Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Parenting expert says: quit mollycoddling our kids
I can't say I agree with all of this (lying, for instance) but he has some good points -- JR
LIE to your children sometimes for fun, let them hurt themselves and punish them with boredom instead of smacking. Nigel Latta's methods are unorthodox but his results -- and legions of relieved parents -- speak for themselves.
The clinical psychologist and author of Politically Incorrect Parenting spoke at a bookshop in Hobart yesterday. "Everybody's trying to do the best for their children, the problem is there is all this information from all these people saying 'if you don't do it my way your kids are going to be a complete mess' and parenting is hard enough," Latta said.
He believes mollycoddling children robs them not only of valuable life lessons but also of the chance just to be children.
"Telling your kids to go away and play isn't bad parenting, you're just teaching them to be kids and to amuse themselves, you don't need to entertain them constantly," he said. "If my kids come to me and say they're bored I say to them, 'well I'm not because I have a cup of coffee and the newspaper, so go away and leave me alone' -- they amazingly find ways to amuse themselves."
Latta said it was often helpful to think of toddlers as drunken rugby hooligans and approach them accordingly. "They have the same reasoning skills and wisdom of the average drunken yob," he said. "Some of them are mean drunks, some are happy drunks, some just go to sleep."
Latta said he was not necessarily opposed to smacking but he believed there were much better options. "The only thing kids fear more than smacking is boredom," he said.
Kiwis keen to start spanking kids again
The ban was legislated by the previous Labour government to cure a very real child abuse problem. The problem was however almost entirely among the Maori and political correctness prevented any recognition of that
NEW Zealanders have spoken and their call is controversial: bring back smacking. Two years after the nation grabbed headlines worldwide by making it illegal to hit children, early results from a national referendum suggest Kiwis are pro-smacking after all. As many as 80 per cent of New Zealanders are believed to have voted to repeal 2007 legislation that bans parents from using force to discipline their kids.
The law was an attempt to lower the country's shameful maltreatment statistics which put New Zealand in third place for child deaths among 27 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. It was brought in following the 2006 deaths of twin boys, aged three months old, who were beaten by a family member.
Just this week another child, three-year-old Cash Meshetti McKinnon, was killed in her North Island home and her 21-year-old father questioned over her death.
New Zealand is revisiting the issue with a multi-million-dollar referendum initiated by a 300,000-strong petition put together by those who felt the new law challenged the rights of parents.
But the question's wording, "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?", has been controversial, with many saying it leads people to vote against the law.
Kiwi Prime Minister John Key has called the question "pretty weird" and a case of "yes means no and no means yes". "It could have been written by Dr Seuss," the bemused leader said.
Linguists are calling it "twisted confusion" and one of the country's leading child psychologists, Nigel Latta, says it's a "total political mess". Even the orange stick figure in television advertisements to market the poll gives a very confused "umm... ah" when considering his answer.
Preliminary results from the $NZ9 million ($7.35 million) poll are due tonight but there's already strong agreement from both sides that the vote will be a majority No by as much as 80 per cent.
Parents of under-fives face 'nanny state' home inspections to keep British children safe
Parents of children under five are to get home checks to ensure they are keeping their youngsters safe. Inspectors will check whether families have installed smoke alarms, stair gates, locks on medicine cupboards, windows and ovens, and fitted temperature controls to stop bath water getting too hot.
Guidelines for inspections have been drawn up on the instructions of the Department of Health in a bid to prevent injuries among under-15s in the home.
More than two million children visit casualty departments with such injuries each year, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which has developed the guidelines. In 2008, 208 under-15s in England and Wales died as a result.
But the scheme is being condemned by critics as a breach of privacy and a nanny state intrusion into family life.
The draft guidelines issued yesterday call for all families to have the option of home safety inspections by trained staff from the NHS or local councils. Health and safety organisations are told to identify homes where children are thought to be most at risk of accidents and ‘offer home risk assessments’.
In some cases, the offer will come after GPs or school nurses have raised the alarm because a child has been to hospital repeatedly for emergency treatment. ‘A home risk assessment involves systematically identifying potential hazards in the home, evaluating those risks and proving information or advice on how to reduce them,’ says the guidance.
