Parenting today has become a difficult, complex and often exhausting “business”. The demands of juggling personal, professional and family obligations combined with a changing world and increased social isolation have led to a gradual deterioration of authority. Parents today often feel that they can no longer act and respond effectively to the negative behavior of their children. The parents of children with severe behavioral problems often view themselves as having less power than the child, believe that nothing can work, and feel defeated in advance when it comes to demands or confrontations. In addition, parents often find themselves blamed, either directly or indirectly for their inability to limit or stop their children’s’ negative behavior.
What has happened to today’s parents? Are we worse parents then the parents of previous generations? Are we to blame for our children’s’ deteriorating behavior?
Our answer is unequivocally – No!
In order to understand the difficulties and challenges facing parents today, we must understand the greater complexity and changed dynamics that are involved in parenting today. The following changes emphasize the challenges that parents face:
The disappearance of the extended family and the community
In the past parents received greater support from grandparents, aunts and uncles and neighbors. Changes in society have led to an increased feeling of detachment, both from extended family members and from our community. Today, family members often live far away, grandparents are busy with their own occupations and we no longer have a sense of community. The current situation has led to a significant loss of support for parents and their necessity to act alone and isolated in the face of great parenting challenges.
Longer working hours
Many parents find themselves putting in more and more hours at work. Indeed, changes in technology (mobile phones, emails) means that many of us find ourselves bringing work home. Can we really expect parents to spend more “quality time” with their family when the demands and expectations of their employment require extra work hours? Is it realistic or even fair to ask mothers to sacrifice their careers or father’s to risk their employment for more “family time”?
We must understand that changes in employment characteristics are contributing to the difficulties that parents face, and we must take this into account and when we seek to construct a “new authority”.
A Culture of Blame
From the time of Freud until today there has been an increased trend in placing blame on parents for their children behavior. The negative behavior of children often leads us to assume that the child does not receive enough love and support or conversely, to assume that limits and discipline have been neglected. When we witness the misbehavior of a child, rarely do we consider the parents’ difficulties or acknowledge the challenges they face. It is unfortunate that people are unlikely to take into account the child’s temperament or the many trials and tribulations that parents must cope with.
This climate of blame and reproach often leads parents to blame themselves, which increases their frustration as well as their isolation. Parents who blame themselves for their children’s misdeeds will be less likely to seek help and support and more likely to isolate themselves and their problems from others.
How can we approach parents differently, offering support instead of blame?
Infiltration of Technology
The changes in technology and media have led to many wonderful changes in today’s world. Unfortunately, it has also negatively affected parents’ ability to monitor and supervise their children activity. The infiltration of television, computers (internet, chat), and mobile phones into kids’ worlds often means that parents are more limited in their ability to know what is happening their child’s life. This is inability to properly supervise children has also contributed to parents’ loss of authority.
The New Authority
The New Authority offers a way to empower parents and as such improve their relationship with their children and significantly decrease children’s behavior problems.
We believe that providing parents with effective tools will improve the atmosphere in homes and the child’s behavior.