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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,758 Ratings  ·  350 Reviews
"One of the premier experts on parenting, Dr. Leonard Sax brilliantly articulates the problems parents experience with their children, then gives solutions. If you have time to read only one book this year, read this one." --Meg Meeker, M.D., best-selling author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons
In The Collapse of Parenting, internationall
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 29th 2015 by Basic Books
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Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to K by: Yaffi
It's always a tough call for me to give a book five stars. I'm afraid of overselling something and then disappointing people (although my critical reviews appear to offend more people than my hyperbolic ones). I was also reluctant because the beginning of this book felt like hackneyed, well-trod ground and I wasn't sure I should bother to keep reading. But I did, and this book completely grew on me, with insights that I found original, useful, and truly resonant. So five stars it is.

Leonard Sax,
Elizabeth Ditty
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
If I could divide my reviews into "information presented" vs "how information is presented," you'd see two different scores. While Dr. Sax offers solid advice on how to parent (not exactly reinventing the wheel so much as reminding us about the existence of the wheel), the way in which it is presented is, quite frankly, very cynical and borderline insulting to an entire generation of parents & children. I found Sax's judgmental tone extremely off-putting, and while I can stand behind the pri ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wait wait wait...Dr. Leonard Sax, could that possibly be a pseudonym? Are you sure you're dad?

Seriously though, Sax's parenting philosophy basically lines up with how I was raised, and how I plan to raise my own kids. So he's preaching to the choir here. If that were not the case, I might have taken more issue with the way he uses personal observations and anecdotes to "prove" his view of the world, the US in particular, going to Hell in a handbasket full of selfies, snapchat, and twerk
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I will have to agree with most of the previous reviews. This is a must read for all parents, teachers and employers. Even if your children are grown or if you have strict standards as to how you will raise your little ones, this book will help you to understand the shift in society and the types of people your children will be interacting with or competing against. As a 19 year former high school Chemistry teacher and an analytical chemist (so many years before) I appreciate Dr. Sax's approach u ...more
Tammy Harrington
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I typically don't write reviews about my books because I feel they are very personal, so, I let everyone form their own opinions. However this one took me a bit off guard. I believe the authors point of view deserves questioning. I identified with some interviews that I read from the author. I decided to read the book. However when reading the book I really felt like he was more of the Donald Trump of parenting. While trying to deal with some very real problems we have in our country, his approa ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all parents!! We are parents for a reason.. we can't just be their friend. They are children and need direction and guidance that only parents can give.. not teachers.. not peers..PARENTS. Although this was a "secular" book it had A LOT of biblical principals: teach your children humility, honesty, hard work, train them up in the way they should go.
Amie Geyman
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A convicting and encouraging read for parents. I enjoyed his practical advise for raising children with virtues and getting more enjoyment out of parenting. It's a must read for every parent.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Slate does a great review of this book that sums up its flaws, which are pretty substantial. Instead of evidence, Sax gives us anecdote and personal sentiments of the "kids these days" variety to support his theory that parents are not parenting well.
Despite that, Sax hides an occasional nugget of good or well written information. For example, he clearly walks the reader through how leaving screens in a child's bedroom (phone, computer, TV, gaming, whatever) means the parent can't really monitor
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one of the best parenting books I've read lately. My children are now grown but what useful information Dr. Sax shares for parenting today. Lots of tips and statistics. He talks about 3 different kinds of parents and how our parenting truly influences our child's outcomes. Some of this information may be difficult for some to hear. Highly recommend.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Old School Parents
Sax had me when he referenced The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. Ripley's book confirmed our decision to send my daughter to a school that mirrored to a large extent the educational systems and approaches that are used in other countries that have achieved academic excellence in the education of their students. Now, Sax has confirmed our position that the old school way of parenting is still relevant in today's world.

Sax's basic premise is that kids toda
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This parenting book has everything I look for: studies that back up the author's claims, good organization, great writing, and plenty of case studies or examples to illustrate any points. Yet, what really pushed this book into five star territory was that despite the grim and alarming picture the author presented, Dr. Sax also included methods and ways to fix the situation.
What is the situation? Dr. Sax maintains (and I rather agree with him) that parental authority has been eliminated through t
Christina Dudley
I live in a place where some parents will buy their kids drugs and alcohol so they can party at home where it's "safe." Where the last AP Biology final got stricken from the record because of widespread cheating. Where a swim coach got chastised for reprimanding a kid, whose parents then went over his head to complain to the club owner. Where fragile kids need constant snacks, participation trophies, and boosts to their precious self-esteem.

