Book Review: The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

Written from a secular worldview, Leonard Sax nonetheless makes a case for taking back parenting from the world and instilling family-centered values into our families. We as Christians have only to add to that our faithful membership in a local church and daily discipleship of our children in their faith. The main point of Sax’s book is to remind parents that they have a duty to parent their children, not be best friends, and to not stand by while our children’s peers become their go-to guides for life. Parents are not to be afraid to say no, place limits, and hold high standards for behavior and obedience in their homes. Modern parenting has abdicated to video games, socialization mores, public school oversight that demeans the parents, and looking to medications to change behaviors.
Dr. Sax is both a psychologist and family physician who has worked with countless families over the years and has first-hand views of the mess parents can find themselves in. He has traveled extensively around the world talking with schools and parents to see what is working, and what is not. He also uses many medical/psychological studies to underscore his points.
His chapter on obesity are not a surprise and his chapter on the over-medication of our young children is eye-opening. He makes the obvious case that the United States is virtually the only country that medicates their children to such a degree. He blames much of the collapse of parenting on families losing touch with their children and allowing their peers to become the focus of their lives and what he calls “the culture of disrespect”. He touches on the myth of self-esteem and how lying to our children about their gifts can be destructive, causing fragile or over-inflated egos. He suggests the value of hard work and sacrifice are non-existent.
After stating and describing these mistakes American parents have made in the last couple of decades, Dr. Sax then gives some very practical advice to make a change. This is where he really impressed me. His advice is simple and easy to implement. He suggests parents teach their children self-control, humility, gratitude, honesty, and more. As Christian parents, we know these are all Biblical values that we as Christian parents are all commanded by God to teach to our children.
I recommend this book for any parent who feels their parenting is not quite where it should be and they feel their child may be slipping away. Along with their Bible. : )