Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The successful rearing of a child is a matter of three simple rules, or understandings. These rules, as will become readily apparent, cannot be communicated to infants or young toddlers. Properly timed, the communication begins when a child is around eighteen months of age, give or take a few months. The introduction of these rules into a child's life almost invariably causes great consternation, to the point sometimes of rage. The reason for this is quite simple: There have been no rules at all to speak of before this time. Well, that's not exactly accurate. For eighteen months, the child has been led to believe the he rules. These three rules are not just new, however, but contradict the child's understanding of how the world works. They upset the child's applecart, so to speak, because the child had every reason to believe he ran the show, and would do so forever.
So, the child screams in protest of the rules, denies that his parents are capable of enforcing them, and does many destructive things to demonstrate his defiance. This upheaval goes by the popular term "The Terrible Twos." If parents "stay the course" through this much maligned stage, then by his or her third birthday, the child will have accepted that the rules are fixed, as in permanent.

First rule(from parent to child): "From this point on in our relationship, child of mine, you will pay much more attention to me than I will ever again, as a general rule, give to you."

Rule two: "You will do as I say."

Rule three: "You will do what I say not because of bribe, brutality, threat or persuasive explanation. You will do as I say because I say so. Period."

These three rules are indispensable to the parent-child relationship. They are the foundation of the child's "disciple-ship" and, therefore his or her later success in every dimension of life.

By John Rosemond

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