Welcome to the only podcast where hard truths about parenting are no-holds-barred. Today, I'm tackling a contentious narrative: Socialist Parenting, inspired by an article by Elizabeth Bastos in the Washington Post. I'm not merely unpacking this hot topic, but digging deep into the philosophies it purports, examining the concerning trend of "gentle parenting", and venturing my own critique.
I'm challenging the widespread misconception that contemporary child discipline is about controlling children. Instead, I'm championing the need to nurture self-control within our children. Hear my argument for a balanced blend of freedom, responsibility, and accountability in parenting. I offer a critical perspective on parents' misguided desires to be liked by their children and how this cultural trend is reshaping parenting norms. I strongly believe that obedient children are happier - a notion that might raise a few eyebrows, but hold on, as I build my case for this belief. So, brace yourselves to delve into the crux of successful parenting, shattering some popular parenting myths along the way.
Welcome and welcome back, if that is the case to, because I said so. The only podcast on the universe size web where you will hear the truth about psychology, the mental health professions from a psychologist, by the way children, child-earing families, and so on. Today is titled. Today's podcast is titled Socialist Parenting, because that's what, indeed, I will, in effect, be talking about. A listener sent me an article that was published in the Washington Post in 2015, but it could have been written yesterday. The article in question was written by one, elizabeth Bastos, b-a-s-t-o-s. Whom I've never heard of, by the way, but who obviously thinks of herself as a parenting expert, which is fine. The article is titled Replacing Parenting Dictatorship with Discussion Replacing Parenting Dictatorship with Discussion. I'm going to read parts of the article to you, and as I read it, I'm going to stop in certain places and comment. So the article begins as a mother of two tweens, I've read all the books about discipline, but have realized they are all forms of one idea the control and management of children. Okay, stop. I don't know what books Ms Bastos has read, but she hasn't read all of the books on child discipline, as she claims, because the overwhelming majority of contemporary books and by contemporary I mean post 1960s books on child discipline are far from advocating controlling children. Far from it. They advocate for one form or another of what is currently being called gentle parenting the greatest parenting scam of the 21st century. There are a few authors out there who deviate from gentle parenting. I'm one of them, but even I don't advocate for controlling children. I advocate for teaching children firmly, lovingly and with appropriate patience to control themselves. My disciplinary philosophy can be summed up with something I used to say to my kids behave yourself properly in this home and elsewhere, or I will have to get involved in your life. And if I have to get involved in your life, you're not going to like it. My kids will tell you they're both in their 50s that my wife and I gave them lots of freedom along with lots of responsibility, while at the same time holding them fully accountable. But unlike most parents today, we did not micromanage them at all. We simply told them what we expected of them and let them know that we would stay off their backs as long as they complied. That's a pretty good deal actually. You do what you're told. We stay off your back. Compared to a political philosophy, our parenting philosophy in the Rosemond household, our parenting philosophy and approach was very libertarian. Okay, so Ms Bastos continues. She says we say we want to raise children who will become autonomous, courageous, compassionate and deep thinkers when they become adults, citizens of a democracy, leaders of the world, dun dun, dun dun. Yet our discipline at home and at school still reflects the industrial revolution A clockwork of control through rewards and punishments we're setting still and simply doing what you are told might reap benefits. Okay, stop again. First, I never wanted my kids to become quote leaders of the world. And quote, I don't know where she gets that. It's rather over the top. In fact, I wasn't preparing my children to be leaders of anything except competent leaders within their own families. This business of preparing children for leadership, these schools, especially private these days they're fond of having leadership programs, leadership preparation seminars for the kids and all that. Well, that whole business of preparing children for leadership in the world bears comment. Do people, I wonder, ever stop to realize that for every leader there are anywhere from 10,000 followers? Preparing a child for proper followership is more likely to pay off than will giving a child the impression that he or she is destined for greatness and good. Followership, furthermore, begins with obedience to one's parents and to God. As for Ms Bastot's claim that American child ring is stuck in the industrial revolution, that too is absurd over the top During an America. If it's stuck in, anything is stuck in the slowly sucking quicksand of bogus psychological theory. Bastot's then defines stuck in the industrial revolution as a clockwork of control, where doing what you are told might reap benefits. I take it that a clockwork of control is an adult-centered home where children are expected to respect and obey. I guess my parents, who between them had three PhDs in the sciences, taught at the university level etc. Etc. I guess my parents were stuck in the industrial revolution because I was expected to do what I was told and it did in fact reap benefits. I did what I was told and they left me alone to do what I wanted to do. After I did what I was told, my parents didn't organize play dates, they didn't arrange my after-school recreation, they didn't micromanage my social life, they didn't hover over my homework A great arrangement, I do say so myself. All of my friends, as far as I could tell, lived within the context of the same arrangement in their homes, and child mental health back then was ten times better than it is today. And today parents act like their number one goal is to be liked by their children. I would say Ms Bastot's isn't paying attention. If she was, she would know that parenting in America has moved out of the industrial revolution and into outer space. Anyway, she continues. Though it may look Like impeccable