Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The War on "No" Is Child "Centered Parenting" producing a generation of brats?
Babble ^ | 11/30/07 | Kathryn J. Alexander

Posted on 11/30/2007 8:18:46 AM PST by qam1

Extreme parenting has come to be associated with images of overly involved parents — this generation's stage parents, who manage and control every minute of their child's life, imposing their adult dreams and desires onto the little ones in a pathetic attempt to fuel their own insatiable need for success and recognition. As familiar as this parental profile has become, another form of extreme parenting has emerged, one that is getting harder to ignore. I am referring to the increasingly ubiquitous parenting approach that rejects the use of the word "no," and in which even the most reasonable degree of parental limit-setting is consistently absent.

Most of us have been in social situations where we've observed, with incredulity, a parent bow to the extreme demands of a menacingly persistent child, inches from a tantrum — "Okay, but honey, that's your last package of Twizzlers before breakfast." Worse, many of us too often have been that parent. What is happening here? I thought the Dr. Spock generation put an end to tyrannical rule within family life a few generations ago. It did not. In too many families the tyrant still rules — but today he is much shorter.

How did the power balance in our parent-child relationship become so off-kilter? In what other relationship would we give in to someone we love, as a matter of course, saying "yes" to every demand, every whim, no matter how unreasonable — and expect our emotional connection to remain unharmed? "I know, dear, our new neighbor really is a knock-out, especially in that two-piece. Well, okay, but just this once, and don't be home too late, it's a work night."

On the very far end of the non-confrontational parenting trend, and seemingly designed for parents who would rather get out of the driver's seat altogether, is an organization called Taking Children Seriously. TCS adherents attempt to parent without infringing upon the children's will. When there's a conflict, they find a compromise between the child's and parent's desires; eliminating the win/lose dynamic. The examples provided on their website seem absurdly idealistic, and impossible for any parent who needs to care for a newborn sibling, meet a deadline or get dinner on the table to implement. Not to mention, this approach seems to overlook the profound limitations of a young child's capacity for reason and impulse control

Aside from this extreme example, this recent transformation in child-rearing appears to be a twisted, supercharged version of what began benignly as a "child-centered" approach to family life. Its effect on our children is attracting notice — and not just among our in-laws. Several new books have appeared within the last year, each identifying a cultural phenomenon of concern to any of us who are attempting to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. If the experts' predictions are on target, we're facing a future filled with overgrown, ill-tempered, and entitled Baby Hueys who will spend their adulthood wondering why they can't sustain an intimate adult relationship or hold down a decent job.

It's not just that many American parents are under-parenting by not setting reasonable limits. Paradoxically, we are also over-parenting by making every effort to ensure that our children are not given the opportunity to fail. At the same time, our pediatricians are urging us to cut back on the excessive use of hand sanitizers and antibiotics (kids need exposure to some germs if their immune systems are going to successfully fight the really bad ones), our child development experts are telling us to stop excessively slathering our children with the word "Yes." Our kid's emotional "immune systems" need exposure to life lessons that involve at least the risk of disappointment, failure or emotional turmoil if they are going to be able to withstand the bigger setbacks and losses they will inevitably face in adulthood.

An increasing number of childcare experts suggest that American parents are in dire need of a comprehensive re-evaluation of how effectively we are raising our children. If parents, like most employees, received an end-of-year job evaluation, this year's would be a particularly uncomfortable assessment. Don't even think about a performance-based bonus...........


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: anarchy; doasthouwill; genx; hedonism; ifitfeelsgooddoit; parenting
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-95 next last
The article continues for 2 more pages in the link (too big to post it all)
1 posted on 11/30/2007 8:18:47 AM PST by qam1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: qam1

GOOD post.

I hope parents here take the time to read it.


2 posted on 11/30/2007 8:20:04 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God) .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

3 posted on 11/30/2007 8:21:11 AM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.


4 posted on 11/30/2007 8:21:12 AM PST by Philistone (If someone tells you it's for the children, he believes that YOU are a child.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Great article...we do need to protect our children, but we don’t need to bubblewrap them.


5 posted on 11/30/2007 8:21:13 AM PST by Slapshot68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Want the short answer to the headline?

Yes.


6 posted on 11/30/2007 8:22:21 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: qam1

MA is making it illegal to swat your kid on the butt.


8 posted on 11/30/2007 8:22:43 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Philistone

Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.

If only this message would fit on a bumper sticker.


