Smallpox was a worldwide menace. On average, 30 percent of those who contracted the disease died. People as old as I am can remember the ugly blisters, fever and dime-sized scar we got as keepsakes for our immunization.

There was a widely taught and extensively embraced theory of parenting back in the 1990s that has been reconsidered by psychologists and educators. Yet it lingers with many of today’s parents — perhaps because it was what was deposited in their young minds as children.

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