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Standing Strong as a Parent
Dr. Ray Guarendi gives parents permission to discipline

Dr. Ray Guarendi
Dr. Ray Guarendi speaking at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan

CLARKSTON, MICHIGAN, Nov. 10, 2009- The term “difficult child” is redundant, according to Dr. Ray Guarendi.  The well-know host of the Catholic radio program The Dr. Is In and columnist for the National Catholic Register told parents attending the Everest Academy Open House in Clarkston, Michigan, on November 8 that it is not easy to be a parent today.   He admits raising children has never been “easy,” but in today’s “microwave culture” as he called it, people want results immediately with no effort.

Parents are expected today to be “enlightened by modern psychology,” he said with a roll of his eyes.  “We think it’s typical for big people to be frustrated and guilt-ridden.”

According to Guarendi, these feelings reflect an enormous loss of authority and resolve among parents today.  He blames his own profession. “The shrinks have turned us away from ourselves toward asking, ‘What’s wrong with my child?’ We need to ask, ‘What’s wrong with us?’”

“Authority is not a bad word,” he said, “but it has been relentlessly attacked in our culture.”

Guarendi said today’s parents have been conditioned to ask, “Is this normal?” regarding their children’s behavior, rather than asking, “Is it good?”

He cautioned parents that when listening to so-called expert advice, they make sure the experts they are listening to hold a proper “world view.”  “The advice you are getting might just be opposed to God’s view,” he warns.

Guarendi said he asks his own clients what type of person they hope will be “looking back” at them at age 22.  To parents who make the excuse, “Well my child isn’t on drugs or in a gang or anything,” he counters, “It is easy to raise a “civilized” child, but raising a virtuous child is difficult.”

“You have to be that 1 out of 100 parents,” he stated simply. ”You can’t parent like the rest of
Dr. Ray Guarendi
Dr. Ray Guarendi
‘them’ anymore.  So what if your child is the only 17-year-old without a cell phone?”

Guarendi said parents have an innate sense of what they need to do, but many are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to do it.

“The easiest part of my job is giving you ideas,” said Guarendi.  “I can tell you what to do, but I can’t make you do it.  I can’t give you the will do it.”

Guarendi reminded parents that, though it takes hard work and commitment to properly discipline a child, the results are worth it.  “If you don’t discipline, you will cause all kinds of problems in your children.  You can’t establish morals and character in a child without it.”

He cautions that children will eventually be disciplined by the world if parents don’t, and “the world will crush your children,” he said. 

In contrast to the wisdom of today’s experts, he says, “While discipline without love may be harsh, love without discipline is child abuse.  We discipline because we love.”

Guarendi is aware that parents who follow his advice will be criticized.

“They’ll say, ‘You’re a little strict aren’t you? You’re too controlling.’ You won’t be understood.

But in five, ten to 15 years from now, you will hear, ‘You know, you’ve really got great kids.’”

Guarendi is the father of 10 adopted children, all now ranging in ages from age 14 to their late 20s.  He says, though some of his children started life with great challenges and each has needed different approaches and amounts of discipline, he does not consider any one of them “strong willed.”

He shares some of the wisdom he has gained through the years.  He advises that whatever method of discipline a parent chooses – whether it be time-outs in the corner for youngsters or making older children write 500-word essays on “respect” -- parents must remember that children today will regularly resist.

“The average American parent can no longer do this and get cooperation without an argument,” Guarendi said.  He suggests parents instill the “blackout rule” when children complain or refuse to do what a parent says.

“They have no grasp of what you actually control,” he points out. 

Until a child cooperates, he said, there should be a complete cessation of privileges or perks.  He said parents can legitimately withhold everything except necessities such as nutrition, shelter and love, etc., and their children will eventually figure out their parents mean business. 

Parents who wield their authority when necessary will find their job eventually gets easier.  “If you have quiet, confident authority, you don’t use it very much,” he said.  “But if you don’t, you get ugly.” And that’s when parents find themselves yelling, screaming and pleading with their children to behave.

Guarendi suggests that fathers remember to protect their wives, and not leave them stranded as the sole disciplinarian in the home.  He called fathers who leave all the “setting of standards” to mothers the “Disney Dads.”  Guarendi suggests fathers think about the following question.  “Would you ever let another person talk to your wife the way your own child does? You need to say ‘That’s not just your Mom. That’s my wife!’”

Those interested in more detail on Guarendi’s advice, or in obtaining one of the many resources he has produced from books to DVDs, can go to or call 330-896-6565.  Guarendi say’s all of his materials come with the “Springer guarantee.” 

“Your children won’t end up on the Jerry Springer show,” he quips.



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