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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Letters To The Editor


I’ve seen kids raised freestyle

To make children the center of one’s universe, as Kathy Brainard advocates in her July 26 “Your turn” column, is a sure way to raise self-centered children.

Having taught fifth-graders in the public schools for 33 years, I’ve seen the results that this approach produces: children who resist the discipline of learning, who expect their own desires to take precedence over the teacher’s learning plans, who have difficulty following classroom and playground rules, who put forth little effort when learning is not fun and who have trouble completing assignments on time because they’ve always been allowed to choose what to do and when to do it.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the children who come to school ready to learn and able to thrive in a group situation in which one usually doesn’t get his own way. Invariably, these children come from homes where they are lovingly guided and disciplined, where there are certain rules and schedules and where they are given increasing responsibilities along with freedom to make choices (appropriate to their level of maturity).

This latter approach is the one we used with our own children, who grew up to be well-adjusted citizens who are raising their own children the same way. After all, our Heavenly Father corrects and disciplines every one whom he loves (Hebrews 12:6). Should we do any less?

My wife and I agree with most of what Dr. John Rosemond advocates in his parenting column and look forward to reading it. Ted D. Martin Colville, Wash.

Rosemond’s prescription all wrong

Who is John Rosemond and what is he doing in our paper? This line has become an inside joke at our house.

I agree completely with Kathy Brainard in her assessment of Rosemond’s child-rearing techniques.

I would like to know what Rosemond’s background is as far as his education, degree and professional accomplishments.

My 12-year-old daughter and I had a good laugh over the one about how parents don’t need to give sensible answers to young children’s questions, such as “How does the sun come up?” He says you can give a nonsense answer up to a certain age. I doubt that either of my children would have such a desire to learn and a love of science if I had given them nonsense answers to their questions at ages 3 and 4.

Later, of course, Rosemond recommends the tried and true use of the response “Because I said so!” to answer almost any why question that your child may ask.

I do know that I had a very hard time learning to be independent and to make wise decisions and choices after I left home. My parents used many of Rosemond’s methods to raise seven children, and although I love and respect them dearly, it took me years of my adult life to teach myself to be an independent thinker.

Please, can’t The Spokesman-Review find something more useful and interesting to replace Rosemond’s column with? Margaret F. Evans Spokane

Rosemond’s way works well for us

America is reaping the results of nearly 50 years of indulgent child-rearing. Two generations of adults unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions speak loudly. Dr. John Rosemond is like a voice crying in the wilderness.

I am proud of my own children, who are respectful, humble and, by all accounts, a pleasure to be around. At the ages of 15, 12 and 8, they and I look forward to the time when they will happily leave behind childish things and become productive, responsible, independent adults. They already have learned the lesson that they are not the center of anyone’s universe. Sadly, this appears to be a concept that many adults missed in their own childhoods.

Children are not born disciplined. They eventually will learn self-discipline, but in the meantime, my love for them drives me to provide them with guidelines and parameters, even when my decisions make me unpopular.

Because of his own self-discipline and hard work, my eldest just celebrated his birthday on a work project in Kenya. His father and I gave him our moral support while he worked and raised his own financial support. The reward of his own perseverance and faith is a summer of service he’ll never forget.

Thank you, Spokesman-Review, for daring to run Rosemond’s column. His methods may not be the choice for some, but for this 20th century mother and this adult-centered home, they work. Renae L. Meredith Spokane

Don’t cut off flow of good advice

I really appreciate the sensible parenting advice offered in Dr. John Rosemond’s weekly columns. If Kathy Brainard (“Your turn,” July 26) has found a successful way of rearing children that involves methods contrary to those advocated by Rosemond, I applaud her.

People are different and their parenting styles will differ. However, my children, who are 9 and 14, are happy and well-adjusted, and I have applied much of Rosemond’s advice since they were born.

I don’t think that raising children to become responsible adults is dictatorial. I think it is important to maintain high standards of conduct, even when children object to those standards.

