Book Review: The Collapse of Parenting

by Mark Entzminger/ December 21, 2018

Some time ago people asked me what I would do differently if I were starting over in ministry. My answer was, without hesitation, “Read more parenting books.”

Even though we were newly married when we entered vocational ministry, and did not have children of our own, I would have prioritized reading books about parenting.

It is true—there is nothing like the reality check of being a parent. But I’m amazed at what can be learned to help those who are parenting now. Some of my top books for parents include:

  • Have a New Kid by Friday—Dr. Kevin Leman
  • Parenting with Love and Logic—Foster Cline and Jim Fay
  • Boundaries with Kids—Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  • The Chickens Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids about Sex—Kevin Leman and Kathy Flores Bell

For the purpose of this article, however, please allow me to share my thoughts regarding the contents of the most recent book I’ve read on parenting, The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax.

Though this book is not written from a Christian perspective, it’s also not filled with a bunch of psychobabble which often can creep in with secular “self-help” books. Leonard Sax is a physician and psychologist, which gives him a great foundation to speak as an authority on this topic.

You will wade through a lot of statistics comparing the United States with other developed countries. But if your eyes don’t glaze over, and you simply understand he’s attempting to take away the justification that “it’s just how kids are today,” you’ll be fine.

These country comparisons, though strong in numbers and research, really show that much of what we are facing is not a natural by-product of today’s child and teen, but a dynamic we have created in our culture. And if we’ve created it—we can be part of the solution. We do not have to stand by and watch it continue with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My big takeaway from this book is that much of what we are facing in our children today is a failure in today’s parents to be equipped to raise their children effectively. I have a feeling most people are not going to be surprised at the findings Sax presents. But the fact that he’s actually saying it, as a medical professional, is great!

One of the big problems we have in our world today is we tend to blame other people for things that have been our responsibility for decades. In The Collapse of Parenting, Sax reminds parents to be the parent. Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s description: Children today often choose what’s for supper; they choose which social media they will engage; they often choose their bedtime and sometimes even their school. His research shows how this style of parenting leads children and teens to being less resilient, less physically fit, more likely to become angry and depressed—and far more fragile—compared with kids from the same demographic 30 years ago.

Readers of The Collapse of Parenting will be able to better identify and respond to their child’s behaviors based on what’s truly best for them rather than assuming because other parents are doing it this way— it must be right.

Here are some of the main topics covered in the book:


  • The Culture of Disrespect
  • Why so Many American Kids are on Medication
  • Why so Many American Kids are Overweight and out of Shape
  • Why so Many American Kids are “Fragile”


  • What Matters Most
  • Humility and Self-Control
  • Enjoying Life
  • The Purpose of School and Meaning of Life

I recommend parents and church leaders read this book.

WARNING: If you are a parent of a newborn or are expecting your first child, this book may make you into the most abnormal parent on the planet. But that just might be what helps your child rise above the trends we see in America today.

Disclaimer: All books I review have been purchased for personal and professional growth, not as a tool to market on behalf of an author or publishing house. Review is provided as a service to assist others who may find themselves desiring to grow in a similar fashion.