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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 7, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, Nferwvy THE LETMIHIDQE HERALD -8 Dr. Spock and firmness in child-rearing By Joyce Egginton, London Observer commentator NEW YORK Dr. Benja- min Spock will sometimes recall that his own childhood was not particularly joyous. He remembers it as a secure and spartan existence in a large Connecticut house where the six children slept in bedrooms so chill that, on occasion, their chamber-pots froze over. With a certitude that her now envies, Mrs. Spock believed that she automatically knew what was best for her children by the biological fact of being their mother: her upbringing of them was governed by discipline and devotion. Years later, when her eldest son was making a name as a New York pediatrician, her only comment'on his best-selling book Baby ac J Child Care (the first child-rearing advice she had ever read) was, "Why Benny, it's really quite sensible" which he regarded as praise indeed. Recently, in a highly controversial article, Dr. Spock, now aged 70, has urged a return to some of the parental guidelines which prevailed in his boyhood. At the same time he blames child psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, social workers and "pediatricians like myself" for persuading parents that the experts know best with the result that, contrary to his mother, many parents now regard themselves as ignorant and incompetent. As a result they lack the confidence to instil discipline, and their children are often balky, pesky and bratty (Dr. Spock's "This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on fathers and he writes in the American magazine, Redbook. "Of course we did it with the best of intentions by giving talks and writing articles on child-rearing with the idea that these would be helpful. We didn't realize, until it was too late, how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self- assurance of parents." Yet it was to give mothers assurance that Dr. Spock published his baby book in 1946. It has since sold more than 20 million copies and been translated into many languages, including Japan- ese and Urdu. (He often wonders what an Oriental or African mother makes of Aimed initially at American mothers who had been intimidated by the rigid teaching on child care that 'prevailed in the 1930s, Dr. Spock wrote the reassuring opening sentence. "You know more than you think you do.. and went on to complete a book which, in America, has been outsold only by the Bible. A generation ago much of his teaching was revolutionary In addition to his training in pediatrics, Dr. Spock had also done .several years of hospital work in psychoanalysis fields which were then thought to be unrelated. Benjamin Spock was a pioneer in bridging the gap between the two, explaining. "I wanted to offer parents the kind of psychological and physical care needed in child rearing. I wanted to write to a mother in a way that would reassure her. I didn't want to lecture her." Now he is fearful that the teaching of child specialists may have been taken too literally. He believes that modern parents have been brainwashed into the belief that if they are firm with their children the children will harbor hostilities and fail to love them. "For the better part of a he writes, "we've had a strong focus on child psychology. This has made parents. feel that whatever goes wrong with their child, whether it's as serious as stealing or as minor as nail- biting, means that they have mismanaged the child or failed to provide sufficient security and love They even begin worrying before their first baby is born, assuming they are more likely than not to make serious mistakes." Now it is the experts' mistakes that are worrying Dr. Spock. He sees parents as so fearful of arousing their children's resentment that they not only fail to correct bad behavior, but even smile on it as "cute." He cites the case of a couple, "unusually considerate people themselves" who let their four-year-old daughter interrupt conversations, scowl at visitors and knock over their drinks all the while beaming on her proudly. "The parents manage not to notice consciously their friends' irritation. They think of themselves as simply wise moderns who understand the importance of not inhibiting spontaneity." Dr. Spock comments that this kind of parental attitude is more common in the United States than in any other country, also that young American parents are the ones who have paid the most attention to professionals. He has worried over this a long time before he wrote the Redbook article. In an interview 10 years ago he expressed his belief that most child-rearing problems stemmed from lack of discipline, and told me "I'm afraid this parental attitude is being exported to England, like Coca-Cola." In taking the blame along with other child psychologists, Dr. Spock is probably being unjust to himself. He has never advocated permissiveness, only a respect for a chi.ld's individuality. Nor has he ever set himself up as an ultimate authority on child rearing only as a guide. As a child psychologist he is far removed from American modernists like the late Dr. Haim Ginott, who urged a constant insight into children's speech and actions that would put a strain on the most considerate of parents. On the subject of spanking, for instance, Dr. Ginott's book warns that a parental wallop could interfere with the development of a child's conscience, while Dr. Spock's book recognizes that if an angry parent refrains from spanking he or she may nag for hours instead. not particularly advocating spanking, but it's less poisonous than lengthy Benjamin Spock and his wife, Jane, have two sons, born 11 years apart. Looking back he thinks he was more strict with the first, Michael, now aged 40 though the tale is told of how father and son were once seen in New York's Central Park, the small Michael gleefully sitting in a puddle while Dr. Spock stood waiting beside him with a look of infinite resignation. Tongue in cheek, Dr. Spock describes himself as "a pretty enlightened parent." He readily admits that he is always reviewing his opinions on child rearing, and, over 28 years, has made several important revisions in his baby book. Having insisted in earlier