I’m not sure that Brainard understands Rosemond’s philosophy. I hope in this regard she may become educated to judge better and not suppress my freedom to read his right-headed advice weekly in The Spokesman-Review. Teresa L. Kaiser Veradale

Rosemond lacks vision

Re: the July 26 “Your turn” column by Kathy Brainard on Dr. John Rosemond’s weekly parenting column:

As a professional practicing in the field of developmental psychology, I’ve long been disappointed in Rosemond’s narrow and power-oriented perspective on parenting.

The most objectionable feature of Rosemond’s philosophy is not so much his approval of spanking - spanking is far from the most brutal act a parent can visit on a child. It’s more his lack of vision and his characterization of the parent-child relationship as a zero-sum game. For him, if the child wins, the parent loses. In fact, when the child gains, everyone gains.

The work of being a child, which all children know instinctively, is to learn - to think, to explore, to grow in knowledge and skills. Rosemond’s approach only stifles these impulses.

I was particularly appalled by his column on treating the child’s expression of grief over the death of a family pet as an occasion to exert parental discipline. How uninspired!

In the 21st century, we need people who are active problem-solvers, not obedient, compliant ciphers. To produce these qualities, parents and teachers need to provide opportunities for children to act on their world, to experiment and see their effects. Rosemond can relax - children strive to explore and learn and engage their parents, not to fight them. Mary Ann Murphy, manager Regional Center for Child Abuse and Neglect, Spokane

Firm direction is love in action

Please, please continue to run Dr. John Rosemond’s columns in your newspaper. His advice is the only hope this country has of salvaging our children as the adults of the next generation.

Although I do not agree with everything that Rosemond espouses, his method of raising children is grounded in common sense. I can see in my own children (boys ages 8, 13 and 15) what a huge difference it makes.

I rarely feel out of control disciplining, which used to result in yelling. I don’t feel responsible for their unhappiness anymore when giving a consequence. It’s their problem because they broke the rules.

Parenting is raising children to be self-reliant and responsible. I make my children walk or bike to places when I could drive them, pay for some extras when I could pay for them and help with household chores when I could do it all. The less one does for his or her child, the more the child can do for himself or herself.

My children are not neglected just because I won’t drop everything I’m doing at their every whim; they simply are learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

Child-centered homes are disastrous in the long run for parent and child, as well as unfair to both. The children grow to be demanding and self-centered; the parents, frustrated and angry. Children need firm leadership and discipline, which is the most loving action a parent can demonstrate. Cynthia R. Haberman Coeur d’Alene

Soft touch can lead to hard times

I find Dr. John Rosemond’s column to be a breath of fresh air in this age of permissive child-rearing. Children who are taught that they are the center of the universe are in for a sad awakening when they grow up and find that the rest of the world does not feel the same.

Children need discipline and need to be taught to respect the feelings and rights of others. Parents who allow their children to have tantrums, to run around and disrupt others in public places, and otherwise, create havoc for the rest of us and do their children no favors.

My mother said it well: “I will always love you, but I don’t want to be the only one who does.”

Kathy Brainard may sing another tune when her children are teenagers and find out things don’t always go their way. J.A. Dean Coeur d’Alene

Rosemond right about priorities, too

I’m voting “yes” for Dr. John Rosemond’s column! That column is one important reason I subscribe.

I have read many of Rosemond’s books and have used his “Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children” for teaching parenting classes many times over the past seven years. I like his writing so much because it agrees with my philosophy of raising children and it makes sense.

As a teacher in public schools, I have encountered some of the children who were raised to think they were the center of the universe. No thank you! It was often the end of second grade before they had learned the importance of routine and sharing in the classroom community.

My own three children are out of the nest. Empty? No way! Their father and I are best of friends and having just as much fun (sometimes more) than when they were all at home. Rosemond is right - the marriage comes first. Paddy O. Myers Sandpoint

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