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I had a rank alcoholic father in and out of recovery, and a bipolar mother on and off antidepressants in the 70’s in the rural south, with an adult half-brother and sisters from my father’s first marriage whom I never lived with.

There were iron-clad rules no matter how chaotic the house was.

You’re responsible for being home @6 for dinner.

You’re responsible for your grades.

You’re responsible to get to and from school on time.

You’re responsible for your own mess.

You’re responsible to help those who aren’t as lucky.

You’re responsible for your own boredom.

You’re responsible to be obedient to your elders.

You’re responsible to stand up for yourself.

Never try to bullshit your way out of a problem.

Don’t be a whiner, nobody likes a whiner.

We’ll pay for what we think you need, and love you the best we can.

I call it in retrospect watchful, benign neglect.

I was gay, quite effeminate, bullied until puberty, received a chemistry set and microscope at age 5 in the late 60’s (seriously what were they thinking, scalpels and microtomes? Frogs in formaldehyde?) and basically ran amok my whole childhood, acting like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory - played 6 musical instruments at national level, built my own synthesizers, computers and lasers, grew and hybridized orchids along with clonal apical meristematic tissue cultures, sold newspapers, sold women’s shoes, babysat, had a landscaping business, applied quite gay interior design to my bedroom (think macrame planters, chrome and supergraphics) learned ikebana, made paper, did a weekly “floral tribute”, had bicycle accidents, a motorcycle accident, a car accident, filled the house with chlorine gas, melted electrical breakers, started fires, chemically melted the carpet, was a music and math tutor, was in a symphony orchestra, marching band, concert band, jazz band, and after math and science contest wins, I tested into a National Merit Scholarship, got a 1600 SAT and escaped to Caltech just in time for AIDS to destroy the gay community I planned to escape to. A completely annoying child.

Blah blah blah.

The concept of my parents asking me what I wanted, pausing on my every word is so risible, and for any child of my half-siblings so bizarre that it’s like reading an anthropology article about a strange distant culture. I don’t understand how we evolved into the condition.

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Parenting is hard but Adlerian methods which have been used for a long time now bridge the issues pretty well. You can show respect for the kids, but DEMAND respect from them.

The fail many are trying to avoid is "because I said those are the rules" parenting. But where they lose is letting the kid then make the rules. Make good rules and *explain* why they are the rules. And it's perfectly fine in Adlerian to say "the rule is we are not going to be late for school, so in one minute your choices are get in the car or I pick you up and put you in the car."

Holding the line often means you defend the line exactly one time.

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Interesting. I had a pair of colleagues who when one of their kids was being perpetually dilatory simply let them miss the bus. The horror of possibly not getting an A from a missed test or something changed the behavior instantly. I do note that being grounded doesn't really work if the parent controls every waking moment of the child. Their kids (2000's generation) had bicycles and could go to the bookstore or comic store or whatever whenever they chose, to friends, to school, in Houston. One infraction, and they were grounded. The horror.

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Mar 6·edited Mar 6

Lots of people think they can't control their kids. And I tell them, if they were walking towards the edge of a cliff, your reaction to that would teach them never to do that again. You just never choose to react as strongly to other things.

What parents often fail to realize is that they teach kids one way or another. If you teach them that whining will get them what they want, you are the one who taught them to whine. Days are long and hard, but being weak at the wrong times buys you a lot of work later. Just stand fast, show respect for the kid by not being arbitrary and by explaining things and telling them why rules exist, and then demand respect from them in return.

Why can't I be late for school? We think it's obvious because it's obvious to us that you just can't, but literally it's our job to teach them why, and you have to give it some thought to actually explain it because it seems so obvious to you, but there are actual reasons and if you find them and explain it, they respect it more.

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This is amazing, you sound amazing (if you write a book, I'm reading it! haha), and of course you're right. I still fight the urge to ask my 17 yr old what he wants....it has not served him well. We've done most things remarkably well in spite of modern parenting norms and they're pretty darned great but if there's one area I've struggled with it's that.

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I was considering "The Boy Who Wasn't a Girl". 💖 Thanks for the sweet mesaage.

