Monday, July 16, 2007


The modern, Western family balance sheet short changes children, the wage earn(s) and the seniors.

The wage earner(s) short change themselves by their lifestyle of the latest home, cars, toys and big holidays. The cost of this drives the wage earner(s) on high speed commutes to fast paced jobs with long hours. The costs of the mortgage, taxes and energy are chronic concerns and sources of distraction from family life.

This leaves children short changed by lack of parent attention. The substitutes are special school and day care plus electronic gadgets to keep them occupied. When they develop emotional and social problems, the parent(s) go for medical solutions, usually in pill form.

The seniors are short changed because they are put out to pasture. The energetic ones get hobbies; the others get depressed, busy at silly things and get sick. This is driving up the cost of health care which the wage earners pay for in higher taxes.

The banishment of the seniors is a particularly dumb strategy. Here are folks with a wealth of life and children rearing experiences being told they are not needed in the family decisions and the care of children. This banishment is costly because it negates the worth of seniors and requires other households with all their expenses.

This is dumb because the wage earner(s) hasn’t graduated from adolescence. Dependent children learn to be independent in teenage. They are supposed to graduate to interdependence - with the savvy to lead family teamwork. So they are still trying to prove their independent worth instead of ensuring the worth of the children and the seniors. Since this has been going on for some time, our streets are not safe from a growing crop of maladjusted young people.

No wonder the recent UNICEF study finding that national financial well-being is at the cost of child well-being.

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Monday, July 02, 2007


In Part I we saw the decline of Dad’s role in the family. Here we look at the special gifts fathers bring to their children.

A local primary school principal says children don’t know what to do at recess. They look vacant or can become very competitive. They just don’t know how to play.

The UTNE Reader points to research that kids learn to play mainly from Dads. In roughhousing, they learn to have fun and also how far they can go. Dads help kids learn controls. According to UTNE, fathers’ style of play has particular significance for children.

An even more surprising research result has to do with empathy. We usually associate children’s experience of empathy with mothers and grandmothers. A 26-year longitudinal study showed this: “The single most important childhood factor in developing empathy is paternal involvement in child care”.

So, if child well-being is our prime concern, the rushing Dads must slow down for the kids. Separated and divorced parents need to worry less about their own rights and make sure the kids have good “Dad Time”.

The job of parenting is too big for two parents. For one parent it is barely manageable at a high cost to the parent. Those children must have trusted, male, intimate contact if they are to enjoy any sense of maturity.

Let’s hear from you on this and other topics on THE FAMILY CHALLENGE by simply clicking on the comment button found below this blog.