The media has redefined broken homes as normal, maybe this development is good as children or adults should not be punished or stigmatized for such developments. These messages may be part of a larger phenomenon where the issue of permanency is being challenged.
Many children have seen parents lose their jobs; lose their pensions or health insurance. As we continue to experience high divorce rates and job losses, children may be learning that the loyalties that existed in marriage or between employer and employee are only temporary. These factors may contribute to an ever expanding philosophy of I am going to get mine and I don’t really care what happens to you.
In a culture where winning at all costs is the dominant theme, there are too many losers and to many outsiders. As parents work more hours for less pay, as is the pattern now, children are more and more being left to their own devices. Technological devices very often are filling the void.
As children experience the world more and more at a technological distance, they further remove themselves from their parents, people who did not and cannot experience this dramatic change in the way humans communicate.
In addition, the essential nature of families has changed. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that for the first time in American history, married couples are in the minority at 49%. Clearly, we are a culture that is in transition, possibly on a level that may be unprecedented.
While the style of parenting has changed, the environment in which parents must act as parents has changed as well. Many of these influences create uncertainty. Financial questions abound, will there be a job to stabilize the home. Will there be enough money for extracurricular events and later attending college?
At the same time, many parents are wondering if they will ever retire as retirement accounts are at the mercy of the stock market and the long dark shadows cast over social security are getting darker and longer.
Still, with all the changes and uncertainty, one certainty remains. Give your time and affection to your children talk to them peacefully and reasonably and you will have done as many parents have done across time, done the best that they could for their children.
Remember, all kids count.
Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net.