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New common sense child-rearing book



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 31st 03, 08:20 PM
Kent
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Default New common sense child-rearing book

URL:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...1/CM221694.DTL

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest book in

the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen shootings at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books on
child rearing. Although he admits there have been some stellar examples
lately - Carol Eagle's "All That She Can Be: Helping Your Daughter Maintain
her Self- Esteem," Michael Gurian's
"The Good Son" and Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder's "Backtalk: Four

Steps To Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids" - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.

Shaw's book, "The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and

Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish
Children," (with Stephanie Woods; ReganBooks, $24.95) is a primer on how to
raise an empathetic kid who will benefit society. It takes the reader on a
detailed, instructive journey through a child's life, and is filled with
concrete examples from patients Shaw has treated in his more than 45 years
of practice. Shaw founded and serves as director of the Family Institute of
Berkeley.

The book may not be welcomed, especially in the Bay Area-Shaw is a firm

believer in children being raised by their parents, not by day-care
providers. He agrees there are ways to be a working mother and still bond
with and nurture your children, but he also stresses what a strain it will
be. Parents should approach parenthood with eyes wide open and once on the
path, keep the kids in line and out of trouble. The book can be as
inspirational as it is frightening as a reader
vacillates between "Is it too late for my kids?" and "That's it, we're

cracking down tonight on those tantrums."

Shaw admits to a nagging fear of being "lynched in his hometown," but

soldiered on anyhow; he's under the impression the public is now ready to
hear how to fix our kids. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Judith,
and practices in Berkeley.
He has four grown children.

Following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, which hits

bookstores in October:
Alison Biggar, Editor

We are in crisis. Large numbers of children, even including those who could

be considered privileged, are no longer developing the empathy,
moral commitment and ability to love that is necessary to maintain our
society at the level that has always been our dream. The emotional,
psychological and moral well- being of the current generation of children
has reached a frightening low point, and it's going to require a
powerful shift in thinking to save them. A few short years ago,
we were in serious denial that there was such a problem, but recent

catastrophic events in our society are forcing us to face the
inevitable: Our culture no longer offers what children need to truly thrive.
While happy families were once the
norm, more and more we see parents and children rushing frenetically from

one task to another; children whining, bickering, tantruming,
pouting; parents nagging, complaining and trying to ignore their unruly,
surly offspring. Can you go
to stores, restaurants or libraries without seeing these joyless children

screaming, throwing food or pulling packages or
books off shelves? Are you comfortable seeing such scenarios-or tempted to

look the other way?

We can no longer turn a blind eye: There is a mountain of evidence now

telling us what's truly good - and really bad - for
kids.

When you hold a baby in your arms and see her sweet face looking up at you,

you hope and expect that she will naturally
grow up to be a well-developed, compassionate person. However, it doesn't

happen naturally - children can be trained to
a variety of outcomes. As a culture, we need to start noticing that the

path to severe dysfunction is often subtle. Like
termites, the epidemic of problem behavior silently burrows into your life

and does great damage before it's discovered.
If we as parents don't "train" our children in constructive, safe and

expressive ways of operating in our society, their natural
drive to connect with someone or some idea may well lead them toward some

of the most destructive behavioral manifestations. They'll be
"trained" all right, but perhaps by wayward peers, gangs, media or radical
religious cults.

Teachers and grandparents have been complaining for years that today's

children are out of control. The day of reckoning
has arrived: We simply can't afford to raise our children this way.

We Determine Our Children's Future

Children are extremely malleable and plastic, and how we rear them is the

major determinant of their outcome. I believe
the parenting trends that have evolved over the last 30 years promote the

development of unattached, non-communicative, learning impaired and
uncontrollable children. We are experiencing an epidemic of school problems,
both learning and behavioral. Teachers everywhere report that children are
arriving ill-equipped to engage in school because they lack focus, purpose,
connection, an ability to fit into a rules system and a desire to learn. At
the extreme, our current culture may well be breeding a generation of
unattached, predatory children who may be cognitively smart but who lack the
capacity to appreciate the feelings and positions of other people.

