The child's happiness is al I-important, the psychologists say, but what about the parents' happiness? Parents suffer constantly from fear and guilt while their children gaily romp about pulling the place apart. A good old-fashioned spanking is out of the question: no modern child-rearing manual would permit such barbarity. The trouble is you are not allowed even to shout. Who knows what dccp psychological wounds you might inflict? Certainly a child needs love, and a lot of it. But the excessive permissiveness of modern parents is surely doing more harm than good.
Lax authority over the years makes adolescent rebellion against parents all the more violent. If the young people are going to have a party, for instance, parents are asked to leave the house. Their presence merely spoils the fun. What else can the poor parents do but obey?
Children are hardy creatures (far hardier than the psychologists would have us believe) and most of them survive the harmful influence of extreme permissiveness which is the normal condition in the modern household. But a great many do not. The spread of juvenile delinquency in our own age is largely due to parental laxity.
The psychologists have much to answer for. They should keep their mouths shut and let parents get on with the job.And if children are knocked about a little bit in the process, it may not really matter too much. At least this will help them to develop vigorous views of their own and give them something positive to react against. Perhaps there's some truth in the idea that children who' ve had an excess of happiness in their childhood fail to make a success of life.