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3 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid’s Self Esteem

What you should stop doing immediately

By Jennifer Schlosberg |

I’m not proud to tell you that, on more than one occasion, I’ve felt so vicariously oppressed by what some parent has said or done to their kid that I’ve actually gone over and said something. Not surprisingly, most have looked at me like WTF? Get away from us!

What drives me crazy is that so much of what parents say and do to help their kids has the opposite effect. And then the kids suffer needlessly. When something is repeated over the life of a childhood, the impact is compounded and the damage difficult to undo.

However, the best news to come out of the world of neuroscience lately is that the brain is more plastic than originally thought. They’re discovering that if you consistently treat your child more respectfully for five months, her brain will change for the better. And so with the goal of trying to save kids from their parents’ good intentions, I give you three ways you may be ruining your kid’s life without knowing it.

1) You’re a pimp

Your doorbell rings and there are your parents, all crouched down and ready for a big hug from their very own pint-sized flesh and blood. But your kid doesn’t rush over. Perhaps she’s busy playing. Or maybe she needs some time to warm up to them. For whatever reason, she’s not feeling it.

And you can’t help but wish she was. Can’t she give them something? They’ve come a long way and a cuddle would mean so much. Feeling the pressure, you whisper to your daughter, “Go give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss!”

But as soon as those words come out of your mouth : BOOM! You’re guilty of prostituting your kid to perform acts of affection to satisfy your parents’ desires. Make no mistake about it: You’re the pimp. Your parents are the johns. And the currency you’re using is the single most powerful in the world: parental love and approval. Just because the affection isn’t sexual doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Each and every time your child performs an act of “love” at your behest, her innate drive to genuinely express love takes a pummeling.

You’ve also set her up to believe it’s her responsibility to use her body to satisfy another’s desire, regardless of how she feels about it. So even if you’ve explained to her a million times that she has the right to say “no,” your actions, particularly when ingrained at an early age, speak much louder than words.

Physical affection when not given freely is wrong. Full stop.

My recommendation: Stop asking for a kiss goodbye. Stop asking where your hug is. Be loveable and your kids will want to love you – in the way they want to, when they want to.

2) You’re a know-it-all

Virtually every day in my life as a mom of preschoolers, I know I’ll hear two things: “Put on a sweater” and “Just one more bite.” The energy parents pour into getting their kids to do these two things is as astounding as it is a total waste of time.

If you think a sweater can stop your kid from getting sick, you’re wrong. It can’t. A hundred years of conclusive scientific research tells us colds and pneumonia come from infections, not from being cold. You can be barefoot and have wet hair and still have the same chance of getting sick as someone wearing a hat and jacket.

If you want your kid to put on a sweater because you feel cold, that’s preposterous. Your kid isn’t you. Kids bodies differ from adults both anatomically and physiologically. Plus little ones are a hell of a lot more active. If you want your kid to put on a sweater because you’re afraid he might get cold, that’s not fair. If he’s not yet cold and puts it on, he may be hot and uncomfortable. But when you go so far as insisting your kid put a sweater on when he says he isn’t cold, essentially you’re saying, “I don’t believe you and I’m willing to have you resent me for it.” That’s not the message you want to give your kids.

My advice? Let your kid get cold. Let him know where a sweater is just in case. If time passes and you’re afraid he’s forgotten, remind him: “Honey, your sweater is on the bench, just in case.” Reminding is respectful. Forcing him to do something to satiate your misguided anxiety isn’t.

The same goes for this “just one more bite” business. You can’t know if your kid is still hungry. Think about it – it’s unlikely that you ever tried to make your newborn nurse longer – babies know when they’re full. But at some point parents stop believing their kids. Without a doubt, you WANT your kid to be in touch with the messages her body is sending.

“One more bite” essentially says: Don’t listen to your body, listen to me.

Back off and trust your kids to trust themselves.

3) You’re a torturer

I was on the phone with my friend Lea when I heard her 6-month-old daughter screeching in the background.

“Auhh! What happened?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Lea explained. “Greg’s just playing Tickle Monster with her.”

Oh god, I thought, horrified.

What I wanted to tell Lea was that it’s possible for a person to be both laughing and in some real pain – particularly when tickled too hard for too long. The Ancient Romans knew it. The Ancient Chinese and Japanese did, too. That’s why they used tickling as an effective form of torture. Tickling is tricky. What is fun can turn dark on a dime but the tickler might not notice because the ticklee is still laughing, often unable to even eek out a “Stop!” And, of course, a baby can’t speak, let alone fend someone off or run away. That’s why the standard dynamic of a bigger person doing it to a weaker one is so problematic.

If you click on a site like tickleassault.com you’ll find some bound women hysterically laughing under headings like: Overpowering girls and forcing them to squirm and giggle like never before and Merciless Feet Tickling. Sadomasochists with a tickle fetish get off on being powerless to stop the pain. I’m guessing that’s not the kind of good time you’re going for with your kids.

While I concede it’s possible a kid may enjoy being tickled, when something has such a storied history as a form of torture, you have to be hypervigilant when doing it. I have a girlfriend who suffered years of being tickled by a father who never believed her when she said “Stop!” because she seemed to be having so much fun. One night when she was trying to fend him off during another attack, she managed to break his finger. He finally understood. You probably don’t want to send the message to your kids that saying “stop” means “continue.”

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About Jennifer Schlosberg

bcjenniferschlosberg

Jennifer Schlosberg

Jennifer Lehr is the author of the memoir Ill-Equipped-for a Life of Sex, an Elle magazine Must Read. She blogs at goodjobandotherthings.com. (And people seem to love to know that her husband, John, is one of the Geico cavemen.)

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328 thoughts on “3 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid’s Self Esteem

  1. Erin says:

    You know some really great ways to get parents to listen to your overlown opinions? Calling them pimps, accusing them of prostituting and torturing their kids, and implying that they’re raping their kids. Bravo.

  2. Gabrielle Goldberg Pilo says:

    This may be the most ridiculous article I have ever read – to equate requesting your child give a hug to dad or grandma to prostitution? Really? Totally absurd… i’ld like to see the research to back this theory up please.

  3. Jenna Boettger Boring says:

    While I agree with the other commenters that likening “can I have a goodbye hug?” to prostitute is a little over the top, I fully hear where you’re coming from. Trying to make someone (even a child) eat more when they’re not hungry, wear unnecessary layers of clothing when it’s unwarrented, or show physical affection to people they may be uncomfortable with is downright disrespectful.

  4. Dina Rose says:

    So sad…so true. Parents often don’t think of the underyling lessons they’re really teaching their kids they think about the lessons they’re intending. It’s in this disconnect that problems occur. This is true especially with regard to eating. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we spend the first part of our children’s lives trying to get them to eat more and the rest of their lives trying to get them to eat less. Dina Rose http://www.itsnotaboutnutrition.com

  5. mccn says:

    I do feel the language is over the top and meant to be provocative – but I agree with what the author is saying about the sweaters and one more bites. I realized it didn’t make sense to me anymore to tell a kid that I knew better than he or she did whether he or she was hungry, hot, tired or whatever – I grant you, sometimes kids are confused about what they want, or don’t know how to tell or how to say it. But I have been trying to work to suggest rather than dictate – “I know you’re unhappy, let’s try putting on the sweater and see if it helps. If not, we can take it off!” and trying to let them make the call more. It’s really hard! I think it’s a very culturally learned response that mom knows better and it’s important to get the kids to do these things. But I don’t wonder if trying to revise how we present it could be a really good thing.

  6. Sammy says:

    I tend to agree with most of what you’re saying here. It’s about respecting them and not using blackmail – emotional or otherwise – to get what you want, and then expect them to turn into well adjusted adults.

  7. nchan says:

    On the surface, the article seemed a bit silly, but I get your point. My nephew is a serious/somewhat-introvert kid and did not get his mother anything on Mother’s day. My mom felt bad about it, gave him some gift item and insisted that he present it to his mother. He unhappily agreed. But the point of forcing him to show affection was lost on me.

  8. Allison says:

    So encouraging your kids to give affection in an appropriate social situation is prostituting them? In the real world, don’t adults have to show regard for others in social situations (handshake, hug, kiss on cheek) regardless of their deep ingrained desire? Yup. Social conditioning is a part of every culture, social norms are a crucial learning point for every human being to properly function in their culture.

    Telling your child to eat does not constitute forcefulness and lack of respect/trust. Proper nutrition and adequate caloric intake are the responsibility of the parent, not the child.

    The points that you are making here seem to be reflective of a disbelief in the knowledge of the parent being greater than the moment-to-moment feelings of the child. An 18-year “juvenile” period is completely pointless if children innately know how, for example, to ensure they receive adequate nutrition and calories and how to function in society. These principles don’t always make everyone “feel” warm, fuzzy, and delighted, but they are a crucial part of life.

  9. harriet jensen says:

    These sound like the excuses utilized by many of the mommies I know in order to justify their child’s entitled, picky behavior that would be horrendous if they were an adult, but somehow excusable because of their age. Little Johnny knows what/how/when he’s supposed to eat, sleep, nurse, do, etc. and anyone trying to create structure for their children or god forbid do anything against their child’s will, like having them clean their plate, gets crucified. Perhaps I am just ignorant– four kids later and I still don’t see this innate omnipotence that is spoken about. My kids are not the rulers of our family, nor does their every feeling/mood determine what goes on in our house. I don’t feel the need to apologize because my children clean their plates or give everyone in our family a goodbye hug and kiss. I taught them these behaviors; part of my job description as their parent. My kids are the only ones in our group who don’t throw a fit about every little thing– because they simply aren’t allowed to throw a fit.

    Kids do what you let them. Period. If it was up to Little Johnny, he’d be eating chocolate pudding all day and only be nice to those family members who paid him lots of attention. Acceptable at 20? No, so why is it acceptable at 4?

  10. kat says:

    I was reading with an open mind, but man, I just have to disagree. I can ask my son to say hi to a friend, or give someone a hug or kiss, and if he doesn’t feel like it that’s fine. But I am teaching him what is appropriate and training him in the ways he should act as an adult.
    Also, I’d say that 75% of the time my son doesn’t want to finish his food, it’s not because he’s full, it’s because he wants to get down and play. I don’t force him to clean his plate but I do force him to eat more than 3 tablespoons a day because I am an f-ing good mom and won’t let my child starve.
    I kind of wish this author were able to take a step back and realize how utterly ridiculous her statements sound. Of course, the tickling thing is the only one that makes real sense and I already know not to do that (I was tickled mercilessly by a neighbor as a child). My kids get light tickles that last only long enough for a short laugh.
    So I guess that makes me a pimp and know-it-all, but hey at least I’m not a torturer, right?

  11. Brittany says:

    I disagree with saying it is ‘pimping’ to encourage your child to hug a relative. Sure, don’t force them to hug a stranger but their grandparents? As an adult do you not hug your Aunt or Cousin because you don’t like them very much or don’t feel love for them?

  12. MG says:

    Yes, obviously the language used here is hyperbolic for comic effect. But the truth underneath is no joke. Basic respect for our children’s personhood is the central point here, and so often that gets lost in received, unexamined ideas about child-rearing. In regard to food: our responsibility is to provide healthy food at regular times. Our children’s responsibility is to decide how much of that food to eat. Period. (Actually, Kat, your child will not starve himself. But he will learn to trust his own body’s hunger cues if there is no external pressure on him to eat. If he gets up to play in the middle of a meal, calmly announcing that you are removing his plate and ending the meal will quickly teach that playing time and eating time are separate, and that he needs to sit and eat until he is full.) In regard to affection on demand: one of the greatest gifts you can give your child — especially a girl — is complete autonomy over her body. She decides if, when, to whom and how much affection she will give, period. Any pressure in this department, even where grandparents are concerned, damages a child’s autonomy and dignity. (Allison, social greetings [handshakes, cheek kisses] can be modeled by us and, more importantly, by peers as the child grows. But forcing a 4-year-old to use her body and fake affection solely for someone else’s pleasure does not train her for that business dinner when she’s 25. It does teach her to dismiss her own internal cues about physical closeness — and that’s not only disrespectful, it’s dangerous.] We should always honor and encourage children’s gut feelings about affection. And anyway, given time, they usually reward us with real, unsolicited affection, a million times sweeter that the forced variety.

  13. Michelle says:

    Interesting.

    Regarding the food; Back off and trust your kids to trust themselves.” is true, but if this is a RIE (resources for infant educarers) based tenet, then it must be GOOD food- not crap. I know some mothers who ‘back off’ and simply let their children eat masses of empty calories three times a day; cookies and ice cream and Costco sodium filled fast food, which is not what Magda Gerber intended.

    We need to provide them with a choice of healthy nutritious nourishing food, and THEN let them choose the amount they eat, give them autonomy at that point. (Apples, by the way, have recently been rated as carrying the most pesticides, unless they’re organic).

    To let your children eat crap whenever they want will not teach them anything, and will more than likely result in issues later on in life.

    We must guide them with respect!

  14. jen says:

    Not making your child wear a coat when it is cold outside is not being respectful of his personhood, it’s being a lazy parent.
    Kids will say they are not cold even when they are clearly turning blue.

  15. Stoich91 says:

    Gah. I want 5 minutes of my life back.

  16. StephanieHoward says:

    There is a fine & tricky line between encouraging a child to test the boundaries of her comfort zone in the name of growth, and shaming her in front of other people into doing something that clearly makes her feel uncomfortable, physically or otherwise. I believe that many parents feel deeply that their child is a reflection and extension of themselves, and so they are motivated by social expectations and by avoiding embarrassment. Naturally-introverted kids need to suss people out before warming up to them–they are still learning what is safe at an early age, which doesn’t mean they’ll be rude at 20. Lehr and her RIE-based philosophy support children’s self-reliance, which becomes challenging for any child who’s not free to make her own judgements and mistakes.

  17. kat says:

    Here’s how it would work if I really were a pimp: Grandma comes over, wants a hug. I push Junior too hug Grandma, when he doesn’t want to I give him a pinch in the arm to make him comply. He gives the hug, and in return Grandma gives him a bag of M&Ms. Junior comes over, I take the bag of M&Ms and remove 90% and give Junior the remaining M&Ms. I remind Junior he is lucky to have that 10% and me as his protector in life.
    Next time you want to use polarizing language to make a point, please actually know what you are talking about. And for all the children out there (and here in my city of Oakland) that are actually being prostituted, forgive this idiot their ignorance and I’m sure you would be so grateful to live in a house where the worst you had to do was give Grandma a kiss. Instead you have to let men ravage your body and soul just to stay alive. Sorry this author cheapens your plight by pretending to know what a pimp is.

  18. Diana Wright says:

    i respected this article and can relate to it from my aspect when i was a child, i guess some people dont have an unbiased mind . but when i was a child i didnt like wearing coats, smothering sweaters, and layers of clothes when it was cold out i stripped all that crap off when my mom wasnt looking and let the storm drains take care of them. i wasnt cold i was boiling with all those unecessary layers that made it hard to move. and forcing someone to give someone else effection yet then your telling them you have a right to say no yet repamand them when they do know wonder so many kids dont know right from wrong to much confusion. and dont get me started on the tickling that is torture after a certain amount of time to the point you turn blue or red and cant breath. good article hopefully some people can learn from it.

  19. Keri Johnston says:

    dumbest article ever!

  20. Liz Marshall Lauricella says:

    mothers don’t need any more reasons to feel guilty. and frankly, i call bullshit. enough already, leave the mamas alone. this industry of guilt is just getting ridiculous. if we didn’t continue to divide and sell short other women, we will never move forward.
    what a self-righteous, heavy guilt piece of filler this is. boo.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The is article is offensive and completely unfounded.

  22. Parent says:

    There is so much wrong with this article, I don’t know where to start. Parents are there to be guides and teachers not friends and enablers. Use common sense and be loving, that’s all you need to do.

  23. Jo Price says:

    This article has nearly brought me to tears. I hated and feared being tickled as a child and still do as an adult. It reminds me of gasping for my breath while being suffocated and unable to communicate. I also remember feeling sick to my stomach when asked to give hugs or kisses to adults I didn’t like, and feeling like I was a horrible person for not liking the same people my mum did. While I don’t have bad memories of having “one more bite” stuffed into me, I do have a very fond memory of my mother defending my choice to leave my dinner half unfinished saying “She knows when she is full. There’s always food in the cupboards if she changes her mind later.” Your whole article is a horribly accurate reminder of the thigs which deeply affected me as a child, and I was generally considered emtionally mature and intelligent. Thank you for putting this out there.

  24. Alicia Melton Rogers says:

    All I can say is that this article is a bit…insane, in all honesty. I’m a pimp because I make my son think about others? Bwahahaha! Does that mean I can start demanding payment from him instead of spendin it on him? Seriously, though, making your child stop what they’re doing and acknowledge the presence of another person is teaching common courtesy. So what if the little “angel” was playing when they arrived? The playing can wait. And “forcing” your child to be nice and hug their grandparents is in fact teaching them to consider another person’s feelings and how they’re affected by one’s actions. There are times when adults don’t feel like hugging someone or shaking someone’s hand, but we do it anyway, especially when it’s expected by the other person and we don’t want to cause hurt feelings. It’s all a part of common courtesy.

    As for being a “know-it-all”, yes I am! I have 28 years so far over my son’s 4, and so I do know a hell of a lot more than him! And while being cold doesn’t directly cause illness, it can (after a certain point) cause the immune system to slow down a bit, along with heading towards these two *wonderful* conditions called hypothermia and frost bite. I’d rather do my job as a parent and be the meanie “know it all” than have my kid end up with either condition. As for eating, we all know kids lie. They lie about being cold because they’re too busy to put on a coat, and they’re too busy to eat as much as they need to in order to be truly satisfied. So making the
    take another bite or two isn’t showing that they don’t know themselves, it’s being a parent. It also tells them you know the name of the game since we were all kids once and did the exact same thing. Of course, with older children it’s a whole different ball game, and you can trust that they’re telling the truth more than you can a younger child.

    Lastly, about tickling: Are you serious? You honestly doubt there aren’t more than a few kids that like to be tickled? What planet are you from?! Because on this planet the majority of kids I’ve known like it a lot! Yes, it can be taken too far, but most of the time it’s fun for everyone, being a fun way to bond.

    There’s a very fine line between being a parent and giving your child autonomy, but that’s no excuse to be a lazy parent and give your child full control over everything. As I explain to my son, it’s my job as his parent to make sure he makes it through childhood as healthy and well rounded as possible, and that’s means that for now me and his dad are in charge. Not fun for him, but also not damaging!

  25. Jennifer Peng says:

    This is a fantastic article that unfortunately a lot of these parents who commented negatively do not understand. Take it with a grain of salt, people! There is definitely an impact to a child’s brain development and future behavior when we are inflexible with their ability to learn to make choices for themselves.

  26. Brenda Liz Torres says:

    I totally agree with this article. It makes so much sense to me how forcing my little girl to be affectionate to people can actually damage her and not teach her the true meaning of saying “No”. When it said “Pimp”, it did not mean literally, sheesh! It is just saying that when you tell them like go give such n such person a hug and kiss and they not want to but forcefully have to, how will you little girl truly know how to say “no” or be strong and not let no man try to push her over. By you doing that it can make them like be a push over. They will say no but than eventually give in cuz that;s is how you bought em up. I think this article is great and people should just open their mind….

  27. Brenda Liz Torres says:

    and by the way being tickled is okay for two seconds but than i eventually do get pissed and not want to be touched…

  28. lies says:

    Those who are bashing this article and saying it’s for lazy parents clearly didn’t grow up with micromanaging parents and will not understand how stressful and damaging it can be to the kid’s whole life.

  29. Michael Wilson says:

    My response in 3 phrases: 1) If my kids don’t hug me, I lock them up. Because they deserve it. 2) Of course I am. I know everything. 3) If they don’t pee when I tickle them, I haven’t done my job. (Editor’s Note: Article’s author should lighten the fuck up). People, you’re the parents. You know your kids. You can read stuff like this all day long and become fearful of doing anything other than putting your offspring in a plastic bubble with DVDs of the latest “Make Your Kids Smart” videos. But the truth is, you know better than some sad chick who admits to admonishing parents she doesn’t know for not being her (because, her kids will grow up perfect, and yours will NOT because she didn’t raise them and you did), and thinks she knows better than you how to raise your kids. For those who will attack me for attacking the author, I’m cool with you listening to her lame advice. You’re the parent, and you get to decide. But when my kids are normal and yours are whiny, jobless losers who think the world owes them something, don’t say I didn’t warn you. I choose to read and learn and let my kids skin their knees every now and then, because it teaches them not to run on the uneven rocks in our landscaping. I, like all of us, make mistakes as a parent. Oh well.

  30. marciakayx says:

    I greatly appreciate engaging writing with hyperbole. But, I sense it may have stirred in some a defense mechanism for a perceived threat that was not intended. In a way, I am glad you aren’t personally affected by this excellent article the way some others and I have been. We were abused children and to us, this makes perfect sense. There is a reason children don’t tell when they are molested. It is exactly for the reason stated in the article. Thank goodness most children and parents don’t have to deal with this; but, for those of us who did–we understand that the messages we received as small children translated in our young minds that boundaries for our bodies were not ours to determine, and were in fact for others’ benefits. If you have not been through this, I realize this may sound exaggerated to you…to your adult mind. It would to me too…now that I am grown. I felt and thought very differently as a child…an abused child, though. I was molested by my father, one grandfather and two uncles. It is like we sexually abused kids have a neon sign on our forehead that only pedophiles can see. You would have thought I came from a good family; in fact, that is exactly the reason the nurse from my childhood doctor gave me when I asked her why they didn’t do anything to help me–she said, “But, you came from such a good family!” This, notwithstanding their giving me so much penicillin to treat things I should not have ever had, to the point I am now allergic to it. Not to frighten anyone, but you (anybody) do not know who in your good family is a pedophile. You won’t know. I was tortured in other ways, as well, chief among them tickling. Being held down against your will and having anything done to you is terrifying to a young child. It is horrible enough to have to do just that for necessary medical procedures; but, to inflict torture, whether for someone else’s pleasure or with intention of engaging in play…to those of us who have been through it…it is criminal. Strong words, but those are the words we felt it to be and still do. As regards the other matters of food and sweaters, I really do not believe the writer intended the extreme view some took, to leave the best interests of the child up to the child. I, in no way, feel responsible parenting was being attacked. In fact, I thought how loving and nurturing it would be to “ask” instead of “demand” and speak to our children as nicely as we would anyone else. Anything “children” arouses strong emotions–as it should. Our children need our vigilance; not just for predators–but,to become loved and loving balanced teens and adults as they “model” us.

  31. anjiba says:

    OMG! Seriously? I mean really? Get some therapy and stop whining. I got tickled and I’m fixing to be a nurse and I’m perfectly fine. My mom made me put on a sweater, finish my plate, and hug adults. Its called respect and far too many kids lack respect. They should learn to do what they’re told. U apparently weren’t hugged or tickled enough as a child or you’d understand the difference. What? If we tickle our kids they’ll think its ok to get raped? Is that your implication? Because, if so, you’re as ignorant as your opinion. Sorry you didn’t have real parents that taught you the difference between torture and a game.

