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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Parenting - It's Not for Wimps

If you’re the parent of a teenager (particularly a teen girl), then you have a much better chance than most at understanding what’s going with this mom in Oklahoma: Mom Makes Teen Stand on Street With Sign

It will come as no surprise that the teen is 14. It will also shock no-one to hear that within an hour, a passer-by called the police to report “psychological abuse”.

The article includes this helpful parenting tip:

Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, warned that such punishment could do extreme emotional damage. He said rewarding positive behavior is more effective.
While it's possible that Donald Wertlieb has actually parented an adolescent girl, I doubt that he's personally acquainted with this mom and daughter. Anyone intimately familiar with 14-year-olds (of either gender) knows that sometimes, finding positive behavior - much less rewarding it - is downright challenging. Not only that, the slippery-slide into a truly dangerous young adulthood can happen with breathtaking speed. Once that downward spiral is fully in motion, it’s nearly impossible to stop.

Reading the story, I did not get the impression that this mother was doing anything other than her absolute level best to stay in front of dangers she apparently sees coming – and not doing a bad job, at that.

We might gain a little perspective from a comparison to how this boy’s early adolescent acting-out was handled. Here’s the description of his "troublesome behaviors":
According to Freeman's notes, Lou Dully said she feared her stepson, whom she described as defiant and savage looking. "He doesn't react either to love or to punishment," the notes say of Howard Dully. "He objects to going to bed but then sleeps well. He does a good deal of daydreaming and when asked about it he says 'I don't know.' He turns the room's lights on when there is broad sunlight outside."
The solution? Lobotomy.

Just a little something to think about. (:::shudder:::)