BEST PARENTING PARADIGMS John Rosemond’s Parenting by The Book

BEST PARENTING PARADIGMS John Rosemond’s Parenting by The Book

The accuracy of our assumptions determines the effectiveness of our actions. If we assume, for example, that the power line to the lamppost is eighteen inches under ground then we can dig a fifteen-inch hole to plant flowers around the post. But if the line is oh, say, twelve inches deep, and we maintain our assumption of eighteen then we can still plant flowers, we’ll just have to do without the light at night. Visit my house one evening and I’ll show you.

Nowhere is this truer or more obvious than in the outcomes America is experiencing in child-rearing. Since 1965, about the time we traded in our traditional child-rearing assumptions for the new and improved psychological paradigm, “every single indicator of positive well-being in America’s children has been in a state of precipitous decline … The per-capita rate of child and teen depression … has increased at least five fold since 1965. In just one fifteen-year period, from 1980 to 1995, the suicide rate for boys ages ten to fourteen almost doubled!”[1]

Those stats come from John Rosemond’s Parenting by The Book, published in 2007. I’d been reading Rosemond’s syndicated newspaper columns for years, amenning all the way, but I’d never read one of his books. The intro to Parenting by The Book reveals how Rosemond came to his convictions and explains one of the reasons I enjoy his work so much. It’s another case of science catching up with Scripture.

John was not a born-again believer in Jesus when he began his career. He called himself a cultural-Christian up until his early fifties. But his work as a family psychologist kept exposing him to hard facts about human nature that did not fit the post-modern parenting paradigm he’d absorbed in graduate school. The more he wrote, spoke, and counseled based on his findings, the more he found himself in agreement with Christians and at odds with his profession.

Remember those assumptions? Psychology assumes that people are fundamentally good, that we are not responsible for our problems—it’s our parents’ fault—and that we can only be “saved” through therapy. Biblical Christianity assumes that we are created in the image of God with a free will and fully responsible for our choices. But we are also fallen, corrupted by rebelling against him. Our only salvation is in accepting responsibility for our sins, asking for forgiveness, and believing in Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Before he was born again, Rosemond discovered the difference in those assumptions by studying their outcomes.

“I have major problems with the direction my once noble profession has taken since the late 1960’s,” he writes, “when the American Psychological Association was hijacked by secular progressives who were focused more on advancing humanist ideology than advancing the human condition … I am absolutely convinced that modern psychology has done more harm than good to the American family.” These ideas were coalescing in his mind when Rosemond read Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, and submitted his life to Jesus.

“The raising of a child, once a fairly straightforward, commonsense affair, has become the single most stressful thing a woman will do in her lifetime,” he writes. “That’s not the way God planned it, but then, God’s way is not modern psychology’s way either.” Parenting by The Book not only dismantles postmodern parenting assumptions, it also lays out a clear path based on the biblical worldview for parents to follow. Every parent should read it.

[1] John Rosemond, Parenting by The Book, p. 66.

PARENTING ISN’T FOR SISSIES

Parenting isn’t for sissies. If you don’t believe it just ask anyone who’s managed to raise even one child to productive, responsible, God-fearing, adulthood and we will show you our scars.

Children also make you fat. Yes, I know, you think it’s the donuts in your diet, but I can prove it. I’ve gained seventy pounds since I got married and had kids.

Just kidding! But seriously, parenting is one of the most demanding and rewarding things anyone can do. It is also a task for which many find themselves unprepared. Children have a way of revealing how selfish and ignorant we are. Their needs seem endless when our energy is exhausted. Their development demands wisdom when we are at wit’s end.

With that in mind I want to offer some encouragement as well as a resource for wisdom along the parenting way.

Begin with the Bible
Considering the critical nature of parenting, that whole “hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” thing, the Bible has very little to say about it. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” comes to mind, as does “raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.” But the rest of the Bible’s specific advice on parenting can be summed up with, “Children obey your parents and fathers don’t exasperate them.”

The bigger picture the Bible paints, however, is the more important one. Children bear the image of God and as such have huge potential for good, but they also inherit the sinful nature of Adam, and while they aren’t exactly little animals, they aren’t little angels either. Every child is human, and everything the Bible says about restoring the image of God in humans and restraining the evil inherent in our nature applies.

Apply Basic Principles
Experienced parents know that there is no magic formula for raising the perfect child, but a few basic principles proved themselves to us over the years.

First, use common sense. Some parents are so afraid that one mistake will permanently damage their children that they fail to do the obvious. Children, and I include teens in this, aren’t yet adults. If a rule seems obvious to you but doesn’t to them, never fear to impose it. They will get over it, they won’t hate you forever, and they may even thank you later.