  32. ICBEYONDU says:

    Does having a MFA and a few celebrated coffee table books make the author an authority on child development? Nope. It just makes another psuedo-intellectual snop is all…

  33. ICBEYONDU says:

    Does having a MFA and a few celebrated coffee table books make the author an authority on child development? Nope. It just makes her another psuedo-intellectual snob is all…

  34. liz says:

    I generally agree with the author’s points. Nevertheless, this article is one of the kind that I read and think, “okay, no more babble for me.” (why don’t I listen to that voice??) Here’s why:

    1. I read her piece and thought it sounded like ideas from RIE, which I mostly respect. I don’t have a ton of respect, however, for people who write in the voice of a supreme authority but don’t have the background or credentials for it. I went to her blog to find out her background and she does credit RIE for changing her life and phillosophy. So why can’t she tell us here where her ideas come from? It’s not exactly like she’s plagiarizing Magda Gerber, but if you’re not an expert in something, you should probably cite people who are. It might make her argument more credible to more people.

    2.) the tone! So snarky and judging! One writer I consistently love on babble is Heather Turgeon. She could write the same ideas and it would feel like a conversation with a good friend. This sounds like a tongue lashing from the bitchy mom on the playground.

    While I have gained a lot from reading Magda Gerber’s work, I keep going back and forth about getting into a RIE infant class with my son. The reason I might not is because I’m worried that there will be parents like this in the group– how can I protect my child’s self-esteem if I’m constantly worried about doing the wrong thing and being judged by people like her?

  35. Jenn says:

    This article is everything that is wrong with mom blogs, incredible amount of judgement. And BTW, I did indeed spend a great deal of time trying to get my son to nurse longer when he was a newborn because he kept getting dehydrated.

  36. mamaof2 says:

    wow, jennifer lehr. worst article ever. who ARE you? so much lameness. I feel like something may have happened to you that caused you to write this. I’m sorry for whatever that is. so strange.

  37. Lisa says:

    I disagree on every point. 1) It’s one thing to let your kids warm up, it’s another thing to let them off the hook for being polite. When someone comes over, as long as the child has met them before I think it’s completely appropriate for them to have to greet them. If I have to hug my mother-in-law, they have to hug her, too. Basic manners aren’t prostitution. I won’t let me children think their feelings are more important than someone else’s. 2) My toddler isn’t listening to his body when he stops eating most of the time, he’s getting distracted by what he could play with if he was allowed to get down from the table. And I can tell the difference. Also, it’s not that he isn’t cold, it’s that he doesn’t care if he’s cold. It’s 20 degrees outside and he runs out to play in a tee shirt – I get to demand he wears a coat because I know he’ll come back a freezing mess in five minutes. I do know more – if it was up to my 2.5 year old, we’d eat ice cream sandwiches for every meal and never wear pants. 3) Didn’t you just read the article on how rough housing can be developmentally beneficial? And, the minute I stop tickling my kid, he begs for more. These may bother you, or even your child, but the behaviors you describe are not abusive. Over praising and over protecting have more proven harm (read Nuture Shock for just a few examples).

  38. Anonymous says:

    I love this article as some good tips to keep in mind. I look at how offended people are and it makes me laugh. Pushed a few buttons here? Made you feel like you’re not a good mother or father? Perhaps the people so freaked out aught to take a breath and realize why they are so alarmed.

  39. Anonymous says:

    To anonymous-
    Heaven forbid opposing viewpoints. You are silly.

  40. Anonymous as well says:

    isa Jun 20, 1:57 PM

    I disagree on every point. 1) It’s one thing to let your kids warm up, it’s another thing to let them off the hook for being polite. When someone comes over, as long as the child has met them before I think it’s completely appropriate for them to have to greet them. If I have to hug my mother-in-law, they have to hug her, too. Basic manners aren’t prostitution. I won’t let me children think their feelings are more important than someone else’s. 2) My toddler isn’t listening to his body when he stops eating most of the time, he’s getting distracted by what he could play with if he was allowed to get down from the table. And I can tell the difference. Also, it’s not that he isn’t cold, it’s that he doesn’t care if he’s cold. It’s 20 degrees outside and he runs out to play in a tee shirt – I get to demand he wears a coat because I know he’ll come back a freezing mess in five minutes. I do know more – if it was up to my 2.5 year old, we’d eat ice cream sandwiches for every meal and never wear pants. 3) Didn’t you just read the article on how rough housing can be developmentally beneficial? And, the minute I stop tickling my kid, he begs for more. These may bother you, or even your child, but the behaviors you describe are not abusive. Over praising and over protecting have more proven harm (read Nuture Shock for just a few examples).

    I AGREE 110% with the above poster!! This article is just her opinion, to which she is entitled. However, sound like the author of this article has her own childhood issues that need to be dealt with..

  41. ss says:

    WTF indeed.

  42. Sarah says:

    It’s possible that the ideas in this article don’t apply to the majority of the people who will read it. I find the ideas bizarre to say the least but in the end, I get to decide how to raise my children so no skin off my back.

  43. Anon says:

    Do Babble contributors get paid by the number of comments? Because that would explain a lot of the word choices in this article.

  44. annoyed says:

    This is like the most pathetic article I think I’ve read in a long time. So your saying that when my kids’ grandparents come over, they can just be rude and not say hi or give them a hug. Or, that because its freezing outside they can go naked if they want because my daughter is stubborn. And finally that tickling them is torchering them. Like someone said, my daughter tells me to keep going if I stop. People like you are the reason kids are ignorant and rude and disrespectful.

  45. Anonymous says:

    This is an absolutely awful article…you’re basically telling the entire world that they are being awful parents because I can tell you all parents do everything on your sh*tlist…I really hope I never come across you in a playground.

  46. Vicki says:

    I love this. I agree with all the points. Perhaps the author uses strong language to make her points, but she’s right. No one wants to be forced to love on someone, wear a sweater, eat, or be tickled. It is disrespectful, and yet so many of us do it to the children.

    Kids today cannot make decisions for themselves. We are hurting them, setting them up for bullying and setting them up to become adults who cannot function on their own.

  47. wow says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. My kid refuses to eat enough to keep her body strong so we are forced to make her eat at least just enough. A tickle attack, are you saying we’re essentially rapping our kids? That its abuse? This is the worst article I’ve ever read. I’m never this negative but seriously the parent DOES know more and BETTER than the child what is good for them. I’m disappointed in this author.

  48. Sarah H says:

    @Vicki 6/21 “We are hurting them, setting them up for bullying and setting them up to become adults who cannot function on their own”

    So that is why I can’t function as an adult and why people are constantly bullying me. I’m going right over to my parents house to give them a STERN talking to for tickling me as a child. Damn them.

    Where were you Jennifer when my parents were raising me. Every night I have nightmares of my horrible grandparents giving me a hug. Words can’t even describe how awful my childhood was because of this.

    Thank you for bringing light to the real issues that face our children today. These three things are so heinous, we should all draft legislation that will give children the justice they deserve when they are forced to wear a sweater, and eat their vegetables. Lock these parents up to be forcefully tickled while wearing oversized sweaters and eating brussel sprouts.

    Let the punishment fit the crime!!!

  49. Anon2 says:

    I don’t know why politeness has to mean greeting/saying goodbye the way we think kids should do it. Its as easy as asking “how would you like to say good bye to grandma?” They choose the manner they are comfortable with (sometimes a high five), but do have to be polite. In fact, when I leave, I often ask the same thing of my own kids and sometimes get the response, “kiss my knee” or even “nothing” which usually means they don’t want me to leave. Its a way for you to find out what they are really feeling without having to ask them what they are feeling (which they probably can’t do anyway.) Don’t get me wrong, I am sometimes guilty of whispering “tell grandma I love you” in the ear of my child when on the phone with the long distance grandparents they see twice a year (at best), but as a general matter, probably better not to create false intimacy that doesn’t yet exist for your child, even if it is with their own grandparents.

  50. Rose says:

    You know what? I thought this was a great article. Yes, some of the language is pretty extreme, but it gets the point across. I don’t think a lot of parents notice – or maybe just don’t care – that these things can be absolutely trivial, yet cause their children such discomfort.

  51. goodjobmom says:

    As the author of this piece, I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to comment here and on facebook. There seem to be three major trends:

    1. This is the most ridiculous thing Ive ever heard. It is awful, pathetic and lame They categorically disagree with everything I had to say.

    2. The information and point of view is right on, but the tone is offensive and only puts the people Im trying to reach on the defensive.

    3. Right on. They like my use of hyperbole for dramatic affect. They appreciate someone articulating how it felt for them as children to be forced to be affectionate, to eat food they didnt want, to be over bundled in clothes and to be tortured by tickling.

    I respond to all of these on my blog goodjobandotherthings.com.

    Check it out if you’d like to continue the conversation.

    Jennifer

  52. Kiana says:

    AKAIK you’ve got the asnwer in one!

  53. Gwen Iwanicki Reid says:

    This article is so offensive on so many levels. How can someone who doesn’t have children even write an article like this. You have no right giving parental advice like this until you have children! WTF!!!

  54. Stephanie Davis-Marcusky says:

    You know why I keep making my kid eat? Because sometimes it’s not about being full, it’s that he wants to go play. And if he doesn’t eat enough now, he’ll come back begging for more food later. And I refuse to put up with that – it makes me take time out to put up with his whining later when he’s begging for food he should have eaten earlier when it was hot, but he was too distracted. He needs to learn to stop long enough to eat when food is offered and not try to get food later. I’m not saying I’m perfect about knowing the difference between full and bored, but I’m fairly certain I’m better at it that Ms. Lehr.

  55. Rae Cerce says:

    I have NEVER heard such DRIVEL in my entire LIFE.

  56. Sophie says:

    I decided to visit the author’s web page as suggested and all I found is more condemnation. Like another poster said, I hope I never run into you on the playground, as illustrated by the cartoon showing the horror on your face upon seeing one parent give their child a time out and another one telling their child “good job!”. Maybe instead of focusing on these parenting “atrocities” you should spend more time focusing on your own children, or are you such a perfect parent that you don’t need to? Considering that there are children out there who are starving, physically abused, and neglected every day it seems ridiculous to focus on something as innocuous as a well-meaning parent telling their child “no” or tickling them, or just trying to get them to eat. Most parents are just trying to do a good job and the last thing they need is someone telling them they are doing a crappy job at it.

  57. Kathie Turner Jones says:

    The author of this article has taken things that CAN be wrong when pushed to the extreme and made them wrong in every occasion, with every person and child.
    I would NEVER force my child to go to someone if it made her uncomfortable. Every child has comfort zones and they shouldn’t be breached. BUT reminding someone to hug a person, say hello, goodbye, etc. is teaching them manners. If a child is uncomfortable hugging an adult, NOT I would not force them. But reminding or encouraging is Not. The. Same. Thing. Please be sure to separate the two instances. Is it wrong to push affection because “so-n-so” brought a gift? Oh heck yes, but its not wrong to teach a child how to demonstrate affection and when and with whom it is appropriate.
    Anyone that has children know that children get distracted easily. Often the attention span is way under the child’s hunger. NO do NOT ever force a child to eat, but you, again, need to demonstrate to them “When you are hungry and you sit down to eat, eat until your full, not until you see something more interesting at the moment.” That is NOT a “clean plate club member” philosophy, its again, teaching them. I would never push my child to eat. I encourage them and if they are done, they are done. Even my 16 year gets too lazy to get up and get herself food if she is at the computer or a game, or drawing. Sometimes I have to tell her “You haven’t eaten in X hours. Please go at least grab a piece of fruit or a drink so your blood sugar doesn’t crash”.
    Tickling can be overdone, as can A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. A child will show you when its enough and the key is watching your child and listening to their cues.
    There are people that are oblivious to their children’s cues about things and this article would be appropriate for people of that ilk. For the rest of us, it comes across as overdone and way beyond common sense.

  58. Enas Farrell says:

    i think it is people like the author who truely believe what they are saying is right, but i also feel like they are what is wrong with parents today. kids now day have no respect for their parent or others and do as they please.

  59. Dawn Babcock Papple says:

    I understand not FORCING your child to hug and kiss their grandparents, but what you’re missing is this: When I want a hug from someone, I ask for it. It could be my mother, my husband, my brother, a friend. If I’d like a hug, I ask. There is nothing wrong with asking my child if they would like to give Grandma a hug. Often, children are off in the background because it’s new and they are shy. You seem to view encouragement the same as “putting pressure.” Kids often need to be encouraged. Now, if a child says, “No.” then that is their boundary, but if they are just shy or being slow, not encouraging them to make fun, loving connections harms them just as much. It makes them afraid to ask for their own desires in the future. As for the one more bite thing. I get what you’re saying. Though generally, the reason they don’t eat if because they want something else, like a hot dog or something unhealthy and tehy’re on a hunger strike. I have no problems letting my daughter and my older son not finish dinner like you say, but if they ask for something to eat ten minutes later,I’ll point them to the direction of their left over dinner plate that will sit there ready to be eaten as an after dinner snack OR a breakfast if need be. I’m not giving them the junk food and I’m not even going to make them an alternate snack. They can eat what I give them, not because I’m a jerk, but because food is valuable and should not be wasted. I choose healthy meals to suit their nutritional needs on purpose. And quite frankly, I don’t have time to sit in the kitchen all day making them alternate foods. They can have leftovers from their last meal when they were “Soooooooo full.” Oh and also, I don’t appreciate being lied to about being Sooooo full either. If they are Soooooooo full then they don’t need a peanut butter and jelly sandwich fifteen minutes later, do they?

  60. Cheryl Chamberlain says:

    wtf does someone who wrote a book called “Ill-Equipped-for a Life of Sex” suddently become a freakin expert in child-rearing?? what a joke.

  61. Daphne says:

    Lets agree to disagree.. No offence but I think this is rediculous!!! Ok Im not a mom and neither is this lady. BUT… I am not a messed up adult because i was made to hug my grandma, forced to eat my veggies, wear a sweater or because I was relentlessly tickled by my brother. To compare incouraging your child to hug a grandparent (if they say no then they are uncomfortable and respect that) to prostitution is just sick! Kids get distracted and can go hours without eating because playing is so much more fun that eating. You have to remind them to eat so make sure they’re eating enough. If they say they’re full then ok! I do agree that we shouldnt force a kid to wear a jacket just because we’re cold (i hated when my mom did that). And to compare tickling to Sadomasochism is extremely sick!! I’ve never in my life heard of a parent using tickling to abuse their childeren, even in extreme abuse cases. This lady is so over the top and takes things that can be good for child development, ie. teaching the child to show healthy affection (why is there “No natural affection” in this world?) and eating healthy into bad parenting skills. No wonder parents have no control over their children anymore.

  62. Michelle Mills says:

    While I don’t think you need to force your kids to hug anybody, there is nothing wrong with teaching them to respect and adore others in their lives. If you don’t encourage respectful treatment of the relatives when they are young, by the time they are older kids and teens they will thing it OK to completely ignore the older generation and whole up in their room with their IPODS and cell phones. They’ll regret it when they are older and those people are dead and gone, but you won’t be able to tell them anything as a teen. Kids don’t get it with food and if they had it their way, we’d all live on desserts. As for the sweater, no, they aren’t going to “catch a cold” but how about frost bite or hypothermia if they are outdoors in the right conditions? There are other reasons to be concerned than just the old adage of catching a cold! Are we supposed to wait until they come to us with necrotic tissue on their fingers to tell them to put gloves on?

  63. Michelle Mills says:

    As for the tickling, respect a “Stop” or a “no” when it’s given, and give them room to calm down and breath…but it’s not fair to use a general blanket statement that all tickling is bad. I always go enough to elicit squeals and giggles but take a break and wait for my child to ask me to do it again…it’s common sense.

  64. Dee says:

    You know what is damaging to children?? Parents who let their children think the world revolves around them. That is the most damaging thing you could ever do to a child, short of physically/emotionally harming your child. I get the tickling thing and the sweater thing, and I do tickle my children only because they enjoy it and ask me to do it, but it never leads to crying or not being able to breath, etc. I think if parents used a little common sense, which seems to be lacking with some parents these days, that most parents would fair well.
    I have studied and researched child psychology and development as part of my undergraduate and Masters degree program in Education. I have thought about differences in generations in our society. I think about the older generations who, often times more than not, are more respectable, polite, and know what responsibility and accountability are. Then I think about the younger generations and the children who are growing up right now who are, often times more than not the complete opposite. They are self-absorbed, not polite, and have no sense of what it means to be accountable or responsible. You know the difference?? In my own opinion and from things I have learned is because parents used to be parents, and had discipline and expected certain behaviors and manors from their children and held them accountable for their actions/behaviors. And the most important part…children knew what was expected of them and knew what their consequences where going to be if they were out of line.
    Most parents now a days don’t show or teach their children how to respect others, be accountable and responsible, and just be a good contributing member of society. Instead some parents let their kids get away with bloody murder and are more concerned about what their child is going to think of them if they cause their child to get upset. THAT is what is damaging children today. To expect certain behaviors and actions from your child is called being a parent. Yes, I want my children to “like” me and better yet “love” me (which all 3 of my kids most certainly do), but not at the expense of my child being a spoiled brat who only thinks of themselves. Children need structure and need to know what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. That is all part of growing up. I am surprised that we aren’t all institutionalized from the “damage” that our parents have done to us by expecting us to act a certain way and disciplining us!

  65. ME says:

    I disagree with every point made in this article. Society is becoming overly-sensitive. Of course you should stop tickling when they can’t breathe or say no…duh?! If grandma flies across the country to see my kids they better run up and hug her. That’s rude! I think this article is way off base.

  66. Bresponsible says:

    OMG. This could possibly be the worst article on Babble, yet. I’ve got to stop commenting on only the bad ones, b/c I’m on a run here. For a writer to compare tickling your children to torturing, or telling your children to give their grandparents a hug is equals prostituting them out….all I can say to this is OMG. And that puts it SO mildly. If I tell my kids it’s cold outside and I want them in a sweater, they better go get that sweater. Why? Because I TOLD THEM TO.

  67. Dad says:

    As a parent of an adult child and no background in child rearing i offer the following: The author has stated she is employing hyperbole as a literary device. The question is, to what end? As I read this article i couldn’t help asking myself, “what was the desired result ?”. Honestly, I have no real stand on the three matters discussed and I wonder if the author does either. What was accomplished was people who already agreed with the content were validated in the beliefs they already held. Not a big victory. There is scarcely a human being on the planet who would reexamine their point of view as a result of reading this article. In fact, this would have them even more dug into their current ideas about child rearing. Such is the response to any attack. The people that really make a difference in the world stand for something without making those who might disagree wrong or bad. That’s a tricky act to pull off and it doesn’t come natural to anyone. If the author believes her ideas are truly helpful and make the world a better place consider a new approach. This article suggests getting into the child’s world and empowering them. A good start would be to grant as much respect to her readers as she suggests we give our children. She will know she is on the right track when the majority of the people respond with “wow, thanks, I never really looked at it that way, I’m going to consider that”.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Perfectly ridiculous article, not worth printing. If the author was asking if this seems reasonable, instead of dictating opinions as “facts” it might be worth a conversation. Just another person spouting theories as fact and misleading the reader. Shame on the author.

  69. Anon says:

    Author=Moron

  70. Gwen says:

    I actually think there were a lot of valid statements in this article.

    1) I always hated it when a parent asked me to go kiss a random auntie that I didnt even know goodbye… if I refused I would seem like a spoilt brat, impolite, and id get disapproval from my parents. – AWESOME.. not. =p
    Rather I can understand a “be sure to say goodbye to auntie so and so” because it let me choose how I showed my affection and my comfort level with the person in question. The auntie might be your BFF but to me she’s got a scary clown mask and keeps painfully pinching my cheeks… Ill skip

    2) I think this is more suited for older kids… :3 I was born (like the rest of my family) in a very hot tropical climate. However, compared to the rest of my family I ended up being raised in Chicago (…very..cold)
    Put in hotter climates, I am exceedingly lethargic, fatigued, and the heat is horrible for me. For the rest of the family its like being home cause its the original climate they were brought up in. I tried to stay indoors and not go rampaging outside for all day trips walking around everywhere. :3 I ended up getting a heat stroke….. the fam eased off on trying to tell me what to do on what was ‘best’ for me after that =p
    3) Tickling.. mmm… I am very ticklish. Ive had a friend in highschool tickle me and he *wouldnt* stop. I was laughing so hard that I was unable to inhale or take a suitable breath.. I was basically suffocating myself and was unable to say anything cause i was HAHAHA’ng like a retard…so I ended up slapping him… well.. it got him to stop. Theres also those games that some parents play with their kids, where hte parents are enjoying themselves and the child obviously isnt…. So yes, I guess I would consider that a form of torture if done in a certain way.

  71. 2under24me says:

    I kept looking for some kind of initials after the author’s name….PhD…or an MA or MS at the very least…does she have any credentialing?? This is opinion presented as fact…

  72. LOL says:

    LOL Sarah H! Yeah, I, too, was the victim of this abuse! My mom should have let me eat ice cream for dinner and wear my bathing suit outdoors all year round, like I wanted! Heh, thinking SHE knows best… Don’t even get me started on hugging my grandparents. I can’t even look at the elderly without playing THAT nightmare over and over in my mind. HAHAHA

  73. Crash76 says:

    So the author, who has a problem with teaching our children to show affection to our families, has no issue with posting live link to a sexual site? Interesting take on things.

  74. no1mom says:

    this bitch just wants attention

  75. Mumma Jen says:

    Wow, You are so off base it makes me ill. I believe that regardless of a child’s shy nature, acknowledging their grandparents is important. A hug and a Kiss is not only a sign of affection, but a sign of respect. If I tell my kids to finish their dinner, they do. My 3 yr old will go up to 5 days without eating because she wants to play or watch TV. After that horrible experience, I make her eat daily, so sue me. Wearing a sweater when cold isn’t just to avoid getting sick. It’s also to avoid stuff like frostbite! Hypothermia! Get a clue author.

  76. DAUGHTER OF ABUSE says:

    HEY!!! You need to watch what you call “abuse” I was abused BADLY as a child, you have NO idea what growing up with that factor in your life is like….so, “AUTHOR”…STEP OFF AND FIGURE OUT WHAT REAL CHILD ABUSE IS BITCH!!!!

  77. Jenna Jason Whitehead says:

    This is the dumbest, ridiculous, off base articles I have EVER, ever read. Are you kidding me? I mean, seriously? Comparing prositution with a mother asking a kid to be polite and kind to their grandparents?? I just have never read anything so stupid in my whole life.

  78. Courtney says:

    is this woman serious? i can’t even respond to this…i keep checking the date to see if it was published on april fools day. insane.

  79. RUserious says:

    This just goes to show that not everyone who has a forum to speak should actually engage in doing so. This author, and I use the term loosely here, has no real basis for her half-baked theories other than they sound good to her. Apparently, she has no real training other than being a mother, and even that, for far too many people including the author, doesn’t qualify you to be an expert or even remotely know what you are talking about. For starters, I find it highly implausible, and even sickening, that the author could link hugging grand parents to becoming sexually promiscuous later on in life. Does this author even have a college degree at all? If she does, she might want to stick with whatever her training was actually in and not venture into other areas that she clearly is ill-equipped to understand and, more importantly, to teach.I imagine that only uneducated people who don’t believe in being a parent will buy into this garbage.

