Our vision in a nutshell
When I consider the massive positive response to our approach (NVR or The New Authority) throughout the world, I can attribute this to the fact that we probably succeeded in addressing what is perhaps the most pressingchallenge facing parents today.
Children are flooded with a flood of temptations never witnessed before. The dangers reach children at all hours of the day and night, in the streets, at school, on TV and their smartphones.
Moreover, children have more ways of hiding and ducking beneath the parental radar than ever before. Big cities offers children anonymity and hiding places. Also the right of privacy has become a screen to hide from their parents. Parents who try to protect their children are often met with the angry cries: “It's my room!” “It's my money!” “They’re my friends!” No parent can stay indifferent to such cries.
Just when our children are in so much in danger, there has been a drastic drop in parental status. Parents are weaker, first of all, because they are lonelier. Parents today are significantly less supported by grandparents, siblings and neighbors. The rate of divorce and single-parent families has risen sharply. Today's small family is increasingly isolated in its own house. A well-known proverb says “it takes a whole village to raise a child.” But where can we find that village in the world of today?
Parents are weaker because the means of authority they once had have been taken away from them. It is a positive process in its own right – after all, corporal punishment and achieving obedience through force are very bad things. However, parents have not received the means to replace them.
Another sweeping cause of weakness is the internet. In the past, parents were the source of wisdom. Today it is the internet. Sometimes parents try to yank their children’s devices out of their hands, among other reasons as a punishment. They say “it's the only punishment that works.” The problem is that it doesn't work and that parents are unable to sustain it.
This is the challenge: endless drift that afflicts all children and parental weakening on all fronts.
For many years I worked with hundreds of students, researchers and colleagues in Israel and around the world to develop an appropriate response to the crisis facing us. All of my books and studies lead to a single image: the parental anchor. Against the sweeping drift, parents must find a way to anchor themselves to their “parental ground,” so as to serve as anchors for their children. The parental anchor is the guarantee that the child will have a present and stable parent and not be left adrift in the flood. My ultimate goal is to help parents reclaim the role of anchor.
The leading psychological theory of child development today is attachment theory. This theory says that parents do not simply educate their children (in the sense of turning them into educated children) but provide them with a stable and loving relationship in which the child can grow up well. The parents must be acceptant and loving, that's crucial for a positive attachment. However, the parents must also be strong and stable. If we think of the loving parents as a harbor, then the anchor is what gives stability to the harbor. Children need the parental anchor so as not to be swept away by currents or by the the tempting songs of the mermaids. When parents function as anchors, they provide their children not only with attention, encouragement and love, but also with stability and security.
So this is our vision in a nutshell: Parents must become an anchor to stop the dangerous drift. Parents fulfill an anchoring function when they become more present in the life of their child. The anchor is a good symbol for parental presence, for the anchor is always there in the depths. Parents fulfill an anchoring function when they become able to control themselves. The anchor is a good symbol for parental self-control, for an anchored parent is one that "does not lose it". Parents fulfill an anchoring function when they get support from the extended family and other people in their and the child's surroundings. The anchor is a good symbol for this support, for an anchor with one hook cannot stop the ship (the child) very well, but one with three hooks can. All our techniques, measures and concepts serve the goal of helping parents develop an effective anchoring function.