Living with Children: Time for a retro-parenting revolution


Our Question of the Week is, “Pray tell, what is ‘outdated’ about obedience, respect, proper manners, and humility?”

Said QOTW is prompted by numerous grandparents who have informed me that they are not qualified, apparently, to care for their grandchildren because they are not hip to the most up-to-date parenting methods.

They reprimand their grandchildren when they misbehave, for example. Or, even more egregious, said grandparents absolutely refuse to negotiate in the face of tantrums.

One particularly abusive grandmother, when her five-year-old granddaughter bit another child during a playdate, confined the little vampire to her room for several hours.

“Did you talk to her about other ways of expressing anger?” the very hip parents asked when they arrived home. Her answer being “No, I did not,” Grandma is no longer allowed to have unsupervised visits lest she further damage the child’s psyche.

The five-year-old’s therapist (aka, “enabler-for-hire”) recommended the suspension, by the way, claiming that continuing contact with Grandma might result in “setbacks.”

Apparently, the grandmother’s presence at the playdate caused the child to feel anxious, which she expressed by biting. The child was simply responding to Grandma’s palpable “negativity.” One must never forget that children misbehave not because they are inherently narcissistic, but because other people cause them to feel certain things.

Another set of grandparents allowed their grandchildren, ages seven and four, to eat GMO foods while at their house for an extended weekend. Upon discovering this nutritional catastrophe, the parents made the criminals sign a contract in which they pledged to never feed the grandkids anything but foods from a list prepared by the children’s bodyguards.

You can’t make this stuff up. Sixty years ago, who would have predicted personal computers, smart phones, and a ubiquity of parents who all claim to be raising immaculate beings who are incapable of even thinking bad thoughts.

The word “bad” is so judgmental anyway. People who use it should not be allowed to publicly advocate for a retro-parenting revolution featuring the return of families that are adult-centered, parents who are husband and wife first, mom and dad second, and children who possess respect for adults, proper manners, and inquiring minds.

Yes, folks, there was a time not so long ago when humility was the ideal, not a high level of esteem for one’s sorry self.

This business of restricting or downright barring grandparents from the lives of their grandchildren (I’m assuming the former are morally upright people who simply do not hold with a post-1960s approach to raising children) is symptomatic of the neo-progressive notion that not only are new ideas better than old ideas, but the old ideas are downright dangerous and must be erased from the record.

Despite child mental health being considerably better when children were second-class citizens, cherished but not given a vote, the new ideas are winning the popularity contest. Therefore, my advice to grandparents is rather pessimistic: Hold on to your hats. It’s not getting better anytime soon.

[Family psychologist John Rosemond:, Copyright 2023, John K. Rosemond]


  1. The condescending tone of this piece is a bit much. Grandparents not respecting their own children’s decisions on how to raise their children is the opposite of humility. If the grandparents had a bit of humility about how some aspects of parenting have changed, maybe it wouldn’t be so upsetting to them.