Common sense Biblical parenting
The matter of how a child should be raised is not about the parent; it’s about the child. ~John Rosemond
American Family Association Journal: Excerpted with permission from the Introduction of Parenting by the Book by Dr. John Rosemond
Several years ago, a young mother told me that she rejected “my” philosophy of parenting. After an exhaustive search of contemporary parenting literature, she had decided that “attachment parenting” suited her best. Suited her? This was post modernity (the mindset that objective truth does not exist and everything is relative) talking. As the Rolling Stones, in what may be the most postmodern of lyrics, put it, “I’m free to do what I want, any old time.”
As I pointed out to this mother, the matter of how a child should be raised is not about the parent; it’s about the child.
Furthermore, whereas there may be more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, there is but one correct way to raise a child. (If you think I’m making this statement presumptuously, I encourage you to read on.) But in fairness, the mental health community has been anything but of one voice where child rearing is concerned, and each of the competing voices in the cacophony of psychobabble has claimed and claims superiority. Choosing to listen to only one may be the only way to maintain one’s sanity.
John Rosemond and Biblical Parenting
One might ask what’s different about John Rosemond’s way of raising children, to which the answer is that John Rosemond’s way does not exist. The way described in these pages is straight from the Bible. I am a messenger, and a somewhat paradoxical one at that.
I possess a license to practice psychology, issued by the North Carolina Psychology Board. In that sense, I am a psychologist. But unlike most of those who hold such licenses, I have major problems with the direction my once noble profession has taken since the late 1960s, when the American Psychological Association was hijacked by secular progressives who were focused more on advancing humanist ideology than advancing the human condition.
A number of years ago, I came to the realization that for all of its pretenses to scientific objectivity, post-1960 psychology is a secular religion that one believes in by faith. I had been slowly losing that false faith since the early 1980s, but I lost the last vestige seven years ago, when I submitted my life to Jesus Christ.
I am absolutely convinced that modern psychology has done more harm than good to the American family. Not “family,” mind you, the various alternatives of which the American Psychological Association has enthusiastically affirmed, even actively promoted, but family, as in heterosexual parents and children related by birth or adoption. The reason child rearing – once a fairly straightforward, matter-of-fact affair – has become so difficult, so emotionally taxing, so beset with problems, is that instead of going to their elders for child-rearing advice, American parents have been listening to mental health professionals tell them how to raise children for more than a generation. With rare but notable exception – Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Kevin Leman, and a handful of others – the advice has been bad.
Since the mid-1960s, when nouveau “parenting” began to displace traditional biblically based child rearing, the mental health of America’s kids has been in a downward spiral, the end of which has yet to come into view. But children are not the only ones who have suffered the toxins of professional advice. The raising of a child, once a fairly straightforward, commonsense affair, has become the single most stressful thing a woman will do in her lifetime. The mothers I talk to around the United States concur when I suggest that raising a child is more anxiety-ridden than managing a large staff of people at a major corporation. That’s not the way God planned it, but then God’s way is not modern psychology’s way, either.
History of Psychology
Beginning with Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of modern psychology, mental health professionals have cut one idea after another out of whole cloth. It surprises people when I tell them that none of Freud’s theories has been verified; in fact, most of them have been discredited.
After all, he made them up. He was convinced he had the last word on human reality – that he possessed unique powers of insight into the workings of the mind, any thought he had was true, and everyone else needed to know what his great mind was producing. It was inconceivable to Freud that he was wrong about anything. Over the years, psychological theories have come, and psychological theories have gone. The theories have been different, but it’s always been the same old, come-and-go.
Since Freud, the history of psychology has been the history of one failed diagnosis, theory, and therapy after another: multiple personality disorder, recovered memory therapy, psychoanalytic theory and therapy, Gestalt therapy, play therapy, and so on and so on.
Freud also began moving the profession toward atheism. He thought religion was a neurosis, and there are many in the profession today who feel similarly. I would venture that clinical psychologists, as a group, have less regard for God than is the case with any other single group of professionals. Again, that’s not true of all psychologists, but it’s certainly characteristic of the mainstream, of which John Rosemond, James Dobson, and Kevin Leman are not members.
One of my disagreements with my profession has to do with the idea that attending graduate school makes one competent to counsel people who are having personal or relationship trouble in their lives. Competent counseling comes from the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has no preference for PhDs. My barber, a believer, gives about the best counsel I’ve ever gotten from anyone. Whenever I’m grappling with a personal issue, I schedule a haircut.
Psychology Today: Doctrine of Non-Responsibility
Psychology’s central doctrine is one of nonresponsibility – fundamentally, the individual is the product of his upbringing; therefore, his vices are reflections of psychic conflicts engendered by his parents’ inadequacies (i.e., the individual, fundamentally good, is messed up by his parents, who were messed up by their parents, and so on). According to psychology, a person is a chronic liar because during his childhood he was made to feel responsible for protecting certain family secrets, such as his father’s alcoholism and his mother’s tryst with the next-door neighbor. He can’t hold a job because his father was threatened by his achievements, so to achieve is to betray his father. He has three failed marriages because he secretly believes that, like his mother, no woman can be trusted. And so on. Christianity holds that we are solely and fully responsible for our sinful behavior and that only by accepting that responsibility can we receive forgiveness.
Psychology holds that a person can be “saved’ through the process of therapy as mediated by another human being, that coming to grips with the corruption suffered at the hands of one’s parents will set one free. Christianity holds that salvation is attained only through faith in Jesus Christ, that He is the Truth, and that only His truth can set one free.
Psychology with Christian Perspective
I am a psychologist with a Christian perspective. That’s a difficult balancing act because the worldview of Christianity and the worldview of contemporary post-1960s, secular psychology are poles apart.
So, to answer the above question, I am not a Christian psychologist. I am a Christian who holds a license to practice psychology. I believe Jesus Christ is the one and only Wonderful Counselor. It is only through Him that a broken person can be made truly whole again.