The full title of this book is “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” 366 Insightful and thought-provoking Reflections on Parenting and Family Life. On the cover, John Rosemond is described as America’s most widely read authority on child rearing and family life. He is a psychologist and his articles were printed in over 100 newspapers nationwide.
This day-to-day collection contains 366 tips or reflection for ‘battle-worn” parents, one per dated page.
I had bought this book in a book warehouse sales a few years ago, read it, agreed and tried to follow the many tips and then stored it away. Recently, I was de-cluttering my life, and decided to give my many parenting books to my brother, who is expecting his first child in September. I hope the tips he got would make him a better parent, instead of like me, who bought the book as a last resort because I was at my wit’s end on dealing with my kids.
This is an easy read. If you read one page (or date) a day, you would take 366 days to finish. And if like me, you are desperate, then you can read 30 pages a night and finish it in 12 nights.
John Rosemond is now a grandfather and thus it is not surprising that his child rearing methods are old school, and he considered all the modern theories of child rearing to be rubbish. Among them:
Self esteem is so over rated in children nowadays that they are self centred.
Spanking (a swat on the rear) occasionally is no harm and may actually be quite good. He wrote a book in 1994 titled “To spank or not to spank”. A spanking serves as a reminder of parental authority and a demonstration of disapproval.
A couple should be marriage centred instead of kids centred.
Women should not feel guilty for time away from their kids. Why label women as working mothers, or stay-at-home mom etc? Do we have working fathers?
Baby/toddler gym and excercise classes are a waste of time and money. Children excercise naturally.
I like how he compares family to politics. There is no possibility of a truly democratic relationship between parents and children, as long as the children live at home and rely on the parents for emotional, social and economic protections. He says that the most ideal form of family government is a ‘benevolent dictatorship”, meaning that the parents are lovingly authoratative as well as authoratatively loving.
His book has tips for parenting babies (thumb sucking), terrible twos, kids and tweens and teens.
While my sister is here, I had a chance to observe her parenting style, very different from my own for she is married to an ang mo and lives in Germany where I believe spanking constitutes to child abuse. She was a classic democratic mother. Everything centers on her children’s “Likes”. Would you like to bathe now? Would you like to try? It’s no wonder that her children’s favourite phrase is “I don’t like” when that’s what their mother tells others that ‘Oh, she doesn’t like this, or he doesn’t like this.”
My nephew Patrick is going to be three in October. The book says that by age three, a child has arrived at one of two intuitive conclusions concerning his or her parents:
Conclusion A: My parents are here, primarily speaking, to be paid attention to by me.
Conclusion B: My parents are here, primarily speaking, to pay attention to me.
Suffice to say, if the child arrives at conclusion B, discipline will be a major hassle. It’s no wonder that only her husband and others are able to discipline Patrick. He turns to a whinny, clinging and disobedient baby whenever my sister is around. The transformation is more scary than the Transformer movie.
Perhaps it’s easy to criticise others, so let me give an illustration on teens and how they do homework with music on. Parents (like me!) think that music is a destraction, unless it’s Mozart playing. The author’s advise is : Remember that a kid’s brain isn’t as cluttered as an adult’s. It’s no sweat for a teenager to listen to rock with one part of the brain, do homework with another part, and still chew gum!
I have been told that children fear me, cos I’m often able to get them to do what their parents could not. Yet, I’ve always felt that fear is a wrong word, for my nieces and nephews love to be around me. I was right. The word should be intimidation. Intimidation is nothing more than an immature form of respect. Authority figures- parents, teachers, coaches- must intimidate in order to effectively teach the kids social and academic skills in order to someday function as responsible adults. To do this, adults must know how to command, and as a consequence, they must constantly demand obedience. Parents who succeed at commanding do not have to invest their instructions to their children with threat. Like most parents, I have success with other people’s kids but my own.
Parents should teach the three R’s: Respect (for self and authority), Responsibility (accountability for own action) and Resourcefulness (the abiliy to do alot with little). Whether the child grows up to be a doctor or a janitor, as long as he has the three R’s, the parents has done his job. How true. Would cam-whoring be an issue if the child was taught the first two R’s?
Finally, in case you are having a hard time parenting like me, take heed that the author hadn’t enjoyed being a parent as well. He writes, there were certainly immensely enjoyable times, but they are exception rather than the rule. The rule was by no means unpleasant or unhappy, but it wasn’t enjoyable either. Parents who think child rearing should be joyful are setting themselves up for a big disappointment.
Parenthood is a responsiblity, not a playground where parents are supposed to have a good time. I wonder if I had knew that before, would I still be a parent today?