How to Really Love Your Child

One of my favorite new blogs, Awful Library Books, featured the book How to Really Love Your Teenager today. I immediately recognized it as a sequel to a book I own, How to REALLY Love Your Child, and I was inspired to revisit this gem. I picked this book up from a discard pile, mainly because the title made me laugh. While I comprehend the intent of the book, when they emphasize the “really” part by putting the word in a different color, it’s difficult not to think that the book might be championing incestuous pedophilia.

Though I brought home the book with that joke in mind, I figured it would be tame and banal at best. I did not actually believe that author Dr. Ross Campbell would advocate anything inappropriate. And yet, as I skimmed through the book, I found that sometimes his suggestions were seriously disturbing. Take these three paragraphs from the book. I initially abbreviated them, but then decided to just put them unedited so that you can see I’m not manipulating the text or taking it out of context. Just read this and see if the described behavior between father and daughter seems not only healthy but beneficial to you:

A girl gets her sexual identity at that age primarily from her father, as long as he is living and especially if he is in the home. If a father is dead or otherwise removed from relating to his daughter, a girl must find other paternal figures to fill these needs. But when a father has any viable relationship with her, he is the primary person who can help his daughter be prepared in this particular way for adolescence. What a great responsibility!

A father helps his daughter to approve of herself by showing her that he himself approves of her. He does this by applying the principles we have discussed thus far—unconditional love, eye contact, and physical contact, as well as focused attention. A daughter’s need for her father to do this begins as early as two years of age. This need, although important at younger ages, becomes greater as the girl grows older and approaches that almost magic age of thirteen.

One problem is our society is that as a girl grows older, a father usually feels increasingly uncomfortable about giving his daughter the affection she needs, especially when she becomes pre-adolescent (about 10 or 11 years old). So as a daughter arrives at the age when she needs her father’s affection the most, a father feels more awkward and uncomfortable, especially with physical contact. This is extremely unfortunate. Fathers, we must ignore our discomfort and give our daughters what is vital to them for their entire lives.

That’s right, fathers! It might seem wrong to affectionately touch with your daughters, but you’re doing it for the betterment of them! And what about the sons, you might ask? Well Dr. Campbell’s got that covered:

The first example is drawn from Rusty, a very dear friend of mine who is mean, tough, “all man,” and a drill instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wonderfully warm sensitive wife have four boys, “stair steps.” Rusty decided his boys were going to be like him, tough and rugged men. He treated them like Marine recruits with strict and rigid discipline, no affection, unquestioned obedience, and no questions.

The last time I saw these boys each one was extremely effeminate. Their mannerisms, speech, and appearance were those of girls. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. I see it every day. Boys with rejecting, harsh, non-affectionate fathers generally become effeminate.

You think that molesting your kids is a homosexual act? Well maybe it is on a temporary level, but if you don’t do it, they’re bound to be homosexuals forever. And that’d be awful! I wonder if Dr. Campbell’s “very dear friend” Rusty appreciates this representation of his children.

To Dr. Campbell’s credit, he does think there is an excessive extent to which someone can, uh, touch his kids:

A seven-year-old girl was seen at a psychiatric clinic for frequent masturbation and poor school performance. The evaluation disclosed that the child spent much time fantasizing (day-dreaming) her mother’s death and living alone with her father. It was also noted that her father spent much time holding the child, caressing and fondling her in such a way that seemed to bring sensual enjoyment to both father and child. When these facts were gently shared with the father, his response was, “Oh my word! I just realized that when I wash the soap off of her when we’re showering together, she reacts like a mature woman.”

I would pay good money to witness a man suddenly reaching the realization that his daughter responds like a “mature woman” when he touches her in the shower. You should really love your child, but maybe not really really love her.

Still, the absolute best part of this book can actually be found on the back cover, which features a photo of Dr. Campbell’s family. Pay close attention to the caption:

Perhaps this book should be re-titled How to Really Love Your Child… Unless She Has an Intellectual Disability, in Which Case Get Rid of Her. They can’t go visit poor Cathy and take a picture with her? It’s not prison – or, well, it shouldn’t be a prison anyway. As far as I’m concerned, even if this book were filled with decent advice rather than nonsense, this photo gaff is enough to entirely discredit the contents. It sounds like Dr. Campbell needs a lesson in sensitivity from one of my other favorite books, My Brother Steven Is Retarded.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Interesting, isn't it, how we are each a product of our times. I used to have this book too, and the comment at the back about his "mentally retarded daughter" - which now makes us think exactly what you said, "why isn't she in the photo?" or "why is she in a home?" or "why was it necessary for you to mention her disability?" - in the 1970-1980s probably made us think "oh he MUST understand, cos look what he has been through!" Which is no doubt why it was printed as it was.