9 posted on 11/30/2007 8:23:05 AM PST by freedomfiter2 (Duncan Hunter '08 Pro family, pro life, pro second Amendment, not a control freak.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: qam1

“Most of us have been in social situations where we’ve observed, with incredulity, a parent bow to the extreme demands of a menacingly persistent child, inches from a tantrum — “Okay, but honey, that’s your last package of Twizzlers before breakfast.” Worse, many of us too often have been that parent.”

We’ve all been there. It’s so much easier to just give in, and I’ve been guilty of it occasionally but you have to find the energy and willpower to remain vigilant. It only helps them down the road and life and helps retain your own sanity for the long term. ;)


11 posted on 11/30/2007 8:23:48 AM PST by Slapshot68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1
Bottom line--we treat our kids as equals, not as parent-child, and wonder why they get upset when some put their foot down eventually.

I see it all too often.
12 posted on 11/30/2007 8:24:07 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Philistone

Anyone who wants to raise their child correctly needs to read “Child Training Tips”.


13 posted on 11/30/2007 8:25:46 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: MrB

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Child-Training-Tips-Children-Young/dp/1579570003


14 posted on 11/30/2007 8:27:20 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Yes.


15 posted on 11/30/2007 8:31:20 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2
Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.

The most insightful statement I have read in a while. If you give little hedonists everything they want they will grow into big hedonists.

16 posted on 11/30/2007 8:34:20 AM PST by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: MrB

Or the book I’m currently studying, Dr. Dobson’s “The Strong Willed Child.”


17 posted on 11/30/2007 8:35:51 AM PST by fredhead (What this world needs is a few more Rednecks - Charlie Daniels)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: qam1
Good article. We certainly see our share of over-indulged youngsters. One of the places we see it, ironically, is in our Boy Scout troop. The boys are, on the whole, a great bunch of young men. However, they seem to be overly wasteful and disrespectful of the troop resources. They are quick to throw away leftover food from camping trips which could be sent home with someone or used on another trip. We see far too many pieces of equipment broken with little concern over the cost of replacement, etc. etc. I see this as a reflection of our affluence and an upbringing in which many of these boys never experience scarcity.

I admit that our own sons have a great deal in the way of material possessions. It is hard to come up with ideas for Christmas or birthday gifts, because frankly, they have so much already. They don't have as much as their peers, however, and certainly far less in the form of consumer electronics, let alone expensive clothing. Thanks in good measure to my tough-as-nails husband, they hear "no" quite regularly. They help with yard work and house cleaning, which was a normal thing in households of our youth. In our community, this is now rare. Most of the yard work is done by "Manuel and Jose" and the housecleaning by "Juanita and Maria". Most local kids don't have a clue how to clean a toilet, change a cat box, set a mousetrap, use power tools, or start a push lawnmower. It's not good for them, and when times get tough, they'll have a steep learning curve.

18 posted on 11/30/2007 8:37:12 AM PST by Think free or die
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Dem-O-Brats.


19 posted on 11/30/2007 8:37:59 AM PST by xcamel (FDT/2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Absolutely correct, I’m horrified at the parenting I see around me, and my daughter is as well. My husband and I consider it a badge of honor that our children often told us growing up that we were the ‘meanest parents ever!!’


20 posted on 11/30/2007 8:42:05 AM PST by Bush_Democrat (Ex-Dem since 2001 *Folding@Home for the Gipper - Join the FReeper Folders*)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Producing? It’s already produced them.


21 posted on 11/30/2007 8:43:25 AM PST by tnlibertarian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

This “child-centered” (so-called) parenting seems to be the norm. I cannot stand to be near most people’s brats on airlines, in restaurants, or at malls. They seem oblivious to well-managed stares and ‘the hairy eyeball’.


22 posted on 11/30/2007 8:47:06 AM PST by hunter112 (Change will happen when very good men are forced to do very bad things.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1
apathy does not equate to love, concern, or good parenting. It’s easy for the parent and some especially teenage kids may like it, but it’s more or less a parent abdicating their role as a parent.
23 posted on 11/30/2007 8:53:33 AM PST by Red6 (Come and take it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OCCASparky

Bottom line—we treat our kids as equals, not as parent-child, and wonder why they get upset when some put their foot down eventually...

...interestingly, while we (the Grown-Ups) maintain the attitude that WE are the adults around here, YOU are the KIDS and it’s the ADULTS who make the decisions, we are accused of ‘violating’ their ‘rights’ as humans by not recognizing them as ‘equals.’

They get this from school.