  80. TJ says:

    I have to agree with the crowd here I am speechless! First of all if I allowed my seven year old to tell me what he was going to eat he would starve to death! He usally will pass on breakfast saying it makes him ill eat one (literally) bite of lunch and then whine through dinner claiming he’s to full to eat.
    Next it’s important and necessary to teach social behaviors. If your child gets an ugly sweater from a loving friend do you want him to scream “This thing is hideous!” the same goes by slighting company. I expect and enforce that my children acknowledge any guest we have to our house and anyone who greets them outside of our house.
    She’d probably think I was a monster because I insist my children call adults by proper names EVEN when given the Okay to do so. However she probably doesn’t realize this improves safety as well as respect. Studies have proven that children are less likely to go with “Strangers” or become prey for preditory behavior because these people will use “familiar” names to groom or steal children.

  81. DavidA47 says:

    One more thing not to do: Do not EVER tell anyone something about your child that your child might consider embarrassing. Like who their girl/boyfriend is. They will probably figure who did this to them (that’s you), and decide that you cannot be trusted, ever again. I speak from personal experience.

  82. Vic says:

    Is this woman for real? If her husband is a Geico cave man, then she must be a cave woman with an IQ of 5. Calling parents a pimp – I actually felt insulated and I’d like to think that takes a LOT to achive

  83. Vi says:

    I hate tickling. I hate it so much. Doesn’t help that my dad loved tickling me, and I’d start crying or screaming after I couldn’t stop laughing and then he’d yell at me like I had done something wrong. It was horrible. But I have friends who have children that like being tickled. My brothers liked being tickled when they were little. So I will tickle children, but most of the time they’ll ask for more. And I give them room to breath. I think there is a way of moderation. You don’t let a kid go out in ice and snow without shoes, but don’t force them to wear the giant itchy snowsuit that makes them over heat. Listen to you children. If they can’t breath, stop tickling them! If they hate it, don’t do it.

    And don’t compare telling kids to give relatives affection to pimping kids out. Really?

  84. PJ says:

    I never even thought of it this way. I am so glad that you wrote this artical.

  85. richard petty says:

    yea:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  86. jogger says:

    All I have to say is that this lady is insane and way overthinking things. Hope she has fun judging all the parents around her who are trying to raise their children.

  87. Another Opinion says:

    I liked this article.
    1. Author isn’t saying that the child shouldn’t acknowledge the grandparents, get up and say “hi”. She’s suggesting that forcing physical contact with people the child does not know is disrespectful to the child’s personal space.
    2. A.Forcing food on children is plain wrong. Look at a society of obesity-ppl who can’t “hear” what their own body is telling them. Children have growing spurts–they can’t stop eating one day and turn into a camel the next. It’s normal and natural. Proving multiple smaller meals works better for children with smaller stomach capacities. B. My mother used to tell me to put on a sweater because she was cold all the time. I wasn’t cold. It constricted my physical activity because I got too hot and needed to rest more often–I also got thirsty and requested water, to which she told me I wasn’t thirsty because I just ate.
    3. Tickling is torture when it’s unwanted. All unwanted touch is wrong, isn’t it? My mother used to grab my legs and butt when going up the stairs to be “playful”. Now I have a phobia about anyone walking behind me up a stairwell–it’s very embarrassing.

  88. LK says:

    Wow… These comments terrify me.
    I will agree that the first two are a little iffy. As someone below me said, I think the correct thing to do is tell the kids to “come say hello/goodbye”, but not tell them they have to give hugs or kisses. I’ll often ask my younger cousins (I’ve got 20 years on them) if I can have a hug or kiss, but I won’t demand it of them. The “one more bite” I think applies alright in some cases, like where the kid genuinely won’t eat, or when you know the kid will be heading for the snack cabinet in 10 minutes. You just have to have the sense to pay attention to your kids’ needs and habits on those.
    But the tickling… I nearly started crying just reading that section of the article. I am extremely ticklish and my whole family has always found it funny to pin me down and tickle me well past a point that’s reasonable. I’ve had severe asthma attacks, thrown up, and even pissed myself all because people kept going well after I was crying and screaming for them to stop. It’s left me so terrified of being tickled that whenever anyone touches my sides – including my fiance, or my dog nosing me for attention – I will react violently, shoving the person away, and deliberate tickling brings me to tears very quickly.
    This woman may be over the top, but some of what she has to say is reasonable. Just because your experience is different doesn’t mean everyone’s is.

  89. Anonymous says:

    This lady is an idiot…new age parenting. We will have to put up with her ill behaved, ill mannered children in the future.

  90. Holly says:

    What’s funny about this article is what she said at the very beginning: “Ive felt so vicariously oppressed by what some parent has said or done to their kid that Ive actually gone over and said something”. I can just imagine this psycho tromping up to some poor mother and flying off the handle over “prostitution” or “torture” of her child.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I read this w/ an open mind and by suggestion #2, I had enough! She clearly has no idea what she’s talking about nor should she even be writing such things. She has no formal training. Stay clear of her advice. I feel it would be more damaging to the child if followed!

  92. Kayla says:

    This lady is an insane “new age” parent. They say history repeats iteself and I think the hippies are comming back… Help us all from the children of parents like her…

  93. Your ego will be your childs dow says:

    All of the people attacking the author and the article are ego-maniacs. All of you think you know everything you need to know; you were raised a certain way, or you’re going to raise your kids your own way and NOBODY is going to tell you different. The fact-of-the-matter is that this is an article written by an expert, with an education in the field. You people who are combative or defensive are the exact reason why some people should never breed. Your selfish pride and ego get in the way of actually learning something. So many of you are destroying your kids mentally, and some physically, and you’ll probably never know the all damage you’ve done to them. You’ll go on thinking you’re parent of the year, when in reality you’re a complete a-hole. For those of you claiming this is psycho-babble, new age-hippy-rubbish, read #2 again, and realize that this isn’t over-cottling the kids, it’s explaining to parents that sweaters/jackets/clothes don’t cause colds. Parents are idiots, uneducated and think they know everything, or at least more than “some little whatever-year-old”. People get sick from viruses and bacteria; that’s where colds and similar illnesses come from. So before you go on making yourself look like a moron in public, as least give some thought to being the best parent you can be, because you’re not the best parent ever, as much as you think you are. Get get educated, please, and then comment..

  94. tg says:

    What’s wrong with the author’s parents that her kids are afraid of her parents and won’t go hug and kiss them. My kids love their grandparents and cry when they leave. When they walk in the door, my kids are all over them. Growing up, I was all over my grandparents too. What is wrong that her kids don’t want to acknowledge their grandparents. Sounds like they need some family therapy and she needs to get off her high horse and look at the problems in her own family.

  95. sdsdgvsdv says:

    This lady sounds like a new age, don’t spank your kids, live green, eat vegan, express yourself, tree hugging, hippy nut case. From the way this article it written it if obvious she has no real training in child psychology. This is more of a rant about people parenting in ways she doesn’t approve of and not a article written by a professional.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad to say that I am one of those children now as an adult that lack self-esteem big time. All I have to say for all parents stop discouraging your own children. It is because of your own stupidity. You parents brought us children into a world of insecurity. So my word to every parent who has treated a child wrong start practicing safe sex.

  97. Wow says:

    This has to be the dumbest article on the inernet…..does she honestly think that going outside when it’s cold naked, is the same as a warm sweater? Make no doubt about it the naked kid has a MUCH greater chance of getting sick. Oh and don’t hold your kids down and tickle them? And don’t teach your kids manners like welcoming grandparents? This lady has NO buissiness being a parent!

  98. Wow says:

    To whoever wrote “Your ego will be your childs dow” you made me laugh….pot calling the kettle black

  99. Really says:

    Ya know, it’s a wonder kids are such *hitheads these days, parents who think like this are to thank

  100. PleaseRead says:

    I agree with her. My mother always tickled me and laid on me even if I said stop. Actually, she continued to do so until just recently (I’m 19). It is SO FRUSTRATING because you want to show her that you want her to see you happy/having fun/whatever but you feel powerless and controlled. I had a nightmare of her molesting me and allowing her to do so. I think it’s a sick game of control when it comes to this extent. Please have an open mind to her words… especially that tickling business.

  101. Wow you are an idiot luv ego says:

    the title was, “your ego will be your child’s downfall”, sadly I was not permitted to add punctuation in the title. The title must have been too many characters to long and was cut off. So suck it.

  102. douchebags says:

    looks like the right wing nut jobs have nothing left to do now that Beck, the cancer he is, is off air so they come here and pate their hate-mongering agenda here

  103. doosh says:

    *paste

  104. Halley Mariah Johnson says:

    Hey sdsdgvsdv I’d like to know what your training in child psychology is because I have taken child development and psychology classes. A lot of what she is saying is pretty accurate. She is taking it to a bit of an extreme, but I would agree with several things she said. As would anyone who has had any education about children. Forcing your kids to eat when they aren’t hungry is a big one, especially with the growing rate of obesity in children and adults. I don’t think that asking them to take one more bit is that big of a deal, but just because they are children doesn’t mean that they can’t regulate their stomach, or their body temperature for that matter. I completely agree with what Another Opinion said, and what the author said is absolutely correct, children’s bodies differ from adults. Also, why would you force your kid to hug or kiss someone they didn’t want to? That’s rediculous. They shoudn’t be taught it’s okay to be rude, but they should be taught that they have the right to say no to things that make them uncomfortable. Reading these comments I am genuinely concerned about the future of this world if some of you are raising children. Especially those who think that hitting a child is ever an option. It’s cruel and lazy parenting. Give your child a consequence that fits what they did wrong, and teach them how and why what they did wasn’t okay. Don’t spank them and teach them that if you are bigger and stronger than someone you can hit them and it’s okay, or that when someone does something wrong, it’s alright to hit them. If you are teaching your kids that you are going to have a lot of problems with them, in school especially, beginning at a young age and progressing through adulthood.

  105. Dont use the force kook says:

    There is a difference between forcing your kids to be affectionate towards others and letting them do WHATEVER they want. Boundaries are good for kids, but forcing them to do physical acts, hugging, kissing, tickling is wrong. Forcing your kid to eat his or her veggies is far different. Teaching your kids to show manners is different. Your kid can be polite and greet people, or say goodbye/night to people politely without being forced to kiss, hug or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with manners. Parents that force the jacket or sweater on their kids are fools too. Again it’s forceful and it shows control issues. In the long run your going to damage your kid, emotionally, socially, physically. Those who claim this is stupid, or “get over it” are insensitive creeps. You’re probably the same people who’d disown your gay child.

  106. Shawna says:

    Wow! I cannot believe all of these complaints. I KNOW this article is spot on. However, I also KNOW that traditions are important. I understand that cultures and upbringing will define how parents treat their children. But we need more articles like this to expose the truths, so our ways can be changed. What I have found to be true through education and experience is parents tend to not realize how intelligent even the youngest child can be. When parents don’t listen to their children or when they force them to do things, it does have a real impact on self-confidence. How would you like if you had no control over you life?

  107. cdu says:

    I don’t totally agree with the first statement. Granted we should never force children to show affection when they are not feeling it, I remember being put in this same awkward situation as a kid. But for it to be ok for a child not stop what they are doing to great and hug a relative is ridulous. Children have learned to be on the selfish side these days and they need to learn that it is the polite and kind thing to do – make your guests and family feel welcomed instead just playing a video game. It shows respect and love. Agree don’t force to an extreme extent but if someone shows up in your home, you should make your children take the time to show an appreciation.

  108. Teresa Tucker says:

    This article really got me thinking about some of the things I have my children do. I have 2 1/2 yr twin girls and one of them has gotten so used to telling people who I talk to on the phone that I love you she said it to everyone at the grocery store. But my problem with the food issue is when they don’t eat all their food on their plate they complain they are hungry about 15 min later. But when I do they are full for a few hours if during the day or at dinner they are good to go til the next morning. What should I do about that is my problem.

  109. janey says:

    You forgot to put how some parents like to compare their kids to other kids in the hope that they will be inspired to better themselves. That never works. What that is doing is pretty much destroying your kid’s sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Somebody needs to write an article about it for this site.

  110. Bonnie says:

    While I agree with several things in this article, I disagree with allowing your child to continue what they are doing and ignore a newly arrived guest. It’s simply good manners to greet a guest in one’s home and by making the child stop playing with his/her toys and greet said guest, you are simply preparing the child for the future. I also disagree that asking your child to give grandma and grandpa a hug is “pimping them out.” When there are family reunions or get-togethers, most family members hug each other as a greeting. As for the one more bite, asking them to take one more bite is not a big deal, especially if they are the type of child who is hungry 15-30 minutes later. Forcing them to take another bite is a whole other story. I do agree with the section about the sweater. Let the child get cold and then he or she will find a jacket. For the comments that are saying not to spank your child and give a punishment that fits the crime. I disagree to an extent. Spanking should be reserved for last and it does not cause damage to a child’s self-esteem either.

  111. end of days says:

    According to this article… the whole world is doomed.. I wish I was perfect.

  112. jacjam36 says:

    This author is an idiot!!! pimping your kids because you’re asking them to give grandma and grandpa a hug??!! teaching them to use their bodies to satisfy others desires?? GIVE ME A BREAK! I can’t even believe what I’m reading! It used to be called teaching your kids manners and how to be loving and caring especially to their elders! Parent’s have been doing that for decades and no kid has been damaged by it! On the contrary, my brother was big on that when his kids were little. more than my sisters and me and his kids are the most affection, loving and well mannered young women today! and they’re happy! They have no ‘self esteem’ issues! Kids should be taught to be loving and respectful to their elders and that’s how you do it! This is just another load of crap they’re always dumping on parent’s like telling us we shouldn’t discipline our kids and then blaming us when they turn out to be disrespectful, spoiled brats…or worse!!

  113. Halley Mariah Johnson says:

    Why would you hit a child when they do something wrong? It doesn’t make any sense. What does physically hurting them teach? It’s just plain laziness and abuse in my oppinion. Why not take away toys or a privilege instead? Because it’s easier and quicker for you to just hit them and get it over with? For people that spank their kids please explain to me why you think that it is a better way to deal with problems? I’m genuinely curious to know why you think that it is better.

  114. Mother of 3 says:

    I don’t need to take child education classes. I have three children (two who are almost grown). When family comes to the door, you do not continue what you are doing. You will come and greet the family that has traveled across state lines to see you. If you don’t want to hug or kiss, that’s fine. However, I despise rude children and despise parents who allow their children to be rude even more. You will acknowledge their presence and that’s all there is to it. You can continue what you were doing after you at least say hello.

    Know it all? I agree with not forcing a child to eat if not hungry, but if it is 10 degrees outside and I say put on a jacket, you put on a jacket. It has nothing to do with getting sick. I am the one that has to take care of the wind-burned, chapped, and broken skin all while you cry about how bad it hurts because you did not take proper precautions. Then if I say “I told you so,” I am also the bad guy? Don’t want to wear gloves to play in the snow? Okay. Will the doctor call Child Protective Services if my child gets frost bite? It’s common sense. Something, I’m sorry to say, kids do not always have.

    Torturer? As long as you let the kids know what boundaries are, they do need to learn how to settle things for themselves. Mine were taught “keep your hands to yourself.” However, with boys, they rough house. Even though I am constantly on them about it, it happens. I do not always intervene. On the flip side, I’ve never been one to tickle…I hate it myself. My kids are not fond of it either and that was always respected when they were younger.

    That being said, it’s not always about control. As strict as I am, I have a great relationship with all of my children. They are respectful towards others, especially their elders, and if I make an effort to pitch a fit (which is actually not often) they know it’s for a reason…..like with the jacket thing. No matter how you slice it, no amount of child education classes will prepare you for the journey called parenthood. It’s a learn as you go journey. Not everything is going to be in a text book. It worries me that so many people rely on a book to raise their children. You do things according to what someone else thinks is best for YOUR child. My grandparents did not rely on books and my parents turned out just fine. My parents did not rely on books and my brothers and I turned out just fine. I did not rely on books and my children turned out just fine.

  115. Mother of 3 says:

    Halley Maria…do you have children? If so, you raise them the way you please. If not, please do not lecture people on the best way to raise theirs.

  116. Ash says:

    I agree with LK come say hello/goodbye is a lot better than forcing your child to be affectionate with someone they’d rather not. I despise being tickled. If someone tries to touch my sides I have a tendency to punch them, or kick them, or bite. Its okay at first but when someone is shrieking at you to stop that’s a good sign that you crossed the line. Honestly though some of the people that comment are pure sadists or idiots though both would work in either case.

  117. Halley Mariah Johnson says:

    Mother of 3, I agree with a lot of what you said by the way. I would never suggest that you let a kid go play in weather so cold that they could get frostbite without a coat, and I highly doubt that the author was either. I’m talking about spring, fall or summer weather where how hot you are depends on the amount of activity you are doing or if the sun is out or not. I also don’t think children should be taught to be inconsiderate and rude to others, but I do think that they should be able to have their personal space respected when it is not unreasonable. No, I do not have children, but I have been around them my whole life, have a cousin that I helped raise, and am a teacher now. Why does it matter where people get parenting advice, whether it’s from a book or just sharing stories with friends. You may have had a good role model for parenting from your parents, but some people aren’t so lucky. I’m not lecturing, I am giving an opinion, as are you. As a teacher I see all kinds of parenting, from extremely strict, to very relaxed. In my opinion, the kids that are the most well adjusted and happy are the children with parents who are somewhere in-between.

  118. Concerned says:

    My kids are psycopathic sadistic serial killers. I am 50yrs old and two of my kids are on death row and my youngest is on the FBI’s most wanted list. What did I do wrong? They were raised right I shown them no affection, beat them when they spoke out of place, and feed them human remains plus mt. dew. I was a great parent. My two on death row where involved in a slaying of multiple elvis impersonators in Vegas. I see this an unjustice because why worship false gods? My youngest sweet girl see if the singopore whore slasher in upstate vermont. They desered to die in my eyes.

  119. Mother of 3 says:

    Halley,

    You are lecturing. You are saying it’s not okay to spank. You know what, time outs did not work for my kids. Taking things away did not work either, until they hit teen years. As for getting advice from books, I’m not saying it’s wrong. However, you make it seem as though people who study child education are experts. Sorry to say, no, you are not. Until you have the grueling task of actually raising a child, you do not know what is best for you and your family. I get really bothered when people with no children try to give advice on raising them. Being around children your whole life still does not prepare you to be a parent. I babysat all the time as a teen. I still had no clue what I was doing when I became a mother for the first time. I am in that in between you speak of. I let my kids be kids, but when it comes to rules that are set, they will be followed. There are no ifs ands or buts about it.

  120. Jiminy Crickets says:

    Wow… I clicked the link under the “torture” segment, thinking it was going to be an article supporting the torture thing or whatever, but it was porno… gross. Next time I click a link, I should probably do more than skim…

  121. beth w says:

    my daughter is 7 and she will sometimes ask me to tickle her

  122. JuliaMom says:

    I disagree with #1. If you can’t tell your kids to go hug their grandparents something is wrong with this world. My parents told me to go hug family members at holidays and I think it helped me bond with them and open up more. Maybe if they hadn’t given me the nudge, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that I was being a little standoffish. Kids can be amazingly selfish and won’t even realize what they are doing without their parents’ guidance. I think this article is way way way over the top. If a mom can’t say “put on a sweater” why not just tell her she has no more mom powers. That’s just sad.

  123. What can I do says:

    I am a 15 year old girl and my relationship with my mother is very bipolar. At times she is the best mom but at others she is the one person I resent the most. I have always not been skinny and she doesn’t make it any better. One day in summer I got into the car and she demanded that my shorts were too tight and that I never wear them again. She is constantly putting me down about my weight, saying how I can’t wear certain things or certain styles. The worst times were when we went swimsuit shopping and she wouldn’t ley me buy anything that remotely showed my midsection because she said it was unflattering. The swimsuit was falling off me when we finally got it. And when I was in the third grade she made me shop in the womens department because she thought everything wouldn’t fit. It’s not like im overweight but in her mind, I’m not acceptable. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve tried throwing up just to lose weight. I don’t know how to fix it.

  124. Halley Mariah Johnson says:

    No, it is not okay to spank kids. That is my opinion and yours is obviously different. I agree that there is nothing that could ever completely prepare me for having children. I don’t have kids now because I want to make sure that I will have the time, money and maturity to raise them the way I feel is best. Studying child education is different than psychology and child/human development. I have studied both. I am by no means an expert, but when I have kids I will be much better equipped to deal with problems that arise than someone who hasn’t educated themselves. I am lucky enough in my career to be able to see a variety of parenting styles and personalities of children. Some parents have only dealt with their children and those of family members, so they don’t get a chance to see the different ways of dealing with problems and how some things could work better than others. I have to say that babysitting and even nannying are no match for how hard teaching is. I can’t imagine how much harder parenting will be, but I will not spank my children. I know that each child is different and what works for some won’t work for others, but I believe that it is possible to raise well behaved kids without hitting them. I guess there is no way to prove that until I have children, but there are a billion studies that have been conducted that prove my point. I don’t see how it is okay for other people to say how they feel, but when I’m doing it I am lecturing. If you don’t like what I have to say then don’t read it. I appreciate debates because it’s interesting to hear other people’s thoughts on things, but please don’t tell me I can’t have my own. I have actually never commented on anything like this before and maybe I’m breaking some sort of etiquette on how to phrase things, so I guess I’ll stop after this.

  125. Mother of 3 says:

    Every study you speak of regarding spanking, not one is backed by actual medical evidence. They are all based on opinion. If you disagree with spanking, that is your right. It is not, however, your right to tell a parent they are wrong for disciplining their child. Now that you mention teaching, when my youngest was in 1st grade, I called to sit in on his class for his unruly behavior. When I got fed up with his disrespect towards his teacher I told him I would spank him if he did not knock it off. The teacher told me I would not be allowed to do so, as she did not agree with it. I picked up my purse, kindly told her she can deal with it her way, and left. The next day she called me to tell me that the behavior worsened and asked if I could go back. I said no. She told me she would not interfere with my way of handling the situation. I took him to the school bathroom, spanked him once, and returned to the class. He is now in 5th grade and I have received no other calls from the school regarding his behavior. Disagree? That’s fine. Even studying psychology, that still does not prepare you. You will have a better understanding of how to react to certain situations, but trust me, you will run into plenty of things not covered in any book out there once you do become a parent. Again, people with no children, are definitely in no position to give advice on how to raise them. It does not upset me that people disagree with spanking, but unless you have actually raised a well-behaved child that you have never had to pop on the butt, you cannot say it’s best not to spank. One last thing, don’t blur the line. Spanking is one thing, hitting is something else.

  126. Halley Mariah Johnson says:

    How is spanking different than hitting? That is what spanking is, hitting a child on the butt. How is there any difference? Spanking doesn’t harm them physically in the long run, it tends to cause behavioral problems where kids are more violent towards their peers. I see the evidence of that every day at work. That must have been one poor, overworked, stressed out teacher if she allowed that. Your son’s behavior must have been pretty bad. I’m not saying spanking doesn’t get the job done quickly and easily, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s best. If there was a little more effort on your part maybe they wouldn’t have had to call you into the school in the first place. It is the 21st century and more and more people are getting rid of out-of-date practices, maybe by the 22nd or 23rd century people won’t spank their kids. We’ve come a long way since the belief that children should be seen and not heard. I’m sure that in the next 100 years or so this will have changed as well.

  127. Who likes short shorts says:

    There are retarded ninjas outside my house and my kids are like dumb and I like pretzels and orange serbert. Ever seen a midget naked? Want too? I have three testicals and one is named Henry the 8th. He’s a bit of a drama ball but still loves attention. The others names are Eggbert the great and Frank. Show me the money!

