When I posted about "Dogs don't moo" at Democratic Underground, Democrats_Win shared a pertinent detail that makes the web site make a little more sense--explaining that it is in response to pro-gay campaign ad.
The campaign’s star is a puppy named Norman who says “moo” instead of “woof.” Campaign organizers said Norman’s story is a metaphor for gay people.” The Springs are seen nationally as a battleground of social issues,” said Bobby Rauzon, a spokesman for the ad campaign, the Gazette reported. The ads will appear only in Colorado Springs, home to Focus on the Family, an anti-gay conservative Christian group. The idea is to stimulate discussion, said Mary Lou Makepeace, director of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, which is based in Colorado Springs and funded by the Gill Foundation.
It is a neat ad. But with this new information, I find the ad even more troubling. It fits a larger pattern that I have seen in people like Dobson--if your very existence flies in the face of the world as they want to see it, you are perceived as a threat. You must be dismissed or explained away. You are disposable.
I've written about this before, and this seems like a good time to revisit these issues...
I have some pretty strong feelings about Dobson and his kind of Christianity, but before I'd ever heard of his religious views, I had been put off by his views on parenting.
I first heard about James Dobson when my kids were younger. Actually, on a particularly challenging outing to the grocery store, a smiling woman in front of me in line handed me a small piece of paper with a book suggestion for me: The New Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson. At that point, I knew enough about Dobson to know that this was her way of saying, "Those kids need to be smacked more often!" I am convinced that our nation's overreliance on punitive "teaching" methods is a big part of our problem...but I will need to address that issue in more detail at another time.
Nice. I don't know of any dog behavior experts who recommend the belt method. Go here and click "Aversives for Dogs" for a PDF listing more humane suggestions. Neither is physical punishment recommended for improving the behavior of children--sure, you will find some, like Dobson, who maintain that it's a good idea. Me? I think I'll listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics before I take his advice.
I find Dobson's advice especially troubling because I am the parent of a "strong willed child". It is my belief, both from my experience with my child and what I've read about children with similar characteristics, that Dobson's approach would be counterproductive.
For some kids, this is a recipe for escalation of the problem. Ross Green's concept of the explosive child was very helpful for me in understanding kids like this. And Gordon Neufeld's concept of counterwill affirmed something that I had already suspected. What appears to be "willful behavior" in fact, it reflects an absence of a well integrated self and "will" as well as an environmental experience of being overrun by someone else's will.
Kids like this need help learning self-control, coping skills, shifting gears. A while back I watched a video featuring Rick Lavoie, an expert on learning disabled children. He gave an example of a friend of his who has a daughter with a learning disability. When Rick was at the man's house for dinner, the daughter said something inappropriate at the dinner table. After the girl had been sent to her room, he asked (I'm paraphrasing from a sketchy memory here), "If she were doing badly in a sport, would you punish her or coach her?" Rick Lavoie recommends a technique he calls a "social autopsy" as a teaching tool for children with social skills deficits.
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:29 PM