Tag Archives: limit setting

The New 6 Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, by John Rosemond PhD (Book Review Pedcast)

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Here we go again with another edition of DocSmo.com, the pediatric blog that brings parents portable, practical pediatrics on their schedules. For those listeners who are new to my blog, I am Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 32 years of practice experience.  Today I am going to continue my book review series with my thoughts on a new parenting book by the (sometimes controversial) psychologist Dr. John Rosemond. I must admit, I never read the old Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy, Children by Dr. Rosemond. I assume that the “points” are the same as in the original edition, but that the newer book has more supporting research and anecdotes to validate his recommendations. So, first the basics: this “new” edition is well written with clear, approachable language; it is practical in layout, with part of each chapter including a question and answer format; it is not full of psychological jargon, thank goodness; and even though Dr. Rosemond does not provide footnotes, I have to assume that he is accurately summarizing and paraphrasing the research which he references.

Now to some of the solutions to parenting problems that he stresses in the book. Dr. Rosemond provides what he sees as easy answers to many behavior problems parents may encounter. If you have children who don’t listen and are prone to whining, he thinks it is likely that your discipline is failing and that your child is getting too much attention. If you have a child with ADHD, he believes that the TV and video games are likely the culprit; he recommends getting rid of them and the problem may be solved. If your child is self-centered, Dr. Rosemond thinks you are giving them too many “things.”  He contends that if a child can’t entertain himself, he probably has too many toys and outlets for amusement. All these circumstances may be true for certain children, but certainly not all.

Readers need to be for warned that this book is full of Dr. Rosemond’s own opinions, replete with “in your face” classic Dr.Rosemond style. I am sure his blunt advice will rub many readers the wrong way. I think the reason for this is Dr. Rosemond’s insistence on only paying attention to the limit-setting side of the successful parenting formula and ignoring the leadership-love side. Yes, limits need to be set, I totally agree, and a child needs to provide labor for his or her family, and TV and video games are undoubtedly a negative force in some children’s lives, but equally important to a child’s healthy psychological development are a parents’ ability to provide consistent love and acceptance, making children feel needed, creating an atmosphere where children want to please their parents, and setting a good example for children to model.  I am sure Dr. Rosemond understands how important leadership is to parenting, but I think he needs to articulate it more as he gives parenting advice. Maybe he will do exactly that in the New-New Six Point Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children… the next edition?  In my opinion, that would make a good book into a great one. I give him four Doc Smo stars on this edition. Until next time.

Lunchroom Lowdown: Parenting Challenges

Lunchroom Lowdown- Parenting Challenges

The doctors and nurse practitioners at my practice had another lively discussion over lunch the other day.  The subject that I posed for them was “ What are the big parenting challenges facing today’s parents?”  God bless them, my partners dove right into this difficult question.  After 45 minutes of discussion, I realized that the challenges fell into basically three categories:  Setting limits for their children at all ages, not letting the stress of modern life interfere with good parenting decisions, and fostering a non self centered attitude in their children.  

First the limiting setting challenges.  Modern life provides opportunities for us that were unimaginable 100 years ago.  Your grandparents could not conceive of their children having unlimited food, loads of leisure time, portable entertainment in the form of video games or movies, portable communication devices that can talk to anyone anywhere without restriction, or access to unlimited information on the internet.  Knowing how to limit access to all this is one of the great dilemmas that modern parents face.  Dr. John Plonk pointed out that it is easy for parents to use the TV as a babysitter, the cell phone as an anti-anxiety device when children are away from home, and the portable video game as a pacifier for public places.  As he pointed out, sometimes it is difficult to get the screen away from a child during a visit to the doctor!  Where do parents draw the line with all this technology? Consensus among the providers was that this is a constant struggle for the parents we help.

Next, the conversation turned to the stress that we see in the parents and children of the families we care for.  Many of the families consist of single parent households from divorce or two working parent families.  Parents are tired and moving at a very fast pace.  Daycare, after school care, limited incomes and long distances to extended family adds to all the stress. All this stress makes parents less resilient and more apt to sloppy parenting.  As Melissa Davis PNP points out, consistency makes for good parenting but this is difficult for moody, tired parents to achieve.  Having only one parent at home or going back and forth between different households adds other challenges.  Dr. Kimberly Riley added that she thinks many parents avoid conflict with their children at the expense of good parenting.  As she pointed out, setting limits is the one of the duties of every parent but that is difficult when a parent is tired, is feeling guilty, or is focused on being a child’s friend instead of a parent.

Dr Monica Miller is worried that in our wealthy society children are growing up with too much of a sense of entitlement and therefore as adults, may be overly focused on their own needs rather than those around them. She thinks today’s parents need to expect and encourage more responsible behavior from their children.  She would like to see more children given chores,  have more of a sense of  helpfulness, and treat their parents with more respect

So, if I were to sum up this weeks lunchroom lowdown about “parenting challenges”  it would come down to the following:

-Expect more, get more.

-When it comes to parenting decisions, try and remove the X factors like parental guilt, parental fatigue, and parental stress before making important family decisions.

-Setting reasonable, consistent age appropriate limits for your children is just as important as providing food, shelter and love to their ultimate well being.

That’s the chatter from the lunchroom this week.  Until next time.