behavior and good discipline, teaching kids to have their hands folded in their lap and to be, yes men is dangerous. The Plotthikens First. I don't know of anyone who teachers or advocates teaching children to keep their hands folded in their laps, although it's not all that bad of an idea. Furthermore, I don't know of any parenting pundit who wants children to become unthinking, robot-like yes men. Maybe James Dobson, especially in his early years, but no one else. Note how Bastos equates obedience with being mindlessly compliant as the drum. Mental health professionals began beating in the late 60s when I was in graduate school, and have been beating ever since. It's ridiculous and dangerous. What's that? Conveniently, ms Bastos accuses traditional parenting of being dangerous, but never defines how compliance to legitimate authority is in fact dangerous. Well, she can't define it because it's not true. The facts and of course I am of the impression that Bastos, like most lefties, cares nothing for facts. Her feelings are what count. And boy, does she ever have feelings? Anyway, the facts are that obedience, according to the best research, the best done on the subject, is highly associated with elevated levels of well-being in children. In other words, obedience and child happiness go together. I'm going to prove it to you. Have you ever encountered a disobedient child who acts like a happy camper? No, you have not. And you have not encountered a disobedient child who acts like a happy camper, because disobedient people are not calm, self-controlled, happy people. They're always mad about something. I'm getting the distinct impression forgive me for saying so, please I'm getting the distinct impression that Ms Bastos says well, let us leave it at over her head. And now Bastos goes completely off the rails. She writes we are in the 21st century, an era of new culture, wars, innovation, terrorism, fundamentalism. Notice how she puts those together terrorism and fundamentalism, the rise of the creative class, climate change, increasing inequality parentheses my comment issues of Democrat party policies, global citizenship and disruption in higher education. Carrots and sticks. Discipline doesn't teach children to think, engage or interact with these big questions or become morally sophisticated people. Okay, stop again. That form of argument is known as an argument from authority, meaning Bastos thinks she makes her argument true by simply stating it. Although she is, as I warned you, off the rails, I nonetheless agree with her that if all parents use, when they discipline their children, as carrots and sticks, proverbially speaking, of course they're not likely to accomplish anything of lasting value to themselves or their kids. Then, after describing a problem that doesn't exist, bastos proposes a solution, one she gleaned from the writings of another supposed parenting expert named Alfie Kohn, or Kahn K-O-H-N. Kahn and I once spoke at the same conference. He went before me and I listened to him from the back of the room. As I recall, he said blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. He was, in short, preaching progressive psychological parenting nonsense, the parenting nonsense that has caused a tenfold deterioration in child mental health since 1970. It sure does sound wonderful. The sales pitch is very alluring, it's very clever, but postmodern, progressive psychological parenting, the latest iteration of which is the gentle parenting cult, has been a disaster, one we may never fully recover from. Shortly after he began his talk, people began leaving the conference room where he was speaking. He began walking out on Kahn's presentation like in droves. He must not have noticed, because he just kept droning on with the blah, blah, blah. It's really wonderful following a speaker like that. You can stand on stage and you can read from the dictionary and people will give you a standing ovation. According to Bastos, who is obviously lacking in critical thinking skills, alfie Kohn Kahn writes that we have to trust each other in our homes. This is what Bastos says. Alfie Kohn Kahn writes that we have to trust each other in our homes, wrestle with what it means to live and learn together and practice the skills of conflict. Practice the skills of not Kohn-flicked, but conflict resolution, he argues, still quoting Bastos here he, meaning Kohn argues that ultimately, these experiences are more meaningful than a list of rules or guidelines. Oh, bravo, bravo. Kahn tells people to negotiate with their children, bravo, that's insane, and please keep in mind that as a psychologist, I am qualified to make such a judgment. Bastos then goes on to say that when she began following Kohn's insane advice, the result in her home her home, mind you was quote a mess, end quote. She began following Alfie Kohn's advice and the result in her home was quote a mess. But Bastos says it was an interesting mess Her home and family that is, which she then describes as a socialist paradise. She doesn't use those words, of course, but that's what she describes a socialist paradise where everyone is equal, everyone has input and nothing ever gets done. There's just a whole lot of talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Bastos says she is preparing her children to be citizens of the future. I guess she can see into the future. What she fails to mention is that the future she has in mind is the future that all lefties think is attainable, because they're deluded to wet utopia. Utopia has been tried before, ms Bastos, in every attempt to create a human utopia has resulted in enormous suffering. The Pax Romana, lenin, mussolini and Hitler all tried the utopian experiment. I shouldn't have to tell you it didn't work. Utopia may sound idyllic on paper, but in the real world it doesn't work. It doesn't work on a national level, nor does it work in the home, and that's a wrap. You've been listening to another exciting episode of the only podcast on the entire Universe-wide Web where you'll hear the truth about psychology from a psychologist, the mental health professions, children and child rearing what we now call parenting in America, which is vastly different from child rearing, by the way, I hope you've enjoyed being with us. I hope you'll tune us in again. The podcast occurs once a week. It's usually released on Tuesdays. And remember, I also have a sub-stack. You can find it at substackcom. I'm John Rosemond, your host. Keep on rockin' in the free world, folks, because if we don't rock it, we're gonna lose it. Have a good day.