“Every sentence ends in a question mark.”
Some parenting experts told adults that they should offer their children choices instead of telling them what to do and parents believed them, he said.
The hierarchy of parent over child no longer exists, he said. Instead of parents exercising their authority because they know what’s best, they are focusing on making children happy and boosting their self-esteem.
“They now see their job as facilitating whatever a kid wants to do,” he said.
He offered some solutions:
Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” he said. One study found that for each additional meal a family had together, the children were less likely to internalize problems such as anxiety or externalize problems such as skipping school. It also helped children develop good nutrition habits, lessening the obesity problem.
Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cellphones, computers, TVs and video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnosis.
Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. This generation lives life in a virtual world. Online friends can quickly become more important than the friends children see in person. They don’t know how to communicate with someone face to face or have outside interests and hobbies. Video games also rewire the way their brains work. And what they post online never goes away. Install software like My Mobile Watchdog, which will share every photo that they take or post with you.
Teach humility. Give lessons that show children that they are not the most important people in the world. They need to be able to see the world through another lens and be able to handle rejection or failure. It really cannot be “everybody gets a trophy.”
Have an alliance between the school and you. If your child did something, don’t approach teachers or administrators with suspicion and distrust. “Parents swoop in like attorneys demanding evidence,” Sax said. Instead lessons of honesty and integrity should be enforced. That means that a brilliant kid who cheated takes the 0.
Parent what they do. No, your 14-year-old cannot go to a party with college students or to the beach for spring break. No, they will not be at parties where alcohol is served, and you will not be the one serving it. You have to think of worst-case scenarios like drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning and sexual assault, and know that these are not decisions that they are ready to make because they are not adults. They need an adult, and that’s you. And even if their peers’ parents are fine with something, you don’t have to be. “Other parents don’t have a clue at what they are doing,” Sax said. “That’s why what they are doing doesn’t have good outcomes.”
Some of those things, especially if they are new for your family, can be difficult and might be hard to enforce. Sax recommends persistence and commitment.
Physician to parents: You're doing it wrong | www.houstonseagle.com