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Why Children Are The Way They Are:

Common Sense Advice for People who Love Children

Dr. Marvin Berman is the most visible lecturer on the traditional management of children in the pediatric dental practice today. His presentation are outstanding, popular, and well attended. The use of actual videotapes from his office to demonstrate his methods and success is something that every pediatric dentist should obverse and enjoy. His lecture style is one of abundant enthusiasm and his love of the interface of the caring confident clinician with the young patient is obvious, contagious, and enjoyable.

Dr. Berman is a busy man. He did not have to make time for this submission but as a friend he did. I treasure this submission and forward it as one of the reasons that this volume of JSSPD will stay on many people's shelves for the duration of their career. There is a lot of wisdom here.

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Dr. Berman with two children

A child is born and the adventure begins. What should I do with this bundle of joy? When we buy an appliance or a car or a toy, it comes with instructions and warnings. In the workplace we have signs that say "hazardous or poisonous". But there are no warning labels or instruction books that come with a baby because God in his or her infinite wisdom figured that "if birds do it and bees do it and even educated fleas do it", we can do it. There was a time when parents employed their natural instincts, suspect as they were, to raise children to be responsible adults. Today parents are confused by plethora of advice spouted by well meaning child "experts" who are having major problems coping with their own children. Ginott, Dreikurs, Spock and others have given

birth to a whole new thought process. Children are people too? He'll outgrow it! Don't spank! Take a "time out". Spend quality time...quantity doesn't matter. Don't raise your voice or your child will learn to be loud. Don't say anything negative...positive reinforcement only. Give your child choices! Give your child self-esteem. You should be your child's best friend. As a result, parents have become paralyzed and paranoid, unable to make basic decisions about the simplest issues.

Children are more self-centered and inflexible, thinking, mistakenly, that the world revolves around them. Good behavior used to be a moral and expectation but mow it has become a psychological problem. One thing leads to another and suddenly we need mind altering drugs and psychological counseling for the kids and the parents. This confirms the possibility that something is wrong with you, that you're sick and that you need medicine and treatment to make you better. In the last ten years, there has been a 25% increase in the number of children, five years old and younger, diagnosed with alleged mental problems such as depression, ADD, obedience deficit disorder and hyperactivity. Ritalin, Zolof, Prozac and Valium are being used liberally with these kids as a shotgun diagnosis and treatment. Drugs for a population that can't pay attention.

Do you remember when you were told, "there is NO excuse for that behavior." Now, there are excuses for everything. Parents justify their child's inappropriate behavior with one excuse after another. He's tired. She's just a baby. He's got a cold. She's shy with strangers. Since the child now has an excuse for the screaming and crying and you as the dentist don't...YOU are to blame for any unpleasantness during the dental visit.l In days gone by, your mom would say something like "get in there and behave yourself and don't embarrass me." You were expected to behave.

Children can sense if you are insecure,

with no courage for the commitment to the time and effort it takes to give proper guidance and nurturing. So they have no respect for parents, or teachers or police or dentists for that matter. In fact, they challenge every figure of establishment or authority. Why then are we surprised when we read about teen violence? There were plenty of early warning signals before the Columbine High School tragedy. Those kids did not suddenly become capable of doing harm to their fellow human being. Everyone ignored or made excuses for inappropriate behavior that occurred years before. The world doesn't teach true life lessons necessary for survival. That's the job of the mother and father. I'm reminded of the cartoon depicting the mother tiger telling her baby "be good and be strong because it's a jungle out there."

Love is important and necessary and a given, but love is conditional and sometimes tough. There are strings attached an you should learn that principle when you're a baby, not when you start school or at your first visit to the dentist, or as a teenager in court on a drug charge or as an adult going through your divorce proceedings. Can we make any sense out of this state of affairs? Let's try.

Heredity Versus Environment
The Case For Heredity.

Are we born that way or do we get that way after our parents do their thing is an age-old controversy. We know that we can inherit physical characteristics from our parents, that it's likely that we can inherit the tendency to be short or tall and to be talented in music or mathematics or to be good athletes. Is it difficult to believe that we also can be born with certain personality traits? Those of us that have had more than one child know for a fact that every child is different. One likes to be held and cuddled and the other needs to be moving around. One is so sensitive and cries at the drop of a hat. The other is stubborn and defiant. Child rearing is not a mathematical equation. Two plus two does not always equal four. Though all of your children are living in the same house...(read more)


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