John’s Bio, Beliefs, Family
John Rosemond has worked with families, children, and parents since 1971 in the field of family psychology. In 1971, John earned his masters in psychology from Western Illinois
University and was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. In 1999, his alma mater conferred upon John the Distinguished Alumni Award, given only once per year. Upon acceptance, he gave the commencement address.
From 1971-1979, he worked as a psychologist in Illinois and North Carolina and directed several mental-health programs for children.
From 1980-1990. John was in full-time practice as a family psychologist with Piedmont Psychological Associates in Gastonia.
Presently, his time is devoted to speaking and writing. John is syndicated in approximately 225 newspapers nationwide. He has written eleven best-selling parenting books. He is also one of America’s busiest and most popular speakers and most certainly the busiest and most popular in his field. He’s known for his sound advice, humor and easy, relaxed, engaging style.
In the past few years, John has appeared on numerous national television programs including 20/20, Good Morning America, The View, The Today Show, CNN, as well as numerous print interviews.
John’s Bio (So Far)
John was born in Asheville, NC, in 1947 to Emily and Jack Rosemond. When “Mr. Bobo” was still in the hospital, awaiting his mother’s recuperation, it is recorded in his baby book that he was visited by Lydia and Charlton Heston (who were working at the time in Asheville’s community theater and had become close friends of the Rosemonds), who brought him his first toy, a blue rubber elephant. The subtle suggestion obviously “took.”
So, the obvious question is “What’s with this Mr. Bobo thing?” While he was still in utero John’s parents began calling him “The Bobo.” When they saw that he was a male, they dubbed him Mr. Bobo. That later diminished to simply Bobo or Bo, as all of John’s friends call him today.
Before he was a year old, John’s parents moved back to Charleston, SC, where both of them had grown up. When he was three or thereabouts, his parents divorced and Mr. Bobo and his mom remained in Charleston until she remarried when he was seven. Her second husband, a medical school professor, took them to the suburbs of Chicago. John and his stepfather had their share of “issues” over the years, culminating in John going to live with his dad in Valdosta, GA, when he was fifteen. When he was seventeen and about to enter his senior year of high school, John’s father announced that he was taking a job in Augusta, GA. Rather than attend a third high school, John opted to return for his senior year to the high school he’d attended as a freshman and sophomore, Proviso West High School in Hillside, IL, where he graduated in 1965.
After a summer spent experimenting with juvenile delinquency, John entered Western Illinois University and promptly joined a rock ‘n’ roll band as their lead singer. Over the next few years, the band underwent numerous personnel changes, culminating in a band that called itself Haynor Street Mandela. During a performance in September of 1967, John noticed a particularly attractive coed leaning on stage, staring at him, or so he hoped. After the gig, they found one another, confessed their undying rock ‘n’ roll love for one another, and were married ten months later. John played in rock bands until 1972, during which time one of his bands, Herkemer Bog (remember, this was the 1960s), opened for REO Speedwagon on two occasions.By the time John finished graduate school, he and Willie had one child, Eric. Their second child, Amy, was born shortly thereafter, and shortly thereafter, John and Willie and Eric and Amy moved to Sylva, North Carolina, where John took his first job as a real, honest-to-goodness psychologist, working in a program that served children with behavior and learning problems. Two years later, in 1976, John and Willie moved to Gastonia, NC, where he became director of the local mental health center’s early intervention program. Almost immediately, he met the wife of the editor of the local newspaper, who suggested that one way to address the parenting needs of the community was to begin writing a newspaper column. “Um, okay,” John said, and that was that. Two years later, The Charlotte Observer persuaded John to begin writing for them and one year after that, the Observer placed the column in syndication.
John went into private practice in 1979. In 1989, his first book for Andrews McMeel, John Rosemond’s Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children was published. Because it was so very different in its approach than the parenting books in the market, it attracted lots of attention and controversy. Suddenly, John was receiving invitations to speak from all over the USA and even Canada and even Europe and Australia, so he left private practice in 1990 and has been full time as a writer and speaker ever since.
