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Letter: Henske parenting advice off base

Published 9:43 am, Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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In his column, Money-Smart Kids ("The punishment for breaking things," Feb. 13), Tom Henske should limit his advice to those matters about which he is an expert. If he must venture beyond his ken, he should be more judicious. Let me choose just two things:

If he thinks "... the four most common words a parent will say is, `Please don't do that,' " and not, "Sweetie, I love you," he is terribly misguided. He betrays an insensitivity as a parent even further when he refers, glibly, to "Once you've gotten through the psychological mumbo-jumbo that they now teach us to use in child discussions. ..."

I can tell you there is a large and diverse population of children and parents who need and benefit from counseling and/or therapy that focuses on how to engage one's children more effectively. This often successful enterprise is grounded in science and experience.

As a psychologist, I would guess that Mr. Henske reveals he has endured difficulty in this sphere by his diction that sweeps away with the back of his hand a most valuable, humanistic service by credentialed and effective career professionals in our good community.

He ends his column by directing us to "... trust me, you'll be bailing them out well into their adulthood."

No. Your child would learn the lesson by the startling noise the crashing dishes would make, by the mess, and by your disapproval. Money -- and withdrawal of same -- is not the salient reinforcer to a child that it is for you. Rather, what your child will learn is how to be an insensitive parent, i.e., fail to benefit from your lost opportunity to have been a sensitive one.

Please stick to wealth management with adults, Mr. Henske.

Norman R. Klein, Ph. D.

Licensed psychologist

Westport