This epidemic seeps like a fog into all of our culture. Parents find

themselves enslaved by a materialistic, overachieving
society that leads them to spend so many hours and so much money that they

can't make the time to do the things necessary to bond with
their children. They are worried that they might crush their children,
stifle their self-esteem or kill
their creativity, to the extent that all sense of proportion is lost about

the role of a young child in a family. Their
children are rarely given limits or permitted to experience frustration,

and their moral and spiritual development are overlooked. As a result,
essential values like empathy, effort, duty and honor do not develop. And on
top of that, children are abandoned to the influence of the media - so much
time is wasted on mind-numbing electronic entertainment such as television
and video games that literacy, social development and creativity are all
inhibited. These unbonded, untrained children agitate in ever-widening
circles of problem behavior until they finally bump up against real limits -
which all too often have to be supplied by institutions such as schools or,
eventually, the law.

What are the chances that this will happen to your child? The answer lies

within the lifestyle choices you make. Each
decision that moves your family away from what we know is good for

children - secure attachment to a primary caregiver; a
safe, structured and ordered environment; lots of free time to exercise

creativity and imagination - increases the level of
risk to the child's development. The choices are tough ones, and with each

decision, you set the odds, one way or the
other.

The Roots of the Epidemic

Where does it all begin? The epidemic of which I'm writing cannot be

imagined as a function of poverty, of the inner city
or of a minority race. It is occurring in the homes of comfortable,

educated parents. Its symptoms can be observed in every
classroom, every playground, every supermarket and restaurant-in more and

more households across America. The
evidence begins early, and can be observed anywhere, in both parental and

childhood behavior:

-- The parents of an 18-month-old leave her with a baby-sitter while they

work all day. The sitter, in turn, plops her in
a high chair to watch an endless parade of Barney videos. The child's

response: She enters meltdown mode the minute Mommy arrives to take her
home. Naturally Mommy can't wait to escape back to the office the next
morning.

-- The two-career parents of a 3-year-old, too tired to cook, drag him out

to yet another restaurant at the end of his own
long day. The child tosses his food on the floor, whines incessantly that

he wants to leave and then climbs off his seat,
under the tables, and around the chairs of other patrons, ruining their

meals as well. The parents pretend not to
notice so they can finish their conversation.

-- A father goes to pick up a 4-year-old from a play date. The child spits

in the face of his father, then screams all the
way out the door. The father, clearly not used to being in control of his

son, begs and cajoles ("we'll stop for ice cream on the way home") in a
desperate effort to end the embarrassing scene.

-- Parents on the way to a friend's child's birthday party make a stop at

the toy store with their own 5-year-old in tow.
They explain that they are here for a present for Suzy, not her. The child

throws a fit in the toy store until her parents give in
and leave with two purchases. One can only imagine the scene at the party

when the other child opens her presents.

As parents, our lives are filled with these critical moments. They may seem

insignificant at the time, when you just need
to get through that restaurant dinner or trip to the toy store, but how

they're handled sends a vitally important message to
your children about the nature of their relationship with you. From that

sleep-deprived decision in the wee hours that it's
easier to let a toddler come into bed with you than not, to that evening

when you're too tired or lazy or even afraid to stand up to a rebellious
teen, by not acting you are acting - and potentially in a harmful way. The
parents of the younger children in
the previous examples who tolerate public meltdowns now will likely be the

same ones who have underachieving, disrespectful, vandalizing teens later.

Today's parents seem to have absorbed the notion that a child's life should

be totally serene, totally self-expressive and
totally free from frustration. But creating an atmosphere that feels

satisfactory to the child all the time does her
a disservice.

When you look at it this way, it's easy to see how the breeding ground of

the epidemic goes all the way back to infancy. Of
course, a newborn still adapting to her overwhelming new world needs and

deserves immediate and constant attention.
But by six months of age or so, a baby should have developed the capacity

to doze off on her own and sleep through the
night, or entertain herself with a toy for brief periods while a parent

goes about the everyday tasks of life, such as cooking
or making a phone call. Yet more and more often we see high-demand older

babies who react intensely the minute they
are put down and who continue to awaken their now zombie-like parents hour

after hour throughout the night demanding
complicated soothing routines. These infants grow into temperamental

toddlers who refuse to accept routines and resist
toilet training well past the age when they are capable (the manufacturing

of a totally new product - large-size disposable
diapers for preschoolers - is but one example of this trend). As 4- and

5-year-olds who should be evolving into happy,
eager-to-please little people, they continue to react with tantrums when

limits are set and suffer emotional collapse in the
face of frustration.