After writing ten books for Andrews McMeel, John wrote his first faith-based parenting book, Parenting by The Book, which was published by Howard Books (a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster) in 2007. In less than six months, PbTB sold so well that John was lured, willingly, into a three-book deal with Thomas Nelson, the biggest Christian publisher in the world. His first book for TN, The Diseasing of America’s Children: Exposing the ADHD Fiasco and Empowering Parents to Take Back Control, written with pediatrician Dr. Bose Ravenel, was published in 2008. The second book, The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works! (Note to other parenting authors: The title is trademarked, so don’t even think of appropriating it!!!). John then realized that in the digital age, he could enjoy much greater creative control if he self-published, which is what he’s done with his latest, “Toilet Training Without Tantrums,” written with Diane Kottakis.
At present, John’s nationally-syndicated parenting column appears weekly in more than 200 newspapers nationwide including The Charlotte Observer, Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hartford Courant, Omaha World-Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Raleigh News and Observer, Durham Herald, and Albuquerque Journal. “All the best papers,” John remarks, noting that the way a newspaper earns the status of “best” is to run his column (see Does Your Newspaper Run John’s Column? at the bottom of the Home page).
John is most definitely one of America’s most popular speakers in the parenting field. In a given year, he gives more than 150 talks to parent and professional audiences all over the map. His talks are provocative, informative, and always entertaining. John promises that his audiences will laugh…a lot.
John and Willie still live in Gastonia, in their modest Colonial saltbox. Eric and Amy are both happily married and have blessed John and Willie with seven grandchildren ranging in age from seven months to thirteen years. John and Willie both like to shop for antiques, travel, dote on their grandkids (Especially Willie, who has been named World’s Best Grandma, an award given annually by a parenting organization located in Gastonia, North Carolina, for thirteen straight years! Imagine that!), read, play with their Toy Schnauzer, Mazie (pronounced May-Z), and travel some more.
In 1992, John and Willie stumbled across a tiny little seaside cottage on a remote Bahamian island, population 50. They bought it and have spent the last sixteen years fixing it up. They now reside in the Bahamas, on their little acre of paradise, around four months a year, where John usually writes a book…or maybe not, depending on how well the fish are running.
All of his professional accomplishments aside, John is quick to remind folks that his real qualifications are that he’s been married to the same woman for forty years, is the father of two successful adults, and the grandfather of seven children…make that seven well-behaved grandchildren.
John’s Family (Written by John)
The major resource and inspiration for everything I’ve ever written is my wonderful family. This family photo was taken on Easter 2005. There you see me and Willie, both of our kids, Eric and Amy, and six of our seven grandchildren. Also able to make the shoot were my wonderful stepmother, Betsy, my wonderful mother-in-law, Wilma (deceased in October 2005), my sister Janet’s wonderful husband Tom, my brother Monte and his wonderful wife Diane, and my wonderful brother-in-law Bill.
How Willie and I became a couple: In September of 1967, Wilma (not yet Willie) was one of 1000 or so students who came to hear my band play at Western Illinois University. In that particular five-some, I played rhythm guitar and sang lead, no small trick for someone who has trouble chewing gum and walking a straight line at the same time. About halfway through our last set, I noticed this “chick” (excuse me, but that’s what we called women then) looking at me. No, staring at me. I started playing eye games with her, and she played right back. Now, this is the absolute truth: After the gig, I put up my guitar, turned around, and she was gone! I went back to my dorm room and lay awake trying to remember who she was standing near so I could perhaps find out who she was. She tells me she went back to her dorm room, found out my name, looked me up in the student directory, and decided right then and there that she wanted to be Wilma Rosemond. She liked my last name, it seems. She manipulated an introduction the next day, and it was LOVE at first meeting!!! We were married 10 months later and as of July 21, 2008, we will have been married 40 years, and every year has been better than the last.
