I stared at the computer screen wondering when the punchline was going to appear, but this was no joke. I was reading about "consensual parenting.''

For kids, the movement is like landing in Disney World and it sends them this message: There is no authority. You call the shots.

The tenets are basically this: Everyone's wants
and needs are equally valid, regardless of age. Children can be trusted
to know their own minds and bodies. Punishments and rewards are tools
of manipulation, unneeded when family members work as a team.

Devotees study books such as "Unconditional Parenting'' by Alfie Kohn and Marshall Rosenberg's "Nonviolent Communication,''
and they consider parenting based on punishment and reward structures
to be "coercive." In contrast, "consensual" parenting is

According to proponents, children should be allowed to do what they
want, when they want it and not be hassled by adults (their parents) to
do anything that might feel "uncomfortable." If, say, 3-year-old Johnny
hits another kid in the playground, he should not be forced to
apologize until it feels "authentic."

One parent makes it a practice of letting her son know what her intentions are, "and asking him if that's going to work for him."
Another lets her four-year-old decide what she's going to wear every
day even if that means wearing her Halloween cat costume through

Still another would cancel a doctor's appointment if her kid isn't in the mood to accompany her to the visit.

I could go on and on with more exasperating examples, but you get the picture.

We all give in to our children now and then, but to make this a routine
practice is illogical and sends kids a dangerous message.

To me, the entire movement is based on plain ignorance regarding a
child's developmental abilities. Anyone with common sense knows that a
3-year-old does not have the emotional capacity to feel guilty for
hitting another kid. It's the parents job to teach him the difference
between right and wrong. And that include teaching him to own up to his
behavior and say "I'm sorry."

Aside from bad parenting, this movement can result in raising kids who
believe that the world is going to conform to their wants and needs and
anything short of that is unacceptable. Imagine their rude awakening
when they get to school and have to follow a teacher's orders.

I wonder how far parents are willing to accept this parenting style.
Will it be ok with them when their kids refuse to do homework or go to
school because they're "not in the mood." Will they allow their
6-year-olds to go to bed each evening without brushing their teeth if
they don't feel like it? If their child thinks midnight is a good
bedtime because that's when they genuinely feel tired, is that ok too?

Parents say their lives have gotten so much easier since adopting this
style. Of course it has. They have completely eliminated conflict from
their lives and relinquished their job as a parent. No one said it was
easy to hear a child's tantrum when you say"no," but you don't just
throw your hands up and call it a day.

That's just plain lazy. It's akin to letting inmates run the asylum.

And I can't help but pity these children, who are being given a
position of authority that they are not qualified to have. Studies show
children need rules to feel secure – no matter how much they may say
otherwise. It shows them you actually care for them.

In my opinion, you are doing your child a disservice when you stop being their parent and let them run the show.

So, to all you parents out there considering consensual parenting,
please heed these tenets of parenting: Use your common sense. It is not
your job to be your kid's friend. Children are born not knowing the
ways of the world, and it is the parents' job to teach them – even if
that means having to punish them so they can learn.

The rest is just a cop out.

Source: The Star-Ledger – NJ.com – http://tinyurl.com/cx5bw3