We have written a few times on parenting and children. Now, we share these sundry thoughts.
Raising children, especially in these terrible times, can seem to be a thankless chore.
Yet, we so desperately need strong families today in Western societies.
We encourage, even urge, parents to spend time with your children and take an active, continuing interest in their development each year. Remember, the schools are not designed to play the role of parents to your children. Schools are to educate your children, not raise them. You, as parents, must work to instill self-discipline in your sons and daughters.
Parents being more actively involved with their children was the norm 4 or 5 decades ago. I can remember when most women with children were housewives back in the 1960s. In those years, a married couple could maintain a modest middle class standard of living with one “bread winner”. Life was a struggle then, yes, but life is even tougher now. We are not saying that women with children ought not work outside the home. But, we are acknowledging the reality that doing so does add more challenge to raising children.
What is the typical family interaction like these days? Parents and children in many homes hardly see each other during the day and evening with every one going off on their own way. Consider making it a priority that the family will sit down to dinner each evening with all members present. That is a start, and it is not difficult to do. (Children can help in the kitchen and/or with clean up after meals.)
We have observed many families in recent decades where it appears that the parents abdicate their responsibilities and just let their children do their own thing with little parental involvement once the children reach their mid to late teens. You still need to play a constructive role in your teenaged children’s lives.
Teenagers can seem to be incorrigible. This is where the challenge can be the greatest for parents. Teenaged children can be so “me” centered. As they get older and as the emotional maturation process progresses they should become less so, less self-centered.
I do not think the artificially prolonged adolescence in the US helps. We could retool our educational system by moving to year round schooling in all districts, and by getting tenured college professors to actually teach classes (instead of researching and writing, or going on sabbaticals) so that young people could enter the workforce with a 4 year degree by age 20. When are young people graduating these days? At about age 25 or even later. (No wonder we have so many “sexually active” young people who engage in serial fornication. Sadly, there are many young people who are unable to make the serious emotional commitment that marriage requires after they are out of school.) Of course, retooling education to be workable will also require the government to get its heavy boots off the jugular veins (or carotid arteries) of the economy so jobs can be produced for our young people. (Hey Obama, it ain’t working.)
So-called Millennials – in this stagnant economy – may be living with mommy and daddy well into their 30s. That is a national disgrace.
We note that the task of parenting becomes even more difficult in a single parent home. We have in earlier essays spoke of the very great challenge a single (or divorced, or widowed) mother faces in trying to raise teenaged boys.
building needed character strengths and homeschooling
How do you build the strengths of character that young people need to resist peer pressure? How do you build character strength and instill positive, constructive values that will prepare your children for a self-reliant adult life?
These are important questions. The answers may seem to be elusive in these times.
Homeschooling one’s children is a major sacrifice in terms of time and effort (and foregone wages) on the part of the parents (mainly mothers) who do this. However, in a large proportion of cases of homeschooled children, once they are away at college for a few years, they adopt the attitudes and values (or “anti-values” depending upon your perspective) of their peers and their leftist college professors. This comes as a rude shock to their parents, who gave so much of themselves during the long homeschooling process before their children went to college.
Why does this play out this way? It appears that homeschooling does not give to children the character strength to resist peer pressure. It can be very lonely for a college student and he or she can feel both threatened and vulnerable when he/she is the only student, or one of a very few students in a class, that holds to an unpopular or politically incorrect view. Often, the young person in that minority of students is the one who holds to a traditional moral position on the hot button issues of the day. (We touched on this in our essay of 5 June 2014 on ideology in higher education.) By protecting or shielding one’s children from the often corrosive, toxic influences found in many of our schools, homeschooling parents have also kept their children from experiences of confronting peer pressure. Parents with the best of intentions can see a failure in moral character in their young adult children.
These words are intended to serve as food for thought, and are not meant to discourage parents.
end of essay
We have shared our essay here: http://www.messymarriage.com/the-communication-tool-that-opens-hearts-and-linkup/#
This photo was taken this morning in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We see our photographer (on a brief holiday) with local children on a chess board.
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