Yes, folks, I am going to be so bold as to assign to women primary responsibility for turning the American parenting train wreck around. But I am not a sexist. Ask my wife if you don't believe me.ParentGuru: Better Parenting Starts Here
Hey folks, this is your host, john Roseman, and welcome to Because I Said so, the I being Mwah. This is the only podcast on the entire World Wide Web where you will hear the truth about psychology, the mental health professions, children, child-rearing from a psychologist a guy me who is licensed to practice psychology by the North Carolina Psychology Board, which regrets the day they ever gave me a license. And stay tuned and you'll find out why this particular episode of Because I Said so is titled. I don't usually tell you this, but I'm telling you this this time to give many of you some of you, any of you who want to opportunity to switch me off. The title of this episode is Motherhood in America is a Basket Case. It's a basket case. Okay, some of you have already turned me off, that's fine. I'm going to explain this and I'm going to explain why everyone should have compassion for this. Motherhood in America is a basket case. I've been saying this for many years as a matter of fact, and I get some. You know I get women who come up to me after talks. You know they're there in the minority, I am convinced, but it happens that after I say the sort of thing that I'm going to say in this episode of this podcast series. Women come up to me and they say, john, why do you blame it all on us? I'm not blaming anything on you, but the fact of the matter is that parenting in America is a train wreck. That's why I do this podcast, that's why I do what I do, this parenting expert to the stars thing, and I am absolutely convinced that women, mothers they hold the key to turning the train wreck around. Yeah, train wreck, apocalypse. Does anyone like what Child Ring has become since around 1970? But there's someone out there who thinks that the raising of children has gotten easier over the past 50 years and that children are happier. You're not paying attention, or the logic module in your brain has turned off, or you're smoking way too much of something. Parenting is an unmitigated train wreck that is getting worse by the day. Since 1970, this parenting thing. Parenting that's what we now call it. We started calling it that in 1970. Upon the publication of a book by psychologist Fitzhugh Dodson titled how to Parent, it was the first time that the noun parent had been used as a verb. And from that time on, we have not been raising children, we have been parenting. And since 1970, this parenting thing has turned into the biggest train wreck in American history. Oh, no, john, the Civil War was the biggest train wreck. No, the Civil War lasted four years. Parenting the train wreck has been happening with no let up for 50 years, during which child and teen mental health has gone down the toilet, thanks, paradoxically and ironically, to absolutely terrible, awful advice from psychologists and other mental health professional types. During that fifty years, a little bit more, the raising of children, of fundamentally simple affair governed by fundamentally simple propositions and principles, has become the single most emotionally gut-wrenching thing a female will do in her entire life. Why do I say a female will do in her entire life? Why not the most gut-wrenching thing a male or a female will do in their entire lives? Because men don't, generally speaking, understand why this parenting thing is so difficult and gut-wrenching for their wives. They don't understand why their wives break down in tears over it, why their wives worry constantly about small stuff, why their wives can't fall asleep because of worrying about the kids, why the wives want to take the kids to psychologists Professional carnival barkers, by the way, remember, I am one. I'll answer those questions for you men out there, and for you women too. Why has this become something that a woman two, three plus generations ago did not agonize over? Why has this parenting thing become so agonizing, specifically for women? Answer is women read. They read parenting books. Therefore, women worry. Read a parenting book, you're going to start worrying. You're going to hold yourself up to the ludicrous standard the author of the parenting book described and he knows that his audience, she knows, is 99% women and that may be a conservative estimate when these authors, they describe these ludicrous standards of good mummying and women read these books and women start worrying because they don't measure up. They don't measure up to these ludicrous standards. Go into a Barnes and Noble if you don't believe me. Go into the child care section. Do you see any men there? Do you see two men talking? Well, hey, guy, maybe you can help me. I'm looking for a parenting book. No, you don't. You see women there looking for the latest book of fake solutions to their parenting problems. The parenting books and magazines that mothers read make raising a child seem like the equivalent of walking through a minefield in the Ukraine. The authors of these parenting books and magazines make every child ring issue seem psychologically apocalyptic. Then they propose fake solutions to an audience of women who may not be neurotic, but are worse than neurotic when it comes to their kids. The more they read, the more neurotic they become. My mother was in a basket case when it came to me and, by the way, I was not easy. She didn't worry about me, she didn't obsess over me. Overwhelming anxiety did not cause her to micromanage me. From talking to many, many other people who were like me, raised in the 50s, my mother was typical Women. Mothers of the 50s and 60s did not develop raging, flaming neuroses over their kids. If this train wreck we collectively call parenting is going to be turned around, it will be because women realize they hold a key