John makes some good, common sense points in this book. I'll be sharing some of his points in other articles as well.
One of his most interesting (and unexpected) propositions is that most parents in modern America are over involved with their children. When I first read that idea it really cut against the grain of my thinking. As I read more about his point I began to agree.
John is a psychologist with many years of experience helping families. John would say his ideas aren't primarily based on what he learned in school. He would say his insights come from the bible and his experiences working with families. Much of what he says disagrees with what we, as parents, have been led to believe.
The question at hand is, "Are you as a parent over involved with your children?"
Here are some of John's points that relate to this question.
Ideas about how to parent children have changed over the last fifty years and the new ideas have made raising children harder.
The problem with their ideas is that they traded common sense simplicity for sophisticated psychobabble. Following the thinking of these so called experts parents began to worry about all the ways they might be messing up their children. Parents began taking their kids down the road toward diagnosis, therapy sessions and medication. (Yes, I realize these things are sometimes needed.)
No wonder we're so paranoid! No wonder parenting seems like a ball-and-chain! No wonder we feel like we have to micro-manage our kids!
You can see how this kind of over-thinking the whole parenting thing can lead to over-involvement.
- The popular belief that behavior modification techniques can be used to train children in the same way they can be used to train animals has many parents trying to discipline their children by a complicated process of rewards and consequences.
Hey, if it works for rats it should work for kids...right? Not necessarily. In his book John points out:
"Unlike animals, human beings possess free will: We are capable of resisting the power of consequences...Unlike animals humans are rebellious by nature, something animals are not. Humans are the only species that regularly engages in acts of self-destruction."The biggest problem with behavior modification is that it puts almost all the responsibility for the child's behavior on the parents shoulders. Moms and Dads feel that if they can apply the right combination of rewards and punishment everything will be fine. It ends up being the parents who are trying to jump through the right hoops.
Once again...No wonder we have become so over-involved with our kids.
- Developing your child's self-esteem has become a major focus for parenting. This keeps parents scrambling to ensure their child's success.
In our modern culture parents spend untold hours trying to boost their children's self-esteem. Think about it. We are determined to keep our children from failing because we think it will upset their sensitive feelings.
We try to guarantee their success by micromanaging many aspects of their lives such as sports, homework, social interactions, etc. I know many parents who are worn out from all the activity of promoting their kids self-esteem.
Can you see the over-involvement in all this?
Want to hear something about people with high self-esteem that will blow your mind? From John's book, here are some results from a long term study on people with high self-esteem.
"...wife abusers have generally high self-esteem, as do child abusers, people known for frequent episodes of road rage, and inner-city gang members."
"...hard-core criminals--People locked up in maximum-security prisons--score higher on self-esteem assessments than any other group."Not what we want for our children!!!
In summary: We as parents are not the "Be all" or "Do all" for our children. Let's stick with the simplicity of parenting, to the best of our abilities, without smothering them with too much control.
If you would like to improve your parenting Spout Springs Church offers a program designed to teach Moms and Dads how to apply biblical principles to your family.
Family Life CoachingFor more information contact Tim Gibson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-986-4736