American physician, psychologist and author, Leonard Sax, has written a book called The collapse of parenting: how we hurt our kids when we treat them like grown-ups. The author of Boys Adrift and Girls on the Edge feels that parents are “raising kids wrong”.
In his book, Sax offers a scenario in which parents and a six-year-old child, who had a sore throat, came into his office. When he said, “Next I’m going to take a look at your throat,” the mother asked for the child’s permission, saying, “Do you mind if the doctor looks in your throat for just a second, honey? Afterwards, we can go and get some ice cream.”
That led to the child refusing and having to be restrained to get the test accomplished.
“It’s not a question,” Sax said. “It’s a sentence: ‘Open up and say Ahh’. Parents are incapable of speaking to their children in a sentence that ends in a period,” he said. “Every sentence ends in a question mark.”
The hierarchy of parent over child no longer exists, he said. Instead of parents exercising their authority, because they know what’s best, they are focusing on making children happy and boosting their self-esteem.
In his book, Sax cites numerous research studies that found that a lack of parental authority is why obesity is on the rise, why more kids are on anti-anxiety and attention deficit disorder medication, why children have a culture of disrespect, and seem fragile.
He offers some solutions:
Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. You have to communicate that your time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else.
Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cell phones, computers, TVs and video games.
Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. This generation lives life in a virtual world. Online friends can quickly become more important than the friends children see in person.
Teach humility. Show children that they are not the most important people in the world.
Have an alliance between the school and you. If your child did something wrong, don’t approach teachers or administrators with suspicion and distrust. Lessons of honesty and integrity should be enforced.
Parent what they do. You have to think of worst-case scenarios, like drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning and sexual assault, and know that these are not decisions that they are ready to make because they are not adults.
As the saying goes: “Your kids will thank you, not today or maybe not tomorrow, but some day, perhaps.”
I am a frazzled working mom who loves her husband and her children. All six of them – two human, two canine and two feline. I spend most of my day managing the crazy chaos that is my awesome life, and what’s left, writing about it … Read more