editions that a mother's place, when her children are small, is in the home, he was persuaded by the feminist movement that a father or adequate parent substitute could serve the child's needs as well. He rewrote the text accordingly. At an age when most men think about retiring he embarked on a new career in the early 1960s as a peace advocate and a radical, deliberately risking imprisonment. Surrounded by long-haired students in frayed jeans (many of them reared according to his baby book) the tall, grey-haired doctor in his conservative dark suit, gold watch-chain draped across the waistcoat, became a familiar figure at anti- Vietnam demonstrations. He openly advised young men to resist the military draft and, in federal court, challenged the legality of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war. His awe of the terrible choices which faced this first- grown generation of Spock babies, and the importance of developing the moral strength to face them, has strongly influenced his current views on the necessity of firmness in child-rearing. In a recent revision to his book he urged upon parents the importance of bringing up children with a sense of direction, a belief in something larger than themselves. Nowadays he divides his time between writing, speaking at rallies on the need for radical politics, and sailing his 35-foot yacht in the Caribbean. He cannot visualize himself ever being fully retired, or ever saying the last word on child-rearing. His latest controversial statement is merely another stage in the evolution of what former Vice-president Spiro Agnew mockingly called "Spockmanship." But although it takes the doctor's thinking one stage further, it also conies back to what he said in the beginning. Parents know more than they think they do. Book reviews Attractive ugliness "The Projector" by M. Vaughan James (The Coach House Press, 124 This morning, after I ate my cat for breakfast and took the coffee for the daily walk, I wondered whether the sandwich had a point in pronouncing me weird. Anyway, I ignored it, put it back to bed and hung my freshly washed wife on the clothes line so she would dry. Then I picked up "The Projec- tor" and started viewing and reading it. The Uthbridge Herald think PART W PICTURE QUIZ S MINTS This former diplomat holds an Important post. Who is be? HOW 00 YOU RATE? f 1 to 100 prtM TOP SCMe w TO Mr. 90 Undwf 7 FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTION What would be the benefita and drawbacks of a shorter work week? YOUR NEWS QUZ PARTI NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Give yourself 10 points for each correct answer. 1 The Queen, Prinoese Anne, and Captain Made Phillips visited Canada Before flying on to the host nation of the Commonwealth Games. 2 Cindy Siatto, Beverley and Terri York won medals for Canada In competition at the Commonwealth Games. a-track c-sprlngooard diving 3 Sonet Communist Party leader became the highest-ranking Soviet official to ever visit Cuba. 4 At the national energy conference. Nova Scotia Premier (CHOOSE OKE: Gerald Began, Frank Moores) proposed mat the federal government set up research fund to develop new energy forms, such as tidal power. 6 Pauline McQlbbon will become the first woman to hold a viceregal post in Canada when she Is installed In March as Ueutenanb-Goveraar of a-Quebec b-Ontarlo c-Alberta PART II WORDS IN THE NEWS Take 4 points for each word that yau can match with its correct meaning. a-crittclse severely to-free from blame c-drive off evil spirits or advise or warn i .extort e-get from another by force or threat PART III NAMES IN THE NEWS Take 5 points for names that you can match with the does. JenUn rrectly Camp be .William Wbltelaw a-Premler, Prince Edward Island b-nead of federal energy allocations board c- Britain's Employ- ment Secretary d-Brltaln'a Energy Minister Energy Minister 24-74 STUDENTS Save Th's Examination! Valuable Reference Material for Exams. ANSWERS ON REVERSE MQE There was a man holding his head in his hand exclaiming and an astronaut in full parapher- nalia carrying a 19th century suitcase filled with prehistoric teeth. Mr. Gloom personified sits at the toilet, wondering whether it would be the beginning or the end, or just a string of events. Then, of course, I liked especially the congregation of four peo- ple which bad different heads (projector, typewriter, coffee table and vacuum Most degrading for women's lib advocators, the vacuum cleaner had a woman's body: the kettle wasn't boiling. When there are faces, they are ugly, distorted, without hope; facing everyday problems, torn from everyday compromises, confused by too many questions and not enough answers. Like the man who felt he was free sur- rounded by infinite rows of theatre seats with a car suspended above him out of reach; or the telephone head- ed creature, quite sure about it that it was a man. This illustrated narrative or visual novel is most in- spiring. Its attractive ugliness and abstract interpretation appears sensible, considering the all too perfectly appear- ing order of world happenings. While one can be entertain- ed about man's doings after looking through the book, one can also be lulled easily into thinking... or one can hope that man's logic will finally eliminate any real identification with these abstractions. HANSSCHAUFL Books in brief "The Carve of Time" by M. Wylie BUnchet. (Grays Publishing Ltd., 225 pages, You won't gain much in the way of pertinent information from this book concerning a family's wanderings along the British Columbia coast What yon will gain, however is a few hours of thorough en- joyment. GARRY ALLISON "The Simmer Before the Dark" by Doris Lessiag (Joutbon Cape, (ttstribrted by Clarke, Irwis Gompasy Limited, 17.25, 231 Identity-seeking seems more than ever to be a current theme in novels as well as in life and in her latest book Doris Lessing climbs on the bandwagon. Indicating that (be search is not limited to young people she chose a 45- year-old wife and mother for the hunter-after-herself. Doris Lessing is a skilled writer but I feel in this novel she has tried too hard. There is a shallowness about the situations in which she places her heroine that makes them border on the unreal. The tone of the story left me depressed. Perhaps that was its aim. ELSPETH WALKER Hidden If we guarded our integrity