It is totally human and expected that children are going to test out their

parents and other authority figures - not to do so
would also be abnormal. Rather than seeing all limit-testing as a bad

thing, we must recognize its merits in helping
the child safely determine what it expected of him in the world. The

trouble is, indulging and distancing parents have allowed
it to go beyond an acceptable level. When parents don't teach their

children acceptable behavior, defiance becomes the
norm. Of course a 1-year-old tries to pull hair or bite; he needs to be

taught not to or he will continue to do it. Of course a
2-year-old will throw a tantrum; he must learn that such behavior is not

permitted and will not get him his way, or he will
continue to do it. Of course a 2- or 3-year-old will feel reluctant to

share her toys; she must be taught that it's a nice
thing to do, or she will continue to refuse to. Of course a 3- or

4-year-old may try to run into a dangerous street; he must learn that he
can't. Not enforcing appropriate limits is neglecting the teachable moments
that will ultimately civilize and protect your child.

Many of today's children have gotten the message that their frightened,

guilt-ridden parents will give in if they put up
enough of a fight. So rather than trying to please them, they oppose,

resist and irritate; their parents, in turn, cringe and
cower and cave in. Control has come to replace attachment and love, skewing

development in an abnormal direction that
has become accepted. Palatable labels ranging from "high-energy" to

"hyperactive" to "temperamental" to "oppositional"
are bandied about like personality traits that must be tolerated. Parents

are lulled into believing these behaviors are the
norm by the parenting gurus who preach child-centric theories: never let

your baby cry; he'll use the potty when he's
ready; discipline is disrespectful; the child's feelings should come first

(well before yours, of course).

The media are part of this problem. In one recent issue of a popular child-

rearing magazine I saw the following query
from a reader: "My 3-year old is a delight in most ways, but if I ask her

to do something, she'll say no, throw herself on the
floor, and tell me I'm not her mommy anymore. I've raised her to express

her feelings, but have I gone too far?" The
answer from a noted pediatrician: "Her behavior is perfectly normal for a

3-year-old."

It is extremely sad to me to think of the children whose parents are being

influenced by statements like this. If this were
normal, why would anyone want to have a child? Children like this are being

injured in their emotional development every
day by being allowed to behave in totally inappropriate ways.

That a pediatrician is alleged to have accepted this as normal indicates to

me how far this epidemic has penetrated into
the fabric of child-rearing. Yes, a child might do something like this on a

rare occasion, with provocation and stressful
circumstances. But one time should be enough. It is possible to make clear

that you will not bargain under duress.
Children are very bright and learn the rules rapidly. The problem is that

we are teaching them the wrong rules.

Those children who progress down this distorted developmental track are

much more likely to become angry and
alienated and assume a cold or contemptuous attitude toward others,

especially authority figures. At home, they are
secretive, sullen, broody presences. In school, behaviors such as

distractibility, indifference, overdiagnosed
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disdain for adults,

whining and nagging detract from their ability to learn. Well-intentioned
parents then take them to psychiatrists, who prescribe the latest
medications to calm them down, help them focus in school and become more
manageable.

To the parents of these out-of-control children, the daily indignities are

frustrating but easy to rationalize: "She'll
grow out of it," "I'm too tired to deal," "He's a high-spirited kid," "It's

probably just puberty." But the saddest fact is
undeniable: family life for many has become too much work, too little fun.

Sheer ack of time and performance pressure on both adults and children have
diminished the importance of seemingly less productive pursuits like playing
peek-a-boo with a gurgling baby, sitting down to a family board game or
chasing twinkling lightning bugs under the summer stars. Instead we find
ourselves slaving after children who laugh in the face of our weak attempts
at discipline, demand to be amused all day,
and stay up late because we're too exhausted to put up the struggle it

takes to get them to bed. These kids are fully in
charge. No wonder they have piles of untouched toys - the real live

playthings that are their parents are far more
entertaining.

Meanwhile, modern moms and dads are encouraged by a culture in overdrive to

push and prod and force their children
onto an endless track of achievement, desperately squeezing one more

enriching activity into their already too-tight
schedules. The not-so-subliminal message: If Johnny doesn't do it all,

he'll never keep up with the multitalented
majority, he'll go the state university route instead of Ivy League, he may

never discover his true calling and reach his
potential. Driven by such superficial goals and constant consumerism,

parents abdicate their children's day-to-day routines to others so they can
work longer, while the beautiful home sits forlornly, the dining room table
goes unused, the long family
weekend away gets postponed when work calls. They feel regret, but they

can't mobilize themselves to stop and relax and
enjoy this family life that they so carefully cultivated.