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Such hyper-individualist culture and mindset is the reason why your country is crumbling.

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Feb 26·edited Feb 26

Perhaps you talk about this elsewhere in the book. Another problem is the fact that families are no longer having multiple children. When there is only one or perhaps two children, there is nowhere near the same learning curve that can be obtained with larger families of 5, 8, 10, 13, or more children. And certainly no time for nonsense emotional indulgence with so many kids.

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Yes. We have 10 kids. By kid number 5 we discovered that there really is no way to parent that many kids the "new" way. We are old school by default. Honestly, I think they are the better for it. We love them, and they love and respect us. And they have each other.

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Not just the nuclear family, but this goes double or triple for extended, multi-generational families. When there are all sorts of aunts, uncles, cousins and nieces and nephews around, those folk provide a template, an example of what to do and not to do.

If, as a teenage boy, you have the opportunity to play with/entertain younger cousins or other kin folk, that experience will serve you well when you become a father.

There is nothing life real life experience to disabuse one of the idiotic notions that are taught in college about the "sameness" of boys and girls. Nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could be more damaging to the boys and girls we have brain washed to believe it.

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Agreed that you really need st least 2.

Kids need a sibling

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I think only child families can be healthy but paradoxically I think that’s harder for the parents than if they have multiple kids. I have 3 but there’s a big gap between my first two so I got to experience being an only child parent. While there are some benefits, I am eternally thankful my kids have each other. They definitely socialize each other in ways their peers don’t do and parents can’t do.

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Agreed.

We have two kids about 2.5 years apart. I'm so glad they have each other especially since we live in a rural area which makes it harder to find play mates

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I am/was an only child (still only, no longer a child). I NEVER acted like these kids - partly because of my personality, I think, but also because my role models for how to behave were my parents, not siblings.

I hate the idea that people “need” a certain number of kids. They “need” a number that they can successfully take care of, whatever that number is.

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Exactly.

Only child here.

About to hit 70, I watched on our new TV the documentaries and movies my parents and grandparents watched (except on Saturday mornings when I could see "American Farmer," "Modern Agriculture," and "Rocky and Bullwinkle"), sat with the grownups and listened to them speak in full sentences, and as a result could read authors such as Kenneth Roberts and A.J. Cronin at 12.

My dad let me read whatever was on his shelves, including The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. No trigger warnings there.

Fast forward to children's shows, young-adult literature, and parents who allow kids to leave the table and play video games when family visits. It has created a generation of kids who do not know how to behave in social settings.

I taught from about 1978 to 2015-ish and experienced several generations of students and loved all of them, but that doesn't mean I didn't see how far too many kids had changed.

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So totally agree with this. As one of four close in age, even though I was the only girl and "the baby", there was no getting babied in that situation! I have three kids but they are each five years apart so more like having three "only" children. More and closer together is so much better in the long run.

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Our 3rd child was very difficult, and we did not fawn over him or coddle him. But we weren't promised easy children. He was committed to his own agenda even as a tiny dude, in his own universe of his way or the highway. The usual suspects wanted very badly for us to medicate him (ritalin) into a zombie, and the schools always dangled the "He will get better grades" carrot. We refused and took his crappy grades. In high school he ended up starting to work and take some HS classes online and some at school. He ended up taking his GED and switched to full time work. He was obviously always extremely independent and packed his car and hit the road cross country by the time he was 20. He will never be a 40-year-old basement dweller in his parents' home. He is independent, law-abiding and self-supporting, and his brain is still fully intact after not having been bathed in medications. The parents are worn out but that's life. Some children are difficult no matter what you do, but so what! Diagnostic code: serious pain in the butt.

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Yes, this! Kids do not come to us all the same. Some are easier to raise than others! Some people get easy, compliant children, and this "gentle parenting" thing is fine for them. But then they credit the kids' easygoing behavior to their parenting style! We only see this parenting style fail when one of these families gets a child who is a little more difficult. And boy do those children get failed.

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Our #1 was difficult early on (extremely active) but she outgrew it by the time kindergarten rolled around. #2 was a vacation, then came #3. Vacation over!

