This conversation is closed.

How do we save the family?

According to many, the family as we know it is changing. Divorce, separation, children out of wedlock, high workloads and decreased time together seem to be rendering the nuclear family as null and void. How can we prevent this? Do we need to prevent it? What problems are brought about by the disintegration of the family? Are there any benefits from it? Your opinions are welcome.
There's been a host of research done on the benefits of a two-parent, stable home to children. Increased financial, emotional, and even medical welfare seem to derive from the nuclear family. I believe it's the fundamental building block of society. Kids without strong role models and mentoring in the home seem to have more difficulties succeeding. If the homes the children are raised in fall apart, those children are going to have a much more difficult time. I'm certainly not saying any kid whose parents get divorced is doomed to failure. That's just not true. But I do know that divorce, or the problems in the marriage that caused it, cause emotional damage that lasts for years.
If the new generation is raised in a world where there are no more permanent relationships, how will that change our society?

Closing Statement from Scot Wilcox

Dang, the debate closed long before we even got really started! I wish we could open this back up again so I could reply to all your comments. I did want to talk to Grace Greene and Random Chance though. You both seem to have grown up in broken homes. By that I mean a home where the nuclear family didn't work. The balance was off. I obviously don't know the details, but it seems very clear to me that a nuclear family done wrong is much worse than no family at all. A nuclear family does not need to spell oppression for women, it doesn't need to be founded on lies. The possibilities for love, openness, education, and even training for careers and human relationships is endless with educated, qualified parents who are committed to doing it right. They have their priorities straight, with each other and their children elevated above their own welfare. I wish we could have more families like this. I feel like then at least 90 percent of our society's problems could be solved. Unfortunately, the kind of personal and spiritual growth necessary to get to that point is a very personal thing that can't be legislated and can't be forced. That's what I feel will save the family. Better parents.

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    Feb 7 2013: We must be really willing to change. Building anything worthwhile requires hardwork, discipline, wisdom, sacrifice and patience. These days we pay lip service to relationships.
    One can not build families on selfishness and immorality; its like building a castle of sand by the seashore.
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    Feb 6 2013: In the West the family is closely related to Christianity. As Christianity is marginalised, marriage will be as well. Our present preoccupation with money & science may prove to be our downfall.

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      Feb 6 2013: In what sense in the West is the family closely related to Christianity? Do you believe Christian parents love their children and grandchildren more than parents and grandparents who are not Christian love theirs?

      I am, frankly, astonished.
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        Feb 7 2013: Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
        Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
        Nothing to do with the amount of love. Right from the start the bible lays down the guidelines for marriage. One man, one woman, respectful children etc. Most western countries followed this plan up until recently.

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      Gail .

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      Feb 7 2013: Fritzie, I do not see any reason to be astonished, and I do not interpret Peter's words in any way that would support what you suggest. My astonishment is that you do not recognize the truth of Peter's words with respect to marriage here in the west. It is Christianity that is working hard to define marriage for everyone - even to the point of denying it for same-sex couples. Some states do not acknowledge common-law marriages because of Christianity. Peter did not even hint that theists and non-theists love their children less or more than the other.

      Perhaps you read Peter's answer too quickly, thereby missing the gist of what he is saying?
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        Feb 7 2013: I do not see that the family is any more central as a value to Christianity than to other common faiths or those without any particular faith. I gave feelings about family as an example of a commonality among humans.

        Elizabeth Spelke, of Harvard, writes in a recent book that people share the same fundamental concepts, values, and concerns. One shared core system , however, "centers on a notion that is false- the notion that members of different human groups differ profoundly in their concepts and values. This notion leads us to interpret the superficial differences between people as signs of deeper differences."

        Specifically, I think many people hold to mistaken notions of the value placed on family of groups with different beliefs.
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      Feb 7 2013: In the West? How many people are we talking about?
      What do the people in the rest of the world do, the non-Christians?
      We might also ask how we evolved in with just a tribal structure, when for tens of thousands of year there was no "Christians."
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        Feb 7 2013: You obviously believe the evolution theory. For me there were Jews before Christians & a flood before Jews. We are all descendants of Noah, & knowledge of God is passed down in our shared heritage & in our conscience .

        The bible starts at the beginning of history & wastes no time in outlining marriage.

        Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
        Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

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    Feb 7 2013: I think we should count it as a human failure, we earn lots of thing in every generation but also lost lots of things too. I we loose permanent relationships, we lost one of the meanings of life, maybe one of the most important ones.
    We should avoid such a thing that holds us from the beginning why that after that we can only imagine what will happen.
    We should trust people more and step on our pride to have permanent relationships, a very good ones.
    • Feb 7 2013: yes, perhaps we learn the most about ourselves from those relationships that endure, or that we do not run away from.
      I also learnt so much of lasting value by observing how difficult it was for my parents at times..to always get along, to accommodate the other as they inevitably changed, to be different from each other but still loving and loyal when it really mattered.
      We learn about forgiveness in this way too.
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    Feb 6 2013: The issue is that we focus far too much on materialism.
    Just like any skill: marriage, parenthood and friendships take time, effort, energy and experience, all of which are consistently taken away and distributed into the favoring of tedious work inorder to acquire possessions that often serve no necessary purpose.
    Usually because advertising considers whatever you currently have to be 'inferior' to the near-identical item that just came out, which will also be quickly replaced until the end of time..