to turning it around. They hold a steering wheel. I am, however, by no means suggesting that to turn this parenting thing around, women have to do more. Quite the contrary, women need to do less, much, much, much less. In fact, parenting outcomes, I am convinced, would be better If women mothers stop doing anything at all. I know that's ludicrous, but let's just consider that proposition for a minute. I'll say it again I'm convinced that parenting outcomes, measured in terms of child well-being, would be better if women stopped doing anything at all. For example, if, when their kids came to them wanting them to do something, mothers simply said I've got better things to do than what you want me to do. Do it yourself. Children would be a whole lot better off If, when their children came crying to them, weeping and wailing over some soap opera that's happened in their lives, mothers simply said Stop crying right now or I'll give you something to cry about. Children would be a whole lot better off. People my age had mothers who said those sorts of things to us. My mother said those sorts of things to me. She let me know she was my mother, but she also let me know that she was also a human being with a broad range of interests and responsibilities. That had nothing to do with being my mother. I was not. You know the thing in her life. I may have been, raising me might have been the biggest responsibility she ever took on, but, folks, there's a difference between that and regarding your child as this larger than life thing in your life. My mother used to say to me Women need to say this to their children John Roseman, you don't need a mother right now, and I'm not going to be one. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. My mother was very fond of saying, after telling me the way things were going to be, in no uncertain terms as in this case, john Roseman, you don't need a mother right now and I'm not going to be one. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. My mother was very fond of saying put that in your pipe and smoke it. After unequivocal statements of that sort, maybe that's why I have been smoking a pipe off and on ever since I was about 20 years old. Anyway, john Roseman, you don't need a mother right now and I'm not going to be one. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Do mothers today talk like that to their children? No, they don't. And yet when I tell someone my age that they always have a similar story about their mothers and folks. Our mental health, the mental health of baby boomers when we were in our childhoods and our adolescence's, 20, excuse me, 10 times better, and that's the low figure Then the mental health of children today, and today's mothers won't talk like that. I was better off because my mother talked like that. Today's mothers establish no boundaries between themselves and their children. You can't really establish a boundary between yourself and your child until he's two years old, and then you start letting him know that his problems are not also automatically your problems, that he is responsible for solving his own problems with. Begin, by the way, with I'm bored, to which my mother would say you better find something to do, john Roseman, or I'll find something for you to do, I'll solve your boredom very quickly. Today's mothers won't talk like that. They seem to believe that the good mommy solves all of her child's problems. If he's bored, she plays with him. She becomes on demand his playmate. If he's hungry, instead of saying you know where the crackers are, you know where the bananas are, go get one. She becomes on demand his serving wench. If the child's older brother won't share, instead of saying figure it out or I'll put you both in the downstairs bathroom with no toys for an hour, she makes the older brother share. She becomes on demand the person who makes everything alright in her younger child's life. If he screams that he hates her because she isn't following her job description to the tea, instead of saying if I was you, I'd hate me right now too, do you want to say anything else? That will simply prove to me how immature you are, she tries to make him happy again, she becomes, on demand, his personal court jester. No wonder today's mother is exhausted. She's not exhausted because raising a child is exhausting. She's exhausted because she's in a perpetual state of motion and codependency with her child. She's not raising him, she's keeping him in a perpetual state of childishness, of immaturity. An immatura people, have you noticed? Immatura people are very demanding and demanding people are exhausting. A mother recently told me that when she sits in her recliner just to take a break from her demanding children, she, immediately before the back of the recliner, is all the way back. She immediately begins thinking of things she could and should be doing for her kids, and so she gets right back up and gets a move on. She had finally realized, listening to me talk about how low the American mother has stooped in 50 years, that I was talking about her. That was good news, that she realized that the first step in a mother's rehabilitation is the realization that I'm talking about her, not somebody else, but her. It's important, vitally important, that no one misunderstand me here when I say that mothers, women, hold the key to turning this parenting train wreck around, when I say what said mothers need to do to rehabilitate themselves to transform themselves from co-dependent enablers into formidable authority figures whose word is law. I'm not talking about being female. This mother problem has nothing to do with mothers being female. That may sound ironic. I'll explain myself. The female parent in the 1950s and before was a formidable authority figure whose word was law. She established a boundary between herself and her child early on. Her child knew she was not there to wait on him, be his playmate, solve