At a speaking engagement, I was told that several parents refused to attend because I am not an advocate of “gentle parenting.” That implies that I proselytize for “rough” or “harsh” parenting, which I do not.

Curious, I went to the internet, and after discovered that so-called gentle parenting is nothing more than a rebranding of the same old child-rearing philosophy that got us into this mess we now call “parenting.” It is what I call “postmodern psychological parenting.”

It is postmodern because its proponents care nothing for truth or fact — in this case, research has established that children reared prior to the 1960s were much happier, far more emotionally resilient, and possessed better mental health in general than children raised since. Its contentions rest on discredited psychological (more specifically, humanistic) theory.

According to its proponents, gentle parenting involves treating children as equals, having them participate in family decision-making, giving them a plethora of choices (as opposed to commands) and explanations, and never, ever telling them that something they did was wrong. Gentle parents are not authority figures; they are “partners.”

They say misbehavior is not the child’s natural inclination. If the child does something that is — I cannot for the life of me figure out what word should be substituted for “bad” — punishment is not an option because punishment identifies the behavior as precisely what the behavior is apparently not (i.e., bad) and assigns responsibility to the child for that which must not, at all cost, be termed bad. According to the gentles, children behave badly only because their adult caregivers have failed to “connect” with them.

Along with a good 98 percent of children raised in the 1950s, I was not raised by gentles. From early on, I was raised by people who treated me as if I was intelligent and resilient enough to accept full responsibility for my behavior, which was often — GASP! — bad.

If misbehavior is not a child’s inclination, how is it that youngsters who’ve never witnessed acts of violence will hit people when they don’t get their way, slap and even bite other children in order to possess their toys, and act demon-possessed when they, the parents, do not obey?

This gentle parenting flimflam is nothing more than a rehash of the unmitigated balderdash that mental health professionals have been peddling since the late 1960s.

Family psychologist John Rosemond: http://rosemond.com.