  128. Mother of 3 says:

    Again, you are entitled to your opinion, which I place very little value on since you do not have kids of your own. Yes, his behavior was bad at that time. It no longer is. People like you are the reason we have children who don’t listen or respect. They are growing up to not fear consequences. Some parents are afraid of their children because bad behavior went uncorrected and it is now out of hand. It’s worse and worse every year. It may be out-dated, but it has worked for hundreds of years before us. You can debate all you want. I will waste no more of my time. Like I said, I place very little value on your opinion of how to raise kids. My job is almost done with mine. They are well-haved and well-rounded individuals. That speaks for itself. When your kids grow up telling you to shut up and cussing you out or not respecting you at all, at least you’ll know where you went wrong. :) have a good evening, Ms. Halley. It’s been a pleasure.

  129. Mother of 3 says:

    *well-behaved

  130. Anonymous says:

    Dear author of this article, you are freaking CRAZY.

  131. Anon says:

    I’ve got three children of my own, and I will say right from the start that I essentially disagree with the author, especially about points 1 and 3. I would be mortified if my children did not stop their activities to welcome a guest to our home, especially if those guests are their grandparents. This is the most fundamental of common courtesies, and for the author to suggest that requiring basic manners and respect for your elders infringes upon their right to play, too bad. Not to require such manners and basic courtesy to guests to your home is to cultivate selfishness on a scale that will ruin the child’s character for the rest of his or life. Now requiring the child to express forced affection is another matter, and I must say that doing so could also be destructive in its own way, as doing so risks teaching the skill of emotional lying, which I’m sure most people would agree is undesirable. But telling your children they must stop their activities to greet their grandparents is to teach them basic character-building courtesy and respect for their elders.
    As for the tickling thing, woah! Relax. Kids do all kinds of things like that, and frankly, it’s just kids having fun. I’ve yet to see a tickling game turn savage, but if one of the children should decide enough is enough, it’s important for that child to be able to say “That’s enough now” and have that desire respected. End of story. I just think the author is going overboard on this one.
    With point number 2, this one needs to be decided on an ad hoc basis. Sometimes we tell our children to wear a sweater or light jacket, but they say they don’t need it. If the weather is such that they might be right, then don’t force it. If there is snow on the ground and the kid wants to run barefoot, if it’s just for a quick dash in good fun, fine; otherwise, not to insist your child dress properly for the weather could border on neglect. That said, cultures judge these things very differently. In Scandinavia, for example, it is common practice and even medically advisable to wrap babies in warm clothes and blankets and place them in their pram to sleep outside in weather down to -10C for two hours or so (no wind, of course). The baby sleeps better than you could imagine and is toasty warm inside his or her little bundled wraps! In the US, however, this would be grounds for bringing in Child Protection Services to take the child and charging the parents with the crime of child neglect. As you can see, people differ greatly in terms of where they will draw the line between letting their child exercise his or her own will and exercising their duty as parents.
    I see that some parents disagree about the issue of spanking, and for reasons much like what I have noted in my last point. People draw the line differently between discipline and abuse. While I personally find that the wanton or repeated use of corporal punishment (i.e., spanking) constitutes physical abuse (with which I strongly disagree), I nevertheless reserve the right to use a spanking/slap under extreme circumstances, and provided no physical harm or injury results (i.e. bruises, etc.). In my ten years as a parent of three, I have needed to slap my child only once, and both my child and I agree and understand that it happened for good reason. It has never been necessary again since, and I suspect it won’t be again. And the younger ones learned from that example that crossing that line with me doesn’t work.
    That’s my take on the points of this article, as well as some of the comments on spanking that other comments have raised.

  132. Anon says:

    By the way, Halley Maria Johnson, since you don’t have any children, this whole matter is essentially academic for you. Having children of your own will test the very foundations of your theories – and that is what they are: theories, speculation, ideas, and so forth. Parenthood is a great joy, an opportunity to be the parent your parents were or were not, the reward for being a powerful part of the emotional and physical memory of a child – your own! It is also a crucible at times, and will teach you things about yourself you never know – or ever cared to know, but must now deal with. It’s the stuff of life, though, and well worth every moment of it.

    When you’ve EXPERIENCED parenthood (and not just thought about it), you will find that some of your ideas had some merit, and that many of them were just plain wishful fantasy thinking. That in itself is a powerful lesson for you.

    I’m not preaching here, I’m just encouraging you to put your comments into perspective, as this whole topic seems academic to you more than something you have much hands-on experience with.

    On that note, the film Parenthood (with Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, and others) is excellent! A film virtually every parent can relate to and which is well worth the viewing. Check it out, and you might learn a thing or two, and laugh a bit doing it!

  133. Raising two boys to be men says:

    Wow, overthought this one! Seems like Jen is slightly sensitive. Kind of reminds me of those Geico cavemen. Oh wait, she’s married to one.

  134. Anonymous says:

    Lehr is a nut and I would probably give more than a WTF if she walked over and injected her wacked opinion to me. She proabably does know a lot about Johns and pimps. I can only imagine

  135. Anonymous says:

    looks like Jen has some personal issues, but she does have a point with item 2. My wife is frequently trying to over dress our kid and I keep telling her “we are not in Alaska”.

  136. LK says:

    I’m the ticklephobic one from the previous page.
    All I have to say is that I’m terrified my kids are going to grow up alongside the kids of some of these commenters. Half the kids are going to be little pricks who think they own the world because they’ve been let to get away with everything, and the other half are going to be emotionally scarred doormats who are afraid to ever say something’s wrong. Given that it’s difficult to escape our parents’ influences in our own childrearing, mine will probably be a bit toward that scared end sadly.
    No kid is perfect, and no one way of raising them works on every kid. But if you pay attention to your child’s reactions, sooner or later you can arrive at a healthy middle ground.

  137. Samantha says:

    To Mother of Three:

    If you don’t know how to discipline your children without laying a hand on them, you don’t know how to parent. Yes, hitting your children does get the reaction you want, but at a price you shouldn’t be willing to pay.

  138. Anonymous says:

    The lady who wrote this article seems like an over analytical nut job. The fact that she is married to a Geico caveman should be enough to discredit her on the spot. Someone shut this broad up and never let her write another psycho-bablle argument.

  139. Samantha says:

    It’s a good article, in my opinion. Too many people don’t realize what it really means to raise a child. It doesn’t take much to learn about the proper environment for raising a child. You can respect your kids’ space and privacy while still having control over the situation. Why people think it has to be one extreme or the other is beyond me. She’s right here, especially about the tickling. Some people, including myself, cannot stand to be tickled. It’s borderline painful. And my whole life, people tickled me no matter what I told them, because my laughter was just that adorable when I was young. It’s very disrespectful, and teaches children early on that people will not listen to them if it does not serve their interests.

  140. anon says:

    Tickling may not be torture – but it can be damaging. I am abnormally ticklish (all over, no ticklish ‘spots’) and grew up with family thinking it was cute and funny when I was tickled. I was laughing and giggling and must have been having a good time. Now I hate being touched unless I am very comfortable with someone. I need way more personal space than normal, to the point that people have commented on it. Please be careful with tickles… they may be fun, but only for a few seconds.

  141. Also a mom says:

    I found this article to be nothing less than a rant. When Grandma and Grandpa come over, or any other guest for that matter, I do make my children stop what they are doing to come greet them. It’s courtesy. They give hugs on their own because they are very attached to their grandparents. Some family members, they come in and say hello chat for a few minutes and then they return to what they were doing before. I don’t think you should force a kid to give hugs and kisses if they don’t want to, that’s why some people shake hands. As for issue number two, we live in Texas. It can be 30 degrees in the morning and over 70 that same afternoon. I do make my kids wear jackets at the bus stop on those days. If they get hot, they can always take it off later. As for point three, I think it depends on the kid. Kids play and they play rough. There are times where mom or dad must step in and say that’s enough, but there are times you have to just let them play. Okay. As for the spanking, my psychology class did a paper on this. There is no evidence showing that a pop on the behind or the hand makes the child violent or causes emotional problems. The kids in the study, there were other factors involved. It was not the spanking. Like mother of 3 said, these are all opinion based. Some kids see actual violence in the home and that is where they pick it up. Mother of 3, I commend you for not being afraid to say you believe in spanking. Some people want to crucify you nowadays for saying that. With that said, it is possible to raise a child without spanking. I have three kids as well, two boys and one girl. While the boys had to get pops on the butt or hand on occasion , I can honestly say, I don’t think I have ever had to spank my daughter. She is ten. There was just no need to. And Halley, how can you know how much effort is shown by a parent? Maybe if the teacher would have put a stop to the bad behavior when it started and not wait until it was necessary to call mom, it would not have gotten to that point. You don’t know the circumstances there. On that note, parents need to be allowed to be parents.

  142. Melissa Maldonado says:

    If children were able to decide on their own what’s better for them, and if they could really make the right decisions on what to wear; wether or not to eat; or when, where or with whom to be polite, they would not need mommys or daddys, or no one. They rather be like doggies, that once they could eat on their own they should go on their own.

    I do agree that mommys and daddys (or whom ever is taking care of the child) shall not be abusive and must look for the best interest of the child, but that is: to help the child build his or her character to grow to be a well mannered, world concious, kind, unselfish, healthy human.

    And yes, I am a mother of two well behaved teenagers.

  143. Mother of 3 says:

    Funny. My kids are almost grown. They have learned to work hard for what they want. They are courteous to others. They still like going places with me. Other than typical teen drama and testing their limits, I don’t have to deal with their behavior problems. There really are none. Seems I must have done something right. That’s a baseless statement to say I don’t know how to parent. People need to focus on raising their own kids and stop telling others how to raise theirs. Like I said before, I’m half-way finished and am very proud of who my kids are turning out to be. I think the price was well worth it.

  144. Parentof1 says:

    Piss poor article. Not a single point was backed up by any scientific evidence. And what gives the author any authority to comment on how other people raise their kids? Is she some sort of parenting specialitst? No. In other words, this was an article written by a parent with a superiority complex who felt like doling out her superior parenting techniques to her lesser subjects.

  145. Blah says:

    Spanking has nothing to do with behavior in the long run. My sister and I were both spanked when we were younger and we are some of the most well-behaved students in our class. I have plenty of friends who were spanked and are well-behaved. I also know some people who were spanked and have horrible behavior.

  146. So Sad This Is says:

    This article is a total and complete joke of political correctness. Your child needs your nurturing and instruction. They are not little adults. This is some serious psychobabble.

  147. Mother of 3 says:

    Exactly why these “studies” cannot be backed by anything other than opinion. You can’t spank just to spank. You have to also teach morals and lead by example. Then there are those kids who will be little hellions no matter how well they were raised.

  148. Anonymous says:

    As the author of a book called ‘Ill-Equipped-for a Life of Sex’ it seems her opinion is slightly *cynical* prejudiced….. Obviously, this author is ‘ill-equipped’ to be lecturing on raising children…

  149. QSpohn says:

    WOW! … First off, let me say that if you don’t have kids… why in the HELL are you posting here? Secondly, this article came straight from a psychology book. Your kids don’t come with instruction manuals. Believe me, my three boys ages 10, 13, and 16 help me vouch for this. There is no right or wrong way to raise your kids. Your children are unique individuals and what works for one won’t work for the other. As far as “Pimping” .. Who’s crazy idea was this? If we don’t show our children how to love and respect others, then what? I will tell my children to give their grandparents, or aunts and uncles their love. It is appropriate in the Southern culture to do so. And most of the time, they have no qualms about it either. For the most part, if I have to tell them, then it is because they are playing and too busy to notice what’s going on. This is not torturing our children it is opening their eyes to love and respect their families.
    The know-it-all part of the article, we have to admit is true. We all want what is best for our children so we do have them put on a jacket on that cold morning before school. But we also tell them to brush their teeth after every meal also. Is having them make their beds or clean up after themselves a waste of our time? Well, it depends on how difficult it is. At the time we are frustrated if we’ve asked them too many times and it’s not done (: But in the long run we teach our children these things in order to give them a base foundation to run on. The third point in this? The tickle monster is now on the same shelf as the Cookie Monster or Bert and Ernie? What? We are constantly allowing our children into our adult thoughts. My six year old niece knows what sex is.. What? I had no clue what sex was at 6 and to tell you the truth didn’t think about it. Now days our society is free-giving with information, no matter the age. There are no norms, there are DFCS and psychologists throwing out medical terms for everything that a child does that is termed not in the nature of an average child. And here is where my thoughts on disciplining your child comes in. Up until the age of 16, when I did something that my dad thought was out of line.. I got my ass “tore out of the frame” so -to-speak. I thought is was cruel at the time, but you know what? I am 33 now and I realize that he might not have did it enough. Spanking your children teaches them manners and respect. It has for ages. It is a tried and true method. Ask almost anyone south of the mason-dixon line if they were spanked as child and most of them will smile and tell you that, Yes they were spanked, and Yes, they deserved most of the spankings they did get.
    There is a harsh line between spanking your children and beating them, though. I do agree that there are some parents that do cross that line. It is never okay to black a child’s eye because they took an extra cookie; however, if your child curses you in a screaming manner to your face – a good, light, backhanded pop to that mouth that is flapping will curb that. (Sorry to all you that may be offended to that but just telling your 8 or 9 year old in a lecture that what they did is wrong won’t curb it the first time, they will try it again)
    It is difficult to raise your children in the way you were fashioned to do so when you have so many breathing down your back. DFCS is the worst. They have parents all over in fear that they will lose their children if they use spankings to make them behave. DFCS, in my opinion, also teaches those children that they don’t have to listen to mommy and daddy because their methods are wrong. Now, don’t get me wrong, DFCS can do a lot of children good by removing them from their crackhead mothers and overly abusive fathers that beat them black and blue all over, but for respectable parents that are trying to raise productive members of society – they need to leave them alone. Also, I believe it should be illegal to work at such a place unless you have children of your own – but that is just my opinion.
    So – mother of 3 – I commend you on holding your ground; Hailey and Samantha, your methods of parenting are different, so what? You can’t tell me your children will grow up more loved or better off than mine or the other ladies that have posted here. We could say that you coddle your children too much. They wouldn’t know how to handle a real world stressful environment. But we don’t because we know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Everyone has different methods, these are our methods, those are yours. Will we listen to the psychologists and medical gurus? Only if our children are really sick and it is life threatening. So for all you that agree with this article, more power to you. Dose up your children and coddle them from the world. I will stick to the tried and true, thank you very much. That is my opinion – you stick with yours.

  150. Anonymous says:

    I poop turds smarter than this article.

  151. Alex says:

    This is not an article. This is an opinion-based blog. Enough said.

  152. Samantha says:

    A lot of touchy individuals here, I see. It’s funny that how angry some parents get when anyone else talks about their parenting. Frankly, I think we should all welcome criticism and praise, after all, it’s not about us. It’s about the kids. The worst part is that many parents will never hear from their children about the mistakes they made. Many of the things my parents did poorly stay with me, and have shaped the way I handle situations with my children. But I don’t exactly tell my folks that. My parents were also the “don’t tell me how to raise my kids” sort, and being the product of their rearing, I can tell you, they probably should have done some listening to other people. Too many parents have a wierd kind of ownership over their children, almost as if they were pets. Yes, your children are yours, but you’re raising them to live their own lives some day, and they need to learn that they aren’t just playthings to be controlled. And I stand by what i said about spanking. No parent should ever hit their child. Punishing bad behavior with violence sends the wrong message to young children. Simply because plenty of people have been spanked and turned out fine doesn’t mean anything. Many of the things people do in parenting turn out results so subtle, you may barely even notice them. But it’s the same as saying that plenty of children were molested and turn out okay. Or plenty of children grow up not having enough food in the home and turn out okay. Or that plenty of children grow up in homes with emotionally abusive parents and turn out okay. It’s still not something you willfully subject children to. Don’t use violence as punishment, end of story. Is your boss allowed to hit you for doing something wrong at work? No. Are other people allowed to hit your children when they misbehave? No. Why is it okay for parents to hit their children? Oh, that’s right. Because children can’t do anything about it. It’s the same thing with hitting a dog to punish it. If you can’t train a dog properly without hitting it, you don’t know how to train a dog. Hitting is abuse, no matter how you spin it.

  153. Mother of 3 says:

    My methods worked for me. That’s all there is to it.

  154. user says:

    Was this article written in ebonics?

  155. Mother of 3 says:

    And, Samantha, things you do poorly will stay with your children and will shape bow they handle situations with theirs. They will also not tell you what you did wrong. To each his own.

  156. Only the Lord can guide us says:

    I just want to say everyone needs to read the Bible…that’s my opinion…

  157. Anonymous says:

    I think what this author’s message is trying to provide are warning signs of when your child could possibly be losing interest in some areas of life because of the nature of their parent. This is definately not for everybody because every child is different. I didn’t take this as her telling me how to raise my children, but again some warnings of behavior that we as parents should be aware of, we all want confident healthy children. Some of her titles were a bit harsh, “Your’re a Pimp”, all I can say is WOW, but I do get the message. Let the child have comfort in embracing anyone on its own because we don’t know why the child perfers not to. Maybe later, then ask questions. As a mother of 2 beautiful girls 9 yrs and 14 yrs, two very well behaved girls, but there was a time where I saw my 14 year old withdraw herself a little. She wasn’t open, very shy, there were some things going on other then the typical teenage changes. I got to the bottom of it by first looking at myself as to what I could do differently. I made the necessary changes and I did see some improvement in her behavor. She’s developing into a beautiful young lady. I think we as parents want nothing but the best for our children and therefore our approach can be a little dominate not realizing possible long term damage. Parents just be more aware of your approach to your children coming from an experienced parent.

  158. Mary Via says:

    Dear ‘What Can I Do’

    When you are 15 every relationship you have, whether it be with friends, parents, teachers, anybody is going to be ‘bipolar.’ That’s just how it is when you’re 15. If you feel like you are not too big then take a deep breath when she is saying these things to you and let it out. Let all of her negativity out with that breath. You DO NOT have to throw up to lose weight. That will only cause more damage. When you vomit it brings the acid used in your stomach for breaking down foods up as well. It tears and burns the lining of your throat. You’re body will begin to take nutrients from your muscles and not the fat. Which will actually cause you to gain weight. Don’t diet. Change your eating habits. Make it a lifestyle change. Your body gets hungry every 2.5 to 3 hours. So have a small healthy snack. A half of a piece of grilled chicken, a granola bar. Just by changing your eating habits like that you will see the results. You really need to do this now. I was the same way when I was 15 and worse now that I’m married and settled in with my husband. I’m only 20 but I feel like I’m 75 because I don’t take care of myself. (But I have recently started and beginning to feel better :) ) Doon’t let it get out of hand if there is an issue. And I know I’m going to sound generic and cliche but YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING AND NOBODY CAN TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY! Don’t feel inferior.

  159. Reyahnnas mommy says:

    Wow! THANK you SO much for opening up my eyes and showing me what a terrible mother I am! I will stop doing these things immediately so my daughter turns out to be perfect just like your children!

  160. Samantha says:

    To Mother of three:

    You have obviously missed the entire point.

  161. Samantha says:

    To Only the Lord Can Guide Us:

    That’s a shame, seeing as the Bible is one of the worst sources to turn to when it comes to raising children.

  162. Mother of 3 says:

    No, I got your point. I just disagree with you telling me I do not know how to parent. My methods worked for me. Yours work for you.

  163. Samantha says:

    To Qspohn:

    I do not coddle my children. I treat them like young human beings, not pets. Children may be young and not understand many things and needs guidance, but they also behave according to how we expect them to. My seven year old daughter has never screamed in my face, just as I have never screamed in hers. From what I’ve seen, a child’s behavior reflects the parents. Children that have parents that yell at them, yell when they’re angry. Children who are punished physically are more likely to lash out in such a way themselves when they are angry. We follow a line of thinking in my home that says that children deserve equal respect and treatment to anyone else. And that doesn’t lead to them being spoiled, it leads to them treating others that way. My daughter(my son is too young to have really shown us much yet) knows that she must immediately do the things we have told her, but she knows she has the right to ask questions after or tell us she thinks it is unfair. And my husband and I will take the time to explain why we have done such things and talk about how things could maybe be done differently each time. There is little anger or arguing in my house. Such things may seem “hippy dippy” to others, but we’re raising children who value equality and fairness, and who know their own worth, and also know that they will be treated justly in their own home. When my daughter has an issue with something we’ve done, we talk about it, instead of encouraging her to keep it locked away until her teenage years when she’ll complain about to her friends when I’m not around.

  164. Samantha says:

    To Mother of Three:

    I highly doubt that, seeing as the point was that we should be open to criticism and questions about our parenting for the sake of our children.

  165. Mother of 3 says:

    I am not open to someone telling me how to raise my kids. I know what works for me and my kids.

  166. Natalie says:

    Samantha– of course some people take offense. I took offense and I’m not even a parent. The main source of my offense was the tone of the article which takes on a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather than possessing an informative quality, the author takes on an aggressive “you stupid idiot” quality.

    The points she makes might be valid–but rather than saying “Did you know tickling has been used as a torture technique?” She says “You’re a Torturer.” The same effect, with far less vitriol, could’ve been achieved by saying “You May Be Torturing Your Child.”

    The same with “You’re a pimp.” Rather than saying “You’re using your love and approval essentially as a form of currency, which can lead to your child believing x, y, and z…” The author is combative about it.

    I don’t think that people are closed off to parenting advice, especially when presented to them in ways they’ve never thought of before–what they are closed off to is being attacked as a parent by anyone, let alone by someone they perceive is saying “I’m doing it all right.”

    But, really, the author’s personality is summed up at the beginning of the post: “Ive felt so vicariously oppressed by what some parent has said or done to their kid that Ive actually gone over and said something.” I’m sure she said it just like this– instead of a suggestion, it was a denouncement.

    Her parents probably didn’t do everything right in her childhood, either–so, cut her some slack.

  167. Anonymous says:

    So what did parents/grandparents do before all this that has caused our society to collapse ? Seems to me all the “wrongs” they did have done little harm compared to all the messed up “self esteem” kids now being raised who have no manners, social graces or care about any one other than themselves.

  168. Samantha says:

    To Natalie:

    I will give you that the author does come across as a little… shall we say- aggressive? However, I feel this could be for one of two pretty good reasons. The first is that in this sad world that we live in, vicious posts are the ones that evoke response and gain more readers. And the second is that she may legitimately be angry. I do get angry when I see people hitting their children. And I do sincerely hope that someday, it will not be legal to hit your children at all. Thirty years or so ago, many people would hit their children hard enough to leave bruises and no one did anything about it, because people didn’t want to “intrude” on other people’s parenting. There are lots of ways that people parent differently than I do, that I wouldn’t necessarily say is causing anything negative for their children. But some things DO negatively affect children, and nobody knows any better, because they claim that it has always worked. The problem is that, just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Frankly, I’ve rarely said anything to other parents. The only situation is usually when their child is doing something that involves mine, or if another parent has said something to my child. People shouldn’t be approached so harshly as this, but I will say that I don’t think it matters how it’s said. Usually you will get the same reaction… “don’t even THINK about telling me with to do with MY child”. So yeah, she shouldn’t be so harsh, but I think many of the reactions would be the same even if she wasn’t. People don’t like hearing that they may not be the best parents ever.

  169. Anonymous says:

    It is so funny how many parents take offense to perentaing advice. It’s like “since I poped one out, I must know what I’m doing”.
    How sad. Look around and most children are being raised by TV and parents simply say, “well it works for me.”
    I so glad Facebook and Twitter wasn’t around for my parents.

