"Is it bad parenting, or sheer brilliance, to take your parenting advice from a dog trainer?" That’s the question The New York Times posed last week in a report on parents who are borrowing techniques from Cesar Millan’s TV show The Dog Whisperer to raise their children. Critics scoff at the idea and argue that Millan’s techniques are damaging to dogs and tots alike. Are parents going crazy? (Watch Cesar Millan give a tutorial on how to tame a dog.)
Cesar has common-sense advice, for dogs or kids: "Our kids are emotional sponges" that "totally pick up on our energy," says Kay Krhin at The Minneapolis Star Tribune. So why not practice Millan’s "calm but assertive" parenting style on them? Millan also advocates 45 minutes of daily exercise—great advice for dogs and energetic kids alike. His approach "can be applied in many situations," so "why not parenting?"
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Don’t throw out Dr. Spock just yet: For starters, Milian himself doesn’t endorse the idea of using his dog-rearing techniques on children, says Rachel Friedman at Dog Star Daily. Yes, there are some similarities between dogs and kids: Both “crave benevolent leadership”—and neither like being “pushed on the neck” or “sshhttted,” as Millan points out. But there are also “significant differences—on so many levels”—between human and dog development.
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Millan's approach is an antidote to 'helicopter' parenting: Millan actually brings some much-needed "sanity" to the debate, says Susan Stiffelman at AOL’s ParentDish. We've overparented and micromanaged our children for too long. Millan’s dog whispering is being heard by parents because it fits with the growing belief that kids "need a calm, confident parent who is willing to be what I call the captain of the ship in their lives—not a buddy or pal."
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