We laugh it off and get the final word, (usually ;) but these kids are actually being engineered into thinking they should have as much authority and say-so as adults.

Not only that, but from *very* young ages, they are told they can call Children-Youth Services if they feel they are being ‘abused.’ (which can be anything from a severe beating to being made to sit in a corner or made to eat their brocolli.)

I’ve read/heard enough horror stories that once a call is placed, you can be embroiled in a battle with these dimwits simply for giving the kid Cheerios over Captain Crunch if the kid calls and cries ‘abuse!’

When mine were younger, I cringed at the idea when they’d make the threat....now that they are older, I tell them, ‘Here, would you like me to make the call FOR you? YOU will be the one put into foster care in the ghetto with 9 other kids and at least I won’t have to listen to your mouth for a few days.’


24 posted on 11/30/2007 8:55:35 AM PST by Dasaji (The U.S.A. is the Land of Opportunity and you've got 50 states to do it in!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: qam1

“No” was the second word my little son learned this year. The first word being the cat’s name of course, who helped him learn to walk.


25 posted on 11/30/2007 8:57:31 AM PST by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

Beat their arse and send them to their room to think about it. Rinse. Repeat until you get the desired behavior. It worked in my family.


26 posted on 11/30/2007 8:58:41 AM PST by LetsRok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

We are trying to parent with the goal of teaching our son to be independent AND civilized. This is much harder than I anticipated. At fifteen months, it seems like we are experiencing the “terrible two’s”. He will frequently say “no, no, no, ...” as he is doing what we have previously told him not to do.

I may now be paying the price for all the complaining I used to do about other peoples’ children.


27 posted on 11/30/2007 8:59:59 AM PST by OldNukeDaddy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

I find this to be great news.

Generations of muppets can’t compete with those I’m related to that were brought up properly. It bodes well for their success.


28 posted on 11/30/2007 9:00:07 AM PST by Malsua
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Philistone
Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.

That is the quote of the day, I think!

29 posted on 11/30/2007 9:01:07 AM PST by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one BYJ movie at a time! (http://www.byj.co.kr))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ConservaTexan
The most insightful statement I have read in a while. If you give little hedonists everything they want they will grow into big hedonists.

That's very true. I have a BIL who proudly called himself a "hedonist" years ago. Let's just say he's lived up to the label. Did I mention he had lousy parents?
30 posted on 11/30/2007 9:02:03 AM PST by khnyny (Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed. Winston Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: ConservaTexan

When my daughters tell me she wants something, I always reply that I want a daughter who eats her vegetables. I then ask her If I am going to get what I want. She says, “No.” I then respond, “We don’t always get what we want, do we?”


31 posted on 11/30/2007 9:10:06 AM PST by art_rocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: OldNukeDaddy

Children are not mature enough to be “independent”.

Seriously, see my link above, read the book from your library. It makes a lot of sense. If he’s old enough to understand a command, he’s old enough to obey you, willingly and cheerfully.

When the child has enough parental guidance under his belt, THEN he can be independent, and more confidently so.

Incidentally, I talked to a Vietnamese family a while back, and out of curiosity asked about the “terrible two’s” - they hadn’t heard of it. Described it to the mother and she said “oh, that’s just misbehavior - spanking consistently cures that”.


32 posted on 11/30/2007 9:12:42 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: qam1

My wife works childcare at our church preschool. She’s got 2 of these little hellions, both supposedly being raised in Christian homes. I happened to be there one day when one boy told my wife “no” when asked to pick up the mess he had made - I asked him if he tells his parents “no” - he nodded his head yes.


33 posted on 11/30/2007 9:31:01 AM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Nope. Not gonna do it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1
For my kids, their first word is often "no". And they learn from an early age that throwing a tantrum is the best way to get mommy and daddy to take your toys away for the whole day and stick you in the "penalty box".

Needless to say, we don't have a tantrum problem...
34 posted on 11/30/2007 9:36:19 AM PST by Antoninus (Republicans who support Rudy owe Bill Clinton an apology.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Think free or die
Thanks in good measure to my tough-as-nails husband, they hear "no" quite regularly. They help with yard work and house cleaning, which was a normal thing in households of our youth. In our community, this is now rare.

Indeed. Our kids vaccuum, sweep, dust, fold laundry, etc. And the oldest is 5.
35 posted on 11/30/2007 9:38:55 AM PST by Antoninus (Republicans who support Rudy owe Bill Clinton an apology.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: TonyRo76
Yup!

This next generation as “adults” is going to be something else! Road rage will be nothing compared to what their behavior will be like.

