As we deal with the teachers strikes here in Washington State we hear from teachers that children are “hell on wheels” and that unruly children are a major burden on time and energy. Is that the case and if so what can/should parents do to stem the tide and reverse it?
In a book from Leonard Sax, MD. PhD, titled: “The Collapse of Parenting: How we hurt our kids when we treat them like grown-ups” he argues that rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young people can be traced to parents abdicating their authority. The result is children who have no standard of right and wrong, who lack discipline, and who look to their peers and the Internet for direction. Sax shows how parents must reassert their authority-by limiting time with screens, by encouraging better habits at the dinner table, and by teaching humility and perspective-to help their children thrive in an increasingly complicated world.
If Dr. Sax is correct what can parents do and will it make a difference in how their children perform in school?
Here are some comments from one of the who reviewed his book that seems to encapsulate the value:
A. Mann: My Top 5 Takeaways from this great book:
1. Teach your child people skills
2. Stop sedating your kids with powerful psychiatric drugs
3. Spend time with your child
4. Teach your kids humility
5. Educate desire in your child
Top 5 Quotes:
1. “The job of the parent is to teach self-control. To explain what is and what is not acceptable. To establish boundaries and enforce consequences”
2. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. In other words, if you compel a child to behave virtuously, then when he is an adult he will continue to behave virtuously.”
3. “Train up children in the way they should go, and when they grow up and move away from home, you will have improved the odds.”
4. “People often believe that character causes action, but when it comes to producing moral children, we need to remember that action also shapes character. – Adam Grant
5. The average teenager spends 70 hours/week in front of a screen
Below, in a nutshell, are his best points:
-A shift today towards “soft parenting”
-The average teenager spends 70 hours/week in front of a screen
-Don’t praise smarts (or identity)— praise behavior
-More important today: Peers, sports, school, school activities. Less important: Parents.
-Teach your kids people skills
-Spend time with your child. Enjoy them.
-Sedating difficult kids with powerful psychiatric drugs is wrong
-It’s easier to give out a pill than to impose consequences for bad behavior
-“Your son has ADHD!” – shifts the burden of responsibility from the parent to the doctor
-This triad of diagnoses is BS: Autism spectrum / ADHD / Bi-polar
-Today’s students are fragile teacups. It does take much for them to give up and retreat.
-Today’s kids have ingratitude seasoned with contempt
-The question mark in your statements to your kids undermines your authority.
-“Let kids decide” – is harmful
-Your job as a parent is to educate desire
-Change your parenting? Nah! He has a brain disorder!
-There’s a transfer of authority today from parents over to the kids
-Failure of parents to assert their authority
-The power differential today is gone:
-Parents don’t teach social skills
-TV shows mock parents and undermine the importance of parents