A new wave of child-rearing manuals calls for an end to soft parenting. The permissive and overindulging way
of educating children is giving way to a 'boot camp approach', at least in America and England.
A generation of parents has been learning the hard way that pampered children really can become spoilt -
as in go off, turn bad, become as rotten as old fruit.
For years they have been politely inquiring of their offspring, what brand of cereal would you prefer? Would
you rather wear shoes or sneakers? No coat in the freezing weather? No problem, we'll just pre-heat the car.
Not any more. The late 20th-century vogue for overindulgent parenting is becoming as dated as flower power. The
modern method is far more brisk: do as I say, and at the double.
In America, die backlash of boot-camp parenting is in full swing. Bestselling books on childcare warn mothers
and fathers against humouring their children. Too much coddling and emphasis on building self-esteem has led
perfectly ordinary children to behave like prima donnas who believe their unique talents entitle them to boss
about their parents.
By the time they emerge into the adult world and discover that, far from being special, they have to struggle
at work and relationships, it is too late to turn back the clock.
Dr Perry Buffington, a Florida psychologist, has no truck with the outmoded 1990s notion of parents as friends.
"In those days, we were just a few voices in the wilderness saying there will be serious problems if parents
keep trying to buy their children's affections."
Today he finds his message is finally getting through. "You must be the general of your household," he says.
"For parents to be effective, they must be leaders, exerting responsible power over their children."
In his book, Cheap Psychological Tricks for Parents, Buffington recommends parents start as they mean to go
on. "One of my favourite tricks begins at birth. Watch how you name your child. Don't be trendy," he advises.
I strongly recommend choosing the name of someone who means a great deal to you, such as Grandfather Joe or
Aunt Mary. You'll inculcate the values you respected in them in your child."
If you want to copy some of the advice when rearing your own child, try one or the other of the following suggestions:
TOP TIPS FOR NAUGHTY CHILDREN:
Put them in the red
Give your child pocket money as early as you like but take a bit of it away for every crime they commit.
If they are really naughty, dock a whole week's payment - so they owe you. Then take a favourite toy into
custody as securitv on the loan.
If they won't eat their greens offer them unlimited chocolate, sweet, chips and burgers instead. Tell them you don't want
them growing as big or as clever as you. Eating sprouts will soon become an act of rebellion.
The sin bin
Every house should have one, a 'naughty spot' where children are exiled for bad behaviour. Make sure they can see
everyone else enjoying themselves while they sit alone.
If they won't get dressed in the morning, take them to school in their pyjamas. Once should do it. Carry their teddy
bear in your arms.
More public humiliation
Kiss them goodbye, then press your nose against the classroom window while blowing soppy kisses - and also waving
the teddy bear. Threaten to do the same each time that they are late getting ready for school. (This method works
best with boys aged six-plus).
If they won't eat everything on their plate, send them to bed with nothing. Make it clear that you will be eating
Make them work
Tedious tasks such as cooking, cleaning or delivering beer seem glamorous to younger children.Feel no shame in
exploiting them. If they complain, explain about the children in the developing world who made their training shoes.
Place sweets in shoes and piles of clothes and toys that are neatly stacked and put away. It is, after all, the way
the world goes round.
The goblin cupboard
This is a place where you keep valuable or dangerous belongings. The children should be of the firm and unmovable belief
that it also contains child-munching goblins.
The black bin bag
Where toys that are not cleared away are kept for 24 hours before being put out with the rubbish.You know, you want to,
so just do it.
c. 700 words
Source: The Sunday Times, Feb. 13, 2005
1. Do you think that today's children in Germany are spoilt as they apparently ate in the United States?
2. If you were supposed to criticize child-rearing in Germany, what negative aspects would you point out?
3. Although the newspaper article is meant to be humorous and even satirical, does it bring forth the point it wants to make?