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They all seem to have a difficult phase but for some it’s when they are babies, for others it’s when they are elementary age or teens. Growing up is not a smooth linear process that we should expect to unfold without hiccups! But the “hiccups” are so rarely pathological and often either a change in environment or just waiting it out will help. Obviously, it depends on the kind of issue at play and some issues truly merit professional intervention. But 30-50% of my kid’s mainstream Montessori class should not be receiving “services”, sorry not sorry!

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My third (also a boy) was referred to OT in preschool because he simply didn’t seem to like school. I paid $100 for 45 minute sessions with an OT who had no kids and did nothing helpful with him at all, IMO. Nothing changed at preschool. I switched programs and magically “his” problems disappeared. So much is about the environment and not about some defect in an individual child, yet I feel the majority of my friends have at least one kid in therapy or who has been referred to therapy because of difficulties adapting to their school. No one ever seems to think the school environment could be the cause of the child’s issues!

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I am that exact Soviet èmigrè redolent of Russian stoicism and so is my husband. And here we are, scratching our heads over how did we end up getting sucked into this docile parenting culture? I painfully recognise ourselves in many of these descriptions.

Years ago when our kids were still in pre school, my mom, whose Soviet Russian stoicism is much stronger than mine used to tell me that I was creating enormous troubles for myself with my parenting style. I vaguely sensed she was right but in the overwhelming culture of child-centered upbringing I just could not seem to find the right exit.

In 2021 my mom’s prophecy came to life. Per school requirement I took my teen to an emergency room for psychiatric evaluation. I naively thought that the psychiatrist will see what two generations of adults in our family saw but what school did not want to see: a teen who is terribly distressed by the lockdowns but also a very rebellious one toying with suicidal threats.

But only one of the two nurses evaluating my daughter at the ER psychiatric ward arrived to the same conclusion. Alas, she wasn’t the decision making one.

The second nurse who basically sent my daughter to mental hospital was a younger, in her 30s, black lady. The other nurse who lamented my daughter is being sent to a behavioural ward was older, in her 50s, and she was white gray haired woman.

The pro-hospitalisation nurse was very invested in her check list questions and hardly looked at my child during the evaluation.

The anti-hospitalisation nurse was carefully observing my daughter’s mimics and body language even as she was taking her vitals. I begged her to explain to me how we could still avoid this unnecessary hospitalisation, to which she sighed: “hope you are lucky meeting someone on the next phase of her evaluation who will sign the right paper.”

We were not. And my 11 year old ended up hospitalized. It cemented her notion that suicidal threats open doors she considered cool (mental hospitalisation is considered very cool among modern teens). This hospitalisation has completely ripped us, her parents of our agency and authority.

Two horrible years full of therapy and therapists, social workers, evaluations and more hospitalisations followed. My teen tried to pull off more and more unruly behaviours with zero regard for her sibling or her parents, us. One of her tantrums happened when she saw the “Irreversible Damage” book on my shelf. She took it as an offence against her important values.

My mom warning kept playing in my head. At the same time I felt that the family values of my husband and me and of our parents simply went against the culture around us. Against new set of values imposed on us by school, therapists, social workers. When the pronouns got added to that salad, it felt maddening…

Curiously enough our teen behavior deteriorated when my parents, with whom we live in a multigmenratuonsl household for six months out of twelve went back to Russia. It was like their no bullshit approach served as a pole of stability for her though -gosh- did she complain about them! But the moment grandparents left she crumbled.

I knew that if I wanted to keep my sanity and to save my daughter and my family I had to be surrounded by the old world approach.

To Russia I couldn’t go because the war has already started, though at some point I strongly considered it and I know other Russian immigrant parent with similar issues who did return to Russia to save her child.

We went to Italy. My daughter did not take our decision well. It was a nightmare and yet another hospitalisation when she tried to stop the move. That is when, for the first time in two years a psychiatrist at Stanford ER asked my husband privately: “so do you really feel like she wanted to commit a suicide?”

- Of course not! said my husband. It’s a power play. Both men seemed relieved feeling they are on the same page. One month later we landed in Italy.

