No, just oblivious. They didn’t know they were supposed to be terrified of adults. (And I should have said “toddlers and preschoolers”.)
And MandaJo, I should have said, I thank you for bringing that issue out in the open. I always had that feeling in school, that if I liked the class/teacher/subject and enjoyed being in school, I must not be learning anything.
No he doesn’t in the least come across like he has an axe to grind considering the variation in chapter titles, like:
“I Knew If I Gave You Enough Rope, You’d Hang Yourself”
“Give 'Em an Inch, and They’ll Want a Mile”
“You Made This Bed, and Now You’re Going To Have to Lie in It”
“You Will Have to Learn Your Lessons the Hard Way”
“I’m Only Going to Say This Once”
“I’m Going to Keep This Short ‘n’ Sweet”
“Lower the Boom!”
“I’m Going To Nip It in the Bud”
So apart from being a misguided, toxic douchebag, at least I’m sure he isn’t reptitive and tedious as fuck as well.
Okay. Okay. Okay. Either this guy has been trolling the right-wingers all along, or he’s lost his mind.
First, the column. Eighth-grade boy in a private school wants to attend the public high school. “…he says that he’s bored and wants to attend a bigger school that offers more in the way of classes and activities.” Parents worried because the high school is “risky” and he might “fall in with the wrong crowd.” Kid says that won’t happen. What say you, Rosey?
Of course Rosey says that the parents know best, that the kid will get into whatever kind of trouble there is to get into, but that he’ll never be persuaded to see it his parents’ way, so
Just say, “We have decided to leave you where you are. We aren’t going to explain ourselves to you because we aren’t going to argue with a 13-year-old, and we aren’t going to change our minds, but you are welcome to make us prove that to you.”…The problem is that you have already stepped into quicksand by including your son in the discussion. I just hope you’re not the sort of wimpy parents who can’t bring themselves to make their children unhappy, who are forever negotiating and compromising with the emotion-driven terrorists-in-residence because if you take my recommendation, your son is going to be unhappy. For a while, that is. And then he will snap out of it and move on.
Just a flat NO to everything. No compromise. No regard for the kid’s side of it. That’s not the 1950s in America. That’s pre-revolutionary China. Except I think this would not have happened in either era:
And then, brace yourselves for the storm of the century. But that, too, will pass.
And it is insane that he’s always predicting that the kid will rage, scream, yell, slam doors and generally act like a mad bull…and then settle down. He encourages this entirely unhealthy behavior. And the bit about “emotion-driven terrorists-in-residence”. That is a sick, twisted view of parent-child relations, and if he really thinks that that’s a typical household (among people who don’t follow his precepts), then he’s going over the edge. Like I said upthread, I’ve heard of ministers going over the edge, convinced that the Rapture or Armageddon was going to happen any day now, or believing in Satanic conspiracies. This has the same tone.
See, it sounds to me like the kid outgrew his environment. Parents should accommodate that however they can. Okay, maybe the public school really is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. But you don’t just tell the kid he’s staying where he is and that’s it. Ask him what, specifically, interests him about the public school, and find some other way. Heck, you’re already paying for private school; find a different one, or get him into an activity outside of school. But of course, that would take time, and a lot of that time would be shared between the young man and one or both parents. Which is what makes Rosey’s head explode. Looking for a new school might bring them closer together. And then he wouldn’t fear them. And then he wouldn’t be completely under their thumb.
And as far as that “storm of the century”, if the kid really is jonesing for something to do, I predict a really fun time for the parents as he finds other ways to channel his energy. (I love the myth that private-school kids can never get into any trouble.)
Second, the blog entry. “Harsh Words That Need to Be Spoken” is the title. Words such as “Really? You’re actually wasting my time with complaints of this sort?” And the old reliable “Go ahead and rant, and I’ll watch.” And so forth. Harsh is bad enough, but this is rude. Great example of mature behavior for the child to see. (There was another entry a while back with a true/false quiz: “True or false: Telling the kid to shut up, that he has to stew in his own juice, yadda yadda, will traumatize him. False!” To which I say “If it’s only once or twice in a lifetime, yeah, false. If it’s constant, if the parent is never pleasant, never more than civil and almost always harsh, yes, true, the child will be traumatized.”)
Beyond that, though, I get that swallowed-an-icicle feeling when I compare this to what I’ve read about domestic violence (two adult partners, not parent/child). Rosey often includes phrases like “child of mine whom I love with all my heart” and “young person whom I cherish” in his scenarios. Rubbing it in that this person who causes you so much grief only does it because s/he loves you. And s/he is probably the only person who will ever love you, because they’re the only one saintly enough to look past whatever’s wrong with you.
And this one.
“Why do you insist on hearing me say the words you hate the most? Can you tell me? It makes no sense. What are they? C’mon! Okay, here. Because I said so. Because I said so. Got that? It’s always, until you’re outa here, going to be the answer to ‘But why, Mommy?’ Because I said so. Now, go find something to do while you cook in your own juices. I don’t want to watch it."
“Heartless” is exactly why childrearing language of the above sort accomplishes putting the child in his proper place, getting him to stop thinking of you as a talking vending machine and respect you even though there are times when he hates the ground you walk on. Finally—in his or her early adulthood, maybe—he just might come to realize that you knew he sometimes hated you but you were perfectly okay with that and allowed it because you love him with all your heart
“Why do you make me do this? You love it, don’t you? If you’d just do what I tell you, this wouldn’t happen. Now go fix me a turkey pot pie.”
And where are these children and teenagers who see their parents only as talking vending machines? If the parents want to be appreciated, they should try to be the kind of people children can appreciate. No, not by lavishing them with material goods. By guiding them and working with them, which is not spoiling them. What this entry recommends is abuse, straight up.
(Yes, I know I shouldn’t read this guy’s blog. Can’t help it; sometimes I need to get aggravated about something that doesn’t matter, to relieve the pressure from the stuff that does matter but that I can’t rant about. If that makes any sense.)
Every time I read one of his columns, I think of that old trope,
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
(You know, the one that was supposedly said by Socrates, or Plato, or at least someone of their era)
This bit from the column says…something, anyway:
As today’s young people are prone to remarking, “Duh!”
“Today” being 1993, I guess.