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The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups

Leonard Sax

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Too often, parents today allow their desire to please their child to govern their parenting. If your relationship with your child is governed by your own desire to be loved by him or her, the odds are good that you will not achieve even that objective.”

“Today, for most kids in the United States and Canada, kids’ primary attachment is to other kids. “For the first time in history,” Neufeld observes, “young people are turning for instruction, modeling, and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role—their own peers. .”

“Robert Grant, sixth headmaster at Shore, was fond of making one particular remark to the parents of students newly enrolled at the school. He liked to say, “I hope your child will be severely disappointed during his time at this school.” The parents were often confused. Why would the headmaster wish for my child to be severely disappointed? Grant would explain that if a student does not experience real disappointment at school, then he will be unprepared for disappointment when it comes in real life.”

“You don't teach virtue by preaching virtue. You teach virtue by requiring virtuous behavior, so that virtuous behavior becomes a habit.”

“Why is ADHD so much more common in the United States today than it was 30 or 40 years ago? And why is it so much more common today in the United States than elsewhere? My answer is “the medicalization of misbehavior.”

“The change in the early elementary curriculum and the consequent neglect of teaching socialization places a greater burden than ever before on the American parent. But just when kids need parents more than ever to teach them the whole package of what it means to be a good person in this particular culture, the authority of parents to do that job has been undermined. We now live in a culture in which kids value the opinion of same-age peers more than they value the opinion of their parents, a culture in which the authority of parents has declined not only in the eyes of children but also in the eyes of parents themselves. Parents today suffer from role confusion.”

“By exempting your child from all chores, as many affluent American families now do, you are sending the message, "Your time is too valuable to be spent on menial tasks," which easily morphs into the unintended message "You are too important to do menial tasks." And that unintended message puffs up the bloated self-esteem that now characterizes many American kids.”

“more than parents. For most of the history of the human race, children have learned culture from the adults. That’s why childhood and adolescence have to last so long in our species. But in the United States today, kids no longer learn culture from the grown-ups. American kids today have their own culture, a culture of disrespect, which they learn from their peers and which they teach to their peers.”

“graduates of elite American universities who had little sense of what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of them decided to get a job working for a Wall Street investment bank or management consultancy. If you don’t know what your passion is or what you really want to do, they said, then “you might as well go to Wall Street and make a lot of money if you can’t think of anything better to do.”36 And I have heard similar comments from young graduates of selective colleges and universities. Nobody has ever taught them that what you do influences the kind of person you will become.”

“When parents matter more than peers, they can teach right and wrong in a meaningful way. They can prioritize attachments within the family over attachments with same-age peers. They can foster better relationships between their child and other adults. They can help their child develop a more robust and more authentic sense of self, grounded not in how many “likes” a photo gets on Instagram or Facebook but in the child’s truest nature. They can educate desire, instilling a longing for higher and better things, in music, in the arts, and in one’s own character.”

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Book Keywords:

parenting-advice, parenting

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