The Collapse of Parenting: Why It’s Time for Parents to Grow Up

Looking for parenting advice? Family physician and psychologist Dr. Leonard Sax has a lot of questions about parenthood. “Who is the parent here?” being one of them. This question is being asked more and more as millennials take the reins of parenthood.

The Collapse of Parenting

In the book, “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown Ups”, Sax suggests that there has been a noticeable shift in parental authority in recent years. The book covers a series of personal observations the doctor has about parenting and the control that young children now have to make their own decisions. Perhaps, at times, too much control. This is what the collapse of parenting is all about and how you can take the reins back.

Teach Them Humility

Sax believes that children these days are more entitled now than they used to be. He says that children feel entitled to things without putting in the work for them. For example, your child may expect an allowance each month without having to earn it through chores or other responsibilities.

Teaching your children humility helps prevent a narcissistic attitude. One great way to teach your children humility is by your example. Reinforce self-worth, of course, but explain to them that they are not better than anyone else. Teach them to be kind and gracious enough to put others’ needs first. Explain the importance of using manners and show them when it is appropriate to apologize.

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Spend More Time Tech-Free

It used to be that when children were left to play, they would pretend they were a gallant knight or a fairy princess running off on some adventure. Now “play time” means plopping your little ones down with a tablet and turning on a video.

Going tech, or “screen free” for an hour a day is something that is gaining popularity. Removing smart devices and television from family time is a great way to promote bonding and imaginative play. Sax recommends removing your child’s phone from their bedroom at night and taking it into your own bedroom to charge. This helps you keep an eye on what your little one is up to on their smart devices, as well as assures they will get a good night sleep instead of staying up late browsing the internet.

He also suggests removing the option of earbuds from car rides and other family gatherings. Children often become absorbed in technology. Watching shows or listening to music with earbuds disrupts healthy conversation and bonding between parent and child.

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Be Parent First, Friend Second

A great piece of parental advice? Be your child’s parent first and friend second.

Of course, you want your children to come to you with facts about their day, hear the latest about what is going on with their lives, and have them speak to you as freely as if you were their best friend. But, there must be balance. If you become your child’s friend first and parent second, they will begin to undermine your parental authority. They may even show disrespect for the protective boundaries you set for them, believing they can get away with it because you don’t want to hurt their feelings by punishing their behavior.

Let your child know they can also speak to you about any topic under the sun, but remember that you are their parent first. It is your job to guide them through life, not to be their best friend. Forgetting this is a sure path to the collapse of parenting.

Set Limits and be Consistent

In your marriage you set boundaries for what is right and wrong, so why should standards for your children be any different? One piece of parental advice that should go without saying is to set limitations. It is good for your children to have rules to follow, especially when they are in their mid-teens.

Children thrive when there is structure in the home. You must be consistent when it comes to discipline. If you flip-flop on when your child receives discipline, they will know that they can break the rules without real consequence. It may not feel so nice to have to discipline your children and set limitations, but it will be beneficial for them in the long run.

Bring Back Family Dinner

An excellent piece of parenting advice is to reinstate family dinners. At least once a week, invite your family to the dinner table and share in a television-free meal. This promotes bonding, conversation, and communication. It allows family members to talk about their days and create memories together.

One study on health behaviors found that family dinners were beneficial for a child’s mental health. The study, which researched 26,000 adolescents aged 11-15, revealed that the positive effects of regular family dinners contributed to more trusting, helpful behaviors, higher emotional well-being, and fewer behavioral and emotional problems.

Know When to Give Options

One of the best parenting tips Sax brings up in his book is to know when to give options. As the parent, it is it up to you to decide when to give your children options. Especially when they are young, you’d do well to give limited choices.

The trick to giving your little ones options is to eliminate any choices that aren’t acceptable to you. For example, instead of asking your child whether they would like to engage in an extracurricular activity after school, present them a list of options for after school activities they could engage in. This allows them to make their own choice but ensures they take up an activity.

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Set a Good Example

Children follow the example you set, so you’d best make sure you’re setting a good one. If you want your children to grow up honest, kind, humble, and balanced you will want to take the appropriate actions to not only set a good example, but to guide them in the right direction until they are old enough to make their own life choices.

If you’re looking for the best parenting advice and parenting tips, these suggestions on taking back the reins of parenting are the best way to go. When it comes to raising children, remember that you are the parents first and friend second, set reasonable boundaries, and be consistent with your discipline. Your children will thrive when there is structure in the home. Don’t allow the collapse of parenting under your roof. Take charge and


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Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.


Check out our articles on Presence in Parenting and Intentional Living with Children.

Photo Credit: Mojitos and MunchkinsJelleke Vanooteghem on UnsplashLondon Scout on Unsplash, Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash, Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash, Pixabay

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