Never before has the degree of dysfunction I have described afflicted

privileged families in the numbers we're seeing
today, nor has it begun so early. The American Academy of Child and

Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that about 5
percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression, and suicide has

risen to the third leading cause of death
among teens.

These stricken children are proving ill-equipped to cope in the more

demanding world beyond their homes. A recent study
of more than 13,000 college students seeking psychological counseling

revealed that their emotional difficulties
are far more complex and more severe than in the past. Researchers at the

counseling center at Kansas State University found that the percentage of
students treated for depression or suicidal tendencies doubled in the 12
years from 1989 to 2001. More than twice the number of students was taking
some type of psychiatric medication. Problems related to stress,
anxiety, learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity

disorder, family issues, grief and sexual assault also
rose.

I find it painful but no surprise that these constantly placated children

are growing into adults who are unable to take the
rough-and-tumble of life. They have not been given the inner resources to

deal with the stresses of responsibility and
accountability. Then they land in the college counseling office, leaving

the school responsible for their mental health.


THE BIGGEST MODERN PARENTING MISTAKES

-- Failing to establish a strong emotional bond with your child by not

spending the necessary time and attention.

-- Not reading to, talking to or playing with young children to provide the

experiences we know help them acquire
literacy.

-- Accepting the idea that excessive non-parental care will be an adequate

substitute for your relationship with your child.

-- Not having firm rules and routines that you administer calmly, fairly,

assertively and without guilt or
hesitation.

-- Not conveying to your child - through both actions and words - the

moral, ethical, and spiritual values you believe in
(or not having moral, ethical, and spiritual values in the first place).

-- Allowing your child inappropriate control over his life. A certain

amount of control, doled out as a child is ready to
handle it, is wonderful; too much control when your child is ill-prepared

for it is disastrous.

-- Yelling at and threatening your children. You can be firm and reliable

in reinforcing rules without resorting to these
tactics. When you lose your temper, it says that you have delayed handling

an issue until your frustration and impotence
have become overwhelming. You can act firmly right away; you don't have to

wait until you get angry.

-- Over-identifying with your child, to the extent that you assume he wants

what you want, will fulfill your own aspirations,
or will perform in a way that will enhance your self-image. In short,

expecting your child to build your ego and solve your
doubts.

-- Expecting too much while demanding too little. For instance, letting him

loll around playing video games all day, then
expecting him to win honors at school.

-- Not allowing your child to experience the rewards of earning and

achieving on his own.

-- Overexposure to media.

-- Not giving your child the type of activities and experiences that

promote his ability to sit quietly, concentrate and
listen, then expecting schools to "fix" him. Not even the very best private

schools or stellar public education systems can
accomplish the same goals with underdeveloped children as they do with

those who are well-adjusted and ready to learn.

-- Failing to talk things through. Direct, honest, complete communication

should be the constant characteristic of your
relationship with your child.

When parents commit these all-too-common mistakes in an effort to suit

their own needs and concerns or through their
own ignorance or lack of energy, they thwart their child's natural course

of development. When you put off toilet
training because you're too busy to deal with it, or allow your 6-year-old

to keep crawling into your bed at night
because you're too tired to put up a fight, or dole out money on demand

instead of insisting on an allowance, or let curfews
slide, you will cripple your child in the long run. These developmental

tasks can feel endless at times, but it's naive to think
that children will turn out fine if you just leave them alone. Values are

not instinctual; they are passed on to your children day
after day, in your every interaction with them. That is why, with effort,

even very deviant children can be helped to gain the
values they need.

From the book "The Epidemic," by Robert Shaw. To be published in October by

ReganBooks, an imprint of
HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Copyright 2003 by Robert Shaw.



  #2  
Old September 1st 03, 09:11 AM
R. Steve Walz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book

Kent wrote:

URL:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...1/CM221694.DTL

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest book in

the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen shootings at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books on
child rearing. Although he admits there have been some stellar examples
lately - Carol Eagle's "All That She Can Be: Helping Your Daughter Maintain
her Self- Esteem," Michael Gurian's
"The Good Son" and Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder's "Backtalk: Four

Steps To Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids" - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.

