The Collapse of Parenting

Over the last thirty years there has been an alarming transfer of power from parent to child. In North American culture, and those areas of the world infected by this culture, the antics and opinions of the famous and infamous, singers and actors, and same-age social peers matter more than parents and teachers. In place of the family unit is the teenage social circle linked neatly together by an always on social media that promotes the cult of the new, the irrelevant, the immature, and celebrity. During this period there has been a new emphasis on the opinions and preferences of children. The toddler gets to decide the clothes they want to wear on any given day; the young child can refuse to eat his vegetables safe in the knowledge that he’ll still get dessert; while the teenage child can game, text, or surf late into the night knowing that their mom is too busy trying to be the cool mom, rather than the voice of parental authority. Recent television, online, and even literary culture undermines parental authority to the point where little communication across generations is happening. Even children limited in their exposure to popular culture are not safe: the increasing influence of peer networks that continue after school via electronic devices means that the opinions and values of parents are further undermined.