John Rosemond's parenting philosophy focuses less on methods and more on principles.



Google "parenting advice" and more than 29 million hits come back. lists more than a 100,000 books on parenting. A recent Wall Street Journal column by Amy Henry bemoaned the glut of parenting information out there and wondered if parents have lost their confidence when it comes to parenting.


"We worship at the parenting tower of Babel," said child psychologist John Rosemond during a spring parent retreat in Gastonia, N.C. "All that so-called expert advice is destined to cause confusion in parents."


Rosemond, himself the author of nearly a dozen books on parenting, calls on today's parents to return to the parenting principles of an earlier generation. "I don't say anything new—I'm saying what used to be a given in parenting," he insisted. "Parenting common sense like our grandparents had has been smothered with the wet blanket of post-modern psychology parenting."


From Rosemond's perspective, the basic problem for today's parents is that "American parents have been brainwashed into trying parenting tips or strategies that don't work for longer than a few weeks. … We are not thinking properly as parents."


Parents today believe that parenting produces the child—the idea that if we simply follow the right set of rules or advice, our children will reach their full potential as adults. Rosemond considers that thinking backwards. "The child produces the child. Your upbringing does not dictate what you will become," he said. "The parent influences the child in a big way when the child is small and in a small way when the child is big."


"Rosemond's advice is centered around the parents having a strong bond together and that they should not cater to their child's every need," said Stan White of Savannah, Ga., who attended the conference. "I believe that it will make my child a better person. He will understand that the world doesn't revolve around him and he has no sense of entitlement."


Seasonal Parenting

Rosemond reminds parents that Ecclesiastes 3:1 ("There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven," NIV) can apply to parenting, too. He divides parenting into three seasons: season of service, season of discipline and season of mentoring.


Season one—the season of service—comprises the child's birth to 2 years old. "During this time, the mother functions as a servant to the child, anticipating, responding and doing for the child," said Rosemond.


Between the ages of 2 and 3, the mother should begin to make the significant transition between season one and season two. "The mother redefines herself to the child by firmly taking the child out of the center of attention and placing herself in the child's center," he explained.


Once that transition has taken place, season two begins: the decade of discipline, ages 3 to 13. "This is the most critical season," he said. "Your job as a parent is to provide leadership and authority to the child."


Rosemond acknowledged that the child will rebel against that but "your job is to present authority in a confident, calm and composed way so that the child wants to be like you."