There is an international parent/child bonding problem. The world has never seen a global lack of parent/child attachment like this before. Of course, there are factors leading to this detachment, factors that the world has also never seen before. Are we experimenting on our families and children and calling it good leadership? Have we given up our roles in the family for social conformity, loss of identity, and cluelessness?
I know I’m not going to win many points with diligent, loving parents by calling them clueless. I’m not intending to be mean, but every day I see video after video that laughs at what parents don’t know. Comedians and YouTubers have never-ending fodder for their acts if parenting is continually equal to a joke. If parents are overly tough, people will laugh. If parents are passive, people will laugh. If parents are worn out and have attitude problems, people will laugh. Why do they laugh?
In the case of comedy acts, GIFS, or online videos, people laugh to fit in socially. They also laugh at comedy like this because they’re allowed into a shared joke. It’s like someone finally told the truth, or inside joke, to the whole room or online world, and everyone listening or watching felt like someone finally got it and allowed them to laugh at it at the same time. They both act like they finally met someone who had the same joke they were hiding inside.
This analysis of why people are only laughing at parenting nowadays doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of humor. I like a good laugh too. But, the fact that the sarcasm and promotion of parental cluelessness far outweighs the promotion of good, confident parenting is a sad sign for the future of our families and our personal happiness.
Gender Listening Session
Quite by surprise I was asked to consult the U.S. State Department at what they called a “Gender Listening Session.” This session was dedicated to empowering women and girls. As I listened to the other leaders of women’s and girls’ charities and initiatives, as well as leaders in our country, I noticed that I seemed to be the one voice advocating that strengthening the family can create empowerment, safety, and economic stability worldwide.
Each group attending works with people worldwide. These people they work with come from various ethnic, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds. Some of the problems, like sex-trafficking and sexual crimes against women, were seen in all countries discussed. We all agreed that these problems were of universal concern to all present. But, the ideas for solving these problems varied. Some organizations suggested giving women and girls more access to media and sexual services. Some groups were looking for strategies on how to get more women to be activists for equality so that they can feel empowered. But, I guess I saw things a bit different.
“What is the root problem and the root solution?” I kept asking myself. “Can money, programs, and activism really make women and girls of all countries happy and safe?”
No way. Safety comes from good leadership and self-confidence. Where does a person get these things organically? In the family. Who loves a girl more than her family? Who will risk more for a woman than her family? Who will support her more?
Young girls need a support system. The proven, best support system for them is their families. In almost every case, no one loves the girl like her family. No program or organization can ever replace a family full of love and understanding, as opposed to broad calculations and assumptions. We need to empower girls to turn to their families for learning and support instead of turning to the unfeeling, selfish media voices they’re inundated with.
Recommendations to the U.S. State Department
What is destroying the family bonding that women and girls so drastically need for happy, productive living? Here are the five reasons I gave:
1. Instead of bonding to their family, they’re bonding to social media and the online world, including games. Women, girls, men, boys, and even babies are looking at digital devices more than conversing with each other. They’re sadly lacking attention from their family, nor are they giving their family attention.
2. They don’t know who they really are. What is a woman? What is a mother? What is a daughter? Understanding family roles is vital to the confidence and success of any person.
3. Parents don’t teach their children enough. If parents don’t constantly teach and correct their children, the child sees themselves as the parent. This creates entitlement and lack of respect, which ruins the leadership roles and function of the family relationships.
4. Parents lack skills for good parenting. Why didn’t parents prior to World War II seem so clueless about parenting? Between then and now we put the delights of the child as the center of the home culture. This is a problem. The parent should always be the center and leader of the home culture. They decide what is most important. Parents are the ones to give instruction and “No” answers. Parents don’t know how to do these simple things, and children aren’t being taught how to follow instructions and accept the “No” answers, among other vital skills. When parents have skills for family problem solving, they exude confidence and secure the respect of their children. Children really want to respect their parents. If the child is the center or boss of the family, then all the family bonds are destroyed.
5. Mothers don’t see themselves as economic engines in society. There is no more vital product a country turns out than its citizens. Child rearing is a cottage industry done best by a mother, who was literally given the life of her child to mold. Motherhood is becoming an after-hours hobby instead of a vital social role. It must come first, even if mothers are also involved in a career.
True Leadership for Today’s Families
These are the reasons family bonding is damaged. And, the solution to these problems are in the problems themselves. Good parents control media usage for themselves and their children, take time to make sure roles are understood and respected, lead children by teaching and correcting them constantly, learn the skills they need for parent confidence, and see the product of their parenting as the most valuable contribution a family can make to a society or nation.
The strength of a nation runs right through the very fiber of its people, down to the last town, family and heart. Leadership is built into a social fabric. The family structure required to create a child also provides leaders for each child. False, misguided or clueless leaders will produce weak people. Likewise, a leader who is wise, confident and attentive to the environment they control will instill maturity, wisdom and self-mastery in the hearts of their children. These children will speak truth to the world because their parents, who were safe and good, trusted them with the truths they needed for success that only a family environment can provide.
Learn more about teaching your children self-government here.