I had to keep from giggling at this, Jude. Qualified experts have put the US into so much trouble with their ideas of child-rearing that it becomes very difficult to take any of them seriously any more. Their ideas change monthly, if not more often. Quite often taking full reversals from a previous position.
Lets see if I understand your claim. You seem to be saying that experts on child psychology are to blame for the "trouble" that the US is in. Next you say that these experts constantly change their point of view, and that there is little consistency or overall logic to the flow of their opinions. I just have a few questions about this.
1) What "trouble" are you referring to that the US is in? Crime peaked in the 1990s and has since leveled off or declined in virtually every major category (except in new or developing ways to break the law such as intellectual property theft), so it can't be that.
2) What experts are we talking about here and what do you consider qualified? I find your statement here baffling given that the psychologists at the forefront of the non-punitive child discipline movement have been virtually consistent for the past... 40-50 years? Starting with Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. in the early 60s, there has been a consistent trend in the psychology/sociological sciences towards using natural consequences and operant conditioning as opposed to violence and punishment based on classical conditioning. Gordon won like (or was at least nominated for, I think), 3 Nobel Peace Prizes for his work, by the way... I guess if you consider someone like James Dobson qualified your position would kind of make sense, but then I'd take issue with your criteria.
3) If what you say was actually true, what sort of person would want to enter that field? Why would these child psychologists have any influence whatsoever? How could scientific consensus actually form on this subject (and make no mistake, it has)?
The only way to raise a child is to love them and to figure out as a parent what makes them tick. Want to screw up your family? Listen to an "expert" Admittedly, many parents today do not take the time or lack the patience to do what they are supposed to, but from what I could tell in the article (Agreeing with others that it lacks full details) this was not one of those times. It would appear this mother did what she did, not out of hate, but love, and it seems to have been effective. Does this mean it should be used by everyone? No. Though someone is sure to write an 'expert' book on the method.
The idea that if something is done out of love it's automatically "OK" is completely
baffling. Ignoring the fact that we can never know what a person's motivations are, do you truly believe that no one has ever done anything wrong, hurtful, or counterproductive out of love? Karl Marx said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" for a reason. It doesn't matter what you are trying to do, only what you actually do.
And how can you judge whether this has been effective or not? We've had zero follow up. We don't know what happened. This was a snapshot in time.
Your obvious anti-intellectual disdain for experts aside, where do you think materials for books come from? Research is done, it isn't just fabricated for the sake of the researcher's egoism. Legitimate experts in any area publish materials that are the fruit of honest intellectual labor. By categorically dismissing them you're essentially either pronouncing thousands of people you do not know as frauds or claiming that the psychology of children is unknowable in any general sense. I find the latter particularly interesting considering almost all modern educational methods the world round are based in part on Piaget's stages of cognitive development -- a general child psychology theory (which has been validated by emerging neuroscience in many ways, though it does not fit perfectly).
By the way, Piaget has been dead for 30 years.