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Expert: Discipline Takes Leadership

By Rick Nathanson
Journal Staff Writer
       Parents today are laboring under the illusion that "you discipline a child the way you discipline a dog, by manipulating rewards and punishments," said parenting expert, family psychologist and author John Rosemond.
    "They're using behavior modification, and that works on dogs and rats, but not on human beings."
    Rosemond, whose "Parenting" column appears each Thursday in the Albuquerque Journal, will conduct two seminars in Albuquerque on Nov. 14 in which he will present "a totally different discipline paradigm — a totally different parenting paradigm.
    "I will help parents understand that the way to effectively discipline children is through effective leadership. I will talk about how to establish yourself in a leadership position with your children and how to communicate leadership effectively."
    Rosemond, who lives in North Carolina, will lead two sessions at Highland High School. The morning session will be on "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child," and the evening session will be on "Parenting the Strong-Willed Teenager."
    "If you try to discipline a teenager the way you discipline a 7-year-old or a 10-year-old, you're likely to precipitate even more rebellion and push back," he said. Instead, Rosemond will speak to parents about disciplining teenagers using a "mentorship style."
    Even if human nature hasn't changed over the years, "we're dealing today with problem behaviors that parents didn't have to deal with 50 years ago," he said. "Fifty years ago, teenagers were mischievous; today's teenagers are in-your-face belligerent. It's not because teenagers are any different, but the way we're raising teenagers and children is dramatically different."
    Rosemond contends that our parents and grandparents simply had better and more functional parenting skills "because they got advice from and listened to their elders, while parents today get advice from professionals — from people like me with letters after their name."
    A psychologist, Rosemond doesn't spare the rod for his line of work. "I understand that my profession has been a failure and we have not helped America's parents and may have actually caused more problems for them than we've solved," he said. "Psychologists have thrown a big, wet blanket of psychobabble over America's common sense."
    The solution is to "bring the same attitude to child rearing that people brought to child rearing 50 years ago," he said.
    "When you create the impression that we professionals have, that parenting is all about this myriad of skills, it becomes very complicated. But bring the right attitude to the job and you'll be successful and you'll know what to do. Skills without the right attitude don't work."





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