Mike Kelly, Nice’s public health excellence centre director, said: ‘Our aim is not to promote a nanny state. ‘It’s a normal part of growing up for children to sometimes hurt themselves in day-to-day life, but we also need to prevent serious injuries from happening. These can have a profound effect on a young child right through to adult life, as they could be permanently disabled.’
Simon Davies of the Privacy International pressure group said he was particularly concerned over the additional powers that would go to state officials. He added: ‘This is a landmark expansion of government intervention in home life. It must be regarded with great concern.
‘If the database identifies you but you are unco-operative or you refuse to comply, the next step will be your door broken down at five in the morning. That will happen as surely as night follows day.’
Patricia Morgan, a researcher on the family, said: ‘This is a nightmarish prospect. It is a major step towards total state control. 'When state intervention creeps into your home, where does it end? Will you have to have cameras in your house?’
A spokesman for NICE said all parents could take advantage of the scheme. She added: ‘It’s optional, it’s not mandatory. Even if your GP suggests a home inspection because there have been a number of unintentional injuries, it must take place with consent.’
Sex in marriage
For many women exhausted by today’s doing-it-all pace of life, a night on the sofa with a Sex and the City box set is a more tempting option than a night of passion with their partner. But saying yes to sex (whether or not you’re in the mood) will increase your desire – and do wonders for your relationship
Sarah is always full of good intentions when it comes to having sex with Paul, her husband of 12 years. It’s just that the 42-year-old mother of two never quite seems to get round to living up to them.
‘I’m acutely aware that we haven’t made love for several weeks now and each morning I wake up thinking ‘I’m going to make an effort tonight,’ she admits. ‘Then when the evening does come round I’m so exhausted from working and looking after the children that it’s as much as I can do to sit upright and watch a BBC drama, never mind find the energy to make love.’
It’s not an unfamiliar story, of course – so much so that the weary doing-it-all modern woman for whom sex is at the bottom of the to-do list has become something of a modern cliché. Certainly the statistics back it up: numerous studies have shown that women’s desire diminishes after a few years of sharing a bed. While 60 per cent of 30-year-old women wanted sex often at the beginning of a relationship, within four years this figure had fallen to 50 per cent and after 20 years it dropped to 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion of men wanting regular sex stayed constant at between 60 and 80 per cent.
For sex therapist Bettina Arndt, the question of whether or not we should be moving physical intimacy closer to the top of that to-do list is increasingly pertinent in a society of spiralling divorce rates. Last year, the highly respected psychotherapist asked 98 couples – from 20-year-old students to those who’d been married for more than 40 years – to keep intimate sex diaries in which they recorded every detail of their behaviour in the bedroom.
The diary results were both poignant and compelling. While women wrote of their dismay and resentment at being ‘pestered’ for sex, most men, she discovered, forlornly documented the fact that they were continually refused sex by their wives, feeling trapped in a sexless marriage where physical intimacy was doled out, as Arndt puts it, ‘like meaty bites to a dog’.
‘Sex isn’t just about sex but about creating a physical bond, a closeness that is crucial in our hectic world’
Moreover, far from being the subject of bawdy bar-stool banter with their friends, the situation caused most of the men great anguish and bewilderment that they had, until then, found hard to articulate. ‘Every day I received page after page of eloquent, often immensely sad diary material, as men grasped the opportunity to talk about what emerged as being a mighty emotional issue for them,’ says Arndt. After reading numerous similar accounts, Arndt became convinced that a few more wifely ‘yeses’ in the bedroom could make all the difference to marital equilibrium.
The notion of doing it anyway to ‘please’ your man smacks anachronistically of lying back and thinking of England, but for Arndt this is missing the point. To paraphrase the Nike catchphrase, ‘just doing it’, she believes, is not about performing a marital duty, but a healthy and positive attitude which will, ultimately, benefit both partners. As she puts it: ‘It’s not about lying back and thinking of England – it’s about putting the canoe in the water and paddling and seeing what happens.’
The problem, of course, is that this rather contradicts our postfeminist sensibilities. Ever since New York sex therapist Helen Kaplan announced, in 1966, that female desire should be a prerequisite for sex, women have learnt to view their own sexual momentum as vital in a loving, consensual relationship. However, sex therapists argue that this fails to take into account the reality of female biology, which means that even if our minds are blocked off to sex at the outset, our desire can actually blossom once the act is taking place – that is to say that just doing it can become its own aphrodisiac.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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