Parenting by the Book
Parenting by the Book
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  • ISBN-13: 9781416544845
  • ISBN: 1416544844
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  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster



Chapter One The Walls Come Crumblin' Down Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. -- Psalm 40:4Our journey begins in 2002, in Lafayette, Louisiana. I'm in the lobby of an auditorium in which I'm about to speak, chatting with several parents. One of the women suddenly says, "I'm absolutely convinced, John, that my husband and I have experienced more problems in four years with two children than my parents had with all ten of us the entire time." That mother's statement reflects the difficulties inherent in today's child- rearing philosophy and practice. Further, it echoes not just the experience of one set of parents in Lafayette, but the experience of many if not most parents in the United States. Whether you grew up in a large or small family, you are almost certainly experiencing more child- rearing difficulties than did your parents -- a lot more. When compared to your grandparents' child-rearing experience, there is no doubt about it. Your grandparents had problems with their children -- all parents do -- but compared to the problems you are having, their parenting experience was a cakewalk. Men and women who accomplished most of their child rearing before 1960 -- people who are now in their seventies, eighties, and nineties -- tell me that whereas they dealt with the occasional problem, the raising of children per se was not especially difficult. As one ninety-year-old woman who raised five children during the forties and fifties once told me, "It was just something you did." She was by no means diminishing the responsibility. She made it clear that raising children was the most important job anyone ever undertook. She was simply putting it in its proper perspective: Raising children was but one of many responsibilities she had assumed as an adult, and she had been determined to execute each and every one of them to the best of her ability. These included responsibilities as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, employee (she had worked as a secretary for a number of years), member of various women's clubs and civic organizations, and member of her church. Because she did not overidentify with the role of mother, she was not overfocused on her kids. Therefore, raising children did not consume, exasperate, and exhaust her. She was able to discharge her responsibilities to her children, including their discipline, in a calm, collected, confident fashion. That hardly describes the day-to-day experience of today's oft-consumed, oft-exasperated, and oft-exhausted parents, and mothers especially. The times, they are a-changin' "But, John!" someone might exclaim. "Times have changed!" That cliche really explains nothing. "Times" have always changed, but until recently, the raising of children did not change from generation to generation. As technology, demographics, and economic conditions changed, the general approach to child rearing remained pretty much the same. My grandparents, for example, were born in the 1890s. During the first thirty years of their lives, they witnessed and experienced more change -- in every conceivable fashion -- than has occurred in the last thirty years (since 1977). Yet child rearing did not change during that time. My parents were born around 1920. Consider the dramatic changes that took place during the first thirty years of their lives, from 1920 to 1950: a worldwide depression that lasted more than a decade, a global war that lasted for five years, the development and use of nuclear weapons, the start of the Cold War and the national insecurity that resulted, the invention of television, and the ubiquity of the automobile. These events transformed not only America, but the world. No one born after 1950 has experienced such profound cultural transformation. Yet from 1920 to 1950, child rearing in America did not chanRosemond, John is the author of 'Parenting by the Book ', published 2007 under ISBN 9781416544845 and ISBN 1416544844.

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