There is child raising and there is “parenting.” America replaced the former with the latter in the 1970s and it’s been downhill ever since.
My mother – a single parent during most of my formative years – was not parenting me. She was raising me, bringing me up. She did not, therefore, “get down to my level” when she spoke to me. Both literally and figuratively, I looked up to her. That’s where I wanted to be; up there, where she was.
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As did nearly all 1950s parents, Mom raised me according to traditional understandings of children and parental responsibility that had been handed down, relatively unchanged, from generation to generation since the dawn of human history. She was the boss, for example. She was not trying to be liked by me much less my friend; nonetheless, she was affectionate, funny, and always there when the need arose. Largely because it was clear that she was my superior in every sense of the term and that I depended on her as opposed to the other way around, I respected her. I don’t think today’s mothers are clear on how important it is that their children, especially their sons, see them as powerful, capable, albeit loving, women. But then, today’s parents are “parenting,” which is all about being liked by your child.
In the 1970s, as parenting pushed child rearing to the margins, bogus psychological theory replaced common sense and traditional wisdom and people with capital letters after their names replaced family and community elders as sources of child-rearing advice.
Everything is topsy-turvy in parenting. For example, a child who was merely raised was expected to pay attention to adults, beginning with his parents, and do what adults told him to do. By contrast, the “parented” child is the…
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