Another John Rosemond rant

Stepfather sounds like Fred Trump.

The people who buy his books aren’t buying them to be learn how to be better parents they are buying them to read how the abusive way that they are currently raising their children is actually the correct way to do it.

Much of Conservative media is devoted to providing a moral justification for their audiences immoral actions and beliefs, from Atlas Shrugged (you are right to be greedy), to The Bell Curve (you are right to be racist) to 12 rules for life (you are right to be sexist).

Also add to this bucket Fox News whose goal is not to inform but to show its viewers that they were right about everything that was going on in the world.

I believe you have nailed it squarely. Ever since I was young ( pre-teen ) and on I got that vibe from witnessing behaviors of parents of certain friends, acquaintances and cousins over the years.

Most notable to me seemed to be a perversely corrupted inculcation of “Life can be unfair”, or “Life often is unfair”. To the types of parents you describe, they seemed to have to carry that adage to the extreme to “I’m going to make sure life can be unfair”, just to hammer the point home.

This thread is so, ugh. I was raised in a really strict household. It brings back bad memories. Children have no rights, it doesn’t matter how you feel, yes ma’am/no sir/May I please have a glass of water?

And it didn’t make me a better person. It just made me the kind of person who feels really shitty when I read threads like this.

I hope, at least, that reading people deconstructing how horrible this stuff is helps a bit.

Since his advice comes from his own life, it seem to me that either the kid will be like you, and succeed despite the instructions, realizing how horrible it is, or they’ll become like him—and thus spread horribleness and be emotionally stunted.

It seems to me like a certain Praeger U video uses this logic. I won’t link that video, but I will link a deconstruction of it:

BigT. that video is awesome! Haven’t finished it, but I wonder if she gets into the fact that the obedience he talks about is not just “Pick up your toys.” It’s also, “I don’t care if you have a phobia about sharks; you’re still going into the shark exhibit.” And “You may not have a friend of the opposite gender; yes, you’re nine years old and you didn’t say ‘date’ or ‘boyfriend’, but I can still send you to a nunnery.” And “We’re done talking about how much you miss your father who’s been dead for three months.” Any time a parent interacts with a child, discipline should be involved. If they don’t need discipline, you don’t need to interact with them.

Ever since I was young ( pre-teen ) and on I got that vibe from witnessing behaviors of parents of certain friends, acquaintances and cousins over the years.

When I was in high school in the '80s, I was friends with two girls who were sisters. The standard punishment was always “grounded for a month.” The older one managed to stay off their radar and not get grounded for a month, but the younger one…She was already GFAM when I met them, but she was ignoring the grounding whenever her parents weren’t home. Then they found out she’d been ignoring it, and extended the grounding. Which she ignored. Then she did something else for further grounding…The older girl and I kept saying “Why don’t you just ride it out?” I also wondered why the parents didn’t try some other punishment. But if they were Rosemond disciples, they probably believed that that would be “backing down”.

Most notable to me seemed to be a perversely corrupted inculcation of “Life can be unfair”, or “Life often is unfair”. To the types of parents you describe, they seemed to have to carry that adage to the extreme to “I’m going to make sure life can be unfair”, just to hammer the point home.

I know, right? People I know/have known in a single-parent situation have fared best when the parent sets the tone as “It’s you and me against the world.” The example Mama Rosemond set seems to have been “It’s you against me and the world. Not only am I not on your side, but also if I sense that your life could be more difficult, I’ll make it so.”

Besides “I won’t help you with homework because nobody helped me,” there’s a whole chapter on why parents should not offer emotional support. When your child is upset about something, you’re supposed to say “I’m going to let you stew in your own juices about this.”

They realize, in other words, that the children…cannot be consoled, that they have manufactured a soap opera out of the situation, one in which they play the starring role as Victim of the Year…The children would rather be drama queens than accept that life isn’t fair and get on with it.

See, the idea is that kids only think they have problems, when actually, they’re creating their own drama, and “manufacturing a surfeit of emotional ‘juice’.” So tell them to stew in it, and disengage. “After all, the parents have already tried to help and have failed miserably.” Except, listening is good, but just listening is not enough. It is possible to work with them: “What do you think you can do about it?..Well, let’s think of something.”