his problems, carry his water. The mother of the 1950s and before was big. When the old school mom drew a line in the sand, you dared not put a toe over it. What she said, she meant and she was more than willing to prove it. She was loving, she was affectionate, but she could also be scary. And she didn't think that being scary would throw a monkey wrench into her child's mental health. And, by the way, she was scary in a very subtle way. She could just look at you in a certain way and chills would run up and down your spine. I'm not talking about jumping up and down, screaming, yelling, flapping your arms and acting like lunatic. That's not scary, that's just ridiculous. Today's moms their exceptions, of course, but as an all too general rule today's moms are not big or small. You made themselves small by submitting to the doctrines of the good mummy club an unspoken sisterhood into which, into the vortex of which, women get sucked when they have children. The doctrines of the Good Mommy Club Thou shalt pay as much attention to your child as you are able. My mother expected me to pay attention to her. Isn't that fascinating. Thou shalt do as much for your children as you are able. My mother expected me to do most things for myself. Thou shalt be at thy child's beck and call, always. Hardly describe my mother. Thou shalt solve all thy children's problems. Thou shalt always be nice, no matter how much abuse Thy children heap upon thee. Thou shalt always be understanding and supportive, no matter how disgusting thy child's behavior. Today's mother is a quivering lump of hot anxiety. Invariably, by the way, anxiety drives obsession and micromanagement. The hyperanxious, hyper obsessive micromanager is afraid that if she doesn't micromanage, something apocalyptic will happen to ruin everything. And such is today's all too typical mom, living in fear of some wrong thing that will ruin everything. She micromanages her children, and get ready for this. She micromanages her hapless husband, who is her appointed parenting aide. He cannot be allowed to make any decisions on his own because he knows nothing and, knowing nothing, any decision he makes will be wrong and undoubtedly upset the apple cart. All too typical micromanaging mom has been carefully arranging Since today, child one was birthed. Mom and dad are no longer, by the way, actually married. They live together. They call each other husband and wife, but they're not really any longer husband and wife, although they sometimes just keep up appearances, refer to one another as my husband and my wife. No, they're mom and dad 24-7. Dad is complicit in mom's parenting anxiety and micromanagement. He calls his complicitness helping. He is there, after all, to do nothing but help Follow directions. Mom might, on occasion, consult with him about something, but she already knows what decision should be made and that's the decision she is going to make. All right, enough of that. I began this rant by saying that, if the national psychosis we collectively call parenting is going to be turned around and made sane again, women hold the key. They must simply stop. They must en masse throw off the chains of the good mommy club, while, paraphrasing anchor ban Howard Beale from the 1976 movie Network. I'm fed up with this and I'm not going to take it anymore. Mothers of America, liberate themselves. Begin today. Begin today by telling your children the following Learn to talk like this to your children. I don't really care how you feel about that. I'm pretending to be the mother here talking to her child. I don't really care how you feel about that, billy. Your feelings are immature and I'm not getting caught up with them any longer. Or how about this? No, billy, I'm not doing that for you. If you want that done, do it yourself. Or hire a maid. Or how about this? That's your problem, billy. Solve it. I have problems of my own that I need to solve and, believe me, my problems are a lot bigger than yours. Or how about this? Get away from me, billy. You're annoying me and I'm about to do something hateful that I don't want to do, but I will. Or how about this? You're making a mountain out of a mole hill, my little soap opera factory. We gave you a room to sulk in. Go, sulk in there. I'll give you something to really sulk about. And yes, ladies, I'm serious. You can begin your liberation and rehabilitation with those pithy sentences. Give your children something to laugh about when they grow up. And that's a wrap. You've been listening to, because I Said so. If you enjoyed it. I hope you do, because I do. I enjoy doing it. I hope you enjoy listening. Please come back. The sub stack is published every Tuesday morning, occasionally a little later than that, but usually every Tuesday morning. Although I am going to take three weeks off around Christmas the week before Christmas, the week of Christmas and the week after, and I'm going to go play golf and things like that, and Willie and I are going to go somewhere like Asheville and stay in the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Love that place. I was born in Asheville. By the way, it's not my kind of place anymore, really, I mean not to live in, but it's a great place to go visit Willie and I love it. We drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from there and get off about 50 miles up the road and continue home. It's wonderful. Um, anyway, this has been Because I Said so with your host, john Roseman, parent guru dot com. John Roseman dot com. Sub stack dot com. Folks, as I leave, let me remind you you must, above all else, keep on rockin' in the free world, because, folks, that we don't keep rockin' it, they'll lose it. Merry Christmas y'all, happy New Year and all that. That's the one and only child that will show through radio, because I said so yeah, that's the one and only child that will show through radio. So that's the one and only child that will show through radio.