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21 Century Families

Dustin was the last one at the field, mom rushed up saying, “I’m glad you waited, I hurried as fast as I could to get here.  Dad’s working late again, let’s go by a fast food place, get us a burger and get home.  I’ve got to go over some papers tonight – by the way.  How was your day?”   “Fine” Dustin replies.  Mom takes him home, eats quickly and goes off to work on her papers.  Dustin goes off to watch T.V.  About 9:00 p.m. dad comes home and says to his son. “Why aren’t you in bed?”  Dustin grunts a reply “Cause mom said I could watch T.V.”   “Well, get to bed” dad said.  “Oh, I forgot!” Dustin said, “I’ve got math to do for tomorrow.”   “You what?” said dad, “If you had homework you should have gotten it done earlier.”  Mom appears and says, “What’s all the hollering in here?”  Dad explained and mom joins the anger.  “Why didn’t you tell me earlier you had homework – you could have finished it hours ago”. Dustin replies, “You didn’t ask and I forgot.”  Now homework must be done, he’s tired and angry with his parents.  His parents are angry with him and there is fertile ground for mom and dad to be angry at each other over the evening.  Mom’s angry with dad for not being there in the hectic evening, dad at mom for not attending to Dustin differently.

Anger and chaos; conflict and tension.  Lives too busy, emotions that justify each persons perspective but don’t allow anyone to feel successful or secure as an outcome of their exchanges. 

Parents live busy lives.  Today, children live busy lives.  What’s the point of so much busyness?  Children need structure, a certain amount of predictable order to function well.  They need boundaries that define what will be done and on what basis.  At times children need to be challenged and to deal with parent expectations.  To be stretched and required to carry out what adults see as important to the child’s lives whether it makes the child’s day or not.  Children need time for playful interaction and nurturing affection.

At times parents need to provide presence, at times space.  How is the time in your family relationship being used?  Is it taking you where you hoped your relationship would be?  Are the children growing in wisdom as well as connection as they live through their lives in your family?  What memories will your children take with them as they look back on growing up at your house?  Bill Cosby once said, “My father didn’t realize Bill Cosby was growing up at our house”. – Who’s growing up at yours?

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