Where have all the parents gone?

Occasionally I get on a soapbox. Most often it is about one of two topics, either fathers that have jumped ship all together or parents who allow their kids to run the family. The latter is on my mind today, so I ask, “Where have all the parents gone?” Some how, over the past few decades, parents have decided that it’s just too hard to be in charge and have abdicated their authority in the family to their children.  Like Dr. Phil, I have to ask,  “So how’s that working for you?!”  I see so many parents, of even very young children, who tell me, “He doesn’t listen to me…. I try to get her to ____ but she won’t do it…If I say no he’ll throw a fit…My 5 year old refuses to go to bed unless I lie with him…My 8 year old constantly argues with me.”  I could go on.  Parents are walking on eggshells not to upset their little ones so they won’t have a temper tantrum. Dads are sleeping in their kids rooms because the kids are in his bed with their mother.  The children are out of control and miserable.  I am seeing more and more  anxious children and I feel that it is often related to a family where the kids realize there is no one in charge of them.  That creates anxiety in a little one, who behaves as if he wants to be in charge, but really does not.  Our kids are craving adults who are strong, nurturing, and can set appropriate limits at the same time.  Often I ask moms and dads what their parents would have done if they had behaved the way their kids do.  Almost always, they say their parents would never have allowed it, and that they would never even have tried it!  So why is that?  What messages are we sending our kids that say we will tolerate inappropriate behavior?  Next time I will share some of the pitfalls that I see parents falling into.  We’ll talk about hierarchy in the family, or what I like to refer to as “Who’s the boss?”

About Gretchen D. Woosley, MSW, LCSW

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in a private psychotherapy practice where I specialize in work with families and children. My focus is to help families improve their functioning so that each member of the family can reach their full potential, becoming the persons they were meant to be.
This entry was posted in adolescent mental health, child mental health, Family Life, mental health, parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Where have all the parents gone?

  1. Dianne says:

    Loved this! Cannot wait for the follow up.

  2. Emily says:

    Great topic! I have a good friend who is a young mother. I took care of her 15 month old the other day for 7 hours. He was so, so GOOD! She told me exactly what to do and what not to do to keep in line with her schedule. She is off to such a good start. Things like putting him down for his nap and not going back when he cried immediately. I told her later to keep up the good work because tantrums and power struggles will be around the corner soon!

  3. Genevieve Woosley says:

    You’re the best mom in the world 🙂

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