Psychologist John Gray (he of Men Are from Mars… fame) cites a need to shift from “fear-based parenting” (a punitive and oppressive approach to child rearing) to “love-based parenting” (which accepts children’s desires and negative emotions while still setting reasonable limits). With child and teen violence increasing, rampant low self-esteem, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and attention deficit disorder, he says, “the Western free world is experiencing a crisis in parenting. Almost all parents today are questioning both the old and the new ways of parenting. Nothing seems to be working.”
He suggests “Five Messages of Positive Parenting” that will facilitate such a shift:
- It’s okay to be different.
- It’s okay to make mistakes.
- It’s okay to express negative emotions.
- It’s okay to want more.
- It’s okay to say no, but remember mom and dad are the bosses.
Although his parenting philosophy is not necessarily revolutionary (think “positive discipline”), Gray manages to keep this parenting primer contemporary by weaving in specific challenges of new-millennium families–such as our tendency to be consumer-driven and over scheduled. “When parents learn what their children really need, they are less motivated to create money to acquire things and more motivated to create time to enjoy their family,” Gray writes. “The greatest wealth for a parent today is time.” –Gail Hudson –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.