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If you have children, which of the many parenting experts have you consulted, and whom do you recommend? I'm thinking mainly of people who have written parenting books.

My wife and I recently were introduced to a parenting expert who might best be described as traditional, and my wife is very gung-ho on the advice. I find much to like in the guide as well, but I'm not quite prepared to throw out all developmental psychology of the past 30 years. That doesn't seem wise.

It's a delicate subject, and I don't want to start any flame wars, but if you don't mind sharing a name of a parenting expert, and why you do or don't admire the person's advice, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

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Thanks with the tip, Alan; I'll be purchasing this book for my church's library.

I would certainly not recommend the work of the Ezzos' (Babywise, Raising Kids God's Way, etc.). A couple of years' back, Christianity Today did a thoroughly discrediting expose of their theories, media empire, and intimidation tactics they've used against their critics. As I recall, the American Association of Pediatrics has warned parents away from their works as well.

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Thanks, guys. I'd forgotten about the Tripp book but will look into it. We inadvertently picked up a book on infant sleep habits coauthored by Gary Ezzo, but as soon as I recalled who Ezzo was, I was able to consult some old Christian Reseach Journals and confirm that Ezzo was trouble. (See, Alan: CRI's not all bad. smile.gif )

Before the discussion progresses too much further, let me drop the name of the guy I've been reading, because he's not known specifically as a "Christian psychologist." In fact, I have no idea what his religious background is. His name is John Rosemond. Heard of him? He has a syndicated newspaper column, but I don't know how widely read he is.

His thesis, as best I can make of it: The most important thing in the life of parents is not their children, but their marriage. (If the parent is single, the most important thing is the parent's individual development apart from his/her children). If two people work to make sure they have the time necessary to cultivate their relationship, and that takes away from time with their kids, the kids will intuitively understand that this is a good thing, and will feel more secure to the extent that they're secure in the stability of their parents' marriage. Therefore, Rosemond rejects the trend in past couple of decades to put our children front and center, and to think of them as the most important thing in our lives. When we do that, our kids pick up on that and wiggle their way into the marriage relationship, effectively making it a 3-party relationship and opening up and exploiting divisions between mother and father. Mothers allow the mother-child relationship to become more important than the husband-wife relationship; fathers, cognizant of this, subsequently withdraw into work or other areas of fullfillment. And the problem becomes worse.

This works out in the disciplinary approach to children, which de-emphasizes explanations and reasoning with children. The goal: helping children establish independence early on, which frees mom and dad to further progress in their marriage and other callings.

I hope I'm doing Rosemond justice here. Obviously, there's much more to say about specific ways to discipline, and particular circumstances. The book I'm reading is full of Q&As on particulars.

So, has anyone read this guy?

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I've been reading Rosemond's newspaper columns in the local Sunday paper for a while now. He seems pretty sharp, with common sense, reasonable answers to the questions that are put to him.

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Guest Russell Lucas

We're generally Rosemond fans. We've bought three of his books-- Making the Terrible Twos Terrific, A Family of Value and Raising a Non-Violent Child-- and have found them all valuable. We're generally resistant to the idea of leaning heavily on family advice types, but I think his perspective is really valuable for trying to combat the sort of groupthink that infects much of the things that are commonly said and believed about child development. His message isn't coming from many other voices, and certainly not from the folks who put out Parents magazine.

I think your summary of Rosemond's point of view is fair. His advice regarding discipline, for example, has been very helpful.

I don't recall whether I've seen any explicit statements of faith from him, though his appearances are often sponsored by or located at churches.

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Last night Sarah and I trekked to Alexandria, Va., to hear a talk by Jonathan Rosemond, the parenting expert mentioned in some of the posts above. We

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How singular that this thread should appear just when I become aware that I'll soon be needing such advice...

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Congratulations!

I have a two-year-old, and it's a frustrating but awesome thing to be a dad. My son is awesome and a lot of fun, even though at times it's very very hard.

My biggest advice is: the first four months (for me, torture) end. And: be consistent in your discipline. And: thirty years from now, don't let your kid be able to say "you never told me you loved me"

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Without reservation I recommend Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart. Tedd goes to my church, so I have met him, and this approach to parenting is challenging, effective, and Biblical.

Whoa. Degree of separation alert. Alan, my brother Matthew went to school with Ted's son Aaron and has stayed at their house on a number of occasions. Aaron writes to me at Decent Films from time to time, and I think I may have gotten an email from Ted. I even think I have a copy of Shepherding a Child's Heart in my house, not that I'm in any position to recommend (or disrecommend) it.

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