The New York Times has found parents who admit to getting parenting advice from the “Dog Whisperer.”
In a fun story, parents explain how they extract valuable parenting lessons from the dog training techniques of Cesar Millan, better known as the “Dog Whisperer.”
This story reflects the new media focus on how today’s modern parents went astray with their kids – trying to be their friends, investing too much in their success, protecting them from every slight rather than teaching them to learn from adversity. (See Time magazine’s cover story this week “The Case Against Over-Parenting.”)
Among the comments in the story:
Allison Pearson, author of the novel “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” which explored the stresses of modern motherhood, explained how parents would naturally envy the authority of dog trainers. “My generation got itself in a muddle about parenting,” she wrote by e-mail. “We thought that obedience was the enemy of love. We didn’t want the kids to be afraid of us, but after a while we found ourselves wondering: do we have to do what they say the whole time?”
“Unlike modern parents,” she added, “dog trainers don’t think discipline equals being mean. They understand that dogs are happiest when they know their position in the hierarchy.”
I do agree with one of Millan’s mantras: You have to be both assertive and calm when correcting a dog — or a child.
But I really learned the power of keeping your cool from Peggy Skillman, my oldest child’s kindergarten teacher and my first introduction to superior classroom management. All it took from Ms. Skillman was a gentle “Friends, ” and a finger to her lips and she could hush 22 kindergartners.
If you have the time between grocery shopping and traveling, read the Times story. It’s great.