Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England, once said, “One of the great problems of our age is that we’re governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

Quite so, and it is equally accurate to say that “one of the great problems of our age is that children are being raised and educated by people who care more about their feelings than they do their thoughts and ideas.”

The child’s feelings have been the paramount consideration in both spheres since the late 1960s, when parents became persuaded that they should no longer take their cues from their own upbringing, but from psychologists and other mental health professionals. As a consequence, the focus of American parenting veered sharply away from training the child’s character and mind toward that of protecting his feelings from insult (i.e. disappointment, failure, embarrassment and other basic facts of life) and elevating his opinion of himself.

Proper parenting, the new experts said, was a matter of being sensitive to and acting in accord with the feelings that issued from one’s child. Psychologist Thomas Gordon, author of “Parent Effectiveness Training,” the best-selling parenting book of the 1970s, said that because children do not like being told what to do, adults should not tell them what to do.

Research psychologist Diana Baumrind’s decades-long study of parenting outcomes finds that the most well-adjusted children come from households presided over by parents who loving but unequivocally authoritative — parents who, in other words, adhere to a traditional (pre-1970s, non-psychological) parenting model. The mental health of America’s children has been in free fall since the 1960s. Compared with the child of then, today’s child is much more likely to become seriously depressed, commit suicide or become a bully. A

Unless they are governed by reason, feelings are unruly and destructive beasts. People who are ruled by their feelings say stupid things, make stupid decisions, and fail to learn from experience. The current epidemic of “cutting” among teenagers is a prime example of feelings run amok.

For more than a generation, children have been encouraged to express their feelings rather than taught to control them. They’ve been told that all feelings are valid, which isn’t true. The end result of this mis-education in feelings is young people who believe their feelings trump the feelings of others.

When all is said and done, the child mental health crisis in America is the result of raising children who have lots of emotions but no emotional resilience. They’re full of self-esteem but have little respect for others.

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Source: The State –