Parents in Charge: Who Says?

One of the basic tenets of my upcoming book Desperately Seeking Parents and of my clinical work represents two sides of the same coin: parents should be in charge of their families and children should submit to their parents’ authority.

Where did I get such a crazy idea?

The answer, which I discuss at length in my book, doesn’t come from science. I don’t need highfalutin research studies to inform my thoughts on this core subject. Rather, it comes from something more crucial to any understanding of child development and solid parenting. Three compelling and authoritative sources grant parents full authority over their children. These sources have commissioned parents to establish themselves as the head of the family hierarchy: God, the government, and, most importantly, COMMON SENSE.

Most of the world’s religions expressly command a family hierarchy, with parents in charge. The three largest religions in the Western Hemisphere—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—all have specific dictums that support parents’ position of authority in the family.

The United States government has both implicitly and explicitly presumed parental authority over their children. While our nation’s Constitution includes little that explicitly supports parental rights, it does offer crucial rights—such as the right to vote—exclusively to adults. Furthermore, any understanding of federal and state law reveals that parents have far more rights than their children.

Finally, common sense and logic both support a family hierarchy with parents in charge and children submitting to their parents’ authority. A simple logical argument should suffice:
1. In any relationship, the one who possesses superior knowledge, wisdom, and experience should be the leader and should hold a position of greater authority.
2. In almost all families, the parents possess superior knowledge, wisdom, and experience.
3. Therefore, parents should be the leaders and hold the position of authority in the family.
Are there any doubts on this? Does anyone really believe that (all things being equal, presupposing the adults are neither abusive nor incapacitated) adults should not be in control of their children, at the top of the family hierarchy?

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