by michael on March 26, 2011

I avoid political oriented postings. I don’t see anything to be gained relevant to the purposes of this website by classifying people into groups. I don’t remember my route to finding this article, Top 10 Boneheaded Parenting Trends From the Leftposted By Sally Meininger and Rhonda Robinson on Here is the complete link .

I saw the title and was intrigued, not because it made a reference to the Left, whatever that means these days, but because the word ‘boneheaded’ impressed me as being sufficiently unique as to be worthy of investigating.

I suppose one parent’s boneheadedness is another parent’s panacea and uplifting guideline. Whatever. I read the article. Some of the observations about parenting are similar to observations I’ve made that pertain to actions and philosophies that I find disturbing and / or misguided.

I do take issue with some of the authors’ conclusions. I share a few of the authors’ observations and analysis. Whether Left or Right or Center or floating somewhere among these categories, it is worth the ten minutes or so to read the complete article and just eradicate the Left – Right orientation.

The authors list these ten trends as boneheaded.
1. Raising a Child as Gender Neutral
2. Elimination Communication- Naked Green Babies
3. Be Your Child’s BFF
4. Teacup Parenting
5. Giving Your Child Everything They Want- Without Earning It
6. Children Should Not Be Exposed to Religion Until They’re Over 18.
7. No Restraints When it Comes to Sexuality.
8. Allowing Others to Raise Your Child Because They Must Know Better
9. Self-Esteem is Supreme
10. Corporal Punishment Should be Outlawed

Here are a few key paragraphs:

5. Giving Your Child Everything They Want- Without Earning It Again, good parents want to give gifts to their children. There is nothing wrong with that. Some parents can afford more than others. Good parents give their children as much as they are able.

We are always teaching our children something- both in what we do, and what we don’t do. Parents that lavish their children with everything their heart desires, create an entitlement mentality. Not only do they feel entitled, but also the gifts themselves are of little value. Easy come, easy go.

Hard work has been the American tradition since our founding. Traditionally men helped boys step into adulthood by working side by side, and learning a trade or skill. Work helps boys grow into strong men, in a way that nothing else can.

There is no better time for him to work and earn something more valuable than a paycheck—the character that comes with pride in accomplishment.

So-called liberal parents worry about a child’s self-esteem but the truth is that you can tell a child he is good, and he is strong and smart, but even a child knows; talk is cheap. He must prove it to himself before he will truly believe it.

7. No Restraints When it Comes to Sexuality.
This paragraph was particularly meaningful to me:

Then there’s the parents who allow their children and significant others to have sex in their home. At least the sheets are clean and mom provided the condoms. The attitude ‘they’re just going to do it anyway’ is such a cop out. Any teenager with a modicum of honesty will tell you that they’re at least a little disappointed their parents/teachers think they’re unrestrained animals. Resignation coupled with peer pressures risks more than unwanted pregnancies and STD’s, it will affect the child’s future relationships for the rest of their lives—and usually not for the better.

MGS I discuss this issue in depth in Chapter 22 of The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How To Talk With Children About Values.

The last category relates to self esteem. I posted about it previously. See Self Esteem: Don’t Have It? No Problem! 12/02/2010.
9. Self-Esteem is Supreme

I’ve never understood parents who are genuinely afraid of confronting or being honest with their child for fear of damaging their self-esteem. Number one, who’s the boss here? This should be easy. It’s the one who is bigger. Number two, children are already naturally self-centered. Why should that be encouraged? Life is full of hard knocks.

There’s no success without failure. They’re certainly to savoring of success without first experiencing the sting of failure. Why would we as parents seek to remove this valuable training tool?
There’s a vast difference between praising an art project and praising a child who’s just cussed you out because they were ‘expressing’ themselves. It’s shocking that this is even an issue. Children know deep in their hearts when they’ve done something mediocre awful, that they haven’t actually earned the praise. They know it’s all just a con.

Which makes them feel worse about themselves, which, you guessed it, damages their self-worth for realz. Children who are taught respect and humility and soldiering on through challenges will be so adored and sought out, trumped up ego stroking will become superfluous.

END of article text

I’m not fully persuaded by the analysis of some of the categories. The authors’ rationale for Number 10 is problematic. I agree with their conclusion about a little paddling but for different reasons. I don’t see mild paddling as much of an issue or problem if it is done rarely and, particularly, if done in the heat of the moment, such as if the child did something dangerous or was rude or officious.

More later

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