The religion of parenthood

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kombat
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The religion of parenthood

Postby kombat » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:59 am

Apropos to a discussion that occurred in a member's Financial Fitness Journal (and, truthfully, belongs more appropriately here), an interesting article about the emergence of the "religion of parenthood" in America, and it's negative impact on happy marriages:

How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage

An exerpt:

Of course, Ayelet Waldman’s blasphemy was not admitting that her kids were less than completely wonderful, only that she loved her husband more than them. This falls into the category of thou-shalt-have-no-other-gods-before-me. As with many religious crimes, judgment is not applied evenly across the sexes. Mothers must devote themselves to their children above anyone or anything else, but many wives would be offended if their husbands said, “You’re pretty great, but my love for you will never hold a candle to the love I have for John Junior.”

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lavendar
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Re: The religion of parenthood

Postby lavendar » Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:19 pm

Sometime between when we were children and when we had children of our own, parenthood became a religion in America. As with many religions, complete unthinking devotion is required from its practitioners.


There are so many sweeping generalizations in this article that it's annoying more than informative, and tries to sway the reader in by using an inflammatory introduction. Try replacing the word "parenthood" with NASCAR fandom; Buddhism; veganism; alcoholism; it still works.

The article completely lost me when in paragraph 4 it makes a case that this started a phenomenon in the 1980s -- but by paragraph 8 it makes a laughable misogynistic statement about gender roles that would seem more apropos to before the 1940s.

If they're trying to say that parenthood is now a religion, what was it before? A cult? In the traditional sense of religion, people have different paths -- consider that there are Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and many more -- all with different views about getting from point A to B -- and even what B is. There are classes of people that DON'T have the same path to raise their children from point A (childhood) to point B (adulthood); Not everyone is blinded to their children's faults, or is worried about persecution from the public because they publicly acknowledge their child had a dumbass moment.

The hardest part to accept about the article is that the characteristics of the 'parenthood' religion is what is described in this article, a single path, trying to implicate a norm and in their own way promoting what they are already criticizing for:

This is how a religion persecutes a heretic.

jdmartin
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Re: The religion of parenthood

Postby jdmartin » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:21 am

I disagree with the above. Of course it uses generalizations (don't we all? Imagine how exhausting it would be to consider every single subject and event as an experience all its own..), but I don't find it far from the mark. The point of the article is that there has been a shift in the idea of parenthood from shepherding a helpless being to the point of being able to survive on its own - as more or less most mammals, and some non-mammals do - to a sense of child-worship, which is evident in the way it plays out in society everywhere.

Yes, there are exceptions. Lots of them. Maybe even a majority of cases are "exceptions" to the above. Just the fact, however, that the sentiments of that article are going to resonate with a lot of people shows how close it is to the mark. You have broad swaths of parents attempting to be "friends" with their children. You have broad swaths of parents who believe their children can do no wrong, and the consequences play out everywhere from screaming hooligans in restaurants to narcissists who gun down kids in the school hallways. You have broad swaths of parents who work themselves into a grave to provide every conceivable "advantage" for the kid, from paid-for full college rides to trust funds.

Some of the article is obviously used for effect - lots of this stuff started in the post-war psychology era, rather than with "Baby on Board" - but I'm old enough to see the dichotomy in the way a lot of kids are being raised today versus 40 years ago. If I got out of line, not only did I have to fear my parent's reaction, I also had to fear the reaction of the neighbors, the supermarket clerk, the crossing guard, the teacher, and all the other individuals that collectively didn't allow shenanigans to go unaddressed. Next time you see Little Junior destroying the toy aisle in Wal-mart, or tossing books all over the library, go correct his action and see if his mother (or father, as may be) thanks you. I doubt it. Instead, you'll catch holy hell. Go ask the local School Board how often they are thanked for helping create a structured, disciplined environment for their kid, and then go ask them how often parents raise holy hell because their child didn't make first-team varsity or was unfairly given a "C" by that cruel teacher that only wants Little Johnny to fail.
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Re: The religion of parenthood

Postby partgypsy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:13 am

Just curious of how many people posting are parents. I would say there are plenty of parents out there that do not raise their children this way. And much of the changes do not originate from changes in parenting, but society in general; parenting expectations are a reflection of society (I personally see a lot more spoiled and atrociously acting ADULTS than I do spoiled children). Society has changed A LOT from when I was a kid and I'm only in my 40's. Simply the huge mass of commercialism, materialism and treatmyselfism that was unheard of before.

My lil brother, he is working class. He couldn't pay for my nephew's college even if he wanted to. The way he was raised was simple. If my nephew wanted a smart phone he had to save up or earn the money for it. Same thing or build it himself for a gaming computer. Did he complain? Maybe at first but not when he realized it didn't make a difference. He put himself through school (2 years of community college, 2 years of a big 10 school) and graduated on time with good grades and is now an architect. I know more kids with good heads on their shoulders than the opposite. And kids nowadays are more concerned with the environment, or what is going on in the world than I remember being. Heck my 12 year old knew who ISIS was even though we didn't discuss it.
There is a lot of pressure on parents, most of it not from the kids (just don't have real tv- they can't see the commercials ]:) ) but from other parents. Usually not regarding commercial stuff, but that kids should have their own room, or at a certain age own computer, and the big one, extracurricular activities and volunteering at school. Since I work full time and am lazy, they just have to accept the parents they do have. But then again I am probably not a typical "mom". Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's not, but you have to work with what you got.

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Re: The religion of parenthood

Postby Tightwad » Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:29 pm

partgypsy wrote:Just curious of how many people posting are parents. I would say there are plenty of parents out there that do not raise their children this way. And much of the changes do not originate from changes in parenting, but society in general; parenting expectations are a reflection of society (I personally see a lot more spoiled and atrociously acting ADULTS than I do spoiled children). Society has changed A LOT from when I was a kid and I'm only in my 40's. Simply the huge mass of commercialism, materialism and treatmyselfism that was unheard of before.

My lil brother, he is working class. He couldn't pay for my nephew's college even if he wanted to. The way he was raised was simple. If my nephew wanted a smart phone he had to save up or earn the money for it. Same thing or build it himself for a gaming computer. Did he complain? Maybe at first but not when he realized it didn't make a difference. He put himself through school (2 years of community college, 2 years of a big 10 school) and graduated on time with good grades and is now an architect. I know more kids with good heads on their shoulders than the opposite. And kids nowadays are more concerned with the environment, or what is going on in the world than I remember being. Heck my 12 year old knew who ISIS was even though we didn't discuss it.
There is a lot of pressure on parents, most of it not from the kids (just don't have real tv- they can't see the commercials ]:) ) but from other parents. Usually not regarding commercial stuff, but that kids should have their own room, or at a certain age own computer, and the big one, extracurricular activities and volunteering at school. Since I work full time and am lazy, they just have to accept the parents they do have. But then again I am probably not a typical "mom". Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's not, but you have to work with what you got.

I'm not a parent....that I know of.


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