  170. Samantha says:

    To Anonymous:

    Kids these days are growing up in literally the most distracting environment that has ever existed. Just a few decades ago, there wasn’t hardly any of the technology that we have now. Many people are trying to apply the “old world” standards to today, when that just isn’t an option. Yes, many children are more selfish that children way back when. But it’s easy to see why when we see how much they are subjected to. How can a child not be selfish and demand material goods when they are subjected to advertisements 24/7 telling them that their self worth is equal to the amount of junk they own, the groceries their mother buys and how much better their stuff is than their neighbor’s stuff? Because of things like photoshop and airbrushing, and the obsession with image, our kids are more likely to grow up valuing what they’re being told to value by nearly everyone and everything else. People don’t realize how damaging things like advertisements can be to young children. As adults, we can recognize when we’re being sold to, but children lack the ability to do so.

  171. whatever says:

    That is ridiculous shit.. what a nut job.

  172. Samantha says:

    To Mother of Three:

    Thanks for proving exactly what many of the posters here are saying.

  173. Natalie says:

    I didn’t say that those things DON’T negatively affect children. I said that the way the author presents it is rude and will ultimately prove quite ineffectual. If she’s angry, fine. Write a blathering article like she just did.

    If she actually wants to effect change, put it in a way that gives people a chance to actually LISTEN and heed what she’s said. People don’t like to be told that they’re wrong. They just don’t. But if you present it to them in a way that doesn’t absolutely antagonize them (like, say, turning them into torturers and pimps), they might actually listen and take heed. They might actually think “Wow, I’ve never thought of it like that.” Instead, the author here chooses to try to bully (via language) people into doing what she thinks is best. And, simply put, that will absolutely NOT work. Ever. Anyone can write a ranting blog about parenting–but it takes a special kind of person to actually effect some kind of change. No parent will change their ways from this article. They might have though, if she hadn’t been such a jerk. Oh, well. Perhaps that’s the only way she knows how to write.

  174. Samantha says:

    To Natalie:

    I 100% agree. Such a tone does not effect change. This article serves to either piss people off, or get people who already agree to rally behind her. Sure, some people might take when she said into account if they had not considered it before, but most will be defensive. I don’t mind either way. Frankly, I kind of like it when someone goes on the offensive. It shows me they care enough to be angry, and that it’s something important they are passionate about. Some things are hard to be neutral about. But not everyone is like that. However, I will say that many people are simply set in their ways, and only seek help when they want it. If things seem okay, they don’t want to hear otherwise.

  175. Mother of 3 says:

    I get defensive when people with no children try to give advice on something they know nothing about. I get defensive when someone tells me I do not know how to be a parent. Not saying I know it all or that my way is right. I am saying it worked for MY children. Have I sought advice along the way, you bet….from other parents. Not from someone who wants to simply criticize and out others down. Advice is different than telling someone how to raise their kids.

  176. Mother of 3 says:

    Natalie, your posts were very well stated. Had this been an advice piece it probably would have been perceived differently. You are correct.

  177. John says:

    If this artical is at all for real then this author needs some serious mental health help. I’ve never seen someone take making your childern be polite to their grandparents into a sexual situation. Pimping? Really? Then #3 on this list? I think this author has some very disturbing thoughts about sexuality and childern. Realy cause I was ticked as a kid alot and funny it never went there. NEVER. I’m more than a little disturbed because she basicly accused this family of moslsting this girl with no proof of anything but play time. Frankly, I’d be afriad to leave my kids with this women.

  178. Natalie says:

    I take issue with the idea that those who “go on the offensive care enough to be angry.” To me anger does not denote or connote passion–to me, all going on the “offensive” does is demonstrate a serious lack of self-control, not to mention an ill-equipped people-handler. After all, you catch more flies with honey. And going on the “offensive” never actually works. Unless you’re actually playing some sort of sport, and even then it’s not always a guarantee. The only things people should get angry about are acts of outright malice–which none of the things listed here are. It seems to me that Jennifer Lehr is ill-equipped for quite a lot of things–dealing with people and effecting change are two of them.

  179. I ACT LIKE A REAL PARENT OF 5 BA says:

    I AM A MOTHER OF 5 AND THINK ALL OF THIS A A BUNCH OF BULL! TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN TO HUG THEIR FAMILY AND SHOW AFFECTION IS NOT “PIMPING” THEM OUT!! IF YOU NEVER SHOW A CHILD HOW TO ACT THEN HOW DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO SHOW THE EFFECTION. STILL TO THIS DAY I HUG MY ELDERLY AUNT WHEN I SEE HER IN THE NURSING HOME. SHE DOESNT KNOW WHO I AM AND WHY I AM HUGGING HER. BUT I KNOW ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, SHE NEEDS TO FEEL THAT PERSON TO PERSON CONTACT WHILE SHE CAN!

    AS FOR THE EATTING THE LAST BITE, YOUR AN IDIOT! YOU SHOW CHILDREN HOW TO EAT WELL. YOU TEACH THEM THEY MUST EAT TO STAY STRONG AND GROW HEALTHY! IF I ALLOWED THEM TO EAT WHAT THEY WANT AND WHEN THEY WANT AND HOW MUCH, THEY WOULD EAT ALL THE COOKIES IN THE HOUSE AND NEVER EAT THEIR GREEN BEANS. YOU MUST CONTROL A CHILD TO A CERTIN POINT OR ALL YOU SHOW THEM IS HOW TO ONLY DO AS THEY WANT NOT ACT RESPONSIABLE! THE JACKET THING IS STUPID, IF I DIDNT TELL MY 6 YEAR OLD TO CHANGE HER CLOTHES SHE WOULD WEAR HER BATHING SUIT IN DECEMBER! SHE LIKES HER BATHING SUIT! NO MATTER HOW COLD SHE IS!!

    TICKLING CAN BE A BIT ROUGH, BUT ANY NORMAL PARENT WOULD KNOW IF IT WAS GETTING OUT OF HAND!

    I AM TIRED OF THE CRAZY PHYSICO BABBLE I HEAR ABOUT HOW WE ARE RUINING OUR CHILDREN! NOW HEARING WE ARE PIMPING THEM OUT BY SHOWING THEM TO ALWAYS SHOW THEIR FAMILY AFFECTION AND MAKING THEM EAT THEIR PEAS AS WELL AS TICKLING THEM AND ASKING THEM TO PUT ON SWEATER IS GIVING THEM LOW SELF ESSTEM!!

    I AM RAISING 5 CHILDREN, I HAVE MADE THEM EAT ALL THEIR DINNERS, EVEN TIF THEY ARENT HUNGRY CAUSE THATS WHEN THEY HAVE TO EATA THEIR VEGTABLES! THEY GET TICKLED, ALWAYS GIVE AS WELL AS GET KISSES AND HUGS GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD BYE, YOU NEVER KNOW! THEY WEAR THEIR SWEATERS SO IN CASE THEY GET COLD. THEY ARE STRONG, HEALTHY, HAPPY KIDS AND I AM PROUD TO BE THEIR MOMMA!! SO GROW UP AND BE A PARENT TO YOUR KIDS! IF YOUR NOT THEN WHO WILL BE!!!

  180. PeaceMaker says:

    And I think Natalie was right about tone. The author did make this article look extreme and kinda rude. The advice makes sense, but it was displayed very inappropriately. I agree with what the author says, I just wish she said it in a nicer way, as a mediator I have to be careful with my words regardless of how I feel so that people listen to me. NO one will listen if they feel you are attacking them :(

  181. Samantha says:

    To Natalie:

    Anger is healthy and natural. And it’s the proper response when you see something that is wrong or unfair. It’s all about how you handle the anger itself. I don’t think Lehr really thought she’d be converting the masses with her rant. The way she sees it, these things are damaging to children. And let’s face it, we ALL get angry about this and that when it comes to kids. Children are the one thing that everyone can agree deserve the best. Is this article going to change anyone’s mind? Probably not, because when people are strongly set in their ways, the last thing that will change them is someone attacking the way they do things. But like I said, it’s an internet article, and the anger helps her stand out from the other people saying the same things, only nicer.

  182. Samantha says:

    To Mother of Three:

    I don’t think Halley was originally trying to put you down. For those of us who think hitting is abuse, we speak out against it for the children’s wellbeing, not to make parents feel like bad people. Also, she said she took child psych and is a teacher. Perhaps she doesn’t have children of her own, but that will give her a lot of insight. Simply becoming a parent does not mean you know more than someone who doesn’t have children. Sure, there are certain things that nothing really prepares you for when you have kids, particularly your own emotional responses, but she is by no means to be exluded from the discussion because she isn’t a mom yet. I took child development classes in high school, and then early childhood classes in college(I was majoring in EC Ed, but switched to philosophy), and trust me, it really helps. It’s not a bunch of mumbo jumbo. It’s based on years of science, observation and psychological study. It doesn’t quite prepare you for having a child, but it certainly changes the way you look at it.

  183. Samantha says:

    To Peacemaker:

    Right there with you. I don’t think the author intended to offend. I think she was angry and she let it show.

  184. Carleigh says:

    I agree with the author. Sure, the phrasing is extreme, but like PeaceMaker said, it’s meant as a literary device and not meant to take literally. Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well over the internet, I suppose. I definitely agree with #2 and #3; my parents never FORCED me to put on a coat, they just said “Y’know, it’s freezing out there,” and let me choose my own wardrobe for playing outside. Trust me, if I got too cold, I went inside for my coat. I wasn’t so stupid as to allow myself to get frost bite because I didn’t want extra sleeves. Also, I absolutely HATE being tickled now because of how far people took it when I was little. She’s right–when your child says “stop,” you need to stop. NOW. I was sexually assaulted when I was younger, and let me tell you, continually being tickled even when I say “stop” brings back the helplessness I felt during rape, because someone is doing something to your body you don’t want and refuse to listen to your pleas to stop. Neither the author nor I are saying that you’re raping your child by tickling them, you just need to listen to them and not do it for more than a minute or so. Laughter while being tickled is an involuntary, biological, evolutionary response, not always a sign of a great time. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath, relax, and realize that sarcasm exists even online. Calm yourselves.

  185. Jalen says:

    @ I act Like a real parent of five, seriously? Using all caps does not make people want to take you seriously. I am a 12 year old girl and I agree a lot with this peice. My parents didn’t force me to eat my food or hug my grandparents or tickle me until I couldn’t breath. They gave me dinner and if I said, “I’m not hungry,” they would respond, “Okay, but make sure you eat this food when you are hungry,” and I do. I respect my parents, and, I am a parent of five, making your kids eat when they are not hungry could lead to obesity when they are older because they don’t need that food right then. My parents never made me hug my grandparents, I just did because I love them. If your kids don’t love them they shouldn’t have to hug them. With the tickling thing my parents did tickle me, but enough was enough. They knew when to stop, but sopme parents don’t.

  186. Jalen says:

    oh and with the coat thing my parents just said, “Here’s your jacket if you get cold.” They always reminded me to bring it, but didn’t make me wear it. I wasan’t going to let myself freeze to death…. I’m not an idiot…

  187. JustMe says:

    Sometimes it takes extreme language to get the point across. A close family friend had to find out the hard way she and her husband were “pimping” their daughter. When the child was 2 years old if she was being held by a parent and wanted down, she had to hug them, then kiss them, then say “I love you” and kiss again before being allowed to get down. This was a “ritual” they found cute and as their daughter was smiling the whole time felt there wasn’t anything wrong with it. Now at age 6, this girl goes up to total strangers and introduces herself as “a hug attacker” and grabs on to anyone that smiles at her, talks to the parents, or just plain seems interesting. You have candy? Well, I’m a hug attacker! Latch on and don’t let go! I’m sorry but they “pimped” their daughter, they taught her to hug and kiss and sweettalk to get what she wanted and that using her body that way was normal. But telling them back when she was 2 that forcing her to go through ritualized affection devalues any real affection was pointless. She’s smiling, she enjoys it.

  188. Natalie says:

    PeaceMaker – this is certainly not a “friendly” reminder. Samantha – Not all anger is healthy. And people coming from a place of anger never help anybody. All they do is alienate virtually everyone that would otherwise normally consider their argument. Some people won’t change, you’re right. But some people might have looked at this article and thought “huh. I never thought of it like that before.” But not with language like this permeating the article of an otherwise valid and interesting point. Carleigh–I’m perfectly calm. And whatever the author was going for here — pretty sure it wasn’t sarcasm.

  189. Tom says:

    This is stupid. Kids should be made to hug their relatives if they haven’t seen them in a while. Not acknowledging their relatives is rude and they should not be allowed to slight them like that. Kids have to be taught manners and how to behave and be friendly. When they get older they won’t hug their relatives because they haven’t been doing it their whole lives. This has nothing to do with sex, this parallel that the author is trying to illustrate is absurd! People can give hugs without it being sexual, and without feeling dirty. This is a good way to raise a self centered child who is selfish and apathetic. As far as the sweater is concerned you make them wear one because you know they will be cold once they are outside. The kids don’t understand that until its too late to go back home and get the sweater. Kids should also be made to eat healthy. They won’t do it on their own. If it was up to them they’d eat ice cream all day. You have to raise your kids, don’t let them raise you! If you let them get away with things they will run all over you and any other adult. They will turn into obnoxious brats who right stupid articles like this one!

  190. steven says:

    Anyone who takes advice from Yahoo is an idiot. The author’s credentials are not even listed. Why is she credible?

  191. Dee says:

    She is not an expert on parenting. No one is. And she does a have an infant daughter. She is a “new” Mom. Just like me, when I had my daughter 13 years ago, I only wanted to be the best parent. And with the love we have for our children, we do what what we think is the best for them. I actually wasn’t offended by this article. However, it was blunt and got many parent’s attention. I think that was the whole point.

  192. Samantha says:

    Natalie:

    Anger has never helped anyone? It’s anger, righteous anger(not the unhealthy sort of rage that so many display on our roadways and such), that gets people together to get things done. Anything pertaining to human rights, fairness etc has been accomplished because of righteous indignation. This woman has a right to be angry. Yes, she should have been more level headed in her article if she wanted to be taken more seriously, and show herself to be intelligent and thoughtful. However, it’s silly to begrudge Lehr her anger to such an extent when she has a right to be riled up. One thing I’ve learned is that some people will read through internet and magazine articles and consider them thoughtfully, while MOST people will ignore something if it is written in such a passive tone. This was a lesson I picked up when I was probably about thirteen or so. I was always reading nonfiction books and magazines like Time, while my fellow “tweens” reacted time and again with “boring!” or something to that effect. And that has pretty much remained constant since then. From what I’ve seen, it takes passion, anger(again, the healthy, reasonable sort) and commitment to make anything happen. Parenting is a very heated issue, and people usually aren’t able to be neutral or calm when discussing it. We see that from Lehr, who posted a rather harsh article, and from her critics here, who have attacked everything they were able to come across about her. And being someone who has many of these same views that she has, I promise you that no matter how calmly these things are brought up, opponents react much the same way they did here. I have been attacked, time and again, for the way I’ve chosen to parent, and often times, I haven’t even said anything to begin with. Usually, when another parent finds out about the way I do things, they’ll ask me why, and then cut me off halfway through my explanation with “you’re crazy”, and then go on about how much the world’s children are spoiled brats these days, and how it’s the fault of people like myself.

  193. Samantha says:

    Tom: You must have skimmed this article, because you missed the point of all three of her talking points. The first isn’t about letting your kids ignore guests and the like, it’s about not forcing your kids to be affectionate. Kids should be able to choose who they want to hug and kiss. Teaching your children to greet visitors is one thing, making them greet someone in such a personal way is another. She isn’t likening it to sex, she’s showing how we teach children to use their bodies to get a reaction from people. And in reality, that’s what prostitution is… using your body to get something.
    Also, there’s a difference between making your child take a coat with them, and making them put one on. By telling them to put one on, we are not teaching them to make decisions for themselves, we are teaching them that they have to do what other people say, even if it is nonsensical, makes them uncomfortable and is unfair.
    Treating your children like they are worthy of respect and of making age appropriate decisions does not make them spoiled. It makes them better prepared for when they grow up and they have to rely on themselves. Children are not pets, they will not live under our roofs with us as caregivers until they die. It is therefore our job to prepare them for a life where they will know how and want to care for themselves.

  194. Seriously Not Cool says:

    Here is the problem with this article. EVERYTHING. I usually do not like to use hyperbole or insults because those do not usually get you anywhere, but in this case I have no choice but to say that this is the biggest load of liberal bullcrap I have ever heard. Have you ever seen children? They almost never know what is best for them and/or when. They are children and parents are supposed to take care of them because they do not know what is best for themselves yet. If they did, they could rent a condo once they could reach the doorknob. They are not just short people. They need to be told what to do and how to act. When it comes to tickling, I think that you do have a point but only if the person tickling is a complete moron. Kids do like being tickled but no one likes being excessively tickled. You should be able to tell the difference between a real stop and a playful one. Everything else is just ridiculous. Kids do not usually pay attention to their body’s signals. That is just a fact. It is not that your kid is a moron. It is just that all kids care about is playing. To a kid, dinner time is just a time they are forced to stop playing for an activity they do not see as having any value because it is not fun. Also, showing affection does not come natural to everyone but failing to do so is usually socially crippling. So some children need to be taught how to appropriately show affection to those they love. Children are not the boss of the parent-child relationship and I am not saying that you should put them in a box and only let them out sometimes like a family pet but they do need to be put on a figurative leash. You cannot just let them do whatever they want. 9 times out of 10 a kid will do exactly what is not good for them because it is what they want to do. You cannot let that kind of behaviour continue. I actually would go so far as to say that this article is not only not helpful. It is actually potentially damaging to anyone who listens to it or anyone who’s similar views are further empowered by it.

  195. Amanda says:

    I am in 100% agreement with the author here. I recently was reunited with my father after 10 years of alienation due to my parents divorce while I was a child, and also met my 13 year old step sister for the first time. My husband and I stayed at their house for a few days and every night my dad forced my little sister to give everyone in the room a hug before going to bed. It was absolutely disgusting. Everything in her body language said “I don’t want to do this but I will do it just to make you love me, Dad” and quite frankly I didn’t really want to be hugged either, nor did my husband, we are not very touchy-feely people. It just seemed inappropriate and weird and made everyone in the room oddly uncomfortable and silent.
    Also, I am in the restaurant industry, and my BIGGEST pet peeve is parents forcing their children to order or say thank you when the poor little thing is clearly dying of embarrassment and paralyzing shyness. I always look at the child and say “Don’t worry young man/lady, you don’t have to say anything. I can tell you’re shy but are thinking thank you very loudly in your head!” The child always looks relieved and sometimes evens giggles and utters a very soft “thank you” of their own accord! I know I have miffed some parents and sacrificed tips but don’t care one bit if a child felt the gratitude I did growing up when my mother didn’t force me out of my shell (which offers children protection from strangers btw!).
    Lastly, often when I bartend or serve, I will have men pay their tab and attempt to give me a goodbye hug before they leave, or they will say “Come over here sweetie and give me a hug” and I always get irritated with their creepiness and fawning. I always refuse this fabulous opportunity to squeeze sweaty, old, rotund gentlemen to my bosom, but I watch some of the other girls hug on command in some sort of robotic fashion that speaks years of childhood ritual. Then they complain about how gross and creepy these guys are like they don’t have a choice in the matter. Physical boundaries should be CREATED during childhood not torn down, because they may never be rebuilt, robbing children and adults of their natural defenses and instincts. Fabulous article, Jennifer!!

  196. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, this woman is an idiot. I agree with the person who said raise your kids don’t let them raise you. Children need discipline and structure. Crap like this is what is wrong with kids these days. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

  197. Samantha says:

    Amanda:

    Good for you with the whole restaurant thing. I was unbelievably painfully shy as a child, but any time I was out with anyone but my mother, they made me order things for myself. I would end up blushing and stumbling over my words, and it wasn’t the sort of thing I needed to do and eventually I’d get over my shyness. Some kids are just like that, and forcing them to do something like order when they eat out make help the parents save face, but it can be humiliating for the child. I’m glad to see someone who recognizes that and helps to make those kids feel better.

  198. Amanda says:

    Samantha, thanks for reading my comment, and thank you for contributing several thoughtful comments of your own! I particularly like your insight on anger as a sort of communal glue holding people with similar causes together. And truely, what is healthier than verbalizing your anger and frustration like Jennifer did in this article, rather than letting it build up into something truly nasty. I am angry about this, because I see how young girls with no physical boundries can quickly slide down the restaurant pole from server to bartender or beer tub girl and some even ending up as strippers. It’s a sad decent indeed!! And to think it could have been slowed or halted by not forcing a child to hug or kiss relatives and friends on command. While this article was written in righteous anger, some of the subsequent comments were written in guilty anger; methinks some of the commentators have forced their children or other children to jump through some uncomfortable hoops :)

  199. Natalie says:

    Samantha – this kind of anger? No. It hasn’t helped anyone. She has every right to be riled up? Why? Because parents are really torturers? There are children out there that are beaten, molested, raped and neglected by their own family members. She has every right to be angry over that. What she rails against instead is well meaning parents who tickle their children, make them kiss their grandparents and make them put on a sweater and/or eat some food. Small potatoes. So, maybe I do begrudge her her anger. It’s ridiculous, really, and ill-placed. If you mean to lump me in with her critics, I’m not heated at all. I know nothing about her other than her husband is one of the Geico cavemen. I just know that her writing style leaves much to be desired, and I won’t soon be purchasing her “must read” book. These may well be valid points she’s making, but her crass use of language and labeling well-meaning parents as “pimps” and “torturers” is utterly disturbing. Because you know what? There ARE “families” out there that DO pimp and torture their children. With this article, she trivializes all of that. Furthermore, she has no proof of her opinions–not even anecdotal evidence. As a kid, I was made to show affection. And yeah, I didn’t always want to. But I don’t use my body as currency in my adulthood – not even close. I don’t use my affection as a bargaining chip. Samantha – you’ve been attacked for the way you parent and yet you find it okay that Jennifer attack people for they way they choose to parent? Condone it, even. Interesting. And to Amanda– toddlers are different than 13 year olds. Very different.

  200. Jacki Zocco says:

    OMG, this woman is a crackpot! a) how is teaching a child to hug a grandparent different then teaching a child to say “thank you” or “no thank you” when they don’t want to say those things? b) children stop eating just because they prefer to play…and then they go hungry later. What happens at school when they don’t know how to finish their lunch in the time allowed? They go hungry; that is why we teach our children to finish…because we’ve seen them eat and know they’ll be hungry later c) tickleassault, seriously! I have three girls [two preschool and one Kindergartner] who tickle EACH OTHER mercilessly…are you saying they are somehow torturing each other?

  201. Alex says:

    Your daughter is 8 and you already let her question your authority?! Good luck when she turns 16. And then you have the audacity to question someone else’s parenting methods. Wow.

  202. Kit says:

    Truthfully I agree with this article. Im only 16 and i could see how it would affect your child. If they are hungry they should tell you not you tell them. And if their cold just get them to bring a sweater or coat. Dont force them to wear it. And with the tickling well tickling does hurt if taken to far.