    At some point or another we need people to sit down and really think about their lives, such as:
    'Why am I sitting for 2 hours a day in a traffic jam, spending a full extra month in the office completing mind-numbing tasks in an environment that allows no creativity, taking time away from my sleep, my hobbies, my friends, being away from my wife and kids and stressing myself out, just so I can have an upgraded iphone that is almost identical to the one I already bough 3 months ago, only with a marginal difference that provides no observable improvement to my life..'

    When we start to realize that most of our work life is infact due to idiocy such as above, maybe then we'll have some free time to act like people and be with our loved ones and do what makes us happy and then maybe we wont have so many relationship and parental issues..Just a thought.
  • Feb 7 2013: If people don't value and understand the meaning and importance of the "human family" then the micro-family doesn't really mean a thing. It only means separation from one another and that is a bad thing.

    So families might contribute more negative than positive because of this separation.
    It is how we have been fooled into living, believing, acting, saying and doing.

    My family sucked royally. Everything was a lie.
    My friends down the street came from a good family. In his family everything was a lie also.
    How could that be?

    Because it had to be lies to keep us apart, separate, at odds, better than or worse than but never all a part of, without all this religious, moral bullshit.

    If we care not for one another, all over the globe, then what good is family? It's a lie.
  • Feb 6 2013: There are many issues related to the modern family. This is one that gets too little attention:

    The sophistication and speed of modern life require both education and experience to become a competent adult. Personally, I was not ready to become a father before the age of 27, when my son was born. I think this age is about right for many people. Biologically, this age is absurdly old. Many children are biologically able to produce children at 13. Biologically the ideal age for women to have children is around 18. So we have built a culture that is out of sync with our own biology. And as our culture becomes more complex, the problem is getting worse. A big reason why this is a problem is because most of our cultural ideas and attitudes about family have not changed, at least not in a way that is helpful. The notion that a persons' family consists of his/her spouse and closest biological relatives, and no one else, no longer meets the needs of many people.

    We urgently need a new philosophy of family, marriage and child raising...

    This philosophy must start by stating the purposes of the family and the functions that society expects the family to perform or support. It must foster a new attitude about the biological aspects of family, as opposed to the people who actually love and care for the children. Eventually, it must lead to changes in our laws.

    This new philosophy must provide a basis for all of the new forms of family. Some people today consider their true family to be their close friends, not their biological relatives. People who were abused by their biological family should have the option of choosing who will be considered their family members. This is a social issue as well as a legal issue.

    I think the most important step in fostering the family is to provide and require education and training. Most people who get married, and most people who have children, have no idea what they are really getting into.
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    Feb 7 2013: By your standards, I was raised in a nuclear family. I never heard my parents have an argument. We ate dinner as a family every night. I was never beaten. We weren't rich, but we didn't know that we were poor. It was the same throughout my neighborhood.

    But I would never wish my childhood on anyone. As Random Chance said so well, "It was all a lie". I was not prepared to live in the world as it exists outside of that lie. When I left home, I didn't even know that it was a lie, so I began living the lie as my truth.

    My life experience includes learning that as a woman, it was my responsibility to be subservient - to serve - to subdue my own desires if my husband's desires were different - to support his desires in any way that I could. I had no sense of "self". This did incalculable damage to me. I was "set up" for failure from the start. It was a very abusive thing to do to not only the girls, but the boys that they would one day marry.

    If the end of the nuclear family means that our children will grow up with a more clear understanding of how the world works, with a more clear understanding of who and what they are as humans, and with a sense of purpose that does not include demeaning others in order to lift one's own self (lack of self-esteem), then it's a good thing.

    But if the end of the nuclear family does not achieve these things, I don't see that the child is any worse off except perhaps economically. And in my view, money doesn't determine the value of a person, nor does it limit the individual in any MEANINGFUL way.
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      Feb 7 2013: RE: "our children will grow up with a more clear understanding of how the world works, with a more clear understanding of who and what they are as humans"

      What does this mean?
      How does the world "Work?"
      Who are we as "humans?"
      What is our "purpose"?
  • Feb 7 2013: Is the family lost?
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    Feb 7 2013: .
    To save the family is easy!
    Just quit the INVALID (ineffective) happiness.

    (For INVALID happiness and FAMILY, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 4-5, 14, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
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      Feb 7 2013: I think that in order to be understood, you might word it:

      "Just learn what true happiness is".
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    Feb 7 2013: One thing and only one thing, SHRINK GOVERNMENT.

    If you understand this no explanation is necessary, if you don't understand this there is no explanation possible.