It has now been six months and all is well. Adults here still have balls to be adults and it rubbed off my husband and me and our teens behaviour changed. My daughter who is now 13 is on the right track. She cleans after our numerous cats without reminders, she reads her Russian books, continues with her German lessons, masters Italian. She is being polite and considerate of others and she recently started baby sitting.

I often feel that my husband and I still have to shed layers of “slate” parenting off and I plan to use “Bad Therapy” as motivation and inspiration to stay on track.

Thank you for reading my long story. It’s such a relief to let it out of my chest. I hope “Bad Therapy” will help many more parents. And kids.

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Feb 26·edited Feb 26

My dad was famous for saying, "rub some dirt on it" when my brother and I fell down. When my daughter was two, she fell flat on her face at a Starbucks. Other parents gasped. As she looked up to see my reaction, I looked at her with the expectation that she get up. She got up and continued walking. Instill grit when they are young. You can do the work early, when they are very young, or you can do the work later when they are a teenager, when it's 100x harder and has a 50/50 chance of working at all. I made many mistakes as a parent. But I think I got that part right.

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I have a 3 y/o and a 2 week old, both girls. When my oldest falls, I generally laugh. It's not because I'm sadistic, I just want her to see that I'm not making a big deal of it, and she shouldn't either. Obviously if there's blood or broken bones, that won't apply, but it seems to work. She fell the other day and got a great scratch on her leg, but didn't cry. She ran over to me and excitedly showed me her boo boo.

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Absolutely!!! Our boys were baseball players and I a coach. "Rub some dirt on it and get back up" was ubiquitous phrasing around our house.

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Love the basic premise. I remember watching a dad at an open gym session following his 3-year-old around, plaintively requesting permission to change his diaper. The kid looked disgusted.

However, as with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

For example, I read Raising Your Spirited Child cover to cover because our daughter really did have sensory issues, and it wasn’t our imagination. At 7 she was reading on the level of a 12-year-old but couldn’t imitate a cross-body movement or figure out how to carry more than one thing at a time. She could barely figure out how to dress herself. And being touched the wrong way made her flinch. School days were exhausting for her, and not because we were coddling her at home. Looking back, she was probably vaccine injured, because these things showed up after a bad reaction to the MMR at 15 months.

So we read the books and got her OT and adjusted our parenting a bit. If she had grown up in the 60s, her parents would have just ignored it, people would just call her “strange” and she would be one of those weird, not-quite-right adults you feel vaguely uncomfortable around. Instead, our being a little more therapist-like as parents (sorry) helped her develop coping skills and essentially grow out of it and become a normal adult.

Maybe other parents these days have to read the books too, and that doesn’t mean they are raising monsters who, if growing up in the 60s, would have been perfectly well-adjusted children. Maybe there are other factors at play here, like the fact that I had 6 vaccines and our daughter had maybe 30 or 40. I can’t remember how many, but I regret every single one. Maybe a lot of parents today really are faced with hypersensitive kids with sensory issues, and it’s not because they keep asking permission to change a diaper or need to say “knock it off” a little more often.

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Feb 26·edited Feb 26

I think vaccine injury is vastly under the radar as an issue. It is bordering on insane to begin giving vaccines to pregnant women—my older doctor friend told me that when he was in medical school it was understood that you never intervene in pregnancy unless it is an emergency. Then starting on day one of life, our bloated (liability free) childhood vaccine schedule commences. Although I agree with the observations of this author, I think getting dozens of shots in childhood, many poorly studied and containing aluminum preservatives, is a factor in this equation hidden in plain sight. I recommend the documentary 1986: The Act. It details how the vaccine schedule for kids tripled after a change in the law with a subsequent skyrocketing of various chronic health issues.

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And anti-depressants -- taken while pregnant. I suspect this could be a cause of autism. There is a correlation between the numbing effect of the drug and the inability to read social cues in the autistic.

A friend who took anti-depressants while pregnant wound up with hypertension and preeclampsia. Almost died. C-section to save her life. Boy was born with an inverted penis. I saw a correlation. Years later, an article appeared in Vogue about a rise in genital malformation in babies born to women taking anti-depressants while pregnant.

