I was fresh out of grad school when psychologists and other mental health types began recommending that when speaking to a child, an adult should squat down to eye level with said child.
Supposedly, this submissive posture is a means of demonstrating respect for the child while, at the same time, avoiding any implication that the child must pay attention and obey because the adult is bigger.
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Was this recommendation based on evidence that when adults spoke to children from an upright position, said children felt disrespected, humiliated, and intimidated?
As is typical of professional parenting advice, this recommendation was snatched out of thin air. Do mental health types continue to recommend the equal-opportunity squat?
Around this same time, the most influential parenting pundits in the mental health professions were promoting the democratic family — a family in which there is no effective distinction between parents and children, no clear source of authority. In this utopian family, children are given an equal voice when it comes to family decisions (restaurants, vacations, thermostat settings and so on), and disagreement between parent and child is negotiated until a win-win outcome is achieved.
The only problem with this postmodern scheme, which no one seemed to notice, is that the person who determines when a win-win…
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