Sting my 9 year old son – the lima news
Q: A friend recently pointed out that I constantly quibble with my 9 year old son’s behavior. Her words were, “You’re on her case all the time.” Why am I nitpicking and how can I stop?
A: Spotting a child’s behavior is almost always the consequence of “personalization”, that is, believing that any fault of your child reflects a fault of equal or greater magnitude in yourself. .
Many, if not most parents today – mothers, in particular – have fallen prey to the myth that child rearing is deterministic. Why moms, especially? Because mothers are the main consumers of educational materials for children, in the vast majority of cases. And because many modern moms believe in the determinism of child rearing, it personalizes. And because she personalizes, she is beset with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. So, she complains that raising children is “the hardest thing I have ever done.”
We have come full circle. Mothers, because they read too much, believe in psychology. Because they believe that child rearing is deterministic, mothers are more likely to âpersonalizeâ when their children behave badly. Because they “personalize”, they quibble. Nibbling is a form of micromanagement, all forms of which are motivated by anxiety.
People believe in psychology the same way they believe in any other unproven hypothesis: namely, psychology has been commercialized in such a way that most people believe it is a science and, therefore, full of facts. Psychology is not a science. It’s a fact. It is a philosophy of human nature. It is also a fact that none of the theories of psychology concerning human nature have ever survived the scrutiny of the scientific method. These are speculations. In fact, whenever a psychologist says that someone is behaving in a certain way because ___________ (fill in the blank with a psychological explanation of human behavior), they are theorizing / speculating. He cannot prove that what he is saying is true.
When mothers weren’t reading parenting books, they weren’t saying things like, âRaising a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And besides, a mother who says such things does not think correctly because raising a child, approached with an appropriate attitude (that is, an attitude which does not give credence to the thoughts of professional psychological speculators. ), is a simple matter.
I am a psychologist who writes books on parenting. Specifically, I write books about just raising children, which is very, very different from what we now call âparentingâ. The reason so many parents have so many problems today is that they are “parents” – a post-1960s aberration based on false psychological theory. The simple education of children is done with common sense, which most parents still do unless they have been âparentsâ for so long that they cannot break the bad habit.
The difference between the two approaches is a matter of their goals. The goal of “parenting” is to raise a child who is happy and successful. The goal of the simple education of children is to emancipate a responsible citizen in the shortest possible time.
All of this to say that if you stop parenting and just start raising kids, you’ll relax, stop nit-picking, and have a much happier parenting.
KRT MUG SLUGGED: ROSEMOND KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY DON WILLIAMSON / CHARLOTTE OBSERVER (March 22) John Rosemond writes for the Charlotte Observer. (mvw) 2005