Saturday, May 30, 2009

PARENTING by THE BOOK...Chapters 2 and 3

Last time I posted about this book it stirred up a lot of strong feelings in people. Although I do not believe everything in this book, I think the author has a lot of good ideas and I like authors that make me think and question why I do what I do or believe what I believe. I encourage and love comments, but please keep it "G" folks. Debate and disagreement are fine, but do it nicely. No personal attacks please. My personal comments are in green.

CHAPTER 2: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

There were three schools of thought to Postmodern Psychological Parenting (PPP):

1. Psychological Determination (Freudian): human behavior is shaped by early childhood experiences. "...not one of Freud's ideas has survived the test of scientific scrutiny...Five therapists may well find five different "causes" for your problems....Negative childhood experiences do not necessarily predestine adult problems any more than a wonderful childhood predicts a blissful adulthood. Grandmas knew that the most powerful shaping force in a person's life was the force of the person's own free will. She understood that the choices people, including children, made were influenced by early childhood experiences, socioeconomic factors, cultural expectations, peer pressure, and so on. But Grandma also understood that when all was said and done, people were fully responsible for the choices they made. If a perfect God could not raise children (Adam and Eve) who were perfectly obedient, what chance do we have? No matter how good a parent you are, your child is capable on any given day of doing something despicable, disgusting and depraved." (p. 32-36)

BIBLICAL: The child's behavior is influenced, but no determined by outside influences; rather, the child chooses his path in life.

A prime example of this is Dave Pelzer. If you've never read his book, it's a must read. Dave Pelzer was the worse case of abuse reported in California history. This is one person who has every right to have a messed up adult life, but instead he went on to graduate, join the Air Force and become an author of seven books. He made a choice to not be like his mother and to grow beyond his circumstances.

I do not have anything against counselling. I had about 2 years of therapy after my divorce and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. However, I do believe that a lot of therapists are unscrupulous and will try to keep you dependant as long as possible. I remember my therapist telling me that she would know she had done her job, when I no longer needed her any more.

I do agree that too many people use their childhoods to justify their problems now. My feeling is that your parents may have contributed to your issues as a child, but as soon as you took over and went out on your own, everything that happened from that point on was your choice and you can't blame anyone except yourself for where you are now.

2. Humanist: children are fundamentally good and high self-esteem is a desirable attribute....."a child is inclined to do the wrong thing, the self-serving thing, to consider his own interests before anyone else's...One does not have to teach a toddler to hit, steal, lie, disobey, covet and destroy other people's property, or act selfishly. Such behavior comes naturally to a toddler." (p. 38-40)

BIBLICAL: Children are fundamentally sinful. Modesty and humility in all things is desirable; furthermore, those with high self-esteem "will be humbled."

I am amazed every day by parents that come to me about their child's behavior saying they don't know what else to do and they give up. "GIVE UP!?!" If the parent gives up, what hope does the child have? The other thing I see is that too many parents think certain poor behaviors like: rudeness, hitting and talking back are just "cute" when the child is little and they let them get away with it and then they are "shocked" when the child is older and is a tyrant. They don't start being a parent until the child is older and by then the child is out of control. You have to be a parent from DAY ONE and leave being their buddy and friend for later.

3. Behavioral: behavior modification works as well on human beings as it does on rats and dogs."Unlike animals, human beings possess free will: We are capable of resisting the power of consequences. Rats and other animals are not capable of such resistance; they bend involuntarily to the power of any consequence. Unlike animals, humans are rebellious by nature, something animals are not."

BIBLICAL: Humans are not animals. Possessing free will, humans can successfully resist the manipulations of behavior modification.

This is evident in our overcrowded prisons. If behavior modification worked on everyone, our prisons would be empty and there would be peace on Earth.


1. Have you tended, at times to make excuses for your child's misbehavior?

2. Identify several of your child's misbehaviors that have seemed imperious to discipline (nothing you've tried has worked). How do you imagine your parents or grandparents would have dealt with these same problems?

3. Are you willing to accept that your child's free will is more powerful than your parenting?

CHAPTER 3: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

"...parents should aim their child rearing at the goal of producing a good citizen, a person of value to the culture....core of this curriculum: RESPECT for the dignity of every human being, RESPONSIBILITY for one's own actions and a willingness to carry out tasks assigned by authority figures AND RESOURCEFULNESS, a hang in there, tough it out, try-and-try-again attitude brought to the challenges of life." (p 70-71)


1. Have you spent as much time and effort teaching good manners as you have making sure your children's skills are up to par?

2. Is each of your children a good citizen of your family?

3. What, if anything, prevents you from cutting the time your children spend in after-school activities by, say, half, and using that time to strengthen your family?


Kris said...

1. I completely agree that SOME people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps irregardless of their childhood. HOWEVER, not ALL can. Yes, some counselors care jokes who are only looking at job security, but not all are (I'm glad you found a good one!).

Thanks for sharing this...I am now certain he will definitely not be on my reading list.

Richele said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book - I'm following along and learning so much!