I recall asking my friend why she took these drugs while pregnant. (Honestly, it seems she really doesn't need them). She said, "My doctor didn't say not to."

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Mar 2·edited Mar 2

How old is this woman’s son? My kids are nine and five, and whether you’re on any medications is one of the first things an OB/GYN asks once you’re confirmed to be pregnant.

Also, if she doesn’t seem to really need them, it’s probably because they’re working well.

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We declined Vitamin K shot for our new baby just two weeks ago, instead going with oral vitamin K. At the first well check appointment, day after leaving the hospital, the pediatrician (actual MD, not a NP) asked why we refused that and Heb B. I explained to her that vitamin K has a boxed warning ("Black Box") on the NIH website, which is the highest level of warning issued for a drug. It says very clearly that it can have severe adverse effects, up to and including death. The doctor, supposed "expert", literally told me she didn't know that, and would have to look into it. SHE WAS PUSHING US TO GIVE A SHOT THAT SHE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT!! It literally took me 30 seconds to google it, and the NIH link was the top result.

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Mar 5·edited Mar 5

That is crazy. As parents, you really have to be on top of things right now. New York is currently trying to pass a law to give minors the right to consent to vaccinations. It is being billed as protection for foster kids but the bill’s wording doesn’t specify that apparently.

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100%. I had sensory issues and fairly tough parents, who spanked me with a conveyer belt, sent me to bed hungry, threw my toys away. (I love my parents fyi, they did what they thought was right- no malice involved.)

None of that fixed my sensory stuff. I work in ASD research. A lot of this is clearly explained by genetics. But I have to say the environment counts too... any random American is trying to raise a kid is just... stuck in an environment explicitly hostile to health and flourishing. It takes a 6 figure salary to access green space and food that's not primarily corn syrup. I always found my symptoms were lessened when I got to go play in the woods as a kid (friends in Poconos) but my parents couldn't exactly afford that year round...

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I want to thank you for your comment. I am excited to read this book, but this passage did give me an immediate reaction of "do you think it was my choice to parent this way? I am exhausted!!"

I have two boys who were both vaccine injured. My first at age two, but it took till my second had a bad reaction at 1 year for me to finally stop and see what was going on. I was so convinced that I was doing the right thing.

My son both have very significant issues with impulse control and emotional regulation. My second is worse than my first. I love them so much, but being their parents is so exhausting. When my younger son has a meltdown (which can be over basically anything that doesn't go his way) he flys into a fit of rage so serious that I have had to put a door between us to protect myself. He bites, kicks, hits, scratches. His tantrums at their worst have lasted an hour or more, and occurred up to 6 or 7 times a day.

I wanted to be a more hands off parent. The one who let's my kids play outside alone, have a pocket knife at 9. I absolutely intended to tell them to just dust it off, and that's how things started, but that is not the children I was given, that did not work. I had to turn to the therapist led parenting techniques to try and deal with kids who are not "normal."

I will grant that some programs I tried really did not help and felt impossible. The most intensive one I tried cost thousands of dollars (I was that desperate after almost a year of ineffective therapy for my child who was kicked out of his preschool for impulse control problems) and was completely unrealisticto live out day to day. It drained me of everythingi had. The best one for us was the How To Talk program, which gave me real tools that have helped me avoid or descalate 90% of the worst meltdowns.

I am not alone. Of my friends and family every single parent I know has at least one child suffering from extreme mental and emotional issues. They are all desperately searching for help for kids with real problems. What they are trying may not work, but neither did mire traditional approaches. They are, like me, in the dark grasping at whatever they can that might offer some help, for the damage to their children caused by man's attempt to control and bend nature.

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You’re just proving the point. How can it be that every child has a “vaccine injury” (something that doesn’t exist in other countries), or has some kind of severe emotional problem? It’s always the fault of some nefarious outside force that’s turning your perfect angel into a little monster. It’s not. The monstrosity is in the child. All children have the capacity to be monsters. The fact that you have no control over your children is no one’s fault but your own. Nobody seems grown up enough to accept that they have to be the bad guy. Where are the grandparents? Where is their father? You aren’t supposed to manage them every second by yourself.