  203. Lily says:

    This woman is nuts. Making children be polite or eat food is not going to destroy them. Of course anything taken too far can be harmful but telling children to eat their veggies or remember to wear a coat is not harming your child. I know that I would refuse to eat dinner all the time when I was a kid simply because I didn’t like vegetables or meat other than chicken. If my parents didn’t strongly encourage me to eat then I would have gone hungry most of the time or have gotten obese from sneaking sweets. Kids don’t know what is best for them and that is where the parents are supposed to steer them in the right direction. And tickling is a perfectly fine and fun activity when parents listen when the kid says Stop! like mine did. My parents did all of these practices as did the parents of all my friends and we are not suffering from horrible self esteem issues. This advice needs to be taken with a saltshaker.

  204. Lauren says:

    I agree entirely with this article. Jennifer Lehr has proven many points that parents usually don’t think about.
    When I was in high school, my mother always said that I needed to hug her and my father more (“You know, like when you were little.”) However, they didn’t say anything when I was little. I just went and hugged them. As I grew up though, I didn’t care for hugs or anything. It was something I just didn’t want to do, not because “I’m too cool for that stuff”. Eventually, they nagged me about it so much that they turned to guilt-tripping me. “Daddy, doesn’t feel like you love him, so go hug/snuggle him.” So, I was like, “He only knows I love him if I hug him?” or “Doesn’t that mean that he loves me conditionally?” On numerous occasions, I was forced into it, and it felt just as it sounds. It felt like I was being used or something, like I was a dog that was only meant to follow commands. So, obviously, I got more and more hateful of showing my affection. I wish my parents had learned (1)”You’re a pimp”, before they had me.

  205. Eva says:

    My mom is a social worker. Making your child greet grandma and grandpa with a hug will not turn them into a stripper. That is the most absurd statement I have heard in my entire life. These girls come from really troubled backgrounds. This blog post is a rant. Nothing more. Agree, disagree, whatever. Unless you have perfect children, you are in no way equipped to judge how anyone raises their kids.

  206. HoosierMom says:

    Wow. I rarely read parenting advice/info and disagree with it but my goodness, I whole-heartedly disagree with this woman…..seriously??

  207. Eleanor says:

    this is the most bogus thing I’ve read in my live

  208. Eve says:

    You people who think this woman is wrong are doing the EXACT things she’s warning you against. Every thing on this list my mother did to me. The pimping is not just this tame thing, it’s “you would be so pretty if only you lost weight” or “stop hiding your body under that baggy shirt, you’re only young once.” It destroys a child’s self-esteem and makes them feel uncomfortable. And that tickling thing: I once face butted my mother when she was holding me so my Grandmother could tickle me. I hate being tickled. It HURTS, it doesn’t matter if I laugh. Wake up and smell the reality parents. This woman is hitting the nail on the head. Take it from a child whose gone through it.

  209. moosetti says:

    Now that summer is here, kids run around, playing, and swimming all day in the heat, so now it’s “wrong” to make them drink and eat. we should just wait for dehydration! what a nit wit.

  210. varriablelynn says:

    moosetti: you are right. however there are some good points in this article

  211. successfuldad says:

    wow, what a bunch of pop-psychology crap.

  212. bhhastin says:

    I’m a left-wing liberal and even I think this writer is full of sh*t. I’d pay money to watch a parent beat the hell out of her for saying something snide to them about how they are parenting their kids!

  213. Joe Decareau says:

    Is this for real? I thought at the end I was going to read that the advice given in the article is the exact opposite of what to do. This seems more like something out of The Onion News Network than actual journalism.

  214. jm says:

    This is the most stupid article that I have ever read. Her household must be a ton of fun!! While I do agree about the tickling, it amazes me how often my kids stand in front of my husband and myself and ask us to tickle them!

  215. David Richards says:

    Sounds like the only one with a problem is the writer. There are cases where she could be right. Prolonged tickling yes. But haven’t we all seen the baby actually want and expect you to do it again. The sweater thing is to teach the child to think ahead. And the one more bite is a matter of knowing your child. Sometimes they are full and others it might be playtime is a stronger force than hunger. But in ten minutes when it’t time to go or put dinner away they will be “starving to death” been there done that(often). Maybe you should rename this parenting advice for people with no common sense.

  216. dw says:

    So when my kid eat two bites of food at supper, I should not make her eat one bite of everything on her plate. Really lady, my two year old is allways more intrested in playing than eating.

  217. Brittany says:

    I would love this lady to come up to me and tell me not to pimp out my kid. Does she even know about children and parenting at all? When I have my child acknowledge a loved one, it isn’t for the purpose of forcing them to prostitute themselves, it is because they are at a very selfish stage in development and it’s my job to teach them that there are other poeple in this world and they must be courteous to others. It’s a life skill which is essential to becoming a well adjusted adult in society. Also, explaining the right attire to my 5 year old is not forcing her to do something. She doesn’t have the mental or emotional maturity to understand that it’s 105 today and a sweater would make her uncomfortable. When she is mature enought to understand this concept, I will happily allow her to choose her own attire. As a mother I am meant to guide, protect, and set an exapmle for my daughter and I take my job very seriously. Please spare everyone you encounter your personal opinions about parenting because I would never invade your privacy even though I believe you couldn’t be more wrong with your theories…

  218. Michelle says:

    Let me ask all of you who hate #2 a question–what exactly is wrong with letting your child go hungry for a night? They will not suffer from malnourishment after skipping one meal because they wouldn’t listen to you. Trust me, if you keep a firm stance and say “Eat this or go without” long enough, you will win. Your kid WILL get hungry enough and you will maintain your authority. It may take longer and they will throw a few fits, but overall I would think it would be more beneficial for them in the long run to learn themselves when/what they will be allowed to eat, rather than forcing food on them whether they actually feel hungry or not.

  219. Anonymous says:

    hey listin guys

  220. Apu says:

    Cmon guys its not her fault she is babbling on about a bunch of nonsense, she is a writer who couldn’t come up with anything good to write about so in order to keep the paychecks coming she came up with this garbage, the horrible economy is affecting everyone! lol

  221. KB says:

    Every single comment I’ve just read makes me want to shoot somebody. I know some of this advice may seem odd to you people because it’s telling you that YOU ARE WRONG, but I agree with all of it. As a 17 year old girl, on the brink of becoming an adult, I am still under the shelter of my parents, but fully capable of thinking for myself. Let me just tell you that the first one is by far the most accurate one of these. I can’t tell you how many times my mother has looked at me and whispered “Go give them a hug” or “Go say hi” even. Not only is it disrespectful to make you give away your affection, but it makes you feel as if you have to give something of yourself to everyone. This is a big issue with me, as people are always telling me I think too much of other people. And it’s true. # 2 is a no brainer. No, you don’t know if your child is cold or not. And I’ll bet you would be pissed if someone made you put on a sweater when you aren’t cold. So why in the world would you do that to your kid? And Hell No, you can’t make your kid eat if they’re not hungry. And Brittany, You are a jackass to say that your child is in a “selfish stage”. If your child doesn’t want to acknowledge a loved one, why should they have to? My god, is there no mother in the world who doesn’t feel the need to control their child. And that IS what you are doing. As someone who grew up with all of the above done to her, I’ll be the first to say that YES, it damages self esteem. It has long term effects that I’m still struggling with. And you might feel the need to tell me that I can’t know, because I’ve never had a child. I’ll just remind you that that works both ways. You might have forgotten what it’s like to have control of your body and mind taken by someone else, but I havn’t. So I’m telling you. People need to wake up a little bit and remember that children are just like adults. They need to be taught things, sure, but they’re not mindless drones to be controlled.

  222. Rose says:

    Wow. Did this lady take a psychology class in high school and now believes she has all of the answers. My parents told me to give my grandparents a hug and kiss when I was young, and I’m certainly not a stripper, and I love my grandparents. Also, I did click tickleassault.com to see what she was talking about. Its a porn site, and I cannot believe she would link to it on a parenting blog. What kind of mother visits a porn site!

  223. Jennifer Lehr says:

    KB…It’s Jenniferthe author or the article. I want to thank you for sharing your experience here. I think it really humanizes the points I’ve tried to make in a more visceral way. I hope people will take your comment to heart. I definitely do.

  224. Jamie says:

    This whole generation is so self absorbed. Honestly. Every single thing any adult/authoritative figure does has some, terrible, life changing, mind damaging effect on young people. Can’t people just live their lives and stop blaming something else, all the time, for why they have just a little less self esteem, or why they’re reluctant to meet new people. Every parent is different, but a kid needs to carve their own path based on their own choices eventually.

  225. Anonymous says:

    Is this a joke?

  226. Aria Renita says:

    This is coming from a fourteen year old’s stand point on things. I agree with #1 and 2. #3… Well I never thought of THAT before. Who knew?

    #2 I can agree with most because I’ve heard so many times from my dad to put on a sweater because he’s going to turn off the heater. The issue is, most times it can get a little itchy wearing one. Not only that, I’d just grab my jacket. I mean it does the same function. Not only that, with food I did have this one confrontation with my grandmother. Let’s just say I had a decent balanced meal for dinner with them and then… well I didn’t touch my baked beans. I’m not a fan of them, you see. She tells me to eat one or two bites of it and then I go and hold my ground about how I’m full and I don’t want to overfeed myself. Everyone knows their limits when it comes to eating. Although… there are some cases when I do think it is necessary to force a kid to eat something… like vegetables.

    #1 is where I say: it’s to teach respect. I understand what you’re saying but in most cases it’s to teach respect. My Dad has done it and so has my grandmother. Just to get a darn Ethernet cable for my laptop so I can jump online! Most times it annoys me, though because I feel like I have to suck up to everyone just to get what I need or want.

    By the way… some of you people have probably had issues in the past with this too, but don’t remember it. Either that or you just don’t realize you actually had felt that way. We’re human, thus we have feelings.

    I also completely agree with KB on their opinion of this article. Some of you just aren’t thinking hard enough about it, probably.

  227. lesterm94 says:

    Are you completely mental?! Do you even have children? Most parents or parents that I know don’t “force” their children to do anything that they don’t want to do BUT you do have to set some guidelines and TEACH them how to be productive and CONFIDENT adults. Telling them to show affection is not prostituting themselves, telling them to put on a sweater and eat one more bite is not telling them to ignore their bodies and tickling as a form of torture is not the norm for enjoying your children’s laughter. Give me a break! It is our jobs as parents to make sure our children don’t become self-absorbed, neurotic, psycopaths! You need professional help.

  228. Also a mom says:

    Michelle, that is a good point. My parents used to do that to us. My mom cooked every single night. She never fussed with us about not eating. If we didn’t want what was put in front of us, you go without. We learned very quickly to appreciate what we had. I wonder how many people who agree with the article will also call this cruel and u usual pumishment. As for the teens posting that they agree, every teenager I know disagrees with the way they are being raised. We (adults) used to know everything at that age too. The name of his website is babble.com. That is exactly what his blog is, babble.

  229. Anonymous says:

    1) I can undestand where you get this. But The way I look at it is, when you have other family over, you want them to feel welcome and you want your child to get use to them. Maybe the chikd is shy, or doesn’t feel comfortable around other people. If so then shoving a kiss down their throat is not necessarily right, but… it does eventually get them use to toehr people. they get use to it and realize its not so bad.
    2) number two… I completely understand. it would irk me when my mama would tell me to wear long pants to school because my legs would get cold. And Yet does she go to my school??? Nope. Does she know what they keep the temperature at? No. Then why should she tell me how to dress? so yeah. Agreed. :)
    3) People have a right to tickle each other! Personally i would wait till they can talka dn say they dont mind it. but yeah there is a point where someone can go overboard. If its to the point where the subject is crying then for Pete sakes stop! But If it cheers the child up there ain’t nothin’ wrong with it. :)
    _____—– But yeah. Other then that you ahve some good points comming. :)

  230. Angie says:

    Okay. So when we have guests, it’s okay to let your child be rude and not acknowledge that there is a visitor? Gotcha. And when my child is outside playing in the cold, don’t tell them they have to dress for the weather. Gotcha. What about playing in the sun? Can I make them wear sunblock? Or is that also going to damage them later? Just checking. If they don’t want to eat, don’t force them. Okay. I’ll let them go hungry for the night. Or is that too much? And no tickling? Gotcha. can’t wait to see how this works for me!! Not…

  231. Dee says:

    I think that people who get so angry by this type of “strongly opinionated” parenting articles are not very confident with their own parenting skills. Who cares if the not-so-perfect-parenting-advice giver says all these things!?! I do what I think is right for my kids. I use to read parenting books and I still take some advice from my kids’ pediatrician, but not one way is “the” way. Seriously, be more confident as parents. And please stop bashing each other. Being a parent is the toughest and most rewarding job. We all care about children and their future…but who cares if someone you don’t know writes an article about parenting. Go ahead and write your your own if you think you’re a better parent! Now, take care of your kids!

  232. Vanessa says:

    Ridiculous…. And yes, being cold CAN make you sick. OK, maybe its not the direct cause, but being cold can lower your immunity, making you more vulnerable to pathogens. I experienced everything on your list and am a perfectly well-adjusted adult. I’m sorry, but unless you see a parent physically or drastically verbally assaulting a child, butt out. I’m surprised you haven’t been slapped silly yet.

  233. Little Pancho says:

    i believe you are a genius!!! im only 17 like KB but that doesnt mean that i wouldn’t know about this. i dont remember much about my childhood but i know it had a lot of number 2s and 1s and maybe even threes.s. i now at 17 hate to hug people especially my parents and loved ones. i see how my parents treat my little sister and are always making her hug people and she does it and my parents always say i was just like her. she probably will end up like me hating to show any affection to anyone. and number two, thanks to all of the times they made me finish food when i dont want to, especially fruits and vegies, i hate them so much!!! they always tell me how i “loved” vegies and fruitsthat is a bunch of bs. they practically force feed my little siter that stuff and supposedly they did that to me too. and number threei am not tickle ish when someone tries to tickle me it just hurts, but my parents tell me that i was always lovable and loved being touched and stuff but now someone touches me and i hit em or punch em. i think you are a genius Jennifer and parents are usually too old and selfish to remember anything and they dont care that they are ruining peoples lives. and even if i didnt think you were right, people shouldn’t be assholes and put down an opinion of other people. if they dont believe it oh well, you people just go on with your lives and ruin your childrens lives and let others that actually care read this with out having to read hate comments

  234. Anonymous says:

    Either this woman is pulling our collective brain or she’s brain dead. I’m sure she’s the perfect mother and her kids are so darn perfect! I’d like to put her in the same room w/ a screaming brat and I’m sure she’ll show her true colors in less than 5min. As for little pancho, aren’t u being a bit too harsh on ur parents? Yeah, I’m sure they “messed” ur whole life on purpose.

  235. Anonymous says:

    little pancho your 17 talk when you have a child! and this article, miss know it all, you dont know it all. 1 and 2 were way off base although the 3rd not so bad, it can turn dark fast but when you tell me that when i let my children go cold that it wont get them sick you are wrong for i know that when a child gets cold it does lower thier immunity which can get you a cold and a runny nose if you were a good mother you would know that.oh and also you should mind your own bussiness if they are not your kids then BACK OFF!

  236. better parent than this moron says:

    are you stupid you are not a good parent at all!

  237. Kat says:

    I agree with number 3 completely. I remember times when I was small, my grandpa would start to tickle me, and the first time I called stop, he didn’t listen. He listened after that though, because when he didn’t stop, I ended up wetting myself on his lap. He learned that when I said stop, you better stop. And every one else did too.Not everybody is meant to be tickled. As for 1 and 2, I don’t know, I never experienced 1 as a child, and for 2, I lived in Texas, it was hot most of the year, and I always wanted a jacket when it wasn’t, so I never dealt with that.

  238. BabySitter says:

    Okay, so I’m 18, and I know this lady is mental. First off, this whole article is bogus. A child’s memory doesn’t start to stick together until around age 2 or 3, depending on the child. Of course they are going to be apprehensive about meeting somebody even they have already met them. Telling your 1 1/2 year old to hug relatives is not prostitution. It’s a hug for crying out loud, two-year-old’s will hug each other randomly. Asking your kid to hug a relative is A LOT different than asking them to hug a complete stranger on the street. Number 2 is completely insane. A kid would rather freeze than stop playing. If they do get to hot they can always take the sweater off later. BTW being cold lowers your immune system which makes it easier for you to get infections DUH. I wonder what would this writer suggest a parent do when their 4-year-old takes three bites and says they’re full?? It’s not like parents are loading up their kid’s plates with mountains of food and expecting them to eat all of it. I used to try and pull this trick with my mom because I “didn’t like” the food. Half an hour later I would come back begging for food and my mom give me the exact same thing and I would eat all of it. The whole tickle thing is nuts. Tickling your kids can help you two bond together. Granted, tickling them too hard for too long is bad, but most parents know what it is too hard and what isn’t. I don’t see why she would freak out if her friend’s kid screamed at 6 months, babies scream all the time. I’m sure any parent would know that. It is the PARENTS job to recognize what scream means what, not the friends. Besides, if they are that young they aren’t going to remember. Oh, by the way, most porn stars are ACTRESSES with BODYGUARDS there to make it stop if anything gets out of hand. The title is there to catch the viewers attention, like crappy titles to blogs where the writer doesn’t know what they are talking about :) .

  239. true story says:

    i really don’t get how anybody can read this article and think “pshh this doesn’t apply to me i know what is best for my kid and if i say ‘eat all the food i have decided for you to eat’ my kid better do it” feeding the correct types of foods is one thing but forcing quantities that the child doesn’t want is the reason we have so many obese people in the world people CAN lose touch with the signals they receive from their body when it has eaten enough

  240. genius says:

    the post down here by ‘babysitter’, who is apparently some kind of prodigy because she knows how everything works at 18, seems like the rantings of a child giving very vague, completely hypothetical and untrue counter-points to some very well thought out and correct information from this article

    just because you were not affected (or do not recall being affected) by any of these points doesn’t make them any less of a reality

  241. Anonymous says:

    “genius” think not!

  242. genius says:

    if counter-points on my behalf are necessary then here you go (this all seemed very obvious too me maybe not so much to others): lets start with the beginning this article has nothing that would lead you to believe it was geared for children of the age group she stated aside from one or two of the examples but that doesn’t make it any less relevant to 4-10 year olds or even teenagers obviously it is a different situation asking a child to hug a relative as opposed to a stranger but the fact still remains that it isn’t the child’s choice to be affectionate and many parents are not aware of how this effects the still developing brain, obviously a child would not think about the jacket if its attention is on play but that is the point of reminding them about it not forcing them to wear it as detailed in the OP, as for the example of the 4YO that takes 3 bites and says “i’m full” that is how our bodies are made you eat small quantities many times a day there are a lot of fat people because they train their metabolism that it only receives food a few times a day and in large amounts so it needs to store fat for the intervals a healthy person (like myself) eats 8-12 times a day in small amounts which is how most kids eat when not influenced otherwise i am going to skip the tickling thing because the OP had enough info and is just being ignored by ‘babysitter’ and skip right to the fun point clearly this 18YO knows all about the porn industry (obviously sarcasm) most people call these “BODYGUARDS” “PIMPS” anyone really involved in that would know that things won’t get out of control unless you decide not to say “hold on this is too much for me” because its not a bunch of drunk frat boys trying to ravage someone, for my final counter-point since obviously ‘babysitter’ isn’t up to date on child development just because a baby isn’t going to recall any of the events it experiences does not mean they won’t have an impact on how its brain processes things in the future

  243. Natalie says:

    Irony? The Angry Author commending someone who opens with “reading these makes me want to shoot people in the face.” Thanks, Jennifer–you basically just reified everything I’d said in my previous posts. Brilliant!

  244. Natalie says:

    redact the “in the face” from the quote– but, still. Violence, commended, but please don’t make your kid hug somebody. Jennifer seems perfectly well-adjusted.

  245. Natalie says:

    And the only thing I took away from KB’s story was that that’s how SHE was made to feel. She uses ‘you’ as if that’s the result for all children. But I was “forced” to give affection when I didn’t want to. To this day I’m not a very affectionate person (my own personal belief is that it stems from being stuck straight into an incubator where I spent the first month of my life)– but that never made ME feel like I had (or have) to give something of myself. I don’t use my affection as currency, nor do I use my body as something I have to give to them to make them happy. All it just made me feel like I had to be polite. And there’s nothing wrong with that, despite the tenor of this article–which is just an angry browbeating when there are words that could be placed elsewhere. (say, to rail against the fact that 1 in 4 children are molested in this country). I think that KB and Jennifer (as I’m sure her parents did this stuff to her, otherwise how would she have ANY knowledge about how it affects people) are the EXCEPTION, not the RULE. The RULE is that most kids turn out just fine despite these things.

  246. Barney says:

    Yo, Jen — You published a memoir, and that makes you qualified to tell people how they raise their kids?

    Many parents worry FAR too much about their child’s self-esteem. I teach at a college, and I work with kids who’ve been coddled too much by their parents. These kids lack drive and dedication, they can’t except constructive criticism, and they think they deserve an “A” just for turning in an assignment.

  247. VALKNYR says:

    THIS IS NOTHING BUT BULLSHIT.

  248. RevO says:

    This is the most uneducated, unsupported bunch of foolishness, i have ver read. Your opinion on raising children is “Let them decide how to reat peopel, how to act, and what to do.” You don’t want to raise children, you want to watch them. Your approach will lead to more damage than anything you speak against. Children need encouragement, guidance, discipline, and examples to follow. They also need adults to make decisions for them. Why? Because they are CHILDREN!!!!

  249. d4ddy says:

    Wow really? So now tickling my kid makes me an abuser and telling my kid to hug her grandparents makes her a prostitute? Yea you’re an idiot.

  250. David says:

    I don’t know why we always try to “refine” the way we raise our kids and we always read thousands of new study about raising kids and what to do and what not to do with kids. I think the simpler and clearer we are with our kids the better adults they’ll become. What I mean by that is that it’s important to teach the good things that we, as a society, agree on like honesty, loyalty to country, helping other member of society, and other basics. And everything Jennifer mentioned in this article is releavant to age, family structure, and other factors.

  251. chocolatewaffle says:

    When I was a kid, I don’t remember being forced to give out hugs and kisses. I don’t remember being tickled mercilessly. I don’t really remember being touched very much at all. Maybe that’s why I crave affection so much now. My parents weren’t the affectionate type so I didn’t really get much as a kid. I do understand about the tickling. My ex husband did that to my kids and I remember them screaming for him to stop but also laughing at the same time but when he did finally stop, the laughter quickly turned to crying. So, the writer does have a point with that one. But I can’t say I agree with hugging your child or asking them to hug a relative is asking too much. And as other viewers have said, a kid is just that. A kid. It’s our responsibility as parents to teach them to put on a jacket when it’s cold or to eat the food that we go to the trouble to purchase and prepare for them. Wasting food is really something that really irks me. Sure, let them decide what’s good for them and what will keep them healthy. That’s why there are so many little brats running around now. People haven’t forgotten how to make kids but they have forgotten how to be parents.

  252. Jennifer says:

    Natalie you bring up an important point: that one in four children in our country are molested. Likely you know that 90@ of childhood sexual abuse comes from someone the child knows. That is one reason why it is very important to respect children’s instincts about who they want to hug. If you go to a child safety site like safelyeverafter.com you’ll find that the number one “play it safe rule” is I AM THE BOSS OF MY BODY. Number 7 is I dont have to be POLITE, if someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. Its okay to say NO… even to a grownup, if I have to.

