The child-rearing pendulum continues to swing away from the helicoptering, obsessive, everyone-gets-a-trophy approach. We’re now starting to see psychologists say “You know what? Pay less attention to your kid’s feelings…”

For the record, I wrote something similar back in 2005:

Our modern child-rearing techniques seem focused on the emotional lives of children. I think this is wrong, because in the grand scheme of things, the emotions of children are transitory and relatively unimportant. Child-rearing should be about not the blooming of the child’s life but the coaxing into existence of the adult the child must become. None of the research-approved, peaceable parenting skills that the elite would foist on us are half so valuable as inducing a child to think beyond his immediate wants and desires. And I am unconvinced that this can be done without the use of fear.

Yes, I said fear. It is written that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. To this, I add that the fear of parents is the beginning of familial peace. the State of childhood is a state of constant physical and emotional flux. They are long on impulse and short on experience. Catering to that mind-set gives that mind-set power that it neither deserves nor can use justly. To make up for that experience, it is necessary for parents to set boundaries and defend them to the utmost. As the best defense is a good offense, a properly built fear of parental anger keeps boundaries defended, sometimes without the parent even knowing it.

Of course it would be foolish for anyone to rely on nothing else but fear to raise children. Those who do so rapidly cross the line from discipline to abuse. But child-raising without fear makes the child the ruler of the house, the child’s wishes the ones that gain the most attention, and the adults the ones who dread doing and saying the wrong thing. This is precisely the opposite of what it should be, and we see the evidence daily.

One’s child is a human. One has a responsibility to succor that human, to guide it and to teach it. The rest is middle-class anxiety, and I want no part of it. If Nora grows up bad at math, so be it.

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