RAISING SONS: Practical Strategies for Single Mothers by Joann Ellison with Michael F. Cataldo Rodgers

RAISING SONS: Practical Strategies for Single Mothers

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Guidelines for ""behavioral parenting""--which could equally be applied in twoparent households, or to daughters--with no thought to the nature of the singlemother/son relationship beyond the insistence that no problem exists: ""Single women raising males is a good thing, not a bad thing"" (and certainly has no bearing on homosexuality). Though journalist Rodgers is identified as the single-mother of two sons (who figure as occasional examples), the book is written in the voice of ""leading behaviorist"" Cataldo (Kennedy Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical School), and represents an extreme application of dogmatic, doctrinaire behavioral psychology to child-rearing: Cataldo believes that children's feelings (like all feelings) are incomprehensible, and should be ignored for how they act. So, from beginning to end, we have techniques whereby a mother can get ""the behavior she wants in her son."" These are standard techniques--reinforcement, ""aversive stimuli,"" a set-of-rules--introduced with patronizing reference to ""scientific terms"" and the substitution of ""easy-to-remember"" phrases. The one valid point, illustrated further in a how-to chapter, is that women too can be authoritative: boys don't need a male model. Otherwise, this is an instance where rigidity and narrowness could be seriously detrimental. (Any library seeking to address forms of single-parentage--viz. also Merritt and Steiner, above--should at least make sure it has on its shelves, for now, Robert E. Weiss' Going It Alone.)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1984
Publisher: New American Library