John Rosemond has authored 14 parenting books and writes a nationally syndicated column on parenting that appears weekly in 200 newspapers. Rosemond grew up in Charleston, SC and the suburbs of Chicago. He attended Western Illinois University, graduating in 1971 with a Masters Degree in Community Psychology. From 1971 to 180, Rosemond worked as a psychologist and program director at various mental health centers in Illinois, Iowa, and North Carolina.
He began writing his newspaper column in 1976, while Director of the Early Intervention Program at the Gaston-Lincoln Mental Health Center in Gastonia, NC. In 1978, the Charlotte Observer purchased the column and put it into syndication a year later. From 1980 to 1990, John was in private practice as a family psychologist.
John's first book, John Rosemond's Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, was published by Andrews McMeel in 1989. It received lots of attention, both positive and negative, because of his advocacy of a non-psychological philosophy and traditional parenting methods. That book is now available in a greatly expanded edition titled John Rosemond's NEW Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children. Rosemond has since authored fourteen books on parenting and family issues, including A Family of Value, Making the Terrible Twos Terrific!, Teen-Proofing and most recently, "The Well Behaved Child- Discipline That Works"
Empowered Mommies (EM): John, thank you again for giving us the opportunity to sit down with you.You have decades of experience as a family counselor, highly respected family psychologist, therapist, author of more than a dozen parenting books and speaker and writer of a nationally syndicated column on parenting. Can you share with us your background and how you came to specialize in thisfield?
John Rosemond (RS): I began writing the column in 1976, while employed as Director of the Early Intervention Program at the Gaston-Lincoln Mental Health Center. In 1978, the Charlotte Observer came to me and offered to put the column before a larger audience. I went into private practice in 1980. In 1989, I wrote John Rosemond’s Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children and things took off from there. I left private practice in 1991 and have been writing and public speaking since. I really evolved into the role of “parenting expert.” It certainly was not something I set out consciously to become.
EM: What do you think are some of the greatest challenges parents are facing today when it comes to raising their children in comparison to previous generations?
JR: The rehabilitation of American child rearing requires that, first, we need to get back in touch with common sense where children are concerned and, second, we reach consensus concerning how to rear children. Consensus existed until the psychological parenting revolution of the 1960s and early 1970s. When everyone agreed concerning children, everyone was better off, and so was America. Parenting defines culture. We had strong parenting (exceptions noted) until the 1960s. Our parenting has been weakening ever since, ever since we began listening to a professional parenting elite tell us how to raise kids. Ironically, I’m one of the people I’m talking about. What distinguishes me from the pack is that I’m not saying anything new.
EM: Your column and writing usually refers to "Traditional Parenting", can you explain what you mean by that and what are some of the pitfalls of "modern" parenting?
JR: The major pitfalls are (1) the entirely devious notion that high self-esteem is something we should help children acquire and (2) the equally devious notion that behavior modification, which works well with animals, also works with human beings. As to self-esteem, all of the research, and I emphasize all, finds that the higher a person’s esteem for him- or herself, the lower his or her regard and respect for others. I simply propose that high regard for others is more functional. The problem today is that parents confuse self-confidence with self-esteem, when they are really two different things. As for behavior modification, that is not how to properly discipline a child. A child is disciplined by parents who present proper leadership qualities. Children need two L-words: love and leadership. Today’s parents—the ones who are trying to do a good job—are providing love and relationship. When parents provide leadership, relationship develops naturally. But when parents strive for relationship, leadership is cancelled, and that leads almost inevitably to behavior problems.
EM: You recently wrote a new book, "The Well Behaved Child". Can you tell us a little bit more about it? What made you decide to focus on the issue of discipline?
JR: It was the how-to book that people were requesting. I wrote it to help parents understand how to translate leadership into effective parenting behavior. Let’s face it, today’s kids are woefully lacking in self-discipline, which means they are not being disciplined properly. Today’s parents are not disciplining correctly because they are confused by the cacophony of voices coming from the professional community. I’m trying to clear up the confusion. My approach is a traditional approach. I believe that what is new is not generally true and what is true is rarely new.
EM: If you had to look forward a decade, how do you hope your books, advice
and counseling will have influenced and helped parents?
JR: I hope that people reading my books and so on will be comforted, that their common sense will be affirmed, and that they will gain a better sense of direction. Raising a child shouldn’t be difficult. It’s really rather simple. The reason so many parents experience it as something difficult is because we’ve misplaced the simplicity of it. I hope I’m helping parents recover that simplicity. Thanks for giving me this opportunity. I appreciate it, and I hope your readers appreciate it as well.
EM: Here at Empowered Mommies, we're all about presenting different points of view on parenting styles and techniques so that each parent feels empowered to make the right choice for their particular situation. Thank you again for taking the time to share your views!
JR: Thank You, Ivanna!