    Pattie Fitzgerald who is founder of the company recommends parents help their children UNDERSTAND their bodies are their own by telling relatives who want a hug: “We’ve really been working with Sarah on the Boss of my Body rule. We’re teaching her that she doesn’t have to kiss and hug everyone, and we really appreciate your help in this…”

    Thanks for brining this up.

  253. whateve says:

    LOL? I grew up in a hispanic culture where i kissed and hugged people i didnt even know. I’m 12 and i have no self esteem problems. I always loved to be tickled. And as for the cold thing it never bothered me to have a sweater on, because if i ever took it off i would have lost it.

  254. LAME says:

    This whole article is bull. The tickling issue may be true, but it’s not that severe. Write on another topic, because you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

  255. no says:

    There is a difference between letting your child decide who to hug and not to hug and letting your child be a self-absorbed snot. Children should say hello to their grandparents when they arrive. Hugs are just usually a part of that in an affectionate family. Children have to be taught what to wear and what is necessary for certain climates. Why not just let them run out of the house naked and let them figure it out? Actually, why bother raising them at all? Just let the newborn fend for itself. Eventually, it will figure it all out and be perfectly normal. As far as tickling, ok, here I will admit I agree partially. I have never been a fan of anyone tickling me or subjecting anyone else to tickling. It is not fun for anyone and sometimes borders abuse…and sometimes crosses the line.

  256. Alessandro Simone says:

    In America, parents have the freedom to raise their children any way they please. The fact is, a lot of parents are hurting their children without even knowing it. Current research in educational psychology states that children benefit from guidance, but that it shouldn’t be forced, as if children were lower-status human beings; it has to be encouraged. Moreover, parents need to spend more time listening to their kids enjoying quality time with them. Doing so helps parents interact with children as subjects, not as if they were almost pets or animate objects. Parents are often unprepared to have children – they think they are these cute, loveable animals. In reality they are human subjects like us, waiting to be considered and listened to. Parents are either too laid back and uninvolved with their children or too aggressive or authoritarian with them. No wonder so many grow up too disturbed (either from parental inattention or over-controlling parents) to function well in school, and become unhappy in life and in need of psychotherapy. Our government needs to stand up for children and adequately delineate amongst fair and unkind ways of dealing with them on the part of parents, teachers, and other athority figures.
    Here is another thought – children often rebel because they learn through their parents about how socity uses and judges people.

  257. Magus says:

    Dude… my parents need this article. I’ve never heard the tickling thing, and I doubt it’s much of a huge issue(although it doesn’t surprise me to learn that tickling was used as a form of torture). However, as for the forced eating and forcing your kids to put on a jacket, that hit the nail right on the head.

    I hate wasting food just as much if not more than anybody else, but if your child simply can’t eat it, forcing him to do so isn’t going to help. I know sometimes kids will say they’re full so they don’t have to eat veggies or just because they don’t like something. That’s totally different. Also, I think it’s important to make them eat some vegetables, but you can’t just shove it down their throats. The more you force something, the more the person will resent you for forcing it and hate whatever you forced on them. Plus, in some cases, I could see how the kid would misunderstand and end up being conditioned to just force as much food in his/her mouth as possible, which wouldn’t be helping the obesity problem we have in this country.

    As for the jacket thing… I agree a parent’s job is to teach their kids, nobody’s saying it isn’t. But if YOU feel cold and the child does not, there’s no reason to force him to wear a jacket. If I had a penny for every time my parents complained about what I wore(because they thought it was cold and I didn’t), I’d be a damn millionaire. I’ve ALWAYS been one to appreciate cold more than most people I know and also one to be bothered more by the heat. My parents NEVER understood this, and it still bugs the shit out of me to this day. And to make things worse, if I didn’t wear a jacket, they would always hold it over my head… “Don’t come crying to me if you get sick then!” I’ve been telling them for the longest time, you get sick from viruses, bacteria, and pathogens, not from lack of wearing a coat…

  258. Magus says:

    My parents never forced affection on me either. I think I got enough of it, not too much, not too little, but one thing my parents definitely did is pretty much only ever bitch at me if I did something wrong and never praise me when I did things right. I can’t honestly ever remember a time when I got the feeling my parents were proud of me. And while I realize that the world is much much larger than my stupid little family, I have self esteem issues today because of it. A lot of the time, I feel worthless and shitty, like I can’t please anybody, and it drives me insane.

    My parents were also very controlling. They tried to make me have a bed time til the day I moved out. When I lived with them, I felt like a pet more than anything, and I often wondered why they even bothered having me at all if I was just some dog to them.

    The thought of having my own kids is so ridiculously scary to me. I don’t feel prepared for it at all because I generally feel like I can’t do anything right. I feel like nobody appreciates anything I do. But I know that if I do have kids, I’ll try my ass off not to be anywhere near as controlling and nazi-like as my own parents.

  259. Magus says:

    To all the people complaining about this article, saying things like “omfg, she has no credentials!” Well, wtf do you do to get “credentials” for telling people how to raise kids anyway? Everybody’s different, including children. How you raise one will not necessarily work with another, and this lady makes good points.

    She’s not suggesting that we should just let kids do whatever they want, but rather that we don’t have to be control freaks with our children, and some of you are outraged by that… It’s one thing to completely ignore a relative, and it’s completely different to simply not want to give them a hug… And rude or not, not all relatives are always even deserving of being acknowledged… What if uncle Tom is molesting little billy? You really expect him to hug uncle Tom? Then you’re gonna make it worse by forcing it? Are you retarded?

    If you truly love your children, you will love who they are and not sit there and force them to do everything, treating them like a pet. They are human beings, not dogs. Yes, they need guidance, and YES sometimes you have to force them to do things. But you also need to know that there is such a thing as enough/too much.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but the more people try to force me to do things, the more likely it is that I will NEVER do them on my own, and the more likely it is that I will do something the person forcing me will be extremely pissed off about.

    So go ahead, be control freaks, ignore this article, call her a nutjob, and push those buttons. But then you’ll only have yourself to blame when your kids hate you and have no respect for you whatsoever.

    Respect is to be earned… by EVERYONE, with no exceptions. If you want your child’s respect, you have to earn it. That doesn’t mean cater to their every whim. That simply means trust and believe them, and let them make some decisions for themselves.

  260. Magus says:

    One last thing, and then I’ll shut up, I promise… This isn’t entirely related, but I was reminded of it when I read this article.

    When I was younger, my mom used to tell me to smile or ask me why I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t angry, and I wasn’t frowning, pouting, or doing anything to indicate that I had any negative emotions.

    Maybe I’m just weird, but there’s this thing called NEUTRAL, and it’s what I am pretty often, especially when I’m at work or just sitting around the house with nothing to do… You know, when I’m bored, or just nothing is pissing me off or making me happy…

    Anyway, to this friggin’ day, people tell me to smile/ask me why i’m not smiling/ask me why i’m pissed… Just last night some girl at work said I look grumpy, and I’m just like “uh… that’s news to me. Whatever.”

    Don’t try to force your kids to smile, for christ’s sake. A smile is a reaction, an emotional response to what is happening to you and how it makes you feel. It is NOT some thing to show off to your mom when she commands it. I HATE when people tell me to smile. Stop that shit!

  261. Bug says:

    This is the most rediculous thing I have ever read on parenting. Or on anythng for that matter.

  262. emama says:

    I can remember situations growing up where my mom comforted me by telling me “it’s OK” and it actually made me feel better. I was very high strung as a child and I needed that reassurance from someone I trusted. The meaning to me was it’s GOING to be ok, this is not as bad as I think it is, and my mom (who I love and trust)knows it so it must be true. Please before you judge strangers, realize that all kids are different, and their parents know them as individuals better than you do. Just because some stranger in the park doesn’t handle a situation the way you would does not mean they are bad parents, or even doing the wrong thing.
    The damage you claim parents do to their children is exaggerated. No parent is perfect, and hopefully you don’t think you are or else you are deluded and every bit as self-righteous as you come across in the article. Many children who endure tickling and unwanted kisses from relatives and (gasp) have to wear a coat when they don’t want to, turn out to be strong, confident, loving, well adjusted and successful people.

  263. pulp says:

    one size fits all……NO! when i was a teenager my father started talked to me and acted like i was so much greater than i could imagine and would stand in aw of me…. never understood it but it has forever made feel like i can do anything and everything and i have.

  264. Kory Anders says:

    This article is almost total bullsh@t.
    Teaching your kids to be sociable is not prostitution.
    If your kids don’t want to hug grandma you should ask why. They might have a good reason. Maybe it’s because she smells like old-lady, or like cats. Or maybe the kid’s just not the “huggy” type. But teaching them to be nice to their grandparents is not wrong. Half of life is doing things you don’t really want to do(like work) & the other half is being gracious to others. You won’t get very far in life acting like a selfish, ungrateful @$$-hole. Kids don’t develop good manners & social graces by themselves, they have to be taught them. You can tell people who were never taught good manners because they are selfish, ungratful @$$-holes who make life miserable for everyone around them. Besides, how are the kids even supposed to know that their grandma wants a hug if she isn’t allowed to ask for one?

    Telling your kids to eat their food is not wrong.
    If kids could choose their own food they would eat nothing but cookies & candy. If your kid is really full you shouldn’t force him to over-eat, but most kids will say they’re “full” when they’re supposed to eat healthy foods, then turn around & stuff themselves with desserts. They weren’t really full, they just wanted junk food. Telling your kids what & what not to do doesn’t make you a “know-it-all”; it makes you a parent. That’s part of the responsibilty of having kids. If little Timmy wants to touch the stove while it’s hot shouldn’t you tell him “no that’s hot”? Kids don’t know anything; they have zero life experience, & can’t care for themselves, or make good desisions. As a parent it’s your job to use your experience to teach them those things & keep them from harming themselves through ignorance. Obviously, kids don’t need sweaters when they’re not cold. But as a parent it’s nessesary to know what’s best for your child, because they usually don’t. If children were born knowing how to take care of themselves & become successful adults there would be no need for parents at all.

    Tickling your kid is not torture.
    If they don’t like to be tickled, or they ask you to stop, then it would be mean to keep tickling them. That’s just common sense. Some kids LIKE to be tickled & think it’s fun. Wouldn’t it be “torture” to those kids if their parents suddenly refused to play their favorite game with them?
    The Chinese & Japanese also used a type of water torture where drops of water would contstantly drip onto the head of the person who was being tortured. Does that mean that making your kid take a shower is also torture?
    Anything can be turned into torture if you want it to be. What about Barney the dinosaur? Isn’t having to listen to that insipid “I love you, you love me” song every g@ddamn day torture?

    What kids (& adults) really need today is alot less “self-esteem” (aka pride, arrogence, ego, etc) and alot more common sense.

    Why do you think there are so many Narscissists out there today? They’re products of the self-esteem building “movement” from 10-20 years ago. They are the self-worshipping “me” generation who think only of themselves. And they are selfish, conceited @$$-holes.

    Maybe we should try building up character in our kids intead of all this “self esteem”. Maybe if they learn character when they’re young they will grow up with plenty of self-confidence (not self esteem) without turning into @$$-holes, & jack-@$$es.

  265. Natalie says:

    Honestly, Jennifer, you do bring up a good point about the fact that most kids know their molestors. It’s tragic and disgusting and disturbing– but a quick hug in front of family is a far cry from being molested. I agree, kids shouldn’t have to be POLITE if they feel uncomfortable or scared. But, at what point does that simply degenerate into an excuse for kids to be insufferable and outright RUDE because they’d rather play? Kids don’t always NOT want to hug people because they’re scared or uncomfortable. Sometimes they’re just stubborn—And right about now I’m quite thankful that I decided NOT to become a teacher, because the way kids are being raised nowadays is turning them into absolute MONSTERS. I do volunteer work with children aged 3-5 and every year they get ruder and ruder. Sure, Politeness isn’t necessary, but it sure as hell makes your kid a lot more pleasant to be around. After all, it’s in our nature as humans to be selfish. We must be taught to share–we must taught to be considerate. And telling kids that they can pretty much do whatever it is they want is doing a real disservice not only to THEM — but to everyone else that has to interact with them as well, including friends, teachers, and other parents. Bottom line, Jennifer? Forcing a kid to hug a grandma doesn’t mean you’re a pimp. (forcing your kid to hug a mall Santa Claus? Maybe.) And tickling a kid? Doesn’t mean you’re a torturer. But if that’s what you feel you need to do with your daughter–by all means! Do it. But your degeneration into disrespect isn’t serving anybody anywhere. But do feel free to post another blog in say, 12 years–by then you’ll have some solid proof on how your theories and advice actually work.

  266. Natalie says:

    Besides that, your point in this article wasn’t that “forcing children to hug grandparents or random people” could possibly turn into a more serious compromising position for the child. Your point, instead, was that forcing them to do these things will drain a child’s innate desire to express love. Then we’re supposed to infer that this will create lasting damages to the child’s self-esteem, or that he or she will learn to use his or her body and/or affection as currency. Molestation or the susceptibility to molestation this could create isn’t mentioned in this blog at all. So, if that’s such a big concern as to why children shouldn’t be forced to dole out affection, why not mention it? It’s by far your most convincing argument (parents still aren’t pimps), and yet you don’t bring it up until I bring it up for you? Anyway. Like I said, I basically think you wasted a platform to effect change–rather than toning down the browbeating, you bring it full force. These points could’ve been interesting. Maybe they could’ve even helped someone change. But, we’ll never know, now.

  267. Poser says:

    This is hilariously awful. Hilarious in that the author is embarrassing herself and awful because, well, it is ridiculous. I cannot even take it seriously and think the author did it to drum up controversy and as self-promotion. When your credentials include that your married to the Geico caveman, how can you be taken seriously on parenting? BTW, she is just rewording and recycling old arguments from Watson (the psychologist) and doing a terrible job at it. I hope she doesn’t have kids, because she is going to learn when they grow up, when it is too late, just how wrong she is.

  268. Marcia Clodfelter Cross says:

    I, too, have a visceral reaction to children being mistreated. I was initially quite surprised at all the vitriol thrown your way. I do understand and appreciate the concern of some who suggested a more appealing approach would have been more palatable. What many found abrasive I found both appropriate to the subject matter and welcome non-minimizing and non-dismissive consideration of very real and lifelong feelings of the 25 out of 100. While I am glad if there really are 75 out of 100 who have not been down my road of molestation and abuse, the sad truth is our perception of the world isnt just bottom-upbuilt of objective observations layered together in a logical way. Its top-down, driven by expectations and interpretations.

  269. Dee says:

    Jennifer Lehr- Write an article on why you think America’s children are spoiled and out of control. I’m curious to read your opinions. And curious to see how many angry comments you receive on that one! The comments I read are hilarious!

  270. Jennifer Williams says:

    I’m sorry but telling my daughter to manners by being civil and recognizing someone’s presence is hardly comparable to teaching her that it is ok to have sex with a stranger.

  271. Jennifer Williams says:

    misspell: * to HAVE manners *

  272. Rachel says:

    I can’t believe someone is self righteous enough to imply that parents are emotionally crippling their children by making them wear sweaters and hug their grandparents. Does this woman even HAVE children? Because they will, at a certain age, play with their own poop. She’s giving them a little too much credit, in my opinion.

  273. ryepie says:

    I think most of the author’s points were intended for people that are really controlling and take things too far.. or at least I’m trying to give her a LITTLE credit. We all no some jackass that won’t stop tickling you until you are crying and can’t breathe. Thats not ok. But tickling in general, just a little bit to tease your kid or joke with a friend or sibling is pretty normal behavior no matter who you are. The eating thing – I do think its a good reminder that sometimes kids really do know when they are full and should trust their own bodies. If they say they are full because they want dessert, not healthy food, and you don’t give them any dessert, maybe tomorrow night they will be a little hungrier. I think that should be common sense. Or is that a form of torture too?
    And your child may or may not know when he/she needs a jacket and its ok to trust them, but its also ok to tell them they have to wear a jacket when its below freezing. Kids are stubborn and sometimes they won’t admit their cold because they want to rebel.

    Also, to Mother of 3 and Halley. Mother of 3 – I agree with everything you said. You have to set boundaries and earn the respect of your children. If you spank (not hit) a kid once, you most likely will never have to do it again. Kids can entertain themselves in so many ways, so taking a toy away (even if its their favorite) just doesn’t have the same effect. When I was a kid I actually liked time-outs because I would pretend I was in prison. What I did not like was soap in my mouth for swearing or a spank on the butt. I learned quick with those punishments. Spanking is NOT child abuse.

  274. Jennie Maynard Tilton says:

    I do agree with Jennifer about the “one more bite.” But on the hugging Grandma and tickling, she is just the master of hyperbole! It will be interesting to see how her children are as teenagers. I don’t think people who only have pre-schoolers are qualified to write parenting articles.

  275. Coralie says:

    Wakling in the presence of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  276. Ceridwen Morris says:

    Wow. I’m appalled that so many of these comments are so hostile and dismissive. I found this piece really interesting. Sure the language is provocative, but surely our generation of savvy, blog-reading parents can handle it. Life is dull, use the word pimp. Come on. (I especially liked point #2.)

  277. Isabela eMisa says:

    @ Jennie M. T
    So you’re saying paernts with pre-schoolers shouldn’t be writing articles about… pre-schoolers?

  278. Little Pancho says:

    Why can’t people just comment and not offend? You people that are talking shut are fucking assholes sorry for my French but it’s true this lady is giving her opinion and I know I may not even have kids though u guys wouldn’t know that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. Adults always talk about children as if they we stupid little dogs. They are HUMAN not dogs. Gosh u guys sound like stupid dogs seriously I hate it when people just love being assholes and feel like they can attend people and I know I may be affording you bit shit like all you old people always say I don’t know shit about respect but obviously u don’t either or ud respect her opinion so that makes u as young and stupid as me! Also if you are such know it alls and say that’s this author is wrong y would you be reading this article in the first place if you weren’t seeking advice to parenting? And you honestly don’t know about your children and is they have probe I gots probe but I hide em and ma parents don’t suspect. Your children could be lying to you. I believe she’s right but even I I didnt I wouldn’t be bashing on her and telling her she’s wrong

  279. Little Pancho says:

    By tHe way she is trying to convince people. SHES SUPPOSED TO SOUND LIKE A KNOW IT ALL that’s what persuiasive writing is about dumbasses

  280. Random says:

    BidOuts.com is being sold…

  281. Jonesie says:

    I think Little Pancho has demonstrated why children need more boundaries, as well as proven that our schools are vastly underfunded.

  282. Little Pancho says:

    See there you go again thinking ur above people younger than you and if you think school are underfunded donate some money and stop complaining so much.

  283. PleaseDontListenToThis says:

    The points made in this article (especially points 1 and 3) are over-analysed, paranoid and lets face it ridiculous. You’re applying grown-up, perverted logic to innocent children’s activities. I sincerely hope no one reads this article and takes it on board. Seriously.

  284. Anonymous says:

    This article made me laugh. It’s as if she’s “boxing-in” all children to as to what they may or may not be feeling under these particular circumstances. If she walked up to me in a restaurant and spouted off such nonsense, I would ask her to mind her own business while shooting her the finger(from under the table of course). Crazy people. And if people don’t like reading negative comments, then don’t read articles written by stupid people.

  285. Anonymous says:

    just to tell here…that we must give respect to the author..no one is perfect. if we don’t like this….please don’nt say any bad words here…

  286. Josette at Halushki says:

    As a parent of older children, it is actually possible to expect your kids to hug their grandparents and not have to put aside money for therapy. Stronger characters are built to develop and endure under much harsher duress.

    Self esteem, as we are finding out with our teen and pre-teen, has far, far less to do with “Good Job” and negotiating to the point that our children’s emotions take precedence in all situations, and this is possible even as preschoolers and toddlers.

    Self esteem is primarily garnered through the child’s own hard work and accomplishments, and that too is true even for toddlers and preschoolers. Give them room and support to succeed with a also a good breadth to fail and pick themselves back up again, and they will develop self esteem no matter how many grandparents they are forced to hug.

    And I will agree: any advice not asked for is bad advice in that the listener will never hear you, and most likely dismiss unwanted advice as that of a kook, no matter how based in your own emotion or even scientific fact. That’s my advice. Take it or leave it. ;-)

  287. HintonRenee says:

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentBite.com

  288. Anonymous says:

    I think this is good advice and pretty original… If people don’t like it don’t talk bad. As the anonymous said have respect. She is voicing out her opinion you don’t need to bring her down just because she’s not you and doesn’t think they way you do. Don’t expect for your children to respect others when you can’t do it yourself.

  289. dv says:

    My brother just spend $ 20.46 for an iPad2-64GB and my friend paid $ 32.67 for a XBOX 360 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also buy a 17 inch Toshiba laptop only for $ 80.63. Its the website from where we get all these http://doiop.com/BuyOnDiscount

  290. Gloria Sedano-Sarabia says:

    These are some things that many parents will probably never even think about on their own. It’s hard to understand how it’s all true by reading it, let alone conjuring up the idea about it on your own. This is a great article and I definitely recommend parents take a look at this.

  291. Williams says:

    microsofts conference destroyed playstation i dont know what all you fan boys are talking about haha xbox is innovating and sony is in the rear view@MikZee, I just paid $23,98 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $37,59 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $677 which only cost me $72,13 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentBite.cöm

  292. machow2007 says:

    I found this article very interesting, and if I don’t agree with anything else,I would say she makes a very valid points on 1 and 2. I was (an am 25 years later at times) forced to hug and kiss people I don’t want to. Can’t a sincere “hello” be appreciated enough as a courtesy when someone walks through the door? Why should I have to hug and kiss anyone besides my own husband and children when I walk through a door? My mom made me kiss and hug against my will all the time and guess what? I HATE IT NOW. Also-kids are not aliens. They are their own individuals who can, believe it or not, make SOME minor decisions for themselves. Such as putting on a sweater or deciding when they’re full. Overheating is one of the top reasons babies die of SIDS. Why people must bundle their children up like eskimos when it’s 65 degrees out is beyond me!

  293. AmandaN says:

    Interesting advice. Not sure that I agree with it.
    1. when we leave grandma and grandpa’s we ask them to give hugs and kisses, if they don’t want to they don’t have to. I don’t think that’s wrong and I certainly don’t think their self-esteem is going to be irreparably damaged.
    2. I am a know-it-all. I’m tall enough to see out the window and see the temperature and let my munchkins know whether or not it is cold out. My oldest is almost 4, I get it with him, the youngest is 1 (seriously, he can’t communicate effectively, I’m his mom and I have a responsibility). If they say they aren’t cold, we put the sweater/jacket/hoodie in the bag in case we need it later.
    3. Seriously? Come on. Stop means stop and if a parent cannot figure that out then damaging self-esteem via tickling is going to be the least of their problems. Both of my kids love being tickled, to the point that if one of them is being tickled on the bed and laughing the other comes running to “play” too.

  294. newton says:

    #1 to the extreme, yes I agree can be a problem. but in general, #1 is hogwash.

    What about teaching children that hugging and intimate closeness are positives when we greet people. That’s something American’s don’t do normally, while other countries do often (the kiss on the cheeks for example). As a result of not teaching intimate connections in childhood, we cant even hug each other comfortably as adults.

    Also, your child needs to learn that grandparents are a vital part of the family and are to be respected. That’s another unamerican concept that needs fixing. A child will often naturally ignore who enters the room, because they are transfixed on their game, TV or whatever. But to allow a child to not acknowledge grandparents or adults entering the house is a recipe for spoiled, entitlement children. There’s a difference between self esteem and the cocky smugness that we see in teens and tweens these days. And how could a child not subconsciously appreciate that love of the grandparent’s embrace? love is love, you cant get enough of it.

