Does modern society hurt the parent-child relationship?
Consider that until recently, most humans lived in agrarian societies. Sure, there were cities, but as a whole must humans lived on some sort of farm. Barring disruptions from war, disease and other uncontrollable events, children grew up close to their parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts.
Education in rural areas might occur at home, one-room schools or churches. Even if dad was busy in the field all day and mom was taking care of the home, kids had plenty exposure to their parents.
I realize that I’m oversimplifying and that the past was not idyllic, but the general gist is fairly accepted: on average Westernized families were larger than today’s nano units.
Nowadays, our kids spend half their waking hours with complete strangers known as teachers, who do not care in any way how a parent wants their kids educated. Many kids spend additional hours behind television, in daycare or in some cases with nannies.
While one spouse is able to stay at home in some families, three-quarter of American homes have neither parent home during the workday, according to a 1999 article in the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In fact, it lately seems to me that American society seems designed to drive a wedge between parents and kids. Marketers, for example, design TV commercials with the intent of teaching kids how to resist and manipulate their parents. The allure of computers, iPods and other electronic gadgets steal our kids away even more.
And let’s not forget: Work and commuting keep us from home, too. Office work today generally is exclusive of our kids rather than inclusive; it’s tough to bring toddlers along for that all-important staff meeting.
Let me put it this way: Every day I head out the door, my heart sinks because I can hear Lael crying through the door.
Once, as the elevator dropped 15 levels, I could still hear my little girl crying as my car passed the 10th floor. I told the young passenger, “make a fortune first so you and your spouse can stay at home to raise your kids.” She looked at me oddly.
My daily reunions with both kids are great, but often I come home tired, grumpy or both from a long day at work or commute. I know plenty of parents who have it much worse. But my mission here is not to complain, just point out a reality that surely many parents cope with every day.