Is 1950s Parenting Really Best?

flowers
food
fruit
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keyword
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perfume
translation
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food
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mouse
music
novel
red
science
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
language
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
pen
slippers
socks
snacks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
makeup
microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
umbrella
underwear
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
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paypal
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shopping
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weddingdress
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
chair
desk
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
makeup
microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
umbrella
underwear
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
makeup
microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
umbrella
underwear
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
fitness
glasses
helmet
knife
oil
ornament
harvester
pan
flowers
food
fruit
hat
keyword
language
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
deck
dress
dye
fan
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
knife
oil
ornament
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toy
wine
camera
clock
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
ornament
oil
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
fan
Fishing
flowers
food
fruit
hat
keyboard
Keyword
makeup
drug
dye
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
knife
line
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
dress
deck
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
ornament
pack
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
yoga
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hot
mouse
music
wine
baby
hbo
ice
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
study
sports
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
basketball
beauties
counting
cup
cycling
dye
fitness
food
fruit
harvester
baseball
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
deck
dress
drug
fan
Fishing
flowers
glasses
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
snacks
socks
sofa
sunglasses
toothpaste
slippers
stone
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester

Reader Question: You seem to blame all of America’s parenting woes on mental health professionals and imply that if parents still raised kids as did people in the 1950s and before, they wouldn’t be having the problems they’re having today. But times have changed, John. Is it realistic to think that children can still be raised like their grandparents were raised?

Times have always changed. Since America’s colonial beginnings in the 17th Century, every generation has put their own stamp on culture. Demographics, technology, politics, economics- you name it, it has changed, and constantly so. But through it all, the fundamental understandings that informed child-rearing remained unchanged, the simple reason being that children, unlike the “times,” do not change from one generation to another. That’s why my parents approached the responsibility of raising children pretty much the same way as had their parents, who had raised their kids the way they themselves had been raised, and so on.

In the 1960s, mental health professionals claimed that traditional child rearing was psychologically harmful. They proposed a radically new approach based on equally radical understandings and principles. Psychologists like best-selling author Thomas Gordon (“Parent Effectiveness Training”) proposed that families should be child-centered, children’s emotions contained deep meaning, and the parent-child relationship was a relationship between equals; ergo, children should be given equal sway when it came to making family decisions.

The results of this paradigm shift have been disastrous. Child mental health has plummeted. The raising of children, once regarded as a straightforward process guided by common sense and traditional principles, has become the single most stressful thing a woman will attempt in her entire life. And yes, I blame the mental health professional community – my colleagues – for this debacle because they were its architects. Ironically, they have also profited greatly from it. If one shrinks from the political incorrectness of “blame,” then insert “hold responsible.”

To raise children the way children were raised before the psychological parenting revolution of the late 1960s means to adhere to a short list of fundamental principles of fact:

  1. The family operates best when parents, not children, are the center of attention; when parents run the show. 
  1. For the most part (95 percent, by my estimate), a child’s feelings mean nothing except that his feelings, like his behavior, are in need of outside discipline. 
  1. Obedience to parental authority improves the mental and emotional health of children. That is confirmed by both research and common sense. 
  1. Proper child-rearing is not all about the child in question; rather, it is an act of love for one’s neighbors, broadly defined. 
  1. The ultimate purpose of raising a child is not to produce a high achiever; rather, it is to produce a person of character, a good citizen. Grades are less important than manners.

Those principles are based on the unassailable understanding that children do not know what they need; they only know what they want. The adults in their lives are responsible for giving them everything they need and very little of what they want, thus properly preparing them for adulthood.

Those understandings are timeless; they did not expire upon non-renewal by my generation. There are better and worse ways of expressing them, but they are as valid today as they were sixty-plus years ago. Per the title of my latest book, it turns out that Grandma was right after all.

John Rosemond

Family psychologist John Rosemond is America’s most widely-read parenting expert. Learn more about John at www.rosemond.com

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