Eric is 42 (at this writing — Janurary 2011). He runs the aviation department and flies corporate jets for a local corporation. He and his wife Nancy live in Gastonia, about five miles from us, with their four boys, Jack, Patrick, Thomas, and sweet baby James.
Amy is 38. She is a homemaker and lives in Matthews, NC, about 40 minutes from us, with her husband Marshall and their three children — two boys – Connor and Holden – and a girl – Anna Caitlin – who will rule.
I’m “Bobo,” by the way, which is how I’ve always, since I was born, been known to friends and family. My Mom called me the “the Bobo” before I was born. Tidbit: Charlton Heston and his wife-for-life Lydia visited my Mom and me in the hospital on the third day of my out of womb life (they worked with my parents in community theater in Asheville, NC) and gave me a little blue rubber elephant, a harbinger of things to come.
While on vacation on a remote island in the Bahamas in 1991, Willie and I stumbled across a cottage that was for sale. It was in bad need of repair, but the price was irresistible so we bought it. We’ve spent the last 14 years fixing it up, converting an outbuilding to a guest cottage, converting an open boat shed to a garage, landscaping, building walls, and so on. In the process, I’ve learned basic carpentry, wiring, plumbing, and have far more tolerance for frustration than ever before, which is good, given that the nearest Home Depot is 250 miles away. The island, which Jimmy Buffet says is one of his favorite places in the world, is but one mile square (that’s a stretch), with a permanent population of approximately 65. Once a week, if it’s not broken down, the “mail boat”–a small freighter–comes through from Nassau, bringing us supplies. Willie and I spend most of our spare time there, generally December through mid-January and mid-May through June, albeit I do come off island to do an occasional “can’t pass up” speaking engagement. Our hopes are to eventually live there 6-9 months a year, but that’s a ways off.
Back in Gastonia, Willie and I recently completed construction on a garage/home office, where you can sometimes find me at 2 a.m., insomniac that I usually am.
John’s positions on items of “controversy”…
I do not advocate spanking. I never have, and never will. The misunderstanding grows out of the unfortunate tendency on the part of many people to think that if you are not specifically against something, then you must be in favor of it. The more controversial the topic, as is the case with spanking, the more likely a misunderstanding of this sort becomes.
I do not “believe” in spanking. However, I do not find, upon examining the research, compelling reason to believe that spankings, occasionally delivered by a parent who is obviously loving and whom the child trusts, are harmful. Some researchers (e.g., Murray Straus at the Family Research Institute, University of New Hampshire) claim to have found harm. There is good reason to believe that those research studies are tainted by ideological bias. When research into spanking is done by persons without such bias (e.g., Robert Larzelere, Director of Research, Boys’ Town, Nebraska; Professor Diana Baumrind, University of California), no harm is found.
Most spankings, unfortunately, qualify as “stupid” in that even though not necessarily harmful, they accomplish absolutely nothing. This is attested to by the significant number of parents who report that they spank over and over again for the same misbehaviors. They obviously don’t get it.
There is no compelling evidence to suggest that spankings cause children to believe that hitting is an acceptable way of dealing with frustration or conflict. The most aggressive children, researchers have found, tend to be those who are never spanked (which does not, in and of itself, justify spanking). I do not believe the government should step any further into the area of parent discipline than it already has. A government ban on spanking will open the door to further government interference in the parent-child relationship, and I view this as potentially harmful to our democracy. Furthermore, Robert Larzelere’s follow-up study of the effect of the Swedish ban on parental spanking found an increase in child abuse after ten years. I believe our child abuse laws are sufficient to address parents who go “overboard” when spanking. I believe those laws should be enforced dispassionately, without regard for socioeconomic status, race, religious background, or personal background.
