My column from January 2017 has been circulating ever since, accumulating over a million hits. In a nutshell, its message is simply that parents, not children, are the most important people in a family and the husband-wife relationship should greatly “trump” that between either parent and the kids. In other words, mom and dad are secondary roles. Spouse should rule, in both directions.

That is likely disorienting to most folks who are raising children today, but not to people over age 60 — folks who were raised prior to the onset of the psychological parenting revolution that has throttled the functionality of the American Family. Individuals in that demographic see that the primacy of the parent-child relationship is what’s causing most if not all of any given family’s problems, especially those involving child discipline.

How can one successfully discipline someone else — irrespective of that someone’s age — while being focused primarily on having a “wonderful relationship?” Answer: It is impossible. Effective leadership is canceled by the attempt to have a “wonderful relationship.” When relationship priorities are properly ordered in a family, the discipline (leadership) of children is simple and painless.

The column in question has generated lots of comments and questions. One such question was recently posed to me by a single mom in Kentucky: “How does your advice apply to the man I’m dating and my relationship with him?”

Given that my mother was single for most of my first seven years, I am eminently qualified to answer: The same principle and priorities apply. Children of divorce should know that they are loved and will always be protected and provided for, but both parents’ primary relationships are with other adults, not them. Likewise, kids — regardless of parents’ marital status — should be in primary relationships with other children.

Adults are diminished when they strive to be friends with children (not friendly, mind you, but friends with). Children fail to develop proper respect for adults who are striving to be liked, and child mental health is tied to respect for adults.

That respect should encompass all adults identified by a child’s parent or parents as responsible and morally upright, and with that respect should come obedience (because the adult in question is not going to give inappropriate instructions to a child). So, if a responsible, morally upright boyfriend gives a child an instruction, the child should obey.

Send emails to questions@rosemond.com.