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Psychologist: America Needs to 'Make American Parenting Great Again!'

According to parenting expert and author John Rosemond, the problem with American parenting today "is the 1960s." He offered a simple solution: "America needs a 'Make American Parenting Great Again!' movement."

Writing in his syndicated column at Omaha.com, Rosemond said that the 1960s replaced rationality with emotionality, with mental health professionals urging people to "get in touch with their feelings." He recounts that when he was in graduate school in the 1960s his profession was teaching the following:

  1. feelings — especially children’s feelings — held deep meaning
  2. therapy was all about helping people recover the feelings their parents had made them repress
  3. getting in touch with one’s feelings was the key to happiness.

Rosemond, author of The Well-Behaved Child, called this "a crock" and said that with rare exception feelings are more apt to deceive than to promote good decisions. "Pre-psychological (pre-1960s) parents insisted that their children control the expression of emotion for the good of those children (as well as the good of everyone who was ever in contact with those children)," he said. Rosemond explained that people who allow their emotions to control them "are not happy people."

"In their own enslaved minds, they are perpetual victims. Furthermore, the undisciplined nature of their emotions is destructive to themselves and others. Undisciplined emotions destroy relationships, property and spiritual health."

Anyone who grew up before the psychologists of the 1960s started telling parents how to raise their children can tell you that parenting wasn't nearly as complicated back then as it is today. In a typical family, the children were not the center of attention and the adults were authoritative—and had the final say in all matters. There was little (if any) negotiating and back-talk was forbidden. Kids were expected to entertain themselves (usually outside) for most of the day when they weren't in school. Whining was frowned upon—even a punishable offense. Pre-1960s parents weren't drowning in a sea of parenting books and they didn't obsess over every complaint and sob that emerged from the mouths of their immature little progeny. They didn't drag their kids to psychologists every time they misbehaved and didn't drug every wiggly little boy. They disciplined their kids and weren't shy about spanking. Instead of coddling them, they taught kids to face their problems and deal with them in a mature fashion. Or sometimes, they just told their children to "suck it up" or "rub some dirt on it" because they knew that kids can sometimes be overly dramatic and they didn't want to indulge that behavior.

A half-century later America is paying the price for the 1960s psychobabble that Rosemond encountered in grad school. We're witnessing a national epidemic of snowflakes who are unable to cope with disappointment or control their urges. Heck, they can't even tolerate being in the presence of someone with whom they disagree!

Rosemond slammed the mental health professionals who foisted these bogus theories on America. "They claimed, without evidence, that insisting upon emotional control was repressive and authoritarian (and therefore harmful)," he said. "They claimed, without evidence, that enforcing shame upon a child who had behaved anti-socially — they named it 'shame-based parenting' — would result in psychological problems (when the opposite is true)."

While acknowledging that shaming a child can be taken to an extreme, he said it's an essential element to the formation of a conscience, "which is essential to responsible self-government." Rosemond, who is the author of a plethora of parenting books, explained that "children are not naturally disposed to shame." He said, "It must be trained into them by loving parents who are not supposed to enjoy what they must do. A child so trained is destined to become a compassionate, responsible human being, not an emotional basket case." In other words, this is how you raise an adult who is not a snowflake.

"Letting it all hang" out is not the path to happiness, he added. "It is about self-control, respect for others and responsibility. It is about a value system that places others before self. A certain amount of repression is a good thing."

"America needs a 'Make American Parenting Great Again!' movement," he said, because "a culture’s strength ultimately depends on the strength of its child-rearing practices."