Transcript of JBP Podcast titled ‘THE ESSENCE OF TERRIBLE PARENTING’ with Stephanie Davies-Arai. In this episode, Dr Jordan B Peterson and Stephanie Davies-Arai discuss parenting and the pitfalls of compassion when linked to trans ideology.
JORDAN B PETERSON: Hello, everyone watching or listening on YouTube or associated podcasts or on the Dailyware Plus platform. I have the privilege today of speaking to Stephanie Davies-Arai. She is a decorated author and the founder as well as the director of Transgender Trend, a UK-based organization that has been perpetually under fire by leftist activists simply for advocating for evidence-based health care when it comes to gender dysphoric children.
She’s also the author of Communicating with Kids, a book published in 2015. Based on her background training teachers and providing parental support, Davies-Arai is also notable for being an intervener in the high court during the landmark case Bell v. Tavistock, which concluded that persons under 18 cannot consent to puberty blockers.
WHEN WE DISLIKE OUR OWN KIDS
So, Stephanie, I was reading your book today, 2015 book Communicating with Children, and I thought maybe I could playfully put you on the spot. In my first book, 12 Rules for Life, my first popular book, I have a chapter entitled, DON’T LET YOUR CHILDREN DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU DISLIKE THEM.
And so what I thought I’d ask you, given that you wrote this book detailing out different means of communicating with children, developing a philosophy of communication with children, I’m kind of wondering what you think of that rule. How does that strike you? Don’t let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
STEPHANIE DAVIES-ARAI: I love that you started with that, because that’s the bit in your book which I’ve read that jumped out at me because that’s what I say to parents. Of course, you love your children to bits. You’d die for them, but do you like them? Because that’s really important in day-to-day living.
But the other thing I say is that it’s not only important that you like your own kids, but that other parents do and other people outside, because otherwise your kids are going to have a really hard time, and you’re not going to be doing them a favour if you bring them up to be unpopular with other kids’ parents, because they’re going to depend on them.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DUALITY IN PARENTING
JORDAN B PETERSON: Okay, so let me outline a few ideas for you. You tell me, criticise away or agree as you see fit. So I think we know there’s a large literature indicating that it’s better for children to have two parents, and I think the reason for that, this is my reasoning for it, there’s a variety of reasons. Obviously, raising children and working is very difficult, so being able to split the labour is a way of perhaps not being entirely exhausted when you have small children.
But I think there’s something else going on too, which is akin in some sense to the reason that there’s sexual differentiation at a biological level. So there’s sexual differentiation because it’s useful to bring together two disparate creatures to produce a new variant. But I also think it’s true on the personality front.
So if you have a nicely organised marriage, you’re going to have your bits of insanity and your partner’s going to have their bits of insanity. But if you can form a joint union, then I believe you can produce something approximating one sane person. And that person is sane, that joint person is sane, not so much because they’re sane psychologically, but because they’re an analogue of the broader social world. I’m saying that for a specific reason.
So then the theory would be, if your children are acting in a way that both of you find displeasing, if you’re honest, then the probability that other people will find that displeasing is extremely high, because you at least love your children, whereas other people, you know, they might be willing to give them a chance, but they’re not going to die for them.
And so if you accept the additional hypothesis that the primary role of a parent is to prepare their children for, what would you say, welcome acceptance into the broader social world, then you have a moral obligation to guide your children in some sense in accordance with your own joint feelings. If the two of you find your child’s behavior unacceptable, you’re morally obligated to let the child know, because that is not going to translate well to other children, to other children’s parents, to teachers, to any situations in public, and then your child’s going to have a miserable time of it. And I think the research literature indicates that very clearly.
OPTIMAL FAMILY DYNAMICS
STEPHANIE DAVIES-ARAI: Yeah, and I think, you know, you’re right, in the sense that the children need the male and the female, the masculine and the feminine, but that can be achieved in other ways. I’ve worked with all kinds of families, so my work is about creating the optimum situation for families, no matter whether they’re married or what kind of family situation they’re in. So I would agree, and particularly that children need strong role models of the opposite sex and the same sex.
So, you know, if it’s a single-parent family, for example, to find those role models are close family members, because, you know, all very good friends of the family, but it has to be a close relationship. I mean, teachers as well, but there are other adults who can fill that gap, and I think it’s very important that that gap is filled if the family isn’t that male-female unit of marriage that is the traditional unit.
JORDAN B PETERSON: Right, because the children have to learn, OK, so there’s two elements there. So you bring a mother and a father together, and the child gets the benefit of their joint personality, right? The fact that they’ve got two people to hit against, and hopefully that makes one sane person.
But the socialization rules for being feminine and the socialization rules for being masculine aren’t identical. And so that’s part of the reason why it’s necessary to have those contrary — contrasexual role models at hand. And at hand does mean something like making a relationship with, because the other thing we know about children is though they can establish multiple deep relationships with people, so they can actually stand multiple caregivers, but they don’t really like a lot of change in their caregivers. They don’t like relationships once they’re established to be decimated, let’s say. Well, neither do adults, but it’s even more the case for children.
And so, yeah, and it’s harder for a single-parent family, for someone who’s running a single-parent family, to fill that, well, fill that diversity of personality to solve that problem, but also to provide the contrasexual role model.
STEPHANIE DAVIES-ARAI: I agree. I mean, I think that consistency is really important for children and it’s fractured in so many ways now in society because if people move around more, people don’t tend to stay in those units or those extended family groups in one area. So we have more and more challenges today in bringing up children. And parents face, well, I’m sure you’re aware, other challenges in terms of online life, the internet, influences from outside.
So, yes, to try and create that consistency for children in their relationships, in their close family relationships, I think is one of the things that’s very important. Having said that, I mean, you know, there are all sorts of situations that are not optimum for children and children are robust. So, you know, you can look at, in our Western society, for example, to remember the fact that our children are, you know, generally very privileged compared to other parts of the world.
And so we can get, I think, too concerned about what the negative aspects of our society are and forget the fact that children are generally robust. They are programmed to survive and to get on. And so we shouldn’t be too careful or too worried about the kind of disadvantages they face in sort of a Western society where they have many advantages.
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