    The way to teach a child to be willingly loving is to drape affection and love to the child 24/7. They model after you, and if they see you do it with them, they will give love back comfortably and willingly.

  295. Katherine Eagerton says:

    I think she makes extremely valid points on each of these situations. And I find it pretty sad how many comments show how dismissive some people are to different ideas. The fact is you do NOT know how your child is feeling, you’re assuming, interpreting and basically guessing so why not be open to looking at things from different points of view?

  296. Anonymous says:

    I checked out this lady’s facebook page. She mentions the “defensive” comments and then the “heartbreaking” comments from the teens. I’ve read through most of the comments and am looking for those comments from those “teens” she mentions. I agree with a previous poster, stop worrying about other parents, I think you need to focus on your own first.

  297. sma365 says:

    I actually completely agree on all counts and it’s been very hard this year not being a pimp! My daughter in no way, shape, or form wanted to be held or kissed by anyone but me or her dad and one of my sisters. So nobody got to hold her. And if she doesn’t want to hug and kiss them, she’s not going to. I refuse to be the person who tells my daughter her body exists to make other people happy, to ignore her feelings to spare others’. There are other perfectly polite ways to greet people.
    I also feel it’s disingenuous to force physical affection. When she wants to hug people, she will.

  298. Tanya7774 says:

    I agree with the article. I’m an adult and I still remember how much I hated (and still do hate) being tickled. I also hate being made to hug when I don’t want to. As in HATE it. But it’s expected. I try not to make my 5yr old son hug, but it’s so hard becuase you feel like you’re hurting someones feelings if they don’t get that hug. Can’t a squeeze of the arm, a quick rub of the back, or a rustle on the head suffice? I also think that a lot of the issues with my weight, eating habits, and the feeling of needing to clean my plate even when I’m no longer hungry, stem from being told to eat “just a little more”. As for the putting on a sweater, I have the opposite problem with my son, he will want to wear long pants and a jacket when it’s hot and sometime I do make him take it off or wear shorts becuase he plays hard and I don’t want him to get overheated.

  299. Psychologist says:

    We need to differenciate between encouraging and forcing. It’s not wrong to say ‘go on, give your Grandmother a kiss’. However, it is wrong to say ‘go give her a kiss now!’. It’s not wrong to say “come one, one more bite”, but refusing to let your child leave the table if they refuse to eat is not only wrong but dangerous.

    Most of the time when you bring these issues up to parents you say “how would you feel if you were forced to do this?”… they then change the question and say ‘well when I did this and that as a child it didn’t do me any harm’. Of course most people forget what happened to them in their childhood, it’s past now and they’ll never have to return, but at the end of the day if you wouldn’t like something done to you, then don’t do it to another person, this rule applied especially when it comes to physical abuse (or what some may cal, “a rare spank”).

    Extra: Children are people too.

  300. Psychologist says:

    You also don’t have to be a parent to write parenting articles as some people have claimed. We are discussing the basic psychology of a human, many parents like to believe because they have gave birth to a child they are the professional of a child. However, everyone can watch the behaviour of a child, they can agree what they done, they can agree when they done it, but everyone will disagree why they done it and what needs to be done to fix it. As a qualified developmental psychologist, people often dismiss my work because I don’t have children, but what I know is the science behind their childrens behaviour whilst they all try to make up silly theories. It’s like five cancer survivors discussing why they had cancer and how to cure it, but dismissing a doctor’s advice because they’ve never had cancer before. It’s this whole attitude of “you’re not qualified to tell me how to raise my child” is the reason why many parents are damaging their child. Everyone is entitiled to their opinion, and mines is that this author has taken the fact “it’s wrong to force your child to do something they feel uncomfortable doing (this is fact)” and giving different scenarios where she feels this is being breeched. She is in no way stupid, or an idiot, and often it’s the people who use these words that are unintellegent themselves.

  301. MB says:

    While I think some comments here are valid and I doubt anyone will read my comments seeing as there are 301 already!! lol, I definitely agree with the tickling issue. However the others…why not take it a step farther? Your kid wants to wear their underwear all day, and only their underwear, outside to the grocery store, the playgroup and other places. You insist that they put on clothes…they don’t want to, they are telling you they ‘feel’ comfortable in their underwear. So, do you let them go out like that, for fear of emotionally scarring them? Or do you cancel your day of going out and getting your things done because your toddler ‘feels’ like wearing their underwear? There are some things that are parenting with guidance and some things that are forcing. There is a balance. I agree with another poster that your child is not the only one in the family and their emotions do not ALWAYS take precedence over everyone else. A family is a team and there is give and take in all situations. A balanced family will be respectful of others feelings while not letting everyone walk all over you either. Some of these things you learn FROM having kids. And to use her ‘doctor’ analogy, while a doctor who never has had cancer can definitely ‘treat’ the cancer of another patient, a doctor who HAS been through it, might be able to offer a different take on certain treatments and how it felt and worked for him or even improve the treatment. Same with papsmears lol…often times (not always) a male doctor while he can perform them, might not be the best to do it as he’s never had one done on him, a woman on the other hand who has had them performed on her, might know a little better of what is more comfortable. (and again, not always) Experience goes a long way. Take what you want from the article and leave the rest.

  302. Anonymous says:

    Wow, somebody really messed this lady up but good!

  303. Wow says:

    Are you serious? What a joke of an article.

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  306. gradchica says:

    Forcing him to show affection? I would read this as teaching him the social convention of gift giving. Many, if not most, children will not spontaneously go out and get a gift for someone else–even though they, of course, enjoy getting them. That is what adults are for: we tell them that one way we show affection and love is through the thoughtfulness of giving gifts of tangible items, time, or service and helping them to pick, wrap, and present one. We tell them how important it is for the recipient to get the gift and how they would feel hurt if they did not. This is teaching, not torture.

  307. Meh says:

    Funny how every other person is a Dr. Phil these days, is running a website that easy, seriously?

  308. kat says:

    That is the worst parenting advice i have ever seen on the internet….. seriously you should not be giving tips…

  309. Katmomma says:

    I’d really like to see some research to support that these parenting techniques (if you call them that) teach the lessons you claim. I’ll admit it–I was tickled, and my mother told me when to put a jacket on. I wasn’t forced to clear my plate. I was forced to acknowledge my relatives when they visited, though I don’t remember ever being forced to hug them.

    Some of this is just phrased really extreme…all or nothing advice articles really make me roll my eyes. I agree, kids shouldn’t be forced to clean their plates. I agree, it’s not worth it to force a jacket onto your child (though in certain places, I think you could be in danger of being reported to child protective services if they decide not to wear one in subzero temps, which my kids HAVE done). I also agree that tickling has to have limits, as does ANY physical play. No means no. With regard to socializing with relatives…I don’t think hugs should be forced–if the kid is acknowledging the relative and just doesn’t want to give a hug, forcing it is inappropriate. But what I’ve seen my kids do is completely ignore the relative–they are playing with toys and don’t even say hi. That’s rude, and part of being a parent is teaching respect and also appropriate social interactions. So it’s not as black and white as this article puts it, so I’d like some evidence to back up these claims. Not popular parenting books, real research.

  310. Si says:

    Is this for real??

  311. This was helpful for me and it really gave me allot to think about. Thanks for this!

  312. Grace says:

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  313. Donna says:

    Well everyone is allowed to have an opinion but in truth just don’t get it.

  314. catherine says:

    i have a mixed reaction to these observations.
    i do agree children should not be made to hug and kiss. they should be made to stop their play and say a polite hello to family members who have come to visit. it’s the first step. maybe they’ll want to hug later, but first they must be polite.
    i don’t agree children will eat on their own. they will keep on playing right past hunger until they’re a wreck. it is good to institute a half hour rest and wind down time before dinner so they can focus on their own hunger; they won’t have to be told to eat or be bribed once they’re able to identify how they feel after a rest period.
    similar for the sweater. if they’re too focused on play they will freeze before they put on a sweater. and yes, they will get sick if they get chilled. there is a difference between being cold or chilly and getting chilled. chilled is a vulnerable state. parents, wake up and watch out what your kids are wearing. it should be appropriate for the surrounding temperature and conditions, duh.
    totally agree on the tickling. it is torture,and it’s inappropriately sexual for an adult man to be touching a child like that. no tickling. ever. it’s sick.

  315. Jim says:

    I don’t quite agree with not showing affection unless they want to. As adults, we have to show affection some time, even when you may not want to, to give a hug/kiss when saying hello/goodbye, when someone is distraught, etc. We all do this, sometimes (horrors!) when we don’t want to. We all have to show respect to people, called being polite and kind, when we don’t want to. This is a skill that kids must learn. It’s a part of being in society and part of a family. It’s a part of getting along with others.

    As to the dressing, and I know that is only an example, there are situations where you still have to get your kids to dress appropriately for reasons of safety. Such as if it’s freezing outside, not just a bit cold, or not wearing open toed shoes for a hike, etc.

  316. Meloni says:

    ok so….obviously no one is lying about how they think this article relates to their own lives whether they disagree with it or agree with it. so if everyone is correct here, then that means that SOME but not all people are the same, SOME people can be tickled without feeling like they’re being tortured, SOME people think that it was great feeling when their parents made them kiss/hug other people that they didn’t want to, and SOME were NEVER annoyed or uncomfortable when they HAD to wear extra clothes….BUT on the other hand SOME are scarred for life/or damaged because someone MADE them eat toooo much leading to their current health problems 20-30 years later, or they now have relationship problems due to the confusing messages they received in their childhood…..So I can’t understand why anyone would admit to or make up a story about becoming scared of being tickled and feeling violated because they were helpless and couldn’t breath/peed themselves/ etc because someone was tickling them, I could totally understand how that could/has scarred someone!?!? never happend to me but I can definitely understand it happens!! SO, EVERYONE is different and should be treated as such….if your loved one doesn’t want to be touched/touch others (even if you are doing it in a loving way/well intentioned) think about yourself, If I was upset/crying over whatever, I wouldn’t want to be ignored/still touched especially if I was saying stop touching me….even if I was “laughing” the tickling wouldn’t be making me feel better or happy, I can’t imagine that anyone who was upset and crying about something would automatically feel better because someone was tickling them!??! just because the person laughs when being tickled DOES NOT indicate happiness! that laugh is just a bodily reaction….seems to me that one could go and rape another person and that person has an orgasm….but does the orgasm indicate they were having fun? and enjoying themselves?? everyone deserves the RIGHT to his/her own body! if I don’t want touched, even if the toucher “means well” I expect them to not touch me, and as an adult I understand that the toucher could get into legal trouble if they don’t listen to me, so I’m not sure why children are any different….just because they don’t know they should have this RIGHT to not be touched if they say so, doesn’t mean that they can still be violated “tickled” or “have to touch someone you don’t want to”!?!? IS THERE ANYONE WHO COULD DISAGREE WITH THIS??? NO! at least you better not, because if you do, you need professional help. And I feel the same about sleep….omfg some kids just scream for hours?!?! WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS????? to traumatize everyone involved?!? just because adults “force” themselves to sleep or not to sleep does NOT indicate that younger children/teens/babies/toddlers/infants CAN/NEED to do this….like isn’t there times where you. yes you personally CANNOT sleep, or CANNOT stay awake!?!? yes and was it at the exact same time as everyone else???? NO….children are exactly the same….if they can’t fall asleep why are we trying to force them to?!? you know how awful it already is when you can’t fall asleep, but think if someone was FORCING you to try to sleep BUT even worse, you didn’t understand what was happening that you were supposed to be sleeping!?!? you don’t know what sleep is or it’s important for your health, or even that you might feel lousy/grouch the next day?? or that it’s OK that you’re not tired thats normal sometimes!!?? or that maybe it’s your hormones aren’t working correctly, or it’s the time in your teenage life where your hormones are on a different time schedule and it’s more normal for you to fall asleep late and wake up late too but since you have to have school at a certain time you just can’t listen to your body’s normal/biological habits……. you are just NOT TIRED you CAN’T SLEEP, but you’re being forced to lay down in a dark quiet place where you get in trouble if you talk or cry….I could totally understand how being forced to lay down in a dark quiet place could be extremely scary especially if you had no clue why….would anyone be not scared in a situation like this???? I don’t think any adult who answered they wouldn’t be scared would actually know what they were talking about because they either lack imagination or sympathy and empathy or both.
    and If you disagree with this article for yourself that’s fine, but to insists this article isn’t true at all only indicates you have a problem learning, learning from your mistakes. too high of self esteem-http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=self-esteem-can-be-ego-trap …an unrealistic view of life and others in general, are a psychopath, or are so messed up that you need professional help, If you can’t agree that people are different which means someone is sleepy at a different time than you or can’t eat as much as you can or as you think they should, and if you can’t imagine that you have made a mistake in your parenting or life views then you need professional help, because no one is perfect, and even tho this article may not be true for you, it is someone else’s reality, and just as the other person shouldn’t disbelieve you, you shouldn’t think they are lying….what is anyone going to gain by saying that the way they were treated in childhood(even tho it was well intentioned and even tho it seemed like that same thing that happened to you) means they felt the same about it or that it effected them the same as it did you….it more than likely was the exact opposite because not only is everyone different but we all have different experiences, even tho they may seem similar they way we experience the event is different, take 9/11-did EVERYONE feel the same that day, was everyone’s experience the same even tho it was the exact same event?? people need to be more compassionate to themselves/each other, and realize that EVERYONE makes mistakes..including themselves!! no one is perfect!!? so don’t try to “believe” you yourself is because would you want your neighbor, politician.spouse, kid, or anyone to think that they never made a mistake, or had a wrong impression of the world??? well no one wants you to either!!

  317. Raina says:

    I think you have the right idea–we need to empathize with our children, and respect them as people. In the end, we want our kids to have self-control and self-confidence because their parents have loved them well enough. What I don’t agree with is your take on passing along information, and/or the strong words you use which criminalize parents. Mothers and fathers make mistakes–if you are teaching children to be respectful, it’s your duty to model it. It’s, frankly, “not nice” to say a parent might be “prostituting” by asking their child to give a visiting loved one a kiss. What’s your method here? Whatever it is, you can only have two results: by either guilting the person reading your article, or having them become defensive. Informing them, perhaps your main motive for writing this, falls short with your rather insulting and provocative word choice.

    For the record, I agree with everything you are saying. Tickling, if you sense your child doesn’t enjoy it, is wrong and has a negative effect (certainly there are many comments by adults on your page who have been traumatized by it); physical affection can never be initiated by anyone but child; kids need to set their own limits so they can learn the logic of what we might otherwise be forcing them to do. But instead of feeling like you’re a like-minded individual after reading your article, I just have a bitter aftertaste.

  318. Sapphyreopal5 says:

    I do see how the way this article is worded could put off a lot of people, although this woman has a lot of good points. It’s one thing to ask a child if they want to give a loved one a hug or whatever or to ask for a hug. If they don’t want to, why push the issue? A lot of people have this notion that they are somehow obligated to give people affection even when they don’t want to. What really needs to be addressed is the WHY they don’t want to give the affection in the first place, not to make them give more affection regardless of their feelings. You can acknowledge someone without giving them a hug or a kiss. Some people are just not comfortable with even a handshake for whatever reason or sometimes they would simply prefer a “hello”. Also, may be we need to evaluate why a child may feel uncomfortable giving a particular individual hugs or kisses as opposed to others. Are they really being shy because they’re a new person, are they upset with that person, or do they get negative feelings like say idk because the person is actually a pedophile? There’s many shades of gray when it comes to why a child may not want to give affection. Sometimes the process of doing something is more important than the result.

    If a child ends up being cold because they refused to wear a sweater or a jacket and complains despite your warning, that’s on them. They can learn the hard way that may be wearing a jacket now may end up sparing them some potential discomfort that could’ve been easily prevented. At the same time, if the weather is say 45 degrees, sunny, no breeze and they are moving around a lot, just because you are cold while standing around doesn’t mean they need to wear a coat like you probably would. Hold a coat for them however should they potentially want one after they’re done playing. There’s nothing wrong with respecting a child’s request to not wear a jacket or coat WITHIN REASON of course. I agree parents who say you’ll catch a cold if you don’t wear a jacket clearly don’t have a clue why people actually catch the cold or how illnesses work. Hypothermia is of course an issue to take into consideration if temperatures are extremely low. But seriously, let children learn some things the hard way again within reason. Let them make their own choices on their own.

    As for the tickling. There is a fine line between having fun and legit torturing someone by means of tickling. Sometimes there is a fetish involved when it comes to tickling (in the cases of say pedophiles). Hell, I’ve encountered men who tickled me while I was standing so they’d watch me squirm around and get aroused by it. I’m definitely NOT saying that most parents or people feel this way about tickling a younger child. AT the same time, no absolutely means no (that includes all form of physical touch).

    Yeah, by the way for the people who are talking about issues with younger generations, may be it’s the fact that forcing people to do things just doesn’t work anymore (because I don’t know, people are actually faster learners and can no longer trust authority figures as much as older generations could). Forcing people to hug, wear a coat, etc. doesn’t make them more affectionate, capable of deciding when to wear a coat, or help them make any type of personal decision with any more sense. It simply means they’re more compliant. As I said before, sometimes the process and motive behind certain actions speak louder than the actions themselves (unless you are just oblivious and are incapable of seeing past action). When aren’t younger generations more selfish, aloof, etc. when they’re I don’t know, YOUNGER? It’s natural to be more apathetic and generally disinterested in a wide variety of things and even people when you’re a teenager. Get over it.

    A lot of people who read this article completely missed the mark when reading this article. Granted the way she worded some things has room for improvement but I completely see where she comes from. Sometimes the best observations and advice comes from people who are watching from outside the sand box as opposed to actually playing in the sand box.

  319. Ummm says:

    Making your child eat? Making them wear a sweater because its cold outside? Tickling? My god what kind of awful parents do this to their child!!! When I have my own I’m going to raise it in the most poorest countries in the world. So they don’t have to eat, or wear warm clothes, or have any kinda of happiness in their life!
    I’m just kidding by the way. I have a small child. I make her finish her plate. I also make her wear warm clothes when it’s cold outside. I also tickle the crap out of her and I give her a chance at tickling me. We also play rough. And when she bumps her head I don’t cuddled her, but I always make sure she’s ok. I’m a little strict and I’m teach her to respect her elders and ask her to hugs her relatives. I think the world is a tough place and I have a beautiful little girl. I have to make her tough because when she’s grown the world won’t always be so kind. She will be a woman warrior. I love my precious girl and I’m trying to raise her to be strong and learn to cope with life!

  320. Ashley Wells says:

    Helping your children to understand these ideas, will help them learn to assess their abilities and skills more realistically and evaluate the risks they can safely take for a given situation.

  321. Kate says:

    Perfect. People don’t think about this. Tickling is torture plenty of people have horrible experiences when someone doesn’t know when to stop. I think a little is ok but you have to be careful. Usually is guys especially ones that aren’t use to kids that over do the tickles. I feel sorry for my kids when I realize every two second I’m tell them what to do and what not to do. So I switch the environment but how often do I or other people do and not realize. I see it all the time in the kid store I work at. Drives me crazy they’re being cautious and considerate and then there just being an annoying parent. I never though about the hug thing before my oldest my mother insisted on kiss and hug and of course I push him too but he became more and more resistant. It was causing anxiety for him so we stopped a few month later he’s happy to cover grandma with kiss and hugs with no prompting. I ask them to remind them if they want to give grandparents or uncles hugs but I never tell them they should and have to now. I’m sad to see so many negative comments. People just aren’t open minded I suppose. Doing these things doesn’t make you a bad parent or mean your kids will be messed up for life. But not doing these things is probability a better idea.

  322. Christine says:

    Is this woman serious!!?

  323. Lisa Reman says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Always i did great but this article really excellent and have many new thing to learn. It helped me very much for my research. Thanks for sharing with us.

  324. Victoria says:

    I came across this looking for information on handling a difficult tweenage girl. I tried to take it seriously, but just couldn’t.

    Pimping out your child — I have to agree that sometimes we have to do things we don’t feel like doing, for example, shake someone’s hand or give a hug. I’m autistic. I had to learn that sometimes it is appropriate to give someone a quick hug, a peck on the cheek or a handshake. I sure as hell didn’t associate it later in life with thinking that I had to “put out” whenever some guy wanted a little loving.

    Knowing it all — Sure, I don’t have a problem with my kids not eating every bite of dinner. But I’m not fixing them a sandwich later when they whine they’re hungry an hour before dinner, then eat three bites before claiming they’re full. And I will ask them to eat a couple of more bites because I know they’re not full. If they were, they wouldn’t be complaining they were hungry while I was fixing dinner.

    As for the sweater thing, well, I live in the Midwest. It gets cold here. Very cold. Cold enough at times that it’s not safe to go outside without a parka, hat and gloves. Sometimes my thirteen-year-old fights me about wearing proper outerwear for single degree temperatures. Sorry, but I’m more worried about social services inquiring about child neglect than I am about bruising his self-esteem when I require he wears a winter coat, hat and gloves to wait for the bus in the morning instead of the lightweight fleece jacket he prefers.

    Tickling — Yes, you do have to be careful with tickling and not go beyond the child’s limits, but to compare it to a fetish is just wrong. The people on those porn sites you listed were probably paid to make those videos and take those pictures. It’s a fake scenario. If those woman didn’t want to be tickled, they wouldn’t have taken the job.

    Your knowledge of fetishes is, like most people’s, very limited. Mine was too, until college when I had a roommate into kink. I talked a lot with him about what kink was and wasn’t. I learned that responsible people with kinks and fetishes sit down and talk to their partners about limits before engaging in any kinky play to make sure nobody is pushed further than they can handle. That’s why there are safewords, like green, yellow and red. Green means things are going great, yellow means the person may wants to slow it down and red means stop. A good power player listens to their partner and plays safely. It’s too bad people see everyone with a kink as some kind of psycho. I learned they’re just people, like the rest of us. The author should really go educate herself on alternative sexualities. I’m glad I had that one roommate who helped me to become more tolerant.

  325. Crystal says:

    I guess I am a bad parent because I am not about to provide snacks (healthy or not) all day becuause they refuse to eat their food. Then I also don’t enjoy cranky children because they refused to eat and then can’t make it to the next meal. I have also learned to examine the situation as well. If other children are playing and they just want to play. No they must continue to eat. I also watch them if they want to just leave the table and r too busy to eat they usually say I am done vs I am full. If they are pushing there food around their plate they may be tired or really not enjoy then we compermise. Blanket statements just don’t work for me cause every child is different. I have learned to read my children’s patterns and cues.

  326. Danielle says:

    I’ve been sharing these same perspectives with my family for years. I think it’s important to show respect to our children’s individual needs and limits just as we would want others to respect us. I totally support this article! The things stated in this article as concerns were the very things that were used to abuse me as a child. Thank you for writing every word that I have felt, as a child and now as a parent of adult children who know they have choices.

  327. Kandy says:

    I agree. While these are all somewhat valid points, they are overblown and could have been put much more respectfully. Clearly a very self involved author/know-it-all. She’s the friend who can’t handle her own kid’s behavior but wants to give you advice on how to take care of yours. I know the type. lol

  328. Ehartsay says:

    Since when do “basic manners” require physical touching displays of affection?

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