John Rosemond's A Family of Value presents a critical view of the child care literature of the past quarter century and argues for an end to overindulgent parenting and a return to the goal of instilling moral values, such as responsibility, respectfulness, and resourcefulness.
Rosemond, who rails against dangerous, pervasive liberal parenting values and has, according to his publisher, 400,000 copies of his books in print, writes columns for mainstream magazines and newspapers and hosts a daily radio talk show. With such a following, he can hardly be the ``heretic'' he calls himself. Nor is there much revelatory material in his sixth book (after To Spank or Not to Spank), which promotes his beliefs that children want limits, must be taught that they are not the center of the universe and need to learn resourcefulness and responsibility. Rosemond dresses up this conventional wisdom in conservative rhetoric: blaming parental weakness or ambivalence on ``ultraliberal social propaganda'' (such as the anti-spanking movement), praising Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly while vilifying Hillary Clinton and the National Education Association, and waxing rhapsodic about the good old days when no one considered blessing homosexual unions and when busy mothers were able calmly to tell their children, ``Leave me alone.'' Rosemond seems not to understand that today's parents struggle with their authority because they are without a paradigm to replace the often despotic practices of their parents. There's plenty of wisdom here, but it's delivered in a self-congratulatory, often patronizing tone.