The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups

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[Read by Malcolm Hillgartner]

In The Collapse of Parenting, Leonard Sax, an acclaimed expert on parenting and childhood development, identifies a key problem plaguing American children: the dramatic decline in young people's achievement and psychological health. The root of this problem, Sax contends, lies in the transfer of authority from parents to their children, a shift that has been occurring over the last fifty years and is now impossible to ignore. Sax pinpoints the effects of this shift, arguing that the rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young people can all be traced back to a corresponding decline in adult authority.

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In The Collapse of Parenting, physician, psychologist, and internationally-acclaimed author Leonard Sax presents data documenting a dramatic decline in the achievement and psychological health of American children. Sax argues that rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young peopleas well as the explosion in the prescribing of psychiatric medications for American kidscan all be traced to parents who let their kids call the shots.

Many parents are afraid of seeming too dictatorial, and end up abdicating their authority rather than taking a stand with their own children. If kids refuse to eat anything green and demand pizza instead, some parents give in, inadvertently raising children who are more likely to become obese. If children are given smartphones and allowed to spend the bulk of their free time texting, playing video games, and surfing the Internet, they become increasingly reliant on peers and the media for guidance on how to live, rather than looking to their parents. And if they won’t sit still in class or listen to adults, they’re often prescribed medication, a quick fix that actually undermines their self-control. In short, Sax argues, parents are failing to prioritize the parent-child relationship above all other relationships. The result is children who have no absolute standard of right and wrong, who lack discipline, and who look to their peers and the Internet for direction, instead of looking to their parents.

But there is hope. Sax shows how parents can help their kids by reasserting their authorityby limiting time with screens, by encouraging better habits at the dinner table and at bedtime, and by teaching humility and perspective. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of experience as a family physician and psychologist, along with hundreds of interviews with children, parents, and teachers, across the United States and around the world, Sax offers a blueprint parents can use to refresh and renew their relationships with their children, to help their children thrive in an increasingly complicated world.

About the Author:

Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., is a practicing family physician, a PhD psychologist, and a speaker for community groups, schools, and professional organizations. His scholarly work has been published in a wide variety of journals including American Psychologist, Annals of Family Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience, Environmental Health Perspectives, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has been a featured guest on CNN, PBS, The TODAY Show, Fox News, NPR's ''Talk of the Nation,'' and many other national programs. He lives with his wife and daughter in suburban Philadelphia.

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9780465048977: The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups

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ISBN 10:  0465048978 ISBN 13:  9780465048977
Publisher: Basic Books, 2015
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