In this New York Times bestseller, one of America's premier child psychologists offers a must-read account of the dismal state of parenting today, and a vision for how we can better prepare our children for the challenges of the adult world
In The Collapse of Parenting, internationally acclaimed author Leonard Sax argues that rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young people can be traced to parents abdicating their authority. The result is children who have no standard of right and wrong, who lack discipline, and who look to their peers and the Internet for direction. Sax shows how parents must reassert their authority - by limiting time with screens, by encouraging better habits at the dinner table, and by teaching humility and perspective - to renew their relationships with their children. Drawing on nearly thirty years of experience as a family physician and psychologist, along with hundreds of interviews with children, parents, and teachers, Sax offers a blueprint parents can use to help their children thrive in an increasingly complicated world.
Sax (Why Gender Matters), a physician and psychologist, positions this unpersuasive treatise firmly in an earlier generation's mores, lamenting the "culture of disrespect" and "massive transfer of authority from parents to kids." Haranguing parents to "do your job" and enforce decisions that may upset their children or make them unpopular with peers, he maintains that being both "strict and loving" is not only possible, but essential. Among other dire observations, Sax states that poor fitness and obesity among children have been exacerbated by allowing them too much choice, and that research biased in favor of ADHD diagnoses has enabled the "medicalization of misbehavior." As remedial measures, he insists parents demand self-control, emphasize humility above self-esteem, teach kids to prize literature over video games, and make family-fun time obligatory so kids will look to their parents for connection and behavioral guidance before their same-age companions. Although this is positioned as a parenting book, Sax offers more old-school philosophy than practical guidance. He is likely to find supporters among frustrated grandparents seeing their kids failing life's challenges, but his aggressively judgmental style and throwback values are unlikely to convert anyone actually in the midst of parenting children and teens in the 21st century.