36 posted on 11/30/2007 9:39:26 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God) .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: OldNukeDaddy
He will frequently say “no, no, no, ...” as he is doing what we have previously told him not to do.

That is called disrespect, even when accompanied by doing what he is told. Properly, consistently and lovingly applied spanking works on that too
37 posted on 11/30/2007 9:40:40 AM PST by TalonDJ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Dasaji

LOL!


38 posted on 11/30/2007 9:41:49 AM PST by olivia3boys
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: art_rocks
When my daughters tell me she wants something, I always reply that I want a daughter who eats her vegetables. I then ask her If I am going to get what I want. She says, “No.” I then respond, “We don’t always get what we want, do we?”

So you are teaching you don't have to listen to her by pointing out that she does not have to listen to you...
39 posted on 11/30/2007 9:43:08 AM PST by TalonDJ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: TonyRo76

Undisciplined Children = Spoiled Brats = Liberal Peter Pans


40 posted on 11/30/2007 9:47:37 AM PST by Sioux-san
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: TalonDJ

I’m not responding since we don’t always get what we want.


41 posted on 11/30/2007 9:58:38 AM PST by art_rocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: OldNukeDaddy
At fifteen months, it seems like we are experiencing the “terrible two’s”.

You do know why they call them the "terrible two's", right? It's a phase that starts when they're two but, don't worry, it ends when they turn twenty two. :=)

42 posted on 11/30/2007 9:58:57 AM PST by Bob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: Think free or die
help with yard work and house cleaning, which was a normal thing in households of our youth. In our community, this is now rare.

It's amazing how many people don't manage their own homes... When I was young, my parents bought a good sized farm in Quakertown, PA. Besides getting out of the city (well, for few years) my father wanted us to learn how to work. I could use an ax, shoot and clean various guns and care for animals before I was in first grade.

As for the word 'No'. We were not generally not permitted to use the word 'No'. My parents taught us the only responses that they should hear from us was 'yes sir' and 'yes mam'

44 posted on 11/30/2007 10:05:46 AM PST by NativeSon (off the Rez without a pass...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: qam1

Whatever the experts say. I’m so glad that I’ve raised mine and wouldn’t even consider doing it again in today’s society. It’s like running a race on a track full of tacks and nails with a crowd throwing beer bottles at you and finally being disqualified by crooked judges after you’ve won.


46 posted on 11/30/2007 10:10:13 AM PST by Joan Kerrey (Believe nothing of what you hear or read and half of what you see.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

I work at a local YMCA, and some of the children are so poorly behaved. One child was throwing a screaming tantrum because he didn’t want to leave, simply lying on his back and screaming while his parent watched. A few minutes later, he was running around on the pool deck. I talked to him about it, and told the father what I had just said. The father said ‘Oh, he’s almost five, and I can’t get anything through to him.’ I was completely floored that a parent would allow a child that old to simply scream their head off in public without telling them to stop because he just assumed that his kid wouldn’t listen. The only thing I hate more is the occasional parent who tells the kids it’s OK to break the rules - just because you’re their parent doesn’t mean that you’re the absolute authority in this world.


47 posted on 11/30/2007 10:16:23 AM PST by Hyzenthlay (Halo 3 is making me realise that Microsoft is not entirely evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dasaji
...we treat our kids as equals, not as parent-child...

Too true.

When did the notion that a household is a democracy with each inhabitant having an equal vote become prevalent? Since 2003, I have told my children that if our house was a country, the United States would have liberated them by now.

48 posted on 11/30/2007 10:19:14 AM PST by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: ▀udda▀udd

“No” was my oldest son’s first word (he’s now almost 8). Guess he heard it a lot! And, I’m glad to say, he and his little brother STILL hear it a lot!


49 posted on 11/30/2007 10:25:16 AM PST by jnygrl (A big mouth coupled with a small mind is a dangerous combination)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: qam1
From the article:

...when parents create a household where the children cannot rely on them to say "no," or to set clear limits, the children lose a sense of safety, a sense of organization about the world around them, and the ability to experience and integrate the basic life lessons necessary for them to evolve into well-developed and mature adults.

What this child too often gains when parents indulge and overprotect ... is a profound sense of entitlement, a disregard for the needs of others, and an inability to put forth the genuine effort needed to develop — academically, socially, and emotionally.

50 posted on 11/30/2007 10:52:37 AM PST by Albion Wilde (America: ôthe most benign hegemon in history.öŚMark Steyn)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-95 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson