• The Collapse of Parenting

  • How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups
  • By: Leonard Sax MD PhD
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,641 ratings)

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The Collapse of Parenting

By: Leonard Sax MD PhD
Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
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Publisher's Summary

In The Collapse of Parenting, Leonard Sax, an acclaimed expert on parenting and childhood development, identifies a key problem plaguing American children, especially relative to other countries: the dramatic decline in young people's achievement and psychological health. The root of this problem, Sax contends, lies in the transfer of authority from parents to their children, a shift that has been occurring over the last 50 years and is now impossible to ignore.

Sax pinpoints the effects of this shift, arguing that the rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young people - as well as their parents' widespread dependence on psychiatric medications to fix such problems - can all be traced back to a corresponding decline in adult authority.

Sax argues that a general decline in respect for elders has had particularly severe consequences for the relationships between parents and their children. The result is parents are afraid of seeming too dictatorial and end up abdicating their authority entirely rather than taking a stand with their own children. If kids refuse to eat anything green and demand pizza instead, parents give in, inadvertently raising children who expect to eat sweets and junk food and are thus more likely to become obese. If children demand and receive the latest smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets and are then allowed to spend the bulk of their waking hours texting with friends and accessing any website they want, they become increasingly reliant on peers and the media for guidance on how to live rather than their parents. And if they won't sit still in class or listen to adults - parents or teachers - they're often prescribed medication, a quick fix that doesn't help them learn self-control. In short, according to Sax, parents have failed to teach their children good habits, leaving children with no clear sense of the distinction between right and wrong. But, Sax insists, there is hope.

To start with, parents need to regain central places in the lives of their young children, displacing same-age peers who can't provide the same kind of guidance and stability. Parents also need to learn that they can't be best friends and parents at the same time. They'll make their children's lives easier if they focus not on pleasing their kids but instead on giving them the tools they need to lead happy, healthy lives.

Drawing on over 25 years of experience as a family psychologist and hundreds of interviews with children, parents, and teachers in the United States and throughout the world, Sax makes a convincing case that if we are to help our children avoid the pitfalls of an increasingly complicated world, we must reassert authority as parents.

©2016 Leonard Sax (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Collapse of Parenting

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    5 out of 5 stars

An interesting critique of modern parenting

The doctor has clearly put a lot of thought into his theory. He argues well and the content is delivered concisely and at a good speed. It's definitely written with a US audience in mind which was unfortunately not applicable to my situation, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear this man's theory laid bare. He relies on plenty of scientific studies to build his thesis, and in the end develops a grand theory which rests upon, rather than is demanded by the science reviewed. In the end he probably over-reaches a little, but that's to each individual's taste.

I didn't enjoy this quite as much as Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive by Vishton or Brain Rules for Baby by Medina (my absolute fave), but I was looking for something that competes with those and I gave this five stars because it was good enough.

If you like the two I mentioned, give this a try. Failing that, if you're the kind that would like a well laid out foundational theory upon which to base your parenting style, Sax might just be your guy.

16 people found this helpful

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solid advice

This book is about the type of parenting that helps kids be happy adults not just pacified children. It calls for accountability in parenthood. It reminded me to do less multi tasking and more one on one attention with my kids. Reminded me that family should come first in my children's life and I'm the one that needs to set the presidence.

8 people found this helpful

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Not many strategies for small kids

This seemed to be geared more for kids 8+. Didn't have many strategies for preschool children besides be strong and don't let your child make the decisions parents should make. Definitely good information but, it was not what I was hoping for.

6 people found this helpful

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I so needed this!

As a parent who has raised a son who is now 20 and another son who 17 I realize that I have definitely done somethings wrong. Now I am raising seven-year-old twins and I do not want to repeat some of the same mistakes this book has not only given the research data and background as to why certain things fall apart but it is also given me insight as to how to correct them in my life as well as my children's.

5 people found this helpful

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Balance this book

I felt there were many good points but also felt the author believed things that I felt went to far. Definitely based on Judeo-Christian ethics. Anyone reading it should keep going even when you disagree simply to get the many points requiring our personal thoughts on the issues that are raised.

4 people found this helpful

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Right on point!

Excellent, very common sense, plenty of information to be seriously considered. Also read Boy's Adrift from the same author, extremely good read as well! Highly recommed The Collapse of Parenting to any parent who is serious about the job of raising children.

4 people found this helpful

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Good

This book overall is good. I feel as tho he has a personal vendetta for video games and social media which clouds his true mission of getting parents in the driver seat. However, the conclusion of the book more directly covers the importance of postponing a child’s involvement with such things.

3 people found this helpful

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I'm not mad I invested my time

It was a good listen however it was extremely repetitive. This book has alot of great information and points to it but it could've been half the time because it's literally the same thing over and over. Still good listen.

