Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Lord, It's Hard to Be Normal, 'Less You're Perfect in Ev--ery Way

(Apologies to Mac Davis)

I am a huge fan of parenting columnist John Rosemond. He has recently published a book called The Diseasing of America's Children. My upcoming book could easily have been titled, The Diseasing of America's Adults.

Rosemond has such amazingly uncommon common sense, and he is spot on when he describes the nature of the hugely problematic parenting trends that are going on in the United States these days. He's also a pro at telling parents - in public - how they are feeding into their children's problem behavior, and how to do the right thing, without making the parents feel guilty about what they have been doing. This is a talent I wish I had more of.

Still, parents armed with pitchforks have apparently come after him. When I went to hear him speak in person a short while back, he mentioned that some newspapers refuse to carry his column - I assume because he gets accused of "parent bashing." He publicly thanked the Memphis paper for carrying it.

Today's column was fabulous. He points out that the definition of a normal child has become narrower and narrower. "The mere fact that a person is lacking some characteristic or ability does not necessarily mean is something 'wrong.'" The strength of all traits like artistic ability, powers of concentration, sociability, optimism and so forth are distributed in the population along a bell shaped curve.

Statistically, most people have enough of whatever trait you can name to get through life. The mere fact that someone is lower on the curve on one trait says nothing about where they are with other traits. People who as children may be at either the top or the bottom of nature's lottery may not stay there as they get older. I believe I've read that Albert Einstein was a poor student as a child.

Rosemond predicts that at the rate we're going, it won't be long before all of the children in the US will have some sort of diagnosis by age 10, because after all, "they all have individual differences."


  1. I wonder where the problem starts - with the parents or with the educational system? The teachers are often the ones to point out that a child needs "testing" and then of course, there are a fleet of "specialists" employed by school boards to help you with your specific processing problem. Ambitious mothers are especially plentiful in suburbia and many of them will do whatever it takes to get little Tyler extra time on exams. Don't even get me started on "gifted programs."

  2. re"I wonder where the problem starts"
    It starts with the idea that childrens (intangible) minds can be diseased and treated with physical chemicals to fix the imaginary, intangible, (figurative) disease.