Dump Rosemond and get a real doc

It is dismaying that you distribute John Rosemond’s columns in your newspaper and refer to him as a psychologist. He does not hold a doctorate and fails to meet the minimal educational criterion to be licensed as a psychologist in Georgia.

Rosemond makes wild claims that have no basis in scientific research. For example, in last week’s column he stated, “Rewards and punishments work very reliably and predictably with dogs and other animals. They do not work such with human beings.”

This is patently absurd. There are reams of experimental research data demonstrating both enhancing and deleterious effects of behavior modification on humans. Indeed, a reinforcing stimulus provides the reason most people go to their jobs each day. It takes only seconds of reflection from anyone reading this letter to identify a personal behavior she accomplishes to receive a reward rather than for some intrinsic value.

Only two columns ago, Mr. Rosemond advocated a specific behavior modification program to the parents of an indolent adolescent replete with rewards and punishments. He is not even consistent with his own advice.

It is bad enough that Rosemond delivers folksy advice based on nothing more than his nostalgia for Eisenhower-era parenting. It is worse that he shames parents for seeking treatment for children with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, etc., declaring that some kind of tough love will miraculously remedy all ills.

We may be living in a post-truth political age, but whimsical parenting advice that violates peer-reviewed research findings is not only false, but dangerous.

The Citizen already publishes psychological columns by Greg Moffett, a therapist who holds a valid Ph.D. and who – except on the rare occasions in which he offers a political rant — dispenses rational, evidence-based advice. You would be wise to dump the pseudo-psychologist and stick with a real doctor.

David Aycock

Fayetteville, Ga.