3 people found this helpful

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Unscientific

This book is on assumptions drawn from anectodes and actually often going against scientific research. The author mixes authoritative upbringing with authoritatian upbringing (suggests the latter, but calls it authoritative). Don’t recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Eye opening!

Dr. Sax hits the nail on the head with his interpretation of today's parenting in America! Required reading for any parent.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Claire Felts
  • 08-12-21

Review

Good but could do with a more rigorous reflection on what the studies and data in the related areas show. Was quite anecdotal for the most part instead, even if these anecdotes are quite relatable.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ML
  • 03-08-16

Brilliant

Completely eye-opening and so correct! I have definitely been soft parent and needed re-educating. If you live anywhere other than America don’t be put off by the constant referral to American society and statistics for America. This collapse of parenting is a disease that is spreading beyond America and needs to be addressed here in the UK and elsewhere too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lucy P
  • 09-27-16

Essential listening for every parent surrounded by smartphones and apps

This is a fantastic and well timed book for any parent surrounded by modern technology and child-friendly apps.
The most powerful point for me was showing that a more 'old fashioned' traditional upbringing (shared family meals, no social media, no glancing at screens at the dining table (parents included!) or watching TV before homework is completed etc.) is proven to help make respectful and well adjusted children that look up to their parents.
Saying all this, I'm still not ready to give up Disney's YouTube video of 'Let It Go' which I rely on to prevent reliable toddler meltdowns at shoe fitting time, but have started to and will introduce all other points as my toddler grows up.
Highly recommended, even for non-American listeners like myself.

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  • Tanya Downes
  • 12-01-22

Dangerously unhelpful!

The book concentrates more on belittling or degrading parents for their 'failings' according to the author - especially concentrating on pointing out the failings of mothers.
the whole part on where parents rank time spent with their children is completely pointless as it depicts mothers are disliking time with their children before giving any explanation which to me (as a mother) really devalued any supposed lesson we are suppose to take away from the book. The part in the book where it talks about the over diagnosis of developmental issues such as ADHD/Bipolar disorder in comparison to historic figures is just ridiculous considering how much more we know about the issues now compared to them where many children remained undiagnosed including myself until much later in adult life.

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  • Tara
  • 09-06-22

I like flashdance

Far to simplistic and a little bit old school with approach. Should be title parenting from the 1980s.

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  • Tailz
  • 08-30-22

straight forward

I like the way the author gets right to his point and is clear in his instructions. I don't fully agree with everything but for the most part I think the premise and advice are strong.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-22

Good read for any parent

Although it is mostly about American culture and habits, it is good to read by europeans as well, because lots of countries in Europe have embraced the american culture and thus applying same parenting style described in this book.
Good read and new ideas to explore especially for those who want to be liked by their kids at any cost.

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  • Zlatin
  • 08-11-22

must read

while I don't always agree with everything he says, I think it's a must read for every parent even outside the US.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-31-22

Book review

Very insightful and educative . Concepts were backed up with evidence, clearly explained and practical.

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  • Hui
  • 05-27-22

Much needed and thought provoking

This book together with <unconditional parenting> are the pillar stone of my parenting practice. My daughter is still very young but I can see how older children drift away from family and get the most significant influence from peers and popular culture. This book offers great ideas of how to educate children’s desires and shape their value system since young. Highly recommended.

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  • Emma
  • 02-07-16

Thought Provoking.

Will definitely be reassessing the way I parent, in more ways than one. Excellent and eye opening book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-22

Parenting on the Same Page

Thoroughly enjoyable, discussed ideas with friends and family. Thought provoking content which challenges the reasoning of why.

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  • Danny
  • 07-02-22

Boomer telling millennials how to raise alpha gen children

Author is living in the 20s telling young whippersnappers to get of their lawn. He preaches agism against children which is about to become illegal. Encourages kids to work even when they prefer to sit at home and do what’s right for them. Had I had a choice of not needing to work, I would have preferred this too.

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  • Jamie
  • 02-26-22

Highly recommend

I’m a high school teacher with a masters in behavioural psychology and I highly recommend this to all parents to read BEFORE your children become teenagers!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-20-20

An absolute must for parents!

This book was recommended to my wife and I and we both read it. To me, the main points of this book made absolute sense. As a father is MY responsibility and ONLY mine to do my job and lead this little one, to prepare them for real life, to understand that life has goods, very goods, bads and very bad. That life gives you wonders but also deep deep dissapointments. To work hard, to respect, to listen, to keep going when you don't get what you dream. To enjoy and feel happiness, sorrow, love and broken heart. That is not about me.

Give yourself the chance to read the book with no pre set judgement, let it talk to you and then you decide.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-19

essential reading for parents

Excellent advice. Highly recommended. A must read for every parent, grandparent or child care worker.