I am so on board with this book. The author builds con
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
For not having or likely ever wanting kids, I sure do enjoy reading parenting books.
Heather Wihongi
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can NOT recommend this book enough. I would give it 6 stars if I could. As both a parent and a teacher, this book is priceless and has taught me so much!
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book 18. GREAT read for people who are noticing (and tired of) parents who aren’t being parents and children who are growing into disrespectful, fragile adults who lack know how and confidence to succeed and find fulfillment in life. Definitely a read for the office shelf for parents seeking counsel.
Megan Fly
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
MUST READ if you're a parent. Or if you have parents. Or if you're a teacher. Or a grown up. This book will remind you of things you already know about being a good parent and teach you a few others. It'll remind you what is important in your relationships with your children and give you the science to back it up. Leonard Sax reminds us we are not here to be our children's friend. We are here to love them and prepare them for their futures. To shape healthy, happy, kind, humble, hard-working chi ...more
Kelsey Shenk
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone wanting to become a parent (currently me) or who is already a parent. I greatly appreciated how well supported his opinions were, with countless studies and tests he was quoting. It wasn't just a rant of frustration from a random person, but someone who has been heavily immersed and well versed in the problems and solutions he states in this book. It definitely hits upon some key problems in today's American family and is sobering. I appreciated his secular view of what ch ...more
Krisette Spangler
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I loved this book from start to finish. Dr. Sax makes some very astute observations about the youth and parents of today. I especially loved his ranking of parents into categories of Too Strict, Too Soft, and Just Right. Even though, I always try to fall into the Just Right category, I found there were several things I needed to change in my parenting style. He also advocates teaching our children self control and humility. It's important for youth to understand we don't always get what we want. ...more
Erica T
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At the risk of offending people who would feel he's too harsh, I would honestly recommend this book to everyone who is raising children. There is a culture of disrespect among young people which I see a lot of while working in various schools but also in my own home. Dr. Sax points out the ways we as parents are failing to raise respectful, resilient children and fortunately also gives some good advice on fixing that within our own families. A lot of it is not new information to me but rather a ...more
Katherine Barnes
Feb 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Preachy and predictable. Best summarized in telling parents to make their kids eat broccoli before they get dessert. He makes that point over and over. I agree with most everything he said, but his writing style and lack of interesting facts or anecdotes made me completely lose interest.
Christine Fay
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is another intensely logical book by Dr. Sax on how to raise your children right. It not only offers explanations as to why American kids are so disrespectful and fragile, but offers solutions as well.

“Teachers in these high-end schools now routinely pass out wireless clickers to students for instant polling. In the most successful countries, the classrooms are typically ‘utilitarian and sparse’ with no digital gadgets. Ripley notes that in countries which outperform the United States, the
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We're trying to implement the ideas of this book. So far, the amount of disrespect from our kids has been drastically reduced.
I think this is an important analysis of some of the problems with raising the generation of children who are in the schools today. It goes along with some of my own intergenerational observations.

My own observation: I grew up in the 50s and 60s. We were the protest generation, protesting against the sexism, racism, and classism of our parents' generation. We saw rules that needed breaking and we broke them. Then we had kids. OUR kids, we decided would grow up "Free to Be", without rules. And th
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book about parenting. It’s old-school. But, not old-school in a bad way, It’s not old-school in a do what I say just because I’m the parent. It’s old-school in a do what I say because I’m the parent, and I’ll always love you and be your parent. And, I’m trying to teach you how to live as a self-controlled, forgiving, hard-working, kind person. Now I’m going to give you a research and a philosophy about why being an authoritative parent is healthy for both kids and adults. I ...more
Vmichelle Skinner
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Interesting and highly recommended. This isn't a how-to book of tips and tricks (although it does have very direct practical application). It's more of an overview of parenting in our current American environment and the effect its having on individual kids and our culture as a whole. The title (so apocalyptic and dire) was a turn off to me and I was hesitant to read it. My first thought was that this book wouldn't apply to me. Oh ho ho, I was wrong.

In the giant soup of all these different pare
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up this book very blindly at my local library and had no expectations when I began to read it. Because many other reviewers here have already summarized the book I'll leave that out of my review.

The reason I gave it 3 stars is because I was struggling to understand how Mr. Sax's advice could actually be followed in today's world and in homes, like mine, with 3 or more children. I believe that I already follow many of the suggestions that the author outlines. For example he suggests lim
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I'm wavering on how many stars to give this. It was eye-opening, for sure, and I agreed with a lot of it. Many parts made me feel like, sure, yeah, we're doing this right. But by the end the task of parenting seemed almost comically impossible. I mean, I get and agree with the notions of setting boundaries and teaching integrity and humility. There are aspects of medicating and screen usage which don't really apply to my parenting style, so that part was easy to agree with. I think the discussio ...more
Matthew Richey
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sax seeks to address many of the contemporary difficulties of children and young people today through the lens of a failure, on the part of adults, to actually parent. This has fostered a culture of disrespect where parents (and teachers) are no longer in authority, have abdicated this to their children. Children are increasingly deciding what they eat, when they sleep, if they do their homework, how long they play video games etc. Children have moved from their parents to their peers as the pri ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the most impactful book that I have read in the past three years. Dr. Sax uses a mix of personal anecdotal insights, research, and experience as a family physician and psychologist to discuss the reality behind the culuture of disrespect, permissiveness, and abdication or adult authority by many parents and schools and how it is affecting the fragility and explosion of kids with medicated mental health issues seen everywhere, but particularly in middle and upper middle class comm ...more
Austin Martin
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although I am not a parent myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this book about how drastically parenting in the United States has changed. Reading this book made me think back to events in my own childhood and how I now think about my mother's parenting style. While growing up, my mother was what the author coined a Just Right parent; she was very strict but loving and taught me many hard lessons through the years and to this day about life that are now invaluable to me.

My favorite part of this book w
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Leonard Sax is an American psychologist and family physician. He is the author of Why Gender Matters (Doubleday, 2005; revised edition to be published in 2017); Boys Adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men (Basic Books, 2007; revised edition, 2016); Girls on the Edge (Basic Books, 2010); and The Collapse of Parenting (Basic Books, 2015 ...more
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“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. .” 1 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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