“Most American parents are completely confused and going utterly in the wrong direction,” Dr. Leonard Sax
A new book out this month by family physician, psychologist, and author, Leonard Sax says that parents have this parenting thing all wrong! “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups” looks at the major shift that has occurred over the past 30 years in American culture: the transfer of authority from parents to children.
Like Sax, I too, have been in practice for many years. I agree with Sax that we have become an obsessively child-focused society; the children today are running the show!
Sax talks about how parents ask their children to let the doctor look in their (the child’s) throat. The parent then offers to reward the child afterward if they “open up” and let the doctor look in their throat to see if they’re sick!
Another interesting parenting trend, check-out “Spoiled Rotten” in the July issue of Boston Magazine where parents are paying their kids for scoring goals and grades. The rationale behind the thinking of the parents is fascinating. It is also wrong!
Parents today give their children unwarranted praise, try to be their child’s best friend, and give them whatever they ask for. The ability for parents to see clearly when it comes to their children has gotten skewed. Families go into debt trying to give their kids things they shouldn’t. Does Johnny need the most expensive sneakers? Does Emily need an upgrade to her IPhone that is working perfectly fine? Should children receive a trophy just because they were on the team?
Children are used by parents to fill parental needs and thus have their self-realization derailed. Worst of all, this parental indulgence sends the message to kids that they are the center of everyone else’s universe. As a result, some kids grow up without a sense of limits and with a high degree of entitlement and a lack of compassion and with little empathy.
Parents need to assume the responsibility for the fact that today’s kids lack a sense of limits, humility and a decent respect for authority. Kids believe that the end justifies the means, and that process means nothing. Society models and exploits this behavior on television and Internet programs targeting children and teens. It is the parents and society that are allowing this to happen and they need to make changes. Kids didn’t get this way all on their own.
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.