as zealously as we guard our possessions maybe there would be fewer locks and chains. Photo and test by David Ely Herald reporter Teacher involvement limited By Gregory Hales, local writer My knowledge of Management by Objectives is extremely limited which is one of the immediate problems I see with this most recent of educational innovations, (I wanted to say panaceas, but temperance Most of my information comes via The Herald in articles by Reg Turner and Terry Morris. The rest comes through hearsay. I'm not alone in this predicament most teachers are in the same position. This is curious-because Lethbridge School District No. 51 has long espoused the value of teacher involvement in the planning stages of any changes which are likely in the school system. Also, all current literature indicates that classroom teacher participation in the development stage of new ideas or methods of organization is essential for the successful development of that idea, since the classroom teacher is the one most affected and the one who can offer a perspective other than that of administration. But for some curious reason teachers have been left out of the formative stages of MBO in Lethbridge, (with the possible exception of Winston Churchill High School.) Central office administrators and school principals participated in a three-day workshop last fall with an avowed expert on MBO who proselytized and extolled the virtues of such a scheme. This was followed by a two-day session of administrators without the expert. Since then Management By Objectives seems to have gone underground. Gone, but not forgotten surely. Somewhere beneath the gossamer of silence which has descended on MBO someone must still be keeping it alive (perhaps with intravenous feedings from that To make this whole situation even more curious and puzzling, a major tenet of MBO has it that the system will serve to alleviate many problems in education, which seem to stem from a breakdown in communication. by making all involved parents, pupils, teachers, administrators, trustees, white rats fully aware of exactly what is supposed to be going on in the schools. And yet lo and behold, someone is keeping the whole thing secret from everyone except a select few. Another concern I have is the link between MBO and the use of behavioral objectives in teaching. These latter were developed by applying the behavionstic psychology of rats (and occasionally pigeons) to the development and learning of children. Proponents of behavioral objectives assume that learning occurs in a linear sequence common to all children. This sequence tends to be very lock-step and fails utterly to explain how a child can read, for instance, and yet apparently lack the basic phonetic skills deemed necessary for that activity. Behavioral objectives arose out of the recent infatuation with quantifying and measuring. The system has appealed especially to those who relish diagrams, graphs, statistics, flow charts, pre-tests, post-tests, facts, and figures, figures, figures. But slavish devotion to meeting behavioral objectives has the potential of sucking the vitality out of education. Learning should frequently be fun. spontaneous, non-linear, alive. Behavioral objectives could make education mechanistic and dull, resembling more likely than not the plodding monotony of the assembly line. Education is not the routinized manufacture of lifeless widgets: slavish use of behavioral objectives could make it so I repeat, what is the connection between MBO and behavioral objectives? A number of weeks ago, in The Herald. Terry Morris asked for some responses to the questions he raised in his two articles on MBO. None have been forthcoming. Had they been. I may not have been prompted to raise the concerns I have today. As Alice, during her equally mysterious adventures, remarked, "curiouser and ANDY RUSSELL Undersea life made interesting "Killers of the Seas" by Esward R. Ricchrti; (Walker sad Conpaay. m pages, distributed by Ffabeary aad It is a strange thing bow people interested in nature tend to gravitate together. When I was in New York a number of years ago, I was guest of Fairfield Osfaorn. president of the New York Zoological Society, for lunch at their private dining room at the Bronx Zoological Park. Afterward I was invited to visit their New York Aquarium where they had just placed two fall grown beluga whales in a new tank that could be viewed from the side through heavy glass. While there I met Edward RicciuU, who was then in charge of public relations and publications for the Society and we had a very interesting visit Over the following years our trails have been widely separated until recently and indirectly, when Killers of the Seas came into my hands. It is a big bonk crammed with information about sea life told in a lively way. though based on scientific fact It is opt the kind of book that will pot you to sleep if you wonder about the many fascinating and mysterious living things in the oceans, as most of as do. The author has a passion for scaba diving and oceanographic expeditions. He also has a penchant for hard work, and a fascination for the denizens of deep water, many of them relatively unknown as to character and habit and some with a dangerous appetite for men on occasion. Edward Riccrati has personally observed much of the life be talks about flipper to fin and eye to eye. while scuba diving. He tells of sharks and shark attacks, such things as the incredibly poisonous Japanese puffer fish: venomous sea snakes that are migrating through the Panama Canal from the Pacific into the Atlantic: the giant octopus reputed to have sunk sailing vessels a host of things, some legendary and some prehistoric but still alive according to reports. The author impresses his reader by an enormous amount of research, interviews with many people and his obvious exploration of a library full of scientific papers, wherein he found the material for this book Such exhaustive research speaks loud and clear of his fascination and dedication. His personal research under water says plenty about his courage He has put together a gold mine of marine and acquatic information, easy to read and vibrating with action. Killers of the Seas is well-illustrated, altogether the kind of book that a student of nature will treasure and want to keep fof referent ;