Certain biblical fundamentalists believe that God commands parents to spank. Although no expert, I am a student of Scripture. I have studied enough to come to the conclusion that the biblical term “the rod,” as used in the context of the discipline of children, does not refer to spankings with tangible objects, or even spanking at all. It refers to discipline that is righteous, that steers a child toward virtue. That does not eliminate the option of spanking, but neither does it prescribe it.
I believe that spanking is a reasonable option in certain situations, with certain children. The research indicates that spanking is most effective between ages 2 and 6, and is most effective when paired with another consequence, such as removal of privilege. It should go without saying that the more a parent spanks his or her child, the less effective any given spanking will be.
It is my intention to educate parents to the fact that effective discipline is not conveyed by methods, whether spanking or otherwise, but through effective communication of instructions and expectations. Unfortunately, most parents who spank have failed to do just that.
- Because it is the most character-building, two-letter word in the English language, children have the right to hear their parents say “No” at least three times a day.
- Children have the right to find out early in their lives that their parents don’t exist to make them happy, but to offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to eventually make themselves happy.
- Children have a right to scream all they want over the decisions their parents make, albeit their parents have the right to confine said screaming to certain areas of their homes.
- Children have the right to find out early that their parents care deeply for them but don’t give a hoot what their children think about them at any given moment in time.
- Because it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, children have the right to hear their parents say “Because I said so” on a regular and frequent basis.
- Because it is the most character-building activity a child can engage in, children have the right to share significantly in the doing of household chores.
- Every child has the right to discover early in life that he isn’t the center of the universe (or his family or his parents’ lives), that he isn’t a big fish in a small pond, and that he isn’t the Second Coming, so as to prevent him from becoming an insufferable brat.
- Children have the right to learn to be grateful for what they receive, therefore, they have the right to receive all of what they truly need and very little of what they simply want.
- Children have the right to learn early in their lives that obedience to legitimate authority is not optional, that there are consequences for disobedience, and that said consequences are memorable and, therefore, persuasive.
- Every child has the right to parents who love him/her enough to make sure he/she enjoys all of the above rights.
and from that point on, I grew up in what we today call ‘step-families’–
two of them, one with a stepfather, the other with a stepmother. I am,
therefore, eminently qualified to comment on this experience from the
Parents frequently ask if I have written books on adjective-children (e.g.
adopted children) or adjective-families (e.g. blended families), which
indicates they think either (1) one’s approach to child rearing must be
customized to the adjective that is one’s child or (2) the rules for
operating a family-with-adjective are different than those for operating a
family constituted without adjective. The truth is that such unique child-
rearing formulas and rules do not exist outside of therapy and book
publishing, both of which profit from leading the public to think
otherwise. A child is a child, and a family is a family. Unfortunately, books on how to raise the (insert adjective) child and how
to operate the (insert adjective) family abound. These books do not clarify
anything; they confound. They add to the already overwhelming cacophony of
babble that surrounds the relatively simple, straightforward, and
commonsensical task of raising children, which is why raising children has
become (all of the women in my audiences agree) the single most stressful
and anxiety-ridden thing a female will undertake in her entire life.
Because of said books, many parents think adjectives are more significant
than the words child and family. These parents think they are raising
adopteds and onlys and middles and attention-deficit-disorders and bipolars
and learning-disableds and so on, the inevitable consequences of which
include adjective anxiety, disciplinary paralysis, and atrophy of the
commonsense gland. Needless to say, parents who fit this description also
have great difficulty bringing any humor to the child-rearing process. All children should be raised according to common principles,
foremost of which is that parents should balance love and discipline in
training children toward becoming productive, responsible members of
society. Maintaining said balance requires that a parent’s love be
disciplined and that discipline reflect love and desire for the best
interests of the child. Commonsense wraps itself neatly around the word
“child”; it does not wrap itself well at all around words like “adopted.”