Second, let them make decisions, take risks, and fail! It makes them stronger when they realize that failure isn’t fatal and risk reaps reward. The biggest mistake parents make is smothering their children, doing everything possible to prevent failure and its associated pain. But overprotecting a child is like overprotecting a plant. It stifles development.

Third, tell them no, and don’t be afraid to enforce your no with discipline. The fastest way to fill your child with insecurity and anger is to fail to discipline them when they are wrong. The insecurity comes because for a child, the lack of boundaries, the lack of restraint on their impulses, is destabilizing. The anger comes when they reap the consequences of an undisciplined life and realize that you didn’t love them enough to reign in their rebellion. Love must be tough.

Fourth, encourage relentlessly. We need to be like the momma dog with a litter of pups I read about. She gave them six licks of loving encouragement for every disciplinary swipe of the paw. Learn to catch your kids doing something right and affirm it. Let your affirmations outnumber your corrections six-to-one. This is especially important for dads.

Fifth, keep calm and carry on. Kids, especially teens, pass through developmental phases faster than they outgrow shoes. Never let a fleeting adolescent furor produce a parental meltdown. Your calm in the midst of their storm will provide the anchorage they need to ride it out.

Get Expert Help
Those five principles will carry you a long way, but if you find you need more I recommend child psychologist, and syndicated columnist John Rosemond. There are many others of course, but I read his column every week and find his parenting wisdom to be without peer. Find him at http://www.johnrosemond.com.

Q&A ON “IF I HAVE GAY CHILDREN” Part 1 Where Gayness Comes From

Last weekend a twenty-something college friend sent a link to a blog by a pastor in the Raleigh, North Carolina area titled IF I HAVE GAY CHILDREN: Four Promises From a Christian Pastor, by John Pavlovitz. My friend asked: I am really wrestling over this. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the content of this pastor’s words? As the Pavlovitz blog seems to be going viral, (I’ve already seen it lauded on facebook), I thought it would be helpful to share part of my reply with you. Mr. Pavlovitz has made the same mistake about human nature, specifically where so-called “gayness” comes from, that most of the culture is making. The two most significant statements in the post are quoted here.

“I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal.”

“If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are… They are today, simply a younger version of who they will be…”

Mr. Pavlovitz has adopted the widely promoted yet unprovable theory that the attractions and behaviors associated with homosexuality are hard-wired into the personality from birth. That makes God responsible for a person’s sexual orientation. Thus they can claim: “It’s not my fault. I’m just being what God made me to be.” That theory not only confuses the dignity of being made in the image of God with Darwinian predestination, but also fails to comprehend the complexity of human personality development and just how mold-able we humans really are. Our personalities, including our attractions and affections toward one or the other sex, are highly complex and can develop along a number of lines. Anyone can be homosexual, or heterosexual, given the right conditions and choices. In the Biblical world-view, there is no such thing as gay or straight. There are male and female, created for each other in the image of God. This is what Jesus taught (see Matthew 19:4-6). Men and women behave in ways that either reflect or reject the Designer’s intent. Either way, they are still men and women designed for each other in the image of God with the ability to choose who and what they will become. “Gayness,” “Straightness,” and all other such definitions of human relations are artificial, post-modern philosophical constructs, imposed upon us by the homosexual movement in the last four decades. They remove us from the pinnacle of creation as creatures with the God-like ability to choose, and reduce us to nothing more than victims of our biology, slaves of our impulses. In other words, homosexuality (“gay,” “questioning” and “transgender” issues) is a developmental disorder generated by the combination of a number of factors including but not limited to: personality type; parental role modeling and behavior within the home of origin; childhood stresses and trauma; peer pressure and peer reference groups; early sexual exposure, experimentation (either in person or vicariously through pornography) and often abuse; parental guidance and disciplinary practices along with cultural acceptance or “normalization,” (Mr. Pavlovitz is now participating in that in the lives of his children and readers) and of course the spiritual dimension. Take all of that – and all of it must be taken into account – mix it together with our sin nature (see Romans 7:7-25) and the successful media onslaught of the last four decades and the potential for gender role and sexual identity confusion is pretty high. What grieves me is that very few people, including pastors, are offering confused young people a well-reasoned and believable alternative approach to the feelings and experiences with which they are struggling. That is what I’ve attempted to do in my previous post titled, I’M NOT GAY and you probably aren’t either. Mr. Pavlovitz also commented on how he, as a Christian pastor, would react to his children if they decided they were gay. I’ll respond to that part of his comments next week.