Psychological Self-Help

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accomplished, nor what the outcomes of the changes would be.
However, some of these changes can be brought about by individual
About 70 years ago, Alfred Adler advocated democratic attitudes
towards children, stressing mutual respect, encouragement, and
reason. He opposed using rewards--bribes?--and punishment (because
they underscore that the parent is in power and has the rewards to
give); he opposed over-protecting, over-demanding and over-
powering the child (Corsini & Painter, 1975; Dreikurs & Soltz, 1976).
Discipline could be maintained, Adler thought, with family conferences
and by using "natural consequences” (warning once and then letting
the child learn from his/her mistakes) and "logical consequences"
(agreeing to reasonable rules in advance, such as "you'll have to leave
the room if you disrupt a conversation or someone watching TV"). 
When does child-care end? There are families in which the children
dominate the parents; they may be indulged and catered to by self-
sacrificing parents until they are 22 to 25. Indeed, most college
students today expect their parents to pay for their education and
parents seem to accept that responsibility. Related to this prolonged
dependency, many parents get extremely upset if their "grownup
children," say 20-years-old, make decisions they don't approve of,
such as majoring in certain subjects, experimenting with drugs, dating
another race or religion, living with someone of the opposite sex, etc.
Why are parents so controlling? Why do they feel it is their right? Why
do they distrust their 20-year-old's judgment? Why aren't college and
post-college students more independent? As a society we don't seem
to know how or when to let our children go free. Until the 1930's,
children were commonly expected to be "on their own" after 14 (8th
grade). Now, it is 22 (college). Will it be 30 in 2050 or back to 14? 
It is hard for me to agree with Pogrebin that children, in general,
are hated by traditional parents. I think children are most people's
greatest treasure and joy. If children are hated, why do traditional and
non-traditional parents give them so much--even paying for college--
and expect so little from them? In my opinion, we may be harming our
children, not because we dislike them, but because we fear that they
will dislike us. By giving them everything and wanting their approval,
we parents unintentionally keep them weak, dependent, insecure, and
unable to help themselves. We need to research the consequences of
prolonged dependency, either in college or in interminable welfare
programs (see chapter 8). I think we should investigate the results of
young people, starting at 12 or 13, being given much more personal,
financial, and social responsibility than they are given now. 
There are people who wish they had never had children and,
fortunately, there is less social pressure to have children today. The
world has enough children already (we let 42,000 die needlessly every
day). If children would make you unhappy and unproductive or if you
would make your children unhappy or unproductive, then don't have
children. It is unwise to put social pressure on every couple to have
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