Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


May 6, 2024

By Rebecca Heiner

On a hot, August day in 1971, a group of 24 male college students arrived at Stanford University to participate in a two week-long experiment.  Very little was known about what would be expected, but they were promised $15 per day for their participation.

Psychology Professor, Phillip Zimbardo, sought the participants for an experiment about human behavior. He wanted to know how people would react when placed in an environment and assigned a role. It seemed simple enough. However, no one could have predicted the outcome of what would later be known as the infamous and controversial Stanford Prison Experiment.

The Idea

Zimbardo’s idea was to observe participants in a simulated prison setting to see if roles would influence behavior. Half of the men were assigned the role of prison guards, and the other half, prisoners. A mock prison was set up in the basement of the psychology building and instructions were given to the men. The “guards” were told to create an environment of powerlessness for the “prisoners” without physically hurting them.


The experiment ended abruptly (after 6 days) when problems arose. In their attempt to exert authority, the guards had become abusive, and the prisoners were in extreme emotional distress. The guards began relying on tactics that were ultimately dehumanizing, such as sleep deprivation and stripping them naked. The prisoners reacted to their powerlessness by rebelling with anger or withdrawing. In a short amount of time, a significant amount of psychological damage had been done.

The Outcome

Although there were problems with the experiment, it gave us some useful information. We learn that behavior can change when someone feels they have a role of authority or power over another person.  We also learn that emotional damage can be done when a person is stripped of their decency and power. 

Prison Guard or Parent

There is something we can learn about parenting from this experiment. Parents are placed in a role of authority when children enter their lives. They are tasked with the responsibility of caring for them and teaching them correct principles and values. Children are dependent on adults to meet their needs and give guidance.

Unfortunately, we sometimes see disturbing examples in our society of parent-child relationships that resemble more of a prison guard-prisoner relationship. The parent(s) fails to see parental authority as an opportunity to love and support. Instead, like the guards in Zimbardo’s experiment, they see it as an opportunity to exert power and control over another person.

Abuse Disguised as Discipline

Recently, a Utah mom and her therapist mentor have been in the news for allegedly abusing at least two of the mother’s children. Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested after one of Franke’s children escaped the home and went to a neighbor for help. Details about the awful and inhumane treatment these children endured is disturbing, to say the least.

Franke and Hildebrandt claim to have been disciplining, not abusing, children who needed correction.  It was discovered that Franke kept a journal detailing the disturbing punishments they used on the children. Make no mistake about it, withholding essentials of life, humiliating, restricting, taunting, and confining is not discipline…it’s abuse.  

Destructive Parenting

While this example is extreme, it highlights a form of destructive parenting that often causes harm. Authoritarian parenting, a parenting style that includes strict rules, severe punishments, high expectations, and rigid demands, is more about control than parenting. Rather than mentoring the child with love and respect, the parent becomes more like a controlling prison guard. Consequently, the child ends up feeling like a powerless prisoner.

The Missing Piece

One major problem in Authoritarian Parenting is a lack of empathy. The goal is to control, rather than to understand.  The parent barks out orders and expectations while failing to counsel with and listen to their child. Empathy is the missing piece. When a parent offers genuine understanding to their child, it builds a bridge of trust and respect. And In return, the child learns how to give empathy and understanding to others. 

The Power of Empathy

Parenting with empathy is powerful. Because our children will feel heard, understood, and respected, they will be more open to share and receive counsel. They will be more motivated to respect rules and make better choices. We will reap the benefits of a healthy parent-child relationship, and most importantly, earn the trust and respect of our precious children.

Rebecca is a Senior at BYU-Idaho and will soon be graduating with a B.S in Marriage and Family Studies. She lives in Riverton, Utah with her husband, and for the past 22 years they have been raising and loving their three daughters. She enjoys reading, writing, and relaxing in the backyard on summer nights. Rebecca is passionate about the importance of families and hopes to continue her journey advocating for strong and healthy family relationships.