But that would still mean too much involvement. The goal, ISTM, is complete emotional detachment.

Reading through it all…the lines, and between the lines, that sure does seem to be the LCD, doesn’t it?

Just putting this out there: the chapter titles.

  1. “Because I Said So”
  2. “Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard”
  3. “You Made This Bed, and Now You’re Going To Have to Lie in It”
  4. “You Are a Little Fish in a Big Pond”
  5. “I Knew If I Gave You Enough Rope, You’d Hang Yourself”
  6. “You Have to Learn to Stand On Your Own Two Feet”
  7. “You Will Have to Learn Your Lessons the Hard Way”
  8. “Every Child Has a Mind of His Own”
  9. “Life’s Not Fair”
  10. “You’re Acting Too Big For Your Britches”
  11. “Good Citizenship Begins at Home”
  12. “Count Your Blessings”
  13. “You Can’t Hoodoo the Hoodoo Man”
  14. “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees”
  15. “I’m Only Going to Say This Once”
  16. “Lower the Boom!”
  17. “Snips and Snails…and Sugar and Spice…”
  18. “If All Your Friends Jumped Off a Cliff, Would You Follow Them?”
  19. “I’m Going to Let You Stew in Your Own Juices”
  20. “I’m Going To Nip It in the Bud”
  21. “Ask Them No Questions, and They’ll Tell You No Lies”
  22. “I’m Going to Keep This Short ‘n’ Sweet”
  23. “You’re Too Smart For Your Own Good”
  24. “Give 'Em an Inch, and They’ll Want a Mile”

A lot of this fits perfectly with how TokyoBayer and SpiceWeasel have described their parents* (along with another poster who I won’t name because she’s not in this thread.) Yeah, the kid has to learn to stand on hir own two feet, at the same time that the parent/s are making all hir decisions Because I Said So. And the “Enough Rope/Hang Yourself” thing is frighteningly coldblooded. If you give your teenager a Long Rope and it ends with him dead or maimed in a car accident, are you going to say that at the funeral? “I gave him a long rope, and this is what happened. Oh well: this is the last money I’ll never have to spend on him.”

And the chapter about learning lessons the hard way pretty much sums up the whole thing. He starts out with the claim that his family repeatedly told him that he had a thick skull and potatoes in his ears. And he kept beating that drum through the whole chapter. Thick skull, potatoes in ears. Ear potatoes, hard head. Ear potatoes, thick skull. Gah.

The real lesson the kid has to learn is that he is lower than dirt. Gotta pound the kid with negative messages day in and day out. “You’re nobody. Your best will never be good enough. If you do an acceptable job washing the floor, your reward is that I don’t make you do it over. I don’t have to hear your side of it: your side of it is that you’re a child/teenager, and by definition a sociopath. You’re gonna fuck up so bad, and I can’t wait.” I have to say, I feel really, really bad for under-18 JR. His mom didn’t want him; his grandmother didn’t want him; his stepfather didn’t want him; and he spent his entire youth trying to win them over. That said, couldn’t he just have become an alcoholic or something, instead of spreading his family’s evil to future generations? :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh, almost forgot! According to this, despite how hard his parents worked on him, he was fired from his first two jobs. “I had a huge problem with authority.” He claims that was entirely his fault, for being a slow learner (with a thick skull and potatoes in his ears). Gee, it couldn’t be that one person terrorizing a kid into compliance does not teach them the true meaning of respect for others, much less respect for himself?

*Not so much mine, harsh as they were. The problem with my parents is that they never told me what the rules were. They expected me to intuit them, and then went nuclear the instant I crossed a line I didn’t know existed.

My Grandma told me about the time she saw a teacher in the hall telling a kid they were “nothing, no good.” Grandma visited schools as the head of libraries for the system. She lit into the teacher in front of the kid.

I just wonder – does this guy even like kids? He never seems to want them around him until they’re teenagers.
My grandparents could be strict, but they never spanked, even back when my dad and my aunts were growing up. (And from the stories I’ve been told, they probably did deserve it a time or two!) And then when me and my cousins came along, we were basically terrors, but my grandmother really only stepped in if a.) we were fighting or b.) we were doing something dangerous. I feel really, really bad for his kids.

