Here’s the overview of John Rosemond’s SEASONAL MODEL OF PARENTING: from my own parenting experience, I found it to be totally accurate and appropriate)
SEASON 1 - is aptly considered and called the SEASON of SERVICE and lasts from 0-24 months. Can any of you moms especially, relate to this title? Mothers provide 95% of the service during this season, as the child is the center and parents orbit in a constant mission of tending and doing as caregivers to keep the child alive and his needs met. The parents are indeed servants during this time. Micromanagement is required, especially on the part of the mother, with the father being the “parenting aide”. Mom is focused on the true needs of her child: food, nutrition, water, shelter and protection.
Then there is a “TRANSITION YEAR” (from 24-36 months - give or take a few months on either end) when the parents are transitioning from being servants to being leaders and authority figures. It is a time of adjustment for the child too, as he is being made to understand that he is not, after all, the center of the universe and his parents are not in his world to jump at his beckon call (which has been his total impression during the first two years of his life). Needless to say, the little princes and princesses do not enjoy being dethroned…so this can be a very rock time and to some degree or other, humans refuse to be dethroned (wouldn’t you agree?). Rosemond addresses this particular time period in his book entitled, Making the Terrible Twos Terrific, which we highly recommend.
Let’s face it, how many of us, more often than not, want our way? Be honest!
Unfortunately, the reason why so many of today’s children are seen as rebellious, petulant, moody, argumentative, self-destructive, and see themselves as the center of the universe is because they were never moved behaviorally and/or emotionally into creative childhood from toddler-hood. In other words, we as parents never transitioned from the Season of Servanthood (Season 1) into the Season of Leadership and Authority (Season 2). We never took Junior out of the limelight. And yes, now is the moment when you can look wide-eyed, and be shocked at what we just said- we all indeed are responsible for a great deal of the frustration and anxiety we experience with our children. Our involvement is over the top. We fight our children’s battles for them, lie in their beds (so to speak), paddle their canoes, and stew in their juices when they’re the ones who should be taking ownership of a great many issues that creep in.
But look at this again. We need to be able to use those phrases I referred to in my last blog post. We need to allow our children to have accountability and accept responsibility. Rosemond states that he finds, in all of his international speaking opportunities, that moms admit more and more often to being frozen in a perpetual Season 1 as servants! Honestly, that’s as a result not only of societal pressure but our own misunderstanding of our responsibilities as moms! Consequently, children often remain “toddlers”, stuck in their thinking, attitudes and emotional behavior, retaining toddler characteristics indefinitely because we haven’t encouraged and facilitated the growing up process.
Interestingly, many of the symptoms of ADHD are typical toddler characteristics such as short attention spans, failure to complete tasks, destructive or impulsive behavior, defiance, moodiness, distractability, and the tendency to throw tantrums, etc. (But that is another topic for another day!) That is not to say that there aren’t legitimate diagnoses of those disorders, but we agree with Rosemond who claims that they are being handed out quite liberally these days by the psychological community. (For more on that topic, pick up a copy of “The Diseasing of America’s Children” by Rosemond and Ravenel.)
Rosemond asserts that “60 years ago, by the time a child was three, he had (as expected) appropriately grown out of this toddler stage. In the 1950’s, by the time a child was in school, he had experienced mom’s gentle, loving firmness and developed a clear understanding of expectations and a clear view of women and mothers as authority figures.” However, there is tremendous validation and social pressure nowadays to parent by pleading with children to cooperate, begging with them to listen. Mothers don’t tell these days; they cajole, encourage, plead, beg, implore, beseech, petition, ask and supplicate! Mothering with authority is not happening anymore. (And might I add, that there is a big difference between being an authority figure and being authoritarian!)
Just out of curiosity, do you believe that your children are little angels who are innately good? How many of you are going through “the terrible twos” right now? Has your two year old started strutting his stuff? Now can you tell us, what happened to your little angel? At two the child awakens to his individuality, his separateness, and understands for the first time that he is his own person. The child translates this as: I AM! And now he thinks he is your superior and you are here to do his bidding and when you don’t …well…As John points out, God in his infinite grace, mercy and wisdom has gratefully distinguished humans uniquely from all other species in that we do not grow to full size in two years! Could you imagine dealing with a 5’10”/ 180 pound two year old demanding a cookie?
If this is resonating with you, tune in tomorrow to hear about SEASON 2 - The Season of Leadership and Authority! Until then…