Parenting is hard. There is no getting around that. It’s a 24/7 job for 365 days a year for pretty much the rest of your life. While yes, after 18 years the majority of your job will be over, this is one of those jobs that will truly never be done.
I came across the book titled The Collapse of Parenting a couple of weeks ago on a booklist and decided to buy it, and I was not disappointed.
I felt very encouraged after reading this book and ready to get back into the trenches of parenting.
It is so easy as a parent to feel pretty beat up when it comes to parenting and discipline. Also as the kids get older I’ve felt I could start to loosen up a bit.
Well, I was wrong. But I feel like I have a better idea going forward of what I want my parenting to look like especially as the kids are getting older and starting to enter teen years.
I’d love to share some key takeaways I got from this book as well as give you some encouragement as to why I think all parents should be reading this book and taking action.
The Culture of Disrespect
The Collapse of Parenting is written by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD. He is a physician and psychologist. He uses his experience in both practices to explain why we are seeing so many problems with kids today. Anxiety, weight problems, and depression stem from the culture of disrespect that is on the rise in our current American culture, which is caused by a lack of parental authority.
The lack of disrespect shouldn’t come as a surprise as well see it everywhere. TV and movies promote it, kids see it and we as parents have slowly let this attitude creep into our homes.
Whether it’s because we are just too tired from our busy lives, or we are tired of making decisions, it’s time for us to step back up and take the reigns.
Takeaway #1: Parents Should Have Authority
One of the primary things he points out in the book is how kids are seeking advice from their peers instead of their parents. This equates to two blindfolded people trying to help each other down the path. Neither knows where to go.
It’s unlikely that either will reach the goal, which is to raise kids who are prepared for life. This is where it is so important for parents to have an authoritative role. We have walked the path and can help them avoid the pitfalls, the distractions on the side of the road, and offer encouragement.
But if we don’t have authority, that won’t happen. And if you’ve given up authority, the children aren’t going to give it back, you will have to take it back.
Takeaway #2: Prioritizing Family
It’s so easy as parents to want our children to have lots of friends. We sign them up for the activities. We arrange playdates. But what our children really need is to be with us. They learn and pick up the values of the people they are with the most.
If your children spend most of their time with other children, that’s what they will act like and those are the values they will start to live by. Likewise, if we make family time and togetherness a priority then they will get our values.
How do you make more time for your family?
- Eat dinner together. Sax mentions this aspect quite frequently in the book that children who eat dinner with there parents are less likely to be depressed, overweight, engage in risky behavior. For more information, check out this article on the benefits of the family table.
- Family Events. Games nights. Movies nights. Going for hikes. There are so many things to do as a family. It’s easy to tell the children to go play a board game by themselves, watch a movie while we are busy with something else, or take them to the park to watch them play. Instead, be engaged with the activity as well. Get off your phone and interact with them so they know they are important to you.
Takeaway #3 Teach Humility and Proper Self-Esteem
Our society right now rewards putting yourself above all else. A quick look at social media tells us that promoting ourselves is the top priority. It also gives us more self-esteem than we really need.
Learning to like who were are is important. But when it inflates to viewing other people as less than, we’ve got a problem.
Our kids need to learn a healthy view of themselves and the world around them. They need to learn that there is always going to be someone better than them at something and that’s ok. Their self worth does not dimish because of that.
The Importance of Parenting
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is a hard job that we have to do, and often times it is thankless, particularly during the teen years. But that’s ok. Reminding ourselves what we want for our children and who we want them to be can help us remember what we need to do during those tough times.
The Collapse of Parenting is a challenge to step back up into our God-given role as parents. If we want to raise kids who will be confident, healthy adults who can do well on their own, it starts at home.
Recognize your authority as the parent. Limit outside voices that compete for that position. Be strong enough to use the N word. (NO)
Prioritize Family. There are so many things you can do as a family. Start replacing activities that only one family member does with events everyone can do. Play together. Learn together. Serve together. Work together.
What parenting book has made an impact on your parenting?