John Rosemond is a family psychologist who later became a Christian, which subsequently revitalized his view of parenting. So he's got both perspectives. His history of parenting philosophies was fascinating. And basically the whole book is about throwing out the notion that a high self-esteem is the ultimate goal of parenting and re-adopting the idea that character is far more important.
He writes, "I cannot emphasize enough that according to both the Bible and good research, possessing high self-esteem and being a person of character are incompatible."
He also goes back to that biblical notion that children are naturally evil and selfish and essentially have to be forced to be otherwise. Therefore, the idea that simply "reasoning" with a child to make them behave, or even using rewards and consequences just won't work. He says that good parenting is a matter of being a good leader, and that means being loving but also being very firm.
Great Quote of the Day: "No matter how good a parent you are, your child is still capable on any given day of doing something despicable, disgusting, or depraved."
I liked it because I agree with pretty much everything he wrote. So I didn't necessarily learn much that was new, but it did give me more confidence as a mom that what I am doing is okay. That it is okay to be really firm with my kids. That it is okay to not come running every time they cry. That it is okay to expect a lot out of them--that Josiah can put his clothes away and that Grace can make her bed and set the table and peel carrots and grate cheese.
For example, when Josiah whines for milk, and after making him ask "the polite way" (which seems to be our routine 50 times a day), I don't need to immediately drop what I am doing and get him the milk. When we are in the car and Grace asks to listen to kids' music, I don't need to do it every single time. Sometimes (gasp) we can listen to grown-up music. I don't need to entertain my children all day long. My life does not need to revolve around them. And yet, spending time as a family is far more important than making sure they are "well-rounded" and involved in all sorts of outside activities.
I did these things, but I still struggled with guilt all the time. I have wanted them to learn independence, patience, responsibility, and self-control, but I always wondered, "Am I just being selfish? Is it really okay to make him wait for his milk?" So now I don't feel guilty about that anymore.
Rosemond says, "My mother, typical of her generation, had no problem shooing me out from underfoot, even telling me I had no permission to be in the same room with her if she was doing something that required her undivided attention. At those times, she would usually warn me that if I didn't find something to do and leave her alone, she would find something for me to do. In that regard, my mom was typical of her generation. Today's mom is horrified at the mere thought of telling her child that something she is doing is more important than something he wants her to do."
Of course, I do still struggle as a Mom. The truth is, I am selfish sometimes. Um, a lot of the time. And grumpy and impatient. I have to work on my own sinful nature even more than my own kids'. So figuring out that balance is a daily quest.
I would recommend this book to anyone. He uses biblical wisdom but it would be applicable to parents from any background.
The Mommy Quest continues! This is just one more great resource along the way.