We study children who fall behind in school to assess what caused their decline. We investigate households where abuse is suspected because the signs point to negative situations. But, why do investigators or psychologists not study families that raise solid citizens?
If a celebrity makes it big, we get their bio. If a criminal gets arrested, we hear about their upbringing.
Why don’t we hear about the family situation of the mom who has raised a successful pastor and an upstanding stay at home mom. What did their parents do?
Why don’t we want to know how the couple that grew up in abuse managed to raise children that never succumb to it? I want to know their parenting strategy.
I want to focus on what successful families are doing to raise decent human beings. I want to learn what it is that makes successful parents successful. My own experiences have led me to choose certain parenting actions to encourage success in my family.
Why Families Are Falling Apart
Parenting has become a part-time gig. Children are being handed over to full time daycare at 6 weeks of age. Those children grow up in a system of being cared for by relative strangers from the time they are just learning to identify faces. They spend the majority of their days – and then their life – with people who are not their family, in most cases.
From the age of preschool on up, this is not as harmful. When infants, though, are placed in childcare they can risk not developing a solid attachment to their mother and father. Who they see – face-to-face – for most hours of their day are their primary caregivers. These people are not usually part of their family.
We wonder why families seem disconnected but we don’t see that they choose it. They don’t even realize it.
Parenting: The New Part Time Job
Young adults in this current generation have been raised in the system. There are hardly any stay-at-home moms anymore. Rather than being raised at home by a parent until they go to school, children grow up in the daycare system. It is a pseudo foster care given how many hours a child will spend in child care in their life.
Children these days have spent more time with relative strangers that change each year of their lives than their own parents.
The raging debates around maternal guilt, work/family balance, money and childrearing often drown out scientific insights into the developmental impact of day care. But the latest findings, from a huge, long-term government study, are worrisome.Heide Lang, Psychology Today
Family time is limited.
Family identity is missing.
We wonder why so many children feel alone, have anxiety and need therapy or medication.
How can a mom and dad ever successfully parent if they do not know their child?
You have to spend a lot of quality time with a person to know them well. When we make new friends, it can take days, weeks, even years to really get to know some people.
How can a mom successfully parent when what they know of their child comes from a caregiver?
They get a report each day after daycare. As a former childcare caregiver, I can tell you that these are always sugar-coated. The feedback most parents get these days about how their children are growing, learning, and developing is not from a parent’s own experiences parenting their child.
This is concerning.
Of course, the person who spends the most time with a child will know them best. That will be their safe relationship.
It is hard to see the unravelling of families happening at an alarming rate. After working in daycare centers, caring for kids as a nanny, teaching in preschools, and private and public classrooms, it is clear to me.
But, it seems very few people really see what is happening. Or, they don’t want to comprehend.
Children need to be with their parents more than strangers. Strange statement to make, right? Seems that a statement like that should be fairly obvious to most people.
But that is what most parents do.
They put the child in child care where there are multiple caregivers in and out every day. The child then attends public school where they meet a new teacher (and aides) each year. They are told to respect and trust this stranger while parents have little to no quality time with kids in the evenings when kids are overscheduled or mom and dad are busy with work.
This happens over and over again for their entire childhood.
The stranger (the system) is the authority figure. Not the parents. Not a faith. Nowadays with schedules as busy as they are, children are isolated even within a family. The family unit falls apart because it is not valued as a goal to achieve.
What Do Successful Families Do?
First and foremost, my main goal is raising my own family. Yes, I want to help my greater community, be a volunteer, serve the world in an impactful way. I cannot do any of those things successfully if my family is allowed to fall apart.
Raising a successful family means family has to be a priority.
What are the factors that help parents raise successful families? Is it a marriage that stays intact? Is it church attendance? Is it school choice? Is it family size?
- Raising children to have morals and beliefs that are solid and unwavering.
- Teaching our children, as Kirk Cameron said, to love Jesus and think for themselves rather than follow the ways of the world.
That requires a lot of time where parents can be together with their children.
It does not happen in the margin. It cannot be squeezed in at the last minute. Teaching values does not work that way.
Family is together – a lot – or it falls apart.
When our children start to have trouble in school, do we spend more time with them, or hire someone else to figure it out?
When our child shows behavior challenges, do we lean in to give them more of our time or let burnout cause us to push them farther away.
Do we let the system figure out a solution or do we spend more time with our children to give them more love and time?
I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I truly believe if more women or men chose to spend more time with their children we would have stronger families, more giving adults, and a better world. That means less on the schedule and more time at home – or quality time doing activities together.
Lean in when times get tough and challenges show up. More family time should always be the first step to fixing a problem.
If we create peace in the hearts and minds of each child born on this planet we create solid citizens. If we provide a solid family foundation before we send our children off into the world, they always know they will have a soft, trusting, respectful place to land when times get tough. Family then reaches its ultimate role.
Child rearing is viewed by SAHMs and working moms alike as more than a hobby or a part time job. All moms know it is a full time job. This is true whether you make it your only full time job, or try to balance motherhood with work outside of the home, or at home.
I watched my mother work to balance a part time job working nights, with staying home full time. She had to put her career second to my brother and me. She had to call in sick to stay home because my dad’s job was the priority. She had to get very little sleep the mornings after she worked in order to provide supervision and care to us.
This experience was enough to convince me that I did not want to try out the juggling act of career versus home. I knew I needed to make staying at home work. It WAS a job in and of itself for my mom. I KNOW that it is a full-time job for me.
What we do all day, when separated into individual tasks, makes up the careers of many people. If they get to say they work, then so do we.
What we do all day: housekeeping, cooking, baking, sewing, budgeting, taxes, gardening, home maintenance, plumbing, extermination, child care, chauffer, nurse, laundress, philosopher, teacher, animal caretaker (if you have pets), landscaper, gardener, home organizer, decorator, coach, investor and retirement planner.
We don’t work on every one of these tasks every day, but some we never stop doing even through the night.
We have eyes on the economy because we depend on one income rather than two. The economy affects us more than a two-income household, in my opinion. To say that women who stay home are out of touch, or not affected by what happens in the economy out in the working world, is to completely miss the foundation of what we do all day-live on one income!
There are households that may require more than one income. It is also true that in this modern buy-it-because-you-want-it society, some things that are not needs are mistaken for necessities.
No matter what your childhood was like, you have the opportunity to make your child’s young years what you want for them. Remember that the main job we do is building a family.
That is WORK, it is life-long and it is WORTH it when we see so many children without support or guidance. Our children won’t have that problem. They will hopefully be empowered to continue fixing it.
Fixing families starts at home.
It is a heavy topic. It is also a subject without clear solutions. However, I think the focus points are clear.
What we want our children to learn we must do. And we must do it actively with them.
It will take work. It will be worth it.
What are you seeing in the world that is concerning to you when it comes to family units breaking down? Do you see the same issues mentioned here? Share your perspective in the comments.
Enjoy your time at home!