In The Hallowed Halls Of Family Education Centers, It Is Out Of Line To Call Dr. Brazelton A Quack

Today during Parent Discussion Time at my class, we watched the remainder of a video we started last week. The film features that modern-age Dr. Spock, T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. Dr. Brazelton, pediatrician and renowned expert on child development, tried valiantly to show us wayward parents the correct way to discipline our kids.

It was tough to watch the film in the first place, because Brazelton looks disturbingly like Jimmy Carter. Brazelton even has that same, slow, plodding way of speaking, minus the southern accent. When I did tune in, I saw examples like the following:

(camera is showing 3-old Billy and his mother. Billy is reading a book and doesn't want to be disturbed. His mother is trying to convince him he needs to go use the bathroom because, well, it's been awhile.)Brazelton says (I'm paraphrasing): Billy's mom is trying her best to get him to go to the bathroom. He resists, and she pushes the issue. Tempers flare. Billy's mom eventually backs off, even though she knows it may mean a pair of wet pants later down the line. And yet, look! When the pressure is off, Nature takes its course. (Shot of Billy using a potty chair)

Hey, I'm sure that happens in whatever Utopia Brazelton's from, but in my house, if I backed off, my two-year-old would wet his pants and come away with the conviction that Mom caves in if he puts up enough of a stink.

Brazelton is also a major opponent of spanking, because "spanking only teaches children that violence solves problems."

My first thought was, "Well, bombing the rice cakes out of Hiroshima sure seemed to help 'solve' World War II," but I get the point. I'm not a fan of spanking either. But I have a hard time swallowing the notion that a well-earned swat on the butt to get a kid's attention does nothing at all but teach a bad lesson.

There were many good things to take away from the video. I especially liked Brazelton's suggestion that you tell a misbehaving kid, "I'm going to continue to stop you from doing this until you're able to stop yourself." I mean, it sounds corny, but it would make you think a bit if you were a kid, wouldn't it? What does she mean? Is she serious? If I do this tomorrow will I get the same story? If nothing else, it would be a temporary distraction.

I came away with a few new "tools" to use in my "Parent Tool Belt" (yep, that's really how we talk in class). But I think if I need any more advice, I'll just ask my mom. After all, I turned out pretty well, no? (Don't get wise; I'll shut down the comments.)