So his talk of the “old days” is complete nonsense, at least from MY family, from the stories I’ve been told. And pretty much most of my relatives are decent, normal people. An asshole or two, but that’s just human beings, not because their parents were too lenient.

(Hell, even the NUNS I knew didn’t act like that. My first grade teacher was an old school, still wearing the habit, and she’s still my favorite teacher. Just this sweet little old lady that everyone loved.)

And his “When my parents had friends over, I was allowed to sit there as long as I never said a word, blah blah blah” is total bullshit. Any time my parents had friends or family over, they’d at least make it a point to say, hello, ask me about school, or what Santa brought me for Xmas, etc. Surely at least one of his parents’ guests said something to him.
(Of course, not everyone has a big family like me, but still, even neighbors would be polite and make small talk. I always do when I see my friends’ kids and my little cousins. Don’t you?)

He’s simply an asshole advocating child abuse. Nothing more.

Right, but now I understand how he got to be that way.

He brags on himself sometimes, about how authors of other parenting books, or psychologists or whatever kind of “so-called experts” sometimes approach him at conferences or his own speeches. They don’t agree with him, and he laughs and uses Good Old Common Sense to undermine them and make them stutter. Or so he says. I wonder if any (or how many) of them have ever said “You were abused, and you’re trying to perpetuate a cycle of abuse.” Not that it would register with him, of course.

Guin, every decade sees people complaining about Kids These Days, and the 1950s were no exception. Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. by Robert Paul Smith was published in 1957. It’s a stream of consciousness in which he reminisces about his childhood in the 1920s, and laments how his kids’ generation has too much adult interference, too much ready-made fun, and are afforded too much lenience. In the 1950s. For instance, he talks about how in his day, “You didn’t run around saying ‘Yang yang’ the way little kids do…today, and having fond fathers smile at you.” In the 1950s.

Yang yang?

I don’t think people like that will ever be able to accept the truth that they were unloved as children. It’s easier for him to cling to this delusion that it was all for his own good.

Isn’t that one of the pandas at the National Zoo?

I thought it was a chocolate-filled cookie you buy at Asian markets.

That shrill, unenunciated babble toddlers are known for. It sounds like “yang yang”. Hey, Robert Paul Smith said it; I was just quoting him. The point is, he claimed that in his day, toddlers didn’t run around babbling, at least not in public. And he may have been right; OTOH, perhaps he doesn’t remember doing it. How much does anyone remember from before they were five years old?

And there are two items in JR’s agenda that are classic signs of abuse. First, though he never specifically says “Don’t let your kid have too many friends or too much of a social life,” so many of his examples of when to give a dose of Vitamin N have the kid asking to do something social. “Can I have $ to go to a movie with my friends?” “No.” “Can I go to the mall with my friends?” “No.” If an adult says “My partner doesn’t like me to go anywhere without hir, and tells me who I should and shouldn’t be friends with,” you’d say “Get away from that controlling b-word!” (And yet, if the friends in question are less than wholesome, parents should not prevent their child from hanging out with them. That way, they’ll get in trouble, so you can ground them for life.)

Second, the whole thing about “Surprises keep children on their toes.” Don’t be consistent with what you allow/forbid, change up the punishments, let a misdeed slide for a week and then tell them they can’t do something they’ve been avidly looking forward to. Again, if an adult said “I never know what to expect with my partner; there’s no telling what might set hir off,” the response would be “Get out, fast!”

This same paradigm is a constant problem in teaching. Kids and teachers really romanticize the idea of an inherently adversarial relationship as somehow more productive. They remember the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket, but not the rest of that part of the movie. Instead, they think “that’s what I needed! That would have worked!” even though it rarely does, and more often is actively counterproductive.

Any professional development or faculty meeting runs a constant risk of collapsing into a John Rosemond style rant about how kids need consequences and we bail them out too much. And the kids honestly believe this too: they’ve heard so many times that they are lazy fucks, they agree. Teachers and kids alike see the structure of school like a soccer game, with the teacher as goalie, trying to make the goal arbitrarily more difficult to reach (goal is the grade, not the learning) and the student attempting to get the grade with the least work/learning possible. Which is literally the least effective model possible.

Oh, I thought maybe he misspelled “nyeah nyeah”, meaning that kids are running around disrespecting their elders and fond fathers are smiling at their misbehavior.