Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on Dr. Sax’s thought-provoking parent presentation. I enjoy pop culture (Bravo, all music, the occasional TMZ update, People Magazine, and the cooking shows on VICELAND). So, I was troubled when Dr. Sax cited pop culture as a leading cause of teen anxiety and a factor in the “collapse of parenting.”
Sax partly blamed the lyrical content of modern music (Bieber, Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus) for the rise in a culture of disrespect among children. When I was in middle school, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Bieber seems mild in comparison. Has pop culture really grown cruder in the last 25 years?
Maybe. I am not going to argue the data with Dr. Sax, but I think the smartphone and invasive social media are the real enemies. Kids now have unlimited and constant access to unfiltered, mind-numbing content—no more waiting to catch a video on 120 Minutes.
The other problem? Us: the adults. We have not adjusted rapidly enough to this new normal. We have not set the needed limits.
In this climate, how can you help your child learn self-control and become healthier and happier? Dr. Sax offered practical advice for parents, and his recommendations are backed by extensive research.
Limit your child’s access and time on social media and on video games.
Eat dinner together as much as possible.
Make the parent/child relationship the number one focus (not your child’s peer to peer relationships).
Spend quality time with extended family.
And, as we learned from Wendy Mogel, let your child feel disappointment and fail from time to time.
Please also check out Wait Until 8th, the movement to keep kids off smartphones until 8th grade. It’s too late for most of our current middle schoolers. But, if you have a child in toddler through 5th grade, take a stand. The reasons are compelling.
As a community, we partner to achieve our mission: to raise confident learners, ethical leaders, and compassionate engaged citizens. Let’s keep the conversation going and host more events in the future.