Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

Making good decisions takes knowledge and insight. These two traits increase with experience and age.  There are a few toddlers that demonstrate maturity beyond their years. However, almost all of them have to be taught, usually by their parents, about the immediate and future consequences of their behavior. In order to accomplish this sacred responsibility, the authority figure has to take charge in almost all situations.

Too many modern parents have been persuaded against their nature by today’s child development experts to allow the young child to make his own choices. According to this present approach, the child should be treated as an equal member in this “democratic family.” The child is supposed to participate equally in the decision making process although the child has little experience to understand and evaluate the long-term consequences of his decisions.

This philosophy believes, the child will learn from his experimental attempts. If he chooses to eat very little or eat only one type of food like chicken nuggets, Nutella or peas, he should not be coaxed to eat a little bit of everything to have a more balanced diet. The experts authoritatively state: he will eventually begin to eat all types of food on his own. Too often this does not happen.

This same hands-off approach applies to sleeping habits, potty training, speech, interacting with others and general listening skills. Modern children are left to their own devices practically raising themselves. This has resulted in poor decision making ability, listening skills, low frustration tolerance and inappropriate outbursts.  The ever-growing list of childhood disorders is being attributed to the mental and physiological issues with the child rather than parenting and familial dysfunction. The focus on the child instead of the parent is almost criminal. The child’s behavior is a reflection of the parent’s interaction.

This casual and permissive way of raising children does have a great benefit for parents by increasing their own time for self-indulgence. The present downside of this scheme of dealing with one’s children is that it is hard to focus on the mission when there are so many other interests and demands pulling the parents in many different directions at once. Parents lack of focus and inattentiveness to their child’s behavior and thinking handicaps them in responding to the children’s actual and present needs. Too many parents do not know their child as well as do their teachers.

The young child makes many of his own decisions without adult guidance and advice. Since they are not supervised and do not receive specific instructions they are not taught listening, organization, time management and other productive skills necessary for success. This is the major reason there is an epidemic of inability to focus. Even more damaging to the child’s development is many of them believe they can do complex activities without listening and practicing. Since they do it without listening they get frustrated and give up.  Yet a child thinks that trying something for a short interval is the same as mastering it.

This gives them a false sense of esteem and ability but does not prepare them to tackle the next more complicated task. Their frustration tolerance is not strengthened so they are discouraged to attempt more difficult tasks.  They gravitate to simple, repetitive activities in school. At home they become addicted to pressing the keys of their computer to get things done instantaneously and without any effort. The computer responds to their questions with specific answers that are difficult to put into context due to their limited experience. They become more self-involved in their own self-centered world. Effort and perseverance are not necessary in this magical world of the computer screen.

In this simulated world the child never has a chance to learn from reality where things are more complex to actually get something to work. Their thinking and behaving is not attached to what works in reality. The “protected bubble world” of the child does not allow anyone or anything to prepare him to face the real and harsh realities of life. They are shielded from accidents, natural disasters; random acts of violence, financial downturns, loss of loved ones, war and many other unexpected adversities that occur in one’s life. These realities in daily life are important to deal with in order to learn important coping skills, for which the experts who believe they are too fragile to handle them willfully deprive them.

Elders, parents, teachers, police officers, sergeants in the military and community leaders have the responsibility to step forward to teach and lead these young individuals to interact in a more accurate and mature manner. The person in charge should motivate the youngster to persevere until he conquers the particular challenge. These necessary attitudes, skills and behaviors have to be taught by someone with authority.

These people in charge assist others to be better equipped to succeed. This commitment is driven by their gratefulness towards the people who loved and guided them to ingrain the attitudes and skills necessary for success. In charge individuals feel obliged to pass it on.

Parents are the most significant authority figures in a child’s life. When they share their wisdom with the child they are doing a great service not only to them but also to the entire community and nation. These children eventually become citizens who are the backbone of our country.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio has a new book, just published entitled, IN CHARGE PARENTING. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


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