Sorry, Dear Reader: ‘The Doctor’ Is In


John Rosemond answers some common questions that he gets from parents.

More from the mailroom:

Reader Objects to My Favorite Therapist: One woman believes that I am wrong to invent "The Doctor" as a means of persuading young children to abandon certain behaviors. She believes this constitutes "a retreat from putting the responsibility for discipline on parents, where it belongs, but also casts the doctor as a mean, unpleasant person, " thus setting up physicians as people to be "disliked and even feared."

A legitimate concern, but as it turns out, unfounded. Never have I received a letter from a physician objecting to this use of his or her reputation, and the ones I've talked with about it approve wholeheartedly. Nor has any parent ever reported, in the more than 10 years since I invented my imaginary friend, a negative reaction from a child.

The Family Bed, Revisited: Lots of folks have responded, pro and con, to a recent article in which I said the "family bed" is a poor substitute for a healthy marriage.

Several respondents defensively pointed out that in most Third World countries, most families have one bed—therefore, a "family bed." That's comparing apples to oranges.

I certainly agree that such togetherness is preferable to some members of the family sleeping on dirt, hard floors, or outside where they might be vulnerable to prowling beasts. Making the point, one woman wrote that in a remote and very poor village in which she briefly lived in Guatemala, parents shared beds with their kids. But as soon as these parents came into sufficient funds, they added on to their small houses. The first addition, always, was a second bedroom.

Is Rosemond a loose cannon? A reader accuses me of giving advice that is outside the mainstream of my profession, coming close to saying that I am a loose cannon. Right, and wrong. The psychological point of view is progressive, ever-changing (some would claim it is improving). My point of view is traditional, which is to say I do not believe there is anything new under the sun. I also pull no punches. That is why I voluntarily submit every column to another psychologist and pediatrician for review. Both have impeccable credentials.

If one or both of them raises serious questions concerning something I have written, I either re-write it until it meets their approval or dispose of it. However, the mere fact that a column will raise hackles does not render it unsuitable for publication. Heretic, yes. Loose cannon, no.

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