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Sounds like a chemical detox is required for your son. It can be a long process. I am 64 now and was poisoned by sodium nitrite (E250) in bacon I ate. I got a facial palsy as a consequence after a number of years (8 I would say). I was diagnosed with a cancer by doctors who didn't ask about diet.

Anyway, I am slowly detoxing by eating as best as I can (I was always pretty careful anyway). I do use activated charcoal which seems to have some noticeable impact.

https://baldmichael.substack.com/p/sodium-nitrite-e250-the-poison-in

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Oh my gosh, I feel you. Just wanted to say that. ❤️

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You've made good points. It's easier, and probably more satisfying, just to blame parents. But for every parent allowing their kid to run riot in public, I see someone yelling abusively at theirs, so I agree the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I think there are some very significant factors at play with things like the apparent rise in dysregulation and sensory issues. Vaccines I don't know much about, but there's also the massive uncontrolled experiment that is screen and device use. The limited TV a child of the '60s or '70s would have been exposed to compared even low screen use households today... It's mindblowing. How must they be shaping our kids' developing brains? We've got a few generations of guinea pigs coming through.

There are also big changes in culture, family and community fragmentation, urban environment, food supply... Looking at an example of a parent feeling lost in this insane world and reaching out for help, and then deriding them as the problem with children today, seems short-sighted.

Maybe the book goes into a lot more depth on these things, but the tone of this preview doesn't inspire me to put it at the top of my to-read list.

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Vaccines are a huge factor as their neuro-toxicity causes damage to brain and nervous system. They can then be more easily 'programmed' as it were by the TV screens etc.

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Rubbish.

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What's rubbish Oli Blah Blah? Please explain your reasoning

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I was just going to add that yes, parenting is so stupid right now. But also, we are raising the most damaged generation of kids ever. When you think kids are just being dramatic or overly aggressive, they might literally be harboring damaged brain function - as more and more are.

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Very good comment. Vaccines are neuro-toxic like the bulk of big pharma drugs and interfere chemically with the brain and nervous system.

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Please check out Sonia Story or Karla Hannaford (Smart Moves). Most OTs don't know all that much about primitive reflex integration and learning disabilities/sensories processing problems. See Sally Goddard too. I used her method for helping my kids. No need to suffer when help is available, but it is non traditional so most doctors, therapists or teachers know nothing about it.

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Great article. Reading these examples of bad parenting was exhausting to think how disruptive their home life must be. Just learn to say no and stop pandering to a toddler who doesn’t require 24/7 coddling.

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You've got it half right. There's a middle way. You can be the "knock it off!" type parent and avoid all the therapy-parent melodrama while also treating your kids with respect. My oldest is 14 and I have literally never punished my kids. I generally treat them as capable and competent, give them freedom to make their own choices when possible, but also let them know when it's time to "knock it off" or they're doing something unacceptable. When you treat them with respect and reserve your serious voice for the times when it's actually serious, turns out they take you seriously.

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Agreed. Rather than a thoughtful, balanced middle ground, this seems like a mocking swing to the other extreme. I always find that criticisms of gentle parenting don't accurately portray gentle parenting, either. It's some kind of permissive, mangled, misunderstood version of it. You can be respectful of children and their development while having boundaries. I find that having a healthy connection and being respectful helps things run smoothly.

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I.e., what "gentle parenting" means in practice.

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You've never punished your kids EVER???

So not a single time out or something taken away ever???

and young kids are neither capable or competent. That's why they have parents

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And no, no punishment, ever. Like I said, if you are not always getting upset about every little thing and handing out seemingly arbitrary punishments or restrictions, then they take you seriously when it's clear that you really are serious.

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Of course they aren't. But if you treat them like they are (within reason) they will more often than not live up to those expectations.

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Looking forward to the book! I’ll put a copy in my “little library” that’s next to my mailbox. “Irreversible Damage” is in there already. Congratulations! Read your stack to my husband tonight. We both laughed out loud. Great piece.

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“Flowers grow best in dirt!” My husband and I are still cracking up about that line.

