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 getting such guidance at home. 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 and are allowing a child-peer dynamic to take precedence. 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 authority--by 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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Sax (Why Gender Matters), a physician and psychologist, positions this unpersuasive treatise firmly in an earlier generations mores, lamenting the culture of disrespect and massive transfer of authority from parents to kids. Haranguing parents to do your job and enforce decisions that may upset their children or make them unpopular with peers, he maintains that being both strict and loving is not only possible, but essential. Among other dire observations, Sax states that poor fitness and obesity among children have been exacerbated by allowing them too much choice, and that research biased in favor of ADHD diagnoses has enabled the medicalization of misbehavior. As remedial measures, he insists parents demand self-control, emphasize humility above self-esteem, teach kids to prize literature over video games, and make family-fun time obligatory so kids will look to their parents for connection and behavioral guidance before their same-age companions. Although this is positioned as a parenting book, Sax offers more old-school philosophy than practical guidance. He is likely to find supporters among frustrated grandparents seeing their kids failing lifes challenges, but his aggressively judgmental style and throwback values are unlikely to convert anyone actually in the midst of parenting children and teens in the 21st century. (Dec.)