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60s Americans tossed parenting baton aside for expert advice

In the late 1960s, America came to a fork in the parenting road and took the road never traveled. My generation did what no generation in any culture at any time in history had ever done: we broke with the parenting traditions of our ancestors.

When the time came, we refused to take the well­worn parenting baton and carry it forward.

The new parenting paradigm was driven by a hybrid of humanistic, behavioral and Freudian theories. I call it Postmodern Psychological Parenting (PPP). Like all postmodern stuff, it is relativistic (do your own thing) and progressive (full of new ideas). It is psychological because it’s all about feelings — the child’s, that is. It’s parenting because it’s an expert­driven quasi­-technology. All told, it is 180 degrees removed from the day when common sense ruled child rearing and one’s elders were the advisers.

The new parenting experts implied, strongly, that good parenting was all about interpreting and responding to a child’s feelings.

One of the destructive consequences of PPP is the tendency on the part of today’s parents — especially moms — to assign legitimacy to their children’s emotional expressions. The typical mom of the 1950s understood that children were drama factories and needed discipline concerning not only their behavior, but feelings and thoughts as well. By contrast, today’s parents tend to (a) only discipline behavior, teaching children how to manipulate and (b) buy into their children’s dramas and enable narcissistic emotional expressions.

It should surprise no one that many teens seem to believe that a life without drama is a life without meaning.

The truth is that yesterday’s grandparents gave much better advice than today’s experts and children only know what they want.

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