Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - May 2014

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8 Hudson Valley Parent n May 2014 Care of Infant and Child." Watson's keys to raising productive members of society were based on the following: keep children under strict behavior- al control by requiring instant obedience and de- manding chores; withhold affection so as to not spoil children; women should reject and abandon their motherly instinct to bond and nurture their children on an emotional level. "Treat them as though they were young adults," he writes. "Dress them; bathe them with care and circumspection. Let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit on your lap ... Shake hands with them in the morning." Spock generation In 1946, Benjamin Spock, a representative of the Freudian psy- choanalyst view, published "Baby and Child Care." Many war-weary parents, scornful of the child-rear- ing practices of their parents and grandparents, embraced the advice of Dr. Spock, who rejected the idea of rigid feeding, bathing, and sleep- ing schedules, and told parents to pick up their babies and enjoy them. Since the early 1970s, parental anxieties have greatly increased both in scope and intensity. Many parents and laws sought to protect children from all imaginable harm by baby-proofing their homes, using car seats, requiring bicycle helmets, etc. Meanwhile, as more mothers joined the labor force, parents ar- ranged more structured, supervised F or Hudson Valley Parent's 20th an- niversary issue, I decided to briefly provide a historic backdrop as to how parenting advice has not only changed over the years, but also the degree of absurdity that was once deemed "expert advice." The psychological, educational and scientific interest in children and how to raise them "cor- rectly" is a relatively new phenom- enon — just over 100 years old. In fact, it was only in the late 1800s that pediatrics, infant care and child psychology actually became subjects of scientific interest. The American Pediatric Society was established in 1887 in order to provide the general public with educative information on various infant issues. Child manuals The belief that scientific principles could be applied to child rearing produced new kinds of manuals, the most influential of which was Dr. Luther Emmett Holt's "The Care and Feeding of Children," first published in 1894. Holt emphasized rigid schedul- ing of feeding, bathing, sleeping, and bowel movements and advised mothers to guard vigilantly against germs and undue stimulation of in- fants: "Babies under six months old should never be played with; and the less of it at any time the better for the infant." Quite the opposite of what is deemed appropriate today! 'Young adults' By 1928, behaviorist John Watson wrote the famous "Psychological activities for their children. Unstruc- tured play and outdoor activities for children aged 3 to 11 declined dramatically during this period. New stresses There can be no doubt that con- temporary parenting is more stress- ful than it was in the early post-war era. Today's parents are beset by severe time pressures and work-re- lated stress, and fewer have support- ive family or neighbors to help out or monitor their children. Many of the "free" spaces where earlier generations were able to play without adult supervision have disappeared. The result has been a hovering, emotionally intense style of parenting and a more highly organized form of child rearing, which may make it more difficult for children to forge an independent existence and assert their growing maturity and competence. I recommend the book "The Irre- ducible Needs Of Children: What Ev- ery Child Must Have To Grow, Learn, And Flourish" by T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley I. Greenspan. Follow what these two have to say and your children may reach their full poten- tial and enjoy their childhoods. As for the ease of parenting, well that's open for discussion. Paul Schwartz, PhD., is a profes- sor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College. Parental anxieties have greatly increased both in scope and intensity. PAUL SCHWARTZ Child Behavior A brief evolution of parenting

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