Adjectives are much more slippery than nouns, after all. As a child is a child, a family is a family. The First Rule of Family
Living is that the husband-wife relationship trumps all other family
relationships. Husband and wife should pay far more attention to one
another than they do the children; they should do more for one another than
they do for the children; their relationship should be more active than the
relationship either of them has with any child. In other words, marriage
comes before family and family comes before children, in blendeds as well
as non-blendeds, Amen. If the family is headed by a parent who is single (note: as opposed to a
single-parent family) the parent needs to have active extra-family
relationships as well as an array of active interests that do not include
his/her kids. This helps the children understand that their relationship
with their dad/mom is not a substitute marriage. A blended-wife/mother recently asked me for an example of what she could do
to let her daughter know that her marriage came first. “The next time your daughter asks you permission to do something,” I said,
“tell her that you’ll ask her stepfather about it when he gets home.” She laughed and said, “That’ll blow her mind.” If so, it’s high time for
the blowing to commence. I spoke with authority on the subject because I was raised in what is today
called a “blended family.” I called my stepfather “Dad,” I suppose because
I intuitively realized that he was more of a father to me than he was a
step-anything. Besides, children should not be allowed to call adults by
their first names, so anything but “Dad” was out of the question. Likewise,
I referred and still refer to the children of both my mother’s and father’s
second marriages as my brothers and sisters. That made for, and continues
to make for, a much simpler view of life not to mention more rewarding
family relationships. That also makes me the oldest child in two families,
an honor most people cannot claim.
A: Home-schooling and “sheltering” are hardly synonymous. A parent “shelters” by preventing a child from encountering realities that would be helpful, not harmful, to the child. For example, a parent who helps her third-grade child with his homework every night, making sure he answers every question correctly, is “sheltering.” She is preventing her child from learning that he is capable of meeting challenges on his own. With good intent, she is all but guaranteeing that he will have serious problems when he begins to encounter challenges she cannot help him through. In the real world, after all, you don’t have anyone sitting with you, making sure you don’t make mistakes. “But John!” a reader might be exclaiming. “The home-schooling mom is sitting with her child too!” That simply goes to show, you can’t judge a book by looking at its cover. The mother in the above example is enabling, thus disabling. If she is following one of many home-school curricula, the home-schooling mom is not fostering dependence; rather, she is facilitating independence in learning. Many moms whose children attend institutional schools are spending more time on a daily basis helping their children with homework than the typical home-schooling mom is spending in direct teaching. (Make no mistake about it, however, some parents who home-school have no business doing so. They are unqualified and/or are doing so for all the wrong reasons.) A joke, found on the Internet: The parent of a home-schooled child says, “My wife and I used to worry about our child’s socialization, but now we make sure he can relate to his peers. We let him watch R-rated movies.” Along those same lines, a public-school teacher recently told a friend of mine, a home-schooling mother, that her child needed “a few hard knocks by other children to toughen her up.” My friend calmly replied, “I don’t want my child to be tough.” We tend to forget that until the Twentieth Century, most children were home-schooled. All of the Founding Fathers, for example, were home-schooled. No evidence exists that when the time came, they had difficulty dealing with reality. Home schooling has proven itself, both historically and in recent times. Because of the home-school explosion of the last twenty years, a good amount of data on home-schooling outcomes now exists and continues to accumulate. The evidence is clear and irrefutable: home-schooled children suffer no disadvantage, academically or socially, over institutionally-schooled children. In fact, home-schooled children, when matched demographically with children who attend institutional schools, do better on achievement measures and measures of citizenship (behavior and social skills). Is home-schooling for everyone? Absolutely not! For most single parents, it is not an option. For parents who are themselves not well educated, it is inadvisable. I do not recommend home-schooling for parents who are having major discipline problems with their children. That’s a recipe for disaster. For parents who can send their children to institutional schools where both the learning and moral environments are excellent, home-schooling would be superfluous. And by no means should a parent home-school who just plain doesn’t want to. For more information on home-schooling and home-school curricula, go to www.hslda.org.