BYH to the members of the 514 for going to guard and support our country's illegal international prison at Gitmo in...

Parents not responsible for making children happy


John Rosemond


John Rosemond

Sunday, August 5, 2018

When baby boomers get together, we often talk about our observations of parenting in these postmodern times, one of which is that today’s parents seem, as a rule, to want to be liked by their children, to want to be their children’s friends. That, we agree, is very odd. We ask, “What is lacking in the life of an adult that they want to be liked by a child?” Furthermore, what could it possibly mean that a child — an emotionally immature, ignorant (no matter how smart) human being — likes you? Or, at any given moment in time, does not?

Well, to begin with, it means to the parent in question that he or she is doing a splendid job. Being liked by one’s child is the measure of a parent these days, or so it seems. If you are not liked, then you need correction and you will know when you have corrected yourself sufficiently when your child begins to like you, or like you again. It is indeed odd that grown-ups — or supposed grown-ups — think in those terms. (If you happen to be one of the parents in question, and you are offended at my characterization of you, fine. Offense may be prerequisite to your coming to your senses.)

What is so bad about wanting to be your child’s friend, the reader may ask. It is an excellent question with at least five bads:

First, a parent’s task is to raise a child out of childhood into adulthood. To accomplish that requires a parent who acts capable of the heavy lifting often required. The parent-friend lowers himself to his child’s level (the child, after all, cannot rise to the level of the adult), thus rendering himself so incapable.

Second, a parent who desires, above all else, wonderful relationship with one’s child is incapable of delivering effective discipline. Discipline, if it is properly corrective, does not make the recipient feel warm and fuzzy toward the agent of correction. That is contrary to the intent of having a wonderful relationship because the overarching rule of such is “Thou shalt never make thy child upset at you.”

Third, and for the reason immediately above, the parent in question allows himself to be manipulated by his child’s emotional output, which becomes, over time, more and more uncivil. Said parent interprets his child’s emotional outbursts as evidence (a) he has done something wrong and needs to correct it or (b) that something is wrong in his child’s life and he needs to discover it and fix it. That boils down to the child being in complete control of the relationship. The parent-child relationship, therefore, is inverted, which is bad for both parties.

Fourth, we have defined a codependent relationship in which said parent becomes an enabler. In this case, the job of the adult enabler is to always make sure his child is happy.

What’s wrong with that? a reader shouts.

Because that is not in your job description, which says you are to prepare your child for responsible living in the real world, and the real world is full of disappointment, failure, loss and other stuff that isn’t “happy.” Accepting those realities is to become emotionally resilient, and emotional resilience is key to personal satisfaction. It is more important than success. Truly happy people are not in codependent relationships with dedicated personal enablers. People who are being enabled have not had to accept full responsibility for the state of their lives. Their enablers are the responsible parties.

Fifth, enabled people almost always think of themselves as victims. Enabling always fails. No amount can defeat life’s realities. So, enabled people are unhappy; either angry unhappy or depressed unhappy.

All of which is why I am convinced that the post-1960s phenomenon of parents trying to be their kids’ friends is a major contributor to childhood, and especially adolescent, mental health problems.

If you think you can defend your attempt to be your child’s friend, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at radio@rosemond.com. If I use your defense in a future column, rest assured I won’t use your name.

Contact family psychologist John Rosemond at his websites, www.johnrosemond.com or www.parentguru.com.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 15, 2018

The Leroy James Farmers Market Vendor of the Week is Smith Produce.

The farm is owned and operated by Jerry Smith and his daughter Cassandra. Rashaun, Jerry’s grandson, also helps with the family business. Smith Produce Farm is located in Blounts Creek in Beaufort County. Jerry, 82, has been…


August 15, 2018

If you’re looking for new place to hang your hungry hat, then I have the place for you. Newk’s Eatery just opened at 516 S.E. Greenville Blvd., and it’s fantastic!

Every meal is made-to-order in an open-view kitchen. The diverse menu offers toasted sandwiches with flame-grilled…


August 15, 2018

Q: I had a heart attack recently, and my health care provider is trying to get me to go vegan. I never paid much attention to my diet, but I am willing to try to make some changes. I might be able to be a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but I don’t see myself giving up dairy products. I love milk,…


August 15, 2018

Q I would like to hear your thoughts on what happened with a girl I was dating for two months. We went on dates every weekend, where I also stayed at her place. We texted each other during the week. On our last date, she said I don’t text enough and that she had started to chat with someone…

Carolyn Hax

August 15, 2018

Late summer reaps bushels of peppers in a kaleidoscope of colors and a crooked assortment of wiggly shapes. I shop with my eyes, because the first thing I do when I get home is pile my peppers into a bowl, where they do double duty as a decorative centerpiece on the kitchen table before they are…


August 13, 2018

Library events

Sheppard Memorial Library, 530 Evans St., will host the following events. Call Call 329-458.

■ Movie matinee, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

■ Board games family program, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

■ Bedtime story hour, 7 p.m. Thursday.

■ Baby and Me Story Hour, ages 18 months and younger,…

August 13, 2018

Pitt County Schools

Pitt County Schools' first day of school is Aug. 27. An open house will be held Aug. 23.

The schedule for open house is:

Elementary schools, 4-6:30 p.m.

K-8 schools and middle schools, 5-7:30 p.m.

High schools, 6-8:30 p.m.

St. Peter

A pre-kindergarten and kindergarten open house…

August 13, 2018

Several Pitt County 4-Her’s were among students honored during last month's State 4-H Congress in Raleigh.

This year’s 4-H Congress had more than 500 youth and their adult leaders participating in activities including oral presentations, leadership and citizenship workshops, state and…


August 13, 2018

Chicod School’s Fiona Hollard was recognized by the Pitt County Board of Education at its Aug. 6 meeting for her selection to the Junior Eastern Regional Orchestra.

This is the highest honor for middle school orchestra, Daniel Walker, Chicod’s band and orchestra director, told the…


August 12, 2018

Q I am stepfather to my wife’s only child, age 8, from her first marriage. My wife always and in every way puts her son before our marriage. We went through counseling several years ago and things got better for a while, but then began slipping back into child-comes-first mode. Believe me, we…

264 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»