Recently I was talking about the Pearls with their To Train Up a Child book. This is a subject I cannot usually talk about without getting very angry, but I'll try not to rant too much (full disclosure - I've only read the first chapter, I was angry enough after reading that to not read the rest).
As I was thinking about it, though, it struck me that, if you strip away all the advice they give, it seems based on a faulty premise in and of itself. It seems to pit parents against their children. This is made obvious in talking about how you must train children to obey immediately, and praising situations where children aren't seen or heard at all.
A similar trend can be found in what I've read of the Ezzo's work (they are the authors of On Becoming Babywise). They advise parents to have "couch time" with each other to show the child that the primary relationship in the family is the spousal relationship, and not the parent-child relationship. Again, this is pitting parent against child and vice versa, it seems.
I truly don't understand the "us vs them" mentality, though I have heard it in other places as well (such as when people tell you not to co-sleep because it might ruin your marriage). I see this as creating conflict that isn't necessarily there. Yes, children disrupt our lives, but not in a bad way. The family must adapt with each new child, as the dynamic changes each time, but it doesn't pit the parents against the children. At least that shouldn't be the case, I don't think.
I can understand, though, that if one accepts the premise that it is "us vs them", one would perhaps be more inclined to buy into the Pearl's and Ezzo's other statements regarding training children. I know that ranting about them doesn't change anything, but maybe that's also because those of us who aren't thrilled with their parenting philosophies aren't getting to key assumption in the matter. Maybe we need first to discuss that it isn't "us vs them". I don't know, to be honest, but I wanted to get some thoughts/observations written.