This may be an unpopular opinion, but I suspect the decline in our culture’s morals has a lot to do with “Who is Raising Our Children.” Do you think I’m being prude or too religious? Read on to see REAL facts about the culture within the home today. I this post I will ask you think about who is raising your children because we need to know who has the biggest influence on our kids. News flash: It isn’t just Mom and Dad anymore.
Home Life in the 1950s
I’m making an assumptions when I say this, but I believe the majority of the grown ups today can agree home life was better in the 1950s than they are today. We sort of look at shows like “Leave it to Beaver” as an example of what a “Traditional Family” looked like. What are some of the main differences between households then and households now?
- Children raised by with both parents: 80% (source: National Center for Health Statistics)
- Less than 20% of children require day care. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- 70% of population feel religion is an asset to society. (Gallup Poll)
- More frequent contact with extended family. **
- Teachers are valued. **
- Little or no television. **
- Family Dinners and Family Gatherings. **
- 30% full time Stay at Home Mothers and 7% Stay at Home Dads. (source: Pew Research Center.
- Juvenile violent crime up 522% since 1950s. (source: Uniform Crime Report)
- Assaults on Teachers up 700% since 1978. (source: Congressional Quarterly)
- More than 60% of children need daycare. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Family Rituals include 21 hours or more of Watching TV/Screens each week.
- Less frequent contact with family. Families live farther apart.**
** This information is brought to you by my own personal research of the 70 and older crowd.
The Daycare and Aftercare Dilemma
Nearly every school I’ve encountered has a before school program and an after school program. This is designed for the working parent and it is a great resource for families. It offers flexible drop off and pick up times for students who don’t have grandma and grandpa carpools, or a stay at home parent. Without these programs many families would struggle even more. But how many kids are being dropped off at 6am or 7am and being picked up at 6pm or 7pm?
When our kids went to daycare we saw babies and toddlers in the classrooms who were the first to drop off and the last to pick up. Some kids spent 13-14 hours, but on average the kids were there for approximately 11 hours per day. I was a teacher who dropped off at 7:30am and picked up at 4:30pm usually… That’s 9 hours on a teacher schedule.
- 6.7 million in the U.S. “receive care” from a non-relative on a regular basis. (source: Journalists Resource)
- Nearly 50% of families, with two parents living in home, both parents work. (source: Pew Research Center)
1970s: The Introduction to Two Parent Income
The 1970s brought a revolution of growth for women with careers. Women wanted to be heard outside of their homes, and it felt good. The freedom, the responsibility, and even the struggle was longed for by many women. But all good things seem to have side effects (just think internet, cell phones, etc.) and the side effect of more women in the work field meant, more than anyone could have known.
The “traditional” 1950s and 1960s families consisted of a stay at home mom and a working husband. It also usually only consisted of one vehicle. Since there was only one vehicle per household, no one would dream of asking parents to run their kids to every extra curricular under the sun. Therefore there were little to no drive thru food restaurants and such because people weren’t going many places that wouldn’t allow them not to plan for enough time to make dinner. In fact, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were pretty much at a set time, and the whole family knew what time to be at the dinner table.
So when women started working, it was a struggle, but it was manageable… until it wasn’t. Two incomes meant more money. More money ended up meaning more things to buy and to have. Well everything you bring inside your home is another thing to take care of, so that meant more responsibility. More responsibility meant less time, and thus there was a boom in the service industry business, eg. car washes, fast food, dry cleaners, etc.
Who would have guessed?
The Technology Growth in the Last Two Decades
We cannot deny the astounding growth of technology in the last 20 years. We couldn’t begin to compare this data with that of the 1950s because it was really non existent. Today adults and kids alike are engrossed in their phones what seems like hours upon hours each day. Kids are given tablets at a young age (ours were 2 when they got theirs). Binge watching Netflix or Amazon Prime is a cultural norm nowadays. So my question is this? How often are parents and kids interacting with each other between hours of work (for the working parents), school, daycare and aftercare (when it applies), TV and screens, extracurricular activities, housework, and bedtime?
I’m not saying any of this to point fingers, which you could assume because I don’t work away from home. I’m not even saying this to depress anyone. These are all just facts and circumstances. And I believe our nations’ children require us to evaluate this information.
So How Does This All Affect Our Children?
The data regarding juvenile violent crime is pretty profound and the assaults on teachers by kids is incredibly high as well. We can make all sort of conclusions as to why this is. Some believe that as parents got busier with work, there was a decrease in family centered activities with their own children. Those decreased interactions lead to knowledge, skills, and mental health needed to function in the world. When that generation became parents, they lacked the skills and either parented the exact same or possibly less effectively. This in turn created a waterfall effect through the generations following. This, of course, is speculation, but it is a thought.
When we ask teachers, child care providers, and coaches to co-parent, we risk them teaching our kids something different than we would want for them. I’m talking about religious preferences, morals, sex education, and more. Even kids as young as Preschool and Kindergarten can be exposed to subjects you, as a parent, aren’t prepared for. This happens in private and Christian schools too.
The other two groups of people raising your children are their peers in schools/on teams. Maybe you are doing your best to get ample quality time with your kids when you are together. There are still people “raising your children” through their actions, their “not-so” educated thoughts on life. Yes, you should be teaching your kids to accept others’ differences, but first you must teach them to know who “they” are. Parents need to give their children the skills, the knowledge, the meanings behind traditions regarding faith, morals, beliefs, or whatever is of upmost importance to your family dynamic. This way, your children can walk tall along those who are different. They can listen to others’ way of life and make an educated decision based on what they’ve been taught as to what is right or wrong.
So How Can We Help Our Children Through This?
There are plenty of ways we as parents: working, part-time, single, stay at homers, can assist our children. Some are simple and some take much more effort. You can make the choice to follow this advice or to toss it to the wind, but first give it a fair chance.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
- How many parents work more than 40 hours each week?
- How many hours are we watching TV? Kids? Adults?
- Are wasting time away from our kids instead of “wasting time with our kids”?
- What do your weekday mornings look like? joyful? rushed? frustrating?
- Why do we fill our calendars so full?
- What do I think my child(ren) will remember most about me?
Make Some Aggressive Decisions
- If both parents work, is there wiggle room for at least one parent (Mom or Dad) to be home more, be it hours or days. How? Try this blog post.
- Can we enlist friends and family members we trust and respect to spend some added time with our kids?
- Decide to take the initiative to get some one-on-one time with each child (at least 10 minutes a day), do a family activity (prayer, game, hike, read aloud, cooking), or just listen to what they have to say as you cook, clean, drive, etc.
- Can parents do their extra curriculars after the kids are in bed?
- If there’s a particular time of day or a specific event you struggle with as a family, start making changes to help things run smoother… work together.
The Golden Hour
“I’ve always thought, kids just want to talk when they come home from school, and if no one is there to listen then what? The kids eventually condition themselves [to not talk about school “stuff”] and we’re left trying to pry it out of them as Junior High and High Schoolers, because we, parents, are finally ready to listen.”A Wise Old Man… My Dad, Boone Creech
My dad talks about “The Golden Hour” or at least that’s what my husband and I have called it. It’s that time between school being let out and dinner. This is what we have found to be the key period we want our kids to be with a parent. If that is not an option for your family, than may I suggest a loved family member.
I’m not insensitive to the different types of families in our world today. There are many who live away from family, many who do not have the option to shorten their work week. Many parents who want to be there for their kids more than they get to, but no matter how they try, just can’t make it work. I understand that not everything I suggest in this article can be used as a blanket statement. However, there is still some info here you can take and use to better your family bond
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