Family Change – Part 2

The recent “#Me Too” movement is aimed at publicizing and shaming those accused of attacking women.  I certainly feel that those who have forced themselves on women need to be held accountable, regardless of their position or “who they are”.  Violence against anyone is wrong and unwarranted, and we need to protect potential victims and punish perpetrators.

There has been an even more universal attack on women over the last sixty or so years.  Whereas sexual violence, luckily, is still the exception, the attack I refer to has impacted far more women.  It has been even more damaging to their children.  This recent “attack” has led to dramatic change for families in much of the world.

This attack is really the repercussions of what is usually called the “Sexual Revolution”.  This post is not about the “right or wrong” of changing morality, but about the impact on families (women and children bearing the brunt) that the historic change in morality has had.

For most of history, a man was financially responsible for the care of his mate and their children.  Marriage was, for the most part, a binding contract that helped ensure that the spouse and children were cared for (at least financially).  This contract was strengthened by the accepted norms of society and conduct.  Those that were irresponsible, and did not care for their families, were shunned by others as reprehensible individuals unworthy of responsibility or association.

This changed dramatically in the 1960’s.  “Free Love” and the changes in morality meant that men could more readily have sex with women, free of responsibility.  Divorce became more and more frequent, to the point that it is now actually the norm in most western cultures.  Children born out of wedlock are starting also to become the norm.  And all of this has meant dramatic and significant damage to the Family structure, the basic building block of society.

Much of the responsibility for this lies with men.  Too many seem too ready to abandon children and family responsibility.  This is not without significant consequences to the children involved.  A missing parent leaves a void that nothing ever fills.  Nothing can compensate for the loss of support and guidance due to a missing parent.  Children of divorce or abandonment carry significant emotional scars for life.  Many also experience extreme need, as the single parent (most commonly the mother) is unable to shoulder the financial burden.

We do have laws for child support. But these are woefully inadequate to supply for the true needs of children.  Even when child support is paid, the split in resources between separated parents impoverishes both of them and the involved children.  But the emotional damage is worse, especially when each parent insults or is disrespectful of the other in front of children desperate for role models.

We, collectively, will all pay as more and more families fail.  We literally pay for the increase in crime, drug use, and other problems that are a direct result of family disintegration.  We also pay in other ways.  Many no longer acquire the values that should be learned as a youth in a stable family with responsible role models.  And this affects all of us as civility, honesty, respect for one another, and overall kindness within society all seem to be dropping off at an ever accelerating pace.

What to Do

Recognize, and teach your children to recognize, that sexual relations bring serious and significant responsibilities into play when an infant is created as a result.  A child is a long term and, for many, an almost overwhelming burden.  If one engages in sex, one must be willing to accept and shoulder these responsibilities.

We cannot force others to behave better.  But we can take a good hard look at ourselves.  And we should ensure that we do not shirk our own family responsibilities.  We should do everything we possibly can to take care of and raise our children.  We need to be good role models.  We need to provide financial and emotional support.  Without it, and without the foundation of strong families, society will have an increasingly difficult time.

One thought on “Family Change – Part 2”

  1. I agree with the overall claim of your post: I believe that a stable and loving home in environment is one of the greatest factors in setting a child up for success. Children who suffer from parental abuse (whether physical, emotional, and/or verbal), are more likely to grow up into adults who become trapped in similarly abusive relationships or perpetuate the cycle of abuse themselves.
    However, I disagree with your (perhaps overly broad) statement that, “Children of divorce or abandonment carry significant emotional scars for life.” I would disagree that children of divorce necessarily carry emotional scars. Not all divorces are angry, messy affairs. From anecdotal experience I have known many people who grew up with parents who were separated, but still fully willing to cooperate to raise loved, cared for children. I do not think it is fair to describe such an upbringing as an “emotional scar,” when it might better be described as an unconventional family structure.
    This being said, I would like to highlight that the number of divorces has been steadily decreasing in recent years. I think the current generation benefits greatly from increased education opportunities, and from less of a focus on marriage as a life achievement/status than as a significant life event. (Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/10/divorce-united-states-dropping-because-millennials/)
    I would also push back against your assertion that the Sexual Revolution was entirely negative and damaging. While it certainly did lead to more sex outside of marriage and a view of pornography as acceptable entertainment, it also increased awareness of the birth control pill and recognized the idea that women should be able to enjoy sex and initiate sexual advances. I believe this takeaway is crucial when looking through the lens of the #MeToo movement. If there is a belief that women don’t enjoy sexual experiences, then there is no way for a woman to say yes to sexual encounters. If there is no way to give a clear yes, then there is no way to give an unambiguous no, either.

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