People often treat their dogs like they’re children, but now more and more parents are treating their children like they’re dogs! According to the New York Times, parents are watching Cesar Millan’s “The Dog Whisperer,” and applying the same techniques to their kids! Amy Twomey blogs about parenthood for the Dallas Morning News. She says the show has pretty much replaced all the parenting books on her shelf. Now she watches Millan to learn how to be a pack leader in her own home. Other parents are following suit. One father in New York even started using Millan’s trademark “shhhht” sound to correct his six year old daughter when she misbehaves.
Now, not every dog training trick should be used on kids, like ignoring them until they’re calm and submissive. However, parenting experts think a lot can be learned from the dog-whisperer. His philosophy is that exercise, discipline and affection create happy dogs, and that can easily be applied to kids too. Allison Pearson is the author of I Don’t Know How She Does It, a novel about modern parenting. She says that parents got themselves into trouble in the last decade by being too nice to their kids. She says parents didn’t want kids to be afraid of them, so they stopped being disciplinarians and started acting like friends. Cesar Millan fans are realizing that discipline doesn’t equal “mean,” and that dogs - and children – are happiest when they understand their boundaries and know their place in the world.
So, what does Cesar Millan think about people watching his show for parenting tips? He’s all for it. He’s a father himself, and he says he knows his methods are as effective for raising kids as they are for raising dogs. Millan says in his native Mexico, the elders have always been the alpha dogs of the household, but here, parents give their kids too many options when they need only one: Do it because I said so.