Sick of of tender little snowflake young adults who can’t manage their hurt feelings? Tired of basement-dwelling, launch failure kids, hands full of technology, but without motivation to work and sacrifice for long term goals? Tired of disrespect for authority of all kinds today and the lawless vulgarians on college campuses? Fed up with teachers being targeted by parents when they try to discipline feral students in their classrooms?
In a new book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat them Like Grown-Ups (Basic Books), Dr. Leonard Sax puts his finger on the beginnings of all of this, the collapse of parenting in this country. Loss of any parental hierarchy with children is producing adults who are increasingly unprepared to face real life.
As a parent of six children, 5 of which are adults with one caboose of 6 years, I agree with Dr. Sax one hundred percent. As a babysitter of 16 many years ago, I watched as a young child sat in his booster chair at the table and made a fool of his dad. He didn’t want juicy in that cup, no, or that cup, noooooo! It had to be that cup with the smiley face. As the dad began pouring, the child decided he’d made a wrong choice and began pounding the table in rage. Daddy, utterly clueless, found yet another cup, which the child of 4 then hurled on the floor, juice and all.
I vowed in that moment that this was not going to be my parental approach. Treating a child like a peer, asking rather than informing young children, is to send up a white flag of surrender to their whims. Good luck parents. You will need it to survive the carnage to come.
Sax’s book is a desperately needed antidote to the toxic, child-centered advice being ladled out to young parents in advice columns and books today. Thanks, Dr. Sax, for pointing out what should be obvious. With the death of common sense in this country, it’s a clarion call back to sanity. Read an article on the book here.