Way to tackle another hot button topic. I’ll be praying for you! I’m sure there will be plenty of push back on this one! But the truth needs to be told so the world does not end up like that movie, “Idiocracy”.

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Boomer here… I used to say to my kids… you might need therapy one day, but your Dad and I love you and we are doing to best we can, but just so you know, we are in charge of this household. We spanked - only rarely - and taught our kids the meaning of the word no because they needed to learn it under our guidance instead of alone in the world which tells people no every day - teachers, bosses, stop lights, empty gas gauges, etc. At 21 our son lost his full ride scholarship to college and so he had to come home. When he did not want to follow our rules we kicked him out with one month’s rent, food, utilities,etc. and it broke my heart. I cried tears he never saw. At 25 he told me that it was the best thing we ever did for him because it forced him to see how hard the world can be and so he grew up. Both our children are resilient, healthy adults with good jobs and strong families. I do need to add this. We are a family of faith and believe that God’s wisdom and our strong faith community has guided us through our years to parenting.. some good and some very hard.

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Honestly it’s that last sentence that put you on the correct path of parenting. We are no longer a society with a judeo-christian worldview. We are a secular humanist society, which is what ultimately is causing such a tremendous breakdown in culture. Kudos to you for making that hard decision with your son. Friends of mine just did it with their 18 year old. But they have the same worldview you do….

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Most kids from Asian households don't have a judeo-christian worldview, and yet many of them outperform kids in the US on a range of metrics.

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I could only skim all the moronic gentle parenting stories - they were beyond irritating. What I want to say to these parents is “who is in charge here?!” If you want to raise individuals that can function in society & are good people then you have to be the boss not the therapist! It is your responsibility to teach them how to behave & be aware of how their actions affect others—not how every little thing affects them. They’re raising very unlikeable individuals that will have no idea that they’re jerks.

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Gen-Xer here, raised by Boomer parents. Some of this was starting even back then. My mom actually had that book "How to Talk so your Kids will Listen..." My brothers and I were left home to take care of ourselves a lot, and developed our own pecking order (older brother was the tyrant.) Even when mom was home, older brother was still in charge. Mom was afraid of him. She complained about our constant fighting (we did fight A LOT, and it wasn't fun for us two younger kids either) but she wasn't able to assert her authority over us kids. I'm sure that book didn't help. (Dad was the "knock it off" type and we fought a lot less around him. )

But we are NOT the first generation to complain about our upbringing. My boomer parents, and many other boomers I know, still feel they were deeply wronged by their own parents -- no love, didn't show up for special events, etc. My parents had nothing nice to say about my grandparents. There was no modeling of respecting one's elders in my house. I'm sure we were not unique in that respect.

The funny thing is, my grandparents (WWII generation) always recounted their childhoods fondly and shared good memories of their parents (even when they were getting disciplined-- they always added "I had it coming.") The cultural shift happened between those two generations, I think.

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I think there was a generation of alcoholism in between. A lot of farm families moved to the city during the 20th century, their kids became adults between the 20s and the 50s and adopted all the trappings of urban sophistication (cocktails or beers depending on social class; ciggies) as a rite of adulthood. they thought they were cooler than their parents but they were setting themselves up for shambolic evenings at home in middle age and just feeling lousy a lot, too grouchy to be patient.

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This is a much-needed book. I have been watching child-rearing practices devolve over the past twenty years with utter bewilderment. At work -- we teach young adults -- we are expected to treat them like children. Because I treat them like adults, my colleagues think I'm something out of the stone ages. They rush students into diagnoses -- I was the only one to plead with another teacher not to send the student to the Disability office.

I have a friend who won't let her twelve-year-old son walk across the street to school because she's afraid he'll get hit by a car. Later, on a visit, I saw that there was a crossing guard. But he has a phone with unlimited access to internet.

Another friend -- we were supposed to be sitting on the sidelines watching her 5-year-old guided by two adults at a YMCA class for kids. All the other kids were away so the daughter was the only student. My friend kept rushing over to stop the kid from doing this or that, insulting the people teaching her. Later, the kid was playing on a plastic jungle gym with a pit full of balls, shrieking with joy and my friend rushed over to stop her from -- enjoying herself. This upset me so much I shouted, Leave her alone! Some months later my friend told me that her daughter started hitting her.