-------------
This is merely pro-child-abuse rightist backlash crap. Rightists want
people to stop writing books that ssy they abuse their children, which
they DO, and the assholes in that area of Colorado are especially
abusive of their kids, these are emotionless abusive rightist
suburbanite yuppies who damage their children with abusive hyper-
expectations and emotional coldness and physical abuse, as has been
documented.

He's trying to peddle child abuse as child rearing, because he has a
fixation on retributive violence and coercion as some magical element
of a "healthy" childhood, chiefly because he is working in his adult
and professional life with a stark agenda to justify the abuse his
parents visited upon HIM!
Steve
  #3  
Old September 2nd 03, 02:04 PM
Chookie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book

In article ,
"Kent" wrote:

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest book in

the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen shootings at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books on
child rearing. [...] - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.


Yeah, like the Baby Whisperer, Contented Little Baby book, the Ezzos, et al.

--
Chookie -- Sydney, Australia
(Replace "foulspambegone" with "optushome" to reply)

"...children should continue to be breastfed... for up to two years of age
or beyond." -- Innocenti Declaration, Florence, 1 August 1990
  #4  
Old September 2nd 03, 03:15 PM
Banty
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book

In article , Chookie
says...

In article ,
"Kent" wrote:

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest book in

the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen shootings at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books on
child rearing. [...] - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.


Yeah, like the Baby Whisperer, Contented Little Baby book, the Ezzos, et al.


Be aware that the OP is a regular on alt.support.childfree.

Banty

  #5  
Old September 2nd 03, 08:33 PM
P. Tierney
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book


"Chookie" wrote in message
...
In article ,
"Kent" wrote:

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest book

in
the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen shootings

at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books on
child rearing. [...] - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.


Yeah, like the Baby Whisperer, Contented Little Baby book, the Ezzos, et

al.

Which ignores the scores of "tough parenting" theorists out there.

But, the easiest way to sell a child philosophy is to get people on
the same page as you and then create an "us vs. them" fictional
battle. Which is what this author appears to be doing.


P.
Tierney


  #6  
Old September 3rd 03, 02:45 AM
P. Tierney
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book


"P. Tierney" wrote in message
news:[email protected]

"Chookie" wrote in message
...
In article ,
"Kent" wrote:

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw says he wrote the latest

book
in
the child-care advice genre because he had to. After the teen

shootings
at
Columbine, he asked himself, "How would you have to raise your kids

for
them to do this?" His answer lay in the past three decades of books

on
child rearing. [...] - the majority have pushed a
child-centric view that elevates the child to head of the household.


Yeah, like the Baby Whisperer, Contented Little Baby book, the Ezzos, et

al.

Which ignores the scores of "tough parenting" theorists out there.

But, the easiest way to sell a child philosophy is to get people on
the same page as you and then create an "us vs. them" fictional
battle. Which is what this author appears to be doing.


Ooops. I now realize that you were giving counter examples. Sorry.
I just remembered who Ezzo is. I've heard of the Baby Whisperer
but no few details. The "Contented" one is new to me.


P. Tierney


  #7  
Old September 3rd 03, 12:00 PM
Chookie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default New common sense child-rearing book

In article , Banty
wrote:

Be aware that the OP is a regular on alt.support.childfree.


Well, I knew it was a troll, though I wasn't aware of the provenance!

I perceive (and I may be wrong) that there has been an *increase* in materials
coming from the the 'larn yeh good' school of child-rearing in the last 5-10
years. Actually, I think the history has been:

1945-1960 -- Research into the 'authoritarian personality': militaristic
upbringing thought to have made Germans, Italians, and presumaably Soviets
more prone to accepting/participating in brutality, oppression and aggression
by their Govt.

1960-1980 -- The gentler styles of child-rearing become more popular, I
presume as a response to 'authoritarian personality' theories -- era of
"Summerhill", Faber & Mazlish(?). Alongside this, Milgram's experiments on
American college students, and Jones' Third Wave instant Nazism indicate that
kids who grow up in liberal democracies are just as inclined to brutality as
anybody else.

1980-2000 -- Rising conservatism in English-speaking countries, fear of youth,
fear of crime. First Ezzo class held 1984. Gentler parenting styles still
increasing in use, but backlash also arising.

2000+ -- Plenty of schedule-oriented, authoritarian material published!

--
Chookie -- Sydney, Australia
(Replace "foulspambegone" with "optushome" to reply)

"...children should continue to be breastfed... for up to two years of age
or beyond." -- Innocenti Declaration, Florence, 1 August 1990
 




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