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My View: ‘Parenting’ wasn’t always a verb, but somehow we managed

By Jessica Cronenberger

Do yourself a favor and read Dr. John Rosemond. Absorb his common-sense approach to child rearing and get things back the way they used to be, when adults, law enforcement and teachers were respected.

I remember the time, back in the 1950s and ’60s before the “new age” psychologists convinced us that we were doing everything wrong. My first born arrived in 1974 and the general consensus at that time involved your little ones’ feelings and self-esteem. What did I know? Such conflict going on in my head!

I was intimately aware of my own parents’ views, and knew that we all turned out pretty normal and happy. But, maybe there was something to that new way of thinking. The world was changing and maybe we had to grasp the concerns of the specialists who felt our little darlings were being ignored and not cherished enough. Luckily, I didn't buy into it too much.

Fast-forward now 40-plus years and what have we seen? An extreme version of that psychology gone haywire. Kids as the center of households, overindulged and underchallenged. Instead of Mom and Dad just giving an order, they carefully get down on their knees, eye to eye, and ask if the kids could possibly pick up their toys – please! If there's no response, they explain in detail why they should do it and how happy Mommy or Daddy would be. Really? Giving kids all that power is so dangerous, and sets up a tiring precedent.

Dr. Rosemond's philosophy is simple: It's not a democracy. The family unit is surely, and rightly so, a dictatorship. The rulers, parents who have years of experience with life and a general adult view of any situation, are in control. They can dictate what is ordered at restaurants, where to go on vacations, and what to have for every meal, because they are paying and cooking and working, so they have earned the right to do just that.

Jessica Cronenberger.

Simple. The kids have no rights with those decisions. The only rights they have are the right to be properly fed, clothed, housed, schooled, disciplined and loved. They also have the right to expect to be taught to be responsible, caring, empathetic, obedient and loving.

We never, ever saw school shootings. And I don’t want to hear that there were fewer guns then. The school shooters mostly get them from their own homes. We, and many of our neighbors, had guns and rifles. We respected others’ property. We respected our parents’ property. It wasn't: “What's mine is yours.” It was: “Keep your hands off.” We knew the clear line between right and wrong and were afraid to cross that line. We had consequences, sure and quick.

There was very little teen suicide. I know that it happened, but not like now. Kids had to handle their own problems, for the most part. If someone was mean to me at school, if the teacher screamed at us, if the neighbor yelled for walking on her property, we just dealt with it. Sure, we cried or were fearful or upset, but our parents tried to make sure we could take care of it ourselves. They may have guided us or given us suggestions, but for the most part we were on our own.

When it came time to pay for nicer shoes, or go on class trips, we had to babysit and shovel snow and find any odd jobs we could. College applications were all ours to handle. Deadlines were our responsibility. If we were late, we missed out. Forgot homework? Too bad. We had to endure whatever the teacher gave us. Guess what all that did? It gave us the personal tools to handle real life problems later on.

Jessica Cronenberger, of West Seneca, misses the days when parents were in charge of their households.

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