Both of these friends sleep in the same room as their kids. There's almost never any opportunity for agency.

On another occasion, in a grocery store I witnessed a mother asking a three-year old what she wants for dinner. The kid started bawling. I couldn't believe it! What happened to cause and effect thinking? Because I was given no choice, I became an adaptable person. I do not have SPECIAL NEEDS.

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I’m a conservative father of two, working as an aide in their high school (and own a business that actually pays the bills). The feminized dads & therapist moms have produced a bunch of annoying, attention-craving, disruptive snowflakes. I hate public sector unions & won’t ever join but the reason kids aren’t learning & SATs are falling, Dear Parents, is not bad teachers; it’s the dumbass jerks you’ve sent them.

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It's very much bad teachers. Why can't I find a school in our area that doesn't shove 1st graders in front of Chromebooks? Why is it so hard to use phonics instead of vibes based Lucy Calkins BS? Why do I have kindergarten teachers trying to argue with me that 5 year olds actually don't need to see the sunlight (recess) and instead need to play "educational" games on iPads in their classrooms? Please.

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No idea what goes on in elementary schools now but maybe the tide will turn toward respect for others by the time that group gets to HS. Kinda doubt it; America continues to unravel. There are bad teachers for sure - and always have been - but the modern, typical (non-Honors, non AP type) HS student is a PITA.

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PS. I think a lot of parents of (HS) kids complain about “bad teachers” because the kids they dumped in daycare from age 9 months have turned into assholes & they think teachers are supposed to mold something of the mud, not clay, that they’re sent.

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Lucy Calkins has a lot to answer for. Ever hear her speak? I have. Just for fun, I kept track of her grammatical errors, which filled a full page front and back. I threw the sheet away only a year or so ago when I was cleaning out my attic.

She shouldn't have been teaching anyone anything.

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Thank you for Irreversible Damages. On this topic You are so spot on. These children don't know how to fail, expect the world to give them everything because all their lives they are told they are special. They get married in " special places" like barns, art galleries, god forbid in a hotel or the temple social hall. They have to give their children "special baby names" like Kalliope, Ignatius, Darwin, and Brooklyn, what happened to Thomas and Mary. And to continue feeling special everything is an event or a present. Push presents, gender reveal parties, Sip and see to meet the baby...the winner in all of this is the decorative paper companies.

And what is up with the sports water bottles, we drank water out of a hose.

I could go on and on. Thank you again.

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the snacks and the water bottles for EVERY ACTIVITY, every trip to the playground, this made me bonkers. I didn't want to do it and yet I always felt like a kind of crap mom for being the "no snacks no designated water bottle" mom. They are not crossing the Sahara! They are 6 year olds at a park!

We played for hours and came home hungry and thirsty AND WE LIKED IT (you are as old as I am if you are laughing at this reference, by the way)

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In the 2000s, my students began to want to swig from their water bottles during class. Since, I told them, you don't see me drinking coffee in front of you, I expect you not to be drinking water in front of me; we each deserve the other's full attention.

They were all right with it.

This constant sucking at bottles is so infantile, and it doesn't have to be.

Ditto with so-called adults, 20- and 30-somethings, at the ballet and opera. Stop slurping! Stop unwrapping candy and crunching potato chips! Where do you think you are?

Okay, for sore throats you're allowed your Ludens.

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Feb 26·edited Feb 26

None of what you just mentioned is a problem. You are literally explicitly describing the "winners." The successful, 6-figure income couples whose parents are the ones throwing them these fancy baby showers. They have excellent quality of life, great health outcomes, and yes, name their kids Vivianne instead of idk Amanda.

Kids taking SSRIs or adderall, addicted to social media, failing basic tests of literacy is a problem. Sports water bottles are not a problem.

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What happened to Thomas and Mary? Gee, maybe people got tired of picking names that had been popular for about two thousand years. 🙄 Unusual baby names are not the problem here.

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