Parenting Today is Hard
The New York Times recently ran an article entitled Parenting Today is Hard by Claire Miller. She seems to take a few words right out of my brand new book - with a twist. Daughters and Sons Forever: Parenting Against the Tides will be available from www.FortifyingFamiliesofFaith.com by February 14, 2023 — Valentine’s Day.
Claire quotes a recent Pew report regarding motherhood. “Many are torn between their various roles in particular because they now have more options beyond motherhood, in terms of education and career, yet they still feel societal pressures to meet certain standards [family life and motherhood]. And, they feel judged for their parenting by friends or other parents … and they continue to have to spend significantly more time than fathers on the physical and emotional labor of parenting. In recent years the pandemic also forced many mothers to make it their primary role, even it if it hadn’t been their plan.” The article also compares and contrasts the attitudes of lower income parents to parents with more options — as she puts it. Claire concludes the article with facts regarding the plummeting fertility rates in the US; although, she fails to mention that these rates have fallen significantly short of necessary birth replacement levels for several decades. That trend alarms many different experts, including the CDC. And the reason for these below zero growth rates is that “Many adults are opting for one or no children because they want a career, want a family, and want time for themselves which seems impossible to them right now if they had more children. [Her words not mine] Indicators show that just 1 in 5 parents said a top priority for their children’s future was that they grow up to have families of their own.” That indicates to me that many parents wish they had opted out of parenthood for similar reasons. If this attitude persists - and there aren’t any indicators that it won’t - it means that America will likely reach its 400th birthday in a weakened state!
Coincidentally, a recent poll compared the priorities of Protestants vs Catholics. Did you know that upwards of 75% of Protestants hold that evangelization is a high or very high personal priority for them whereas just 6% of Catholics say that evangelization is a high or very high personal priority. These poll results certainly shed light h on key attitudes dominanting American culture — self reliance, independence, materialism, dependence on consumerism, and self-determination. These postures have been shown to drive down empathy for others; religious sentiments and reliance or faith in God.
That brings me to my book. It is written for parents who push back against these cultural trends but are caught between not knowing what to do and how to do it. Daughters and Sons Forever: Parenting Against the Tide holds that: ”The American Dream and the American culture are changing so fast that many parents are struggling to find their footing. The same holds true for adolescents … Daughters and Sons Forever will help parents navigate parenting more effectively and purposefully. Our first mission is to help parents honor the role of being primary educators of their children. Second, the book and workbook carefully and thoughtfully cover important topics getting adolescents’ attention today. Most adolescents will admit that its hard to be good today; and parents admit the same. Parents are often reluctant to say anything for fear of saying too much or too little or because they feel that they’re not experts on a particular subject. Our children need to learn and hear from their parents — and that means talking with them about sensitive topics like, faith, love sex, drugs, gender, the moral life and the pursuit of excellence. That means telling adolescents what we believe and why. Daughters and Sons Forever [available in English and Spanish] will help guide your discussions; they will be more effective and meaningful. Parents need to know that there are no suitable alternates or replacements for them — you have been chosen by God to parent your children. Let’s make sure we count. God has confidence in you — have confidence in yourself. And finally, it truly matters that one hundred years from now — it won’t matter what car you drove or what job you had — but it will matter if you have made a difference in the life of your child!
Individuals like Claire often need time and a larger perspective to eventually realize that the heart’s desires are only met when we love others sacrifically and authentically. The heart is really never satisified very long by our personal achievements, material rewards, our independent living. They are satisified by relationships - the very basic, longest lasting kind and that involves family!