– According to physician and psychologist Leonard Sax, America’s most important problems – like obesity, psychiatric illness and the eroding educational system – have a single cause: it’s the parents’ fault. However, the bossy style of parenting recommended by Sax in his new book “The Collapse of Parenting” may be bad for your children. It seems that the expert himself doesn’t understand very well the radical difference between the two styles of parenting respectively called “authoritative” and “authoritarian.”

– Sax’s first advice about discipline is a blatant example of this confusion: “Command. Don’t ask. Don’t negotiate. … When you lay down a rule, and your children ask why, answer, ‘Because Mommy (or Daddy) says so, that’s why.'” Such an injunction is typically authoritarian, not authoritative. Another recommendation of the same kind: “When parents begin to cede control to their kids, food choices often are the first thing to slide,” writes Sax. Yet, advising parents to force their children to empty their plate and eat more than they want or need is a perfect example of authoritarian education, a method considered nowadays as potentially harmful by many psychologists.



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