Postmodern Psychological Parenting: Why We are Failing Our Children
Postmodern Psychological Parenting is the reason parents today are exhausted, confused, and failing their children. Parenting by the book is the key to raising happy and healthy children. The question is, which book?
There are plenty to choose from. They are filled with theories and suggestions. All of them sound reasonable, and none of them work.
Do you feel like you are having more trouble raising your children today than your parents seemed to have raising you? Are you exhausted? Frustrated? Overwhelmed?
Just one generation ago, things seemed to be different. Children respected their parents, they behaved, and they feared the consequences of their misbehavior.
Today children fight against their parents, continually test their limits, and repeat their unruly antics only to end up diagnosed, medicated, and labeled for life.
Author and psychologist John Rosemond explains how the train was derailed in his book Parenting by the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child. Rosemond concludes that the problem is Postmodern Psychological Parenting.
Postmodern Psychological Parenting
Rosemond explains the precursor to the Postmodern Psychological Parenting movement by describing how since the late 1960s:
“. . . the American Psychological Association was hijacked by secular progressives who were focused more on advancing humanist ideology than advancing the human condition.” 1
Rosemond emphasizes that:
Postmodern Psychological Parenting “has never worked, is not working, and will never work, no matter how diligently anyone works at it.”2
By now you would probably like to know if you have been beguiled by Postmodern Psychological Parenting. First, let me show you some signs in the Jeff Foxworthian style of “if you. . . you might”:
Signs of Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you see a misbehaving child as a victim instead of a perpetrator. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you think punishment is psychologically damaging. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you think children are fundamentally good. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you believe in focusing on your child’s self-esteem. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you are trying to interpret bad behavior instead of correct it. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
- If you continue to use “time out” despite its failure to produce results. . . you might be using Postmodern Psychological Parenting
Don’t be surprised if you connect with these ideas. After all, they are contrary to everything you’ve been conditioned to believe. You’ve been taught for five decades to trust in their effectiveness. But these beliefs are the reason many parents today are failing. In his book, Rosemond explains why:
- Self-esteem is bad (but self-respect is good)
- Behavior modification doesn’t work (but discipline does)
- Interpreting misbehavior is ineffectual (but correcting it is effective)
- Over-concern over feelings is detrimental (but hurt feelings and guilt are necessary)
What is Postmodern Psychological Parenting?
Rosemond describes Postmodern Psychological Parenting as:
“. . . an anamolous hybrid of three historically antagonistic schools of psychological thought: Freudian, humanist, and behavioral.”3
- Freudian psychological determinism (the notion that human behavior is shaped by early childhood experiences)
- Humanist ideas that children are fundamentally good and the desirability of self esteem
- Behavior school of thought which posits that behavior modification works equally well on humans as it does on animals4
What is the road ahead?
The Road Ahead
The bad news is that the road ahead leads to more heartache, anguish, and frustration. Progressivism fails when we fail to realize that new ideas are frequently worse than old ones.
Without a steer away from the Postmodern Psychological Parenting, we will continue to fail our children. We will continue to raise spoiled brats who reject authority, demand entitlements, and ultimately drain, rather than contribute to society.
The good news is that there is a better way.
The Road Behind
Bad things happen when we lose what is good and true. During the time of the divided kingdom in Israel, the people of Judah alternately suffered at the hand of leaders who were either devoted to the ways of the Lord, or did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
King Jehoshaphat’s heart was devoted to the ways of The Lord, and he walked in the ways David and his father Asa had followed. During his reign, he sent his officials and priests throughout the towns to teach, taking with them the Book of the Law of The Lord.
The following successors, Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athalia, did evil in the eyes of The Lord, as did many others that followed.
But the tide turned once more, and Josiah walked again in the ways of The Lord.
And then a curious thing happens in 2 Chronicles 34:14:
- The Book of the Law is Found
“While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given through Moses” (NIV).
The implication is that the book was lost, presumably for a long while. When the Kings of Judah lived without the word of God, chaos ensued. The book was eventually found in a place which must not have been frequented: the Temple of The Lord.
We don’t need therapists. We need Biblical truth.
If we walk in the ways of The Lord and teach our children to do the same, you will see the folly in Postmodern Psychological Parenting, and you will be free to:
- Stop stressing about self-esteem, and start building self-respect
- Stop wasting time interpreting behavior and start correcting it
- Ditch the behavior modification and get cracking on the discipline
- Administer healthy doses of guilt (to instill appropriate feelings of shame)
Let’s stop failing our children with a failed Freudian experiment.
1 John Rosemond, Parenting By the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child (New York: Howard Books, 2007), 2.
2 Ibid., 25.
3 Ibid., 31.
4 Ibid., 31-32.
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About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.