or teacher, then you likely have an out-of-control situation --- or one that, at the very least, needs fixing. The punishments that he mentions are far more humane than the hideously discordant and disrespectful atmospheres that preceded the necessity for Rosemond's outrageous consequences. For those who are complaining about his farty, old-school methods, I have these two questions for you. Have you ever "lowered the boom" on an outrageous kid and held firm for months on end? Or "nipped it in the bud" with an outrageous consequence the FIRST time a reasonably well-behaved child did something totally ridiculous? Before you knock these techniques, why don't you TRY THEM some time? You won't be disappointed, but your kid sure will be. Stand firm, though. Later on, he'll thank you. Your kid deserves to know that he was bad and wrong from YOU FIRST, because YOU are the one who will love him anyway and see him through it. When he's an adult, the rest of the world will simply fire him, divorce him, break friendships with him, or lock him away.
Folks, this is an excellent book. I don't think Mr. Rosemond wants to be liked. Rather, I think he wants to help people steer the right course during this most important job. Thank you, Mr. Rosemond, for bringing common sense and an unsentimental viewpoint to the God-given responsibility of training, teaching, and loving children.
Wisdom of our elders = good
Modern psychology = bad
With no benefit of the doubt, Rosemond assigns all kinds of rude names and labels to those who follow the latter such as "malarkey," "blabbermeisters," "nonsense," "psychobabble," and "morons." Far be it from me to rewrite the book of child discipline, but I automatically balk at an invitation to see the world in such a black and white way. Our grandparents and great-grandparents couldn't have been 100% right about everything 100% of the time. Likewise, contemporary psychology can't be 100% wrong about everything 100% of the time. Otherwise, there would not have been a shift in public consciousness. But Rosemond thinks the world comes in a neat little black and white package and stubbornly stands by these principles. It would be acceptable if he refuted them professionally and backed them up with hard evidence. But he doesn't. There are footnotes in the back, but he mostly cites himself as a source (doesn't anyone else find that odd?).
In addition to his axe grinding, which seems to appear in almost every paragraph at times, Rosemond loves to chuck around all kinds of yummy claims in order to get himself some notoriety, such as all children are bad. Just as preachers tell us that we are all sinners the moment we are born, John Rosemond tells us that all children are bad and cannot be reasoned with. End of discussion. In fact, he even types those three words into the end of a paragraph when talking about the inherent badness of children (his smugness, condescension and false modesty have no bounds). He leaves no room for fear, confusion, or guilt as possible factors in why children misbehave the way they do.
Heavy words like "criminal" and "sociopath" are frivolously used to describe your misbehaving child (gee, isn't that nice?) and some of Rosemond's suggestions for rehabilitation are just plain bizarre, like locking your child in the bathroom for three days to wean them off diapers. There are axioms along the way, and one in particular didn't ring true. It said that obedient children make for obedient adults, and obedient adults are happier than anyone else. Well, I can tell you from experience that that's complete bull. This A=B=C-All-The-Time logic with no variation is frighteningly wooden and believe me when I say that I'm not running down that rabbit hole.
Do you think it is possible to reason with your child? If your answer to that question is "yes" or any variation thereof, skip this book. There are lots of common sense things that Rosemond touches on that you could probably find in a less condescending book that doesn't accuse you of being a "moron" for thinking that you can reason with a child. My mother was an elementary school teacher for many years and helped turn around plenty of misbehaving children, I'm sure she appreciates being called a "moron."