Thursday, June 4, 2009

Parents and children

(Or "Fathers and Sons," if I wanted to be literary...)

It was a topic that came up at the dinner table. If a person had been very sheltered in childhood, would he be more or less ready for heading into the "real world"?

The answer may not be as obvious as it seems.

In the recent conference I attended, one of the speakers used her own children as an example. When she gave birth to her son, she went back to work after a few months, leaving him in the care of her husband, mother, and other relatives. Now, the son is very clingy and won't let his mother out of his sight. After giving birth to her daughter, she did not go back to work, but opted to stay at home. She and the daughter were always together. The daughter is now very confident and outgoing.

This illustration was used to show how healthy attachments early in life affect behavior later on. Knowing that one's needs will be met gives one the confidence to step out into the world.

In many cultures, for example, children live with their parents until married. Does this extended togetherness prevent one from becoming independent? Or does the relationship instead provide more opportunities for passing on important skills from one generation to the next?

When American youth leave home at age 18 to enter university, are they more independent than their counterparts elsewhere? Or is childhood merely prolonged as American college students live in trashed dorm rooms, living off microwaved snacks?

Does calling home every day indicate an unhealthy dependency or a healthy bond?

Is it necessary to begin sending a child to school as early as possible, in order to encourage independence and social maturity? Does homeschooling prevent such development?

In many of these cases, individual personalities of both parent and child must be taken into account. But I wonder what general patterns exist.


  1. Such an interesting topic...believe me...we get all the advice from people...being home schoolers---from people telling us the worst kids are those that are hs and telling us we need to go public school route. Wow--that really doesn't help...I'd love to see the end, we have to seek His direction for each of our kids and do what we believe He wants.

  2. That's true, and I wasn't trying to reduce it to the results of clinical studies. But living in another culture makes me rethink a lot of my life philosophies. As Americans, we value independence and self-sufficiency so much. But what do those things really prove?

  3. i think about this ALL the time! i have been homeschooled and in public schools and i see the value as a christian in being in both situations.

    i have also lived in both extremes - america where self-sufficiency and independence are very important, and i have lived in korea where family ties are paramount. i remember seeing nine year old boys sit on their mothers' laps in public in korea. and a man in his mid 40s will operate a local sandwich shop with his MOTHER. american men would cringe at the thought.

    which is better? i have no clue. in the end, perhaps i'm coming to the middle...

  4. I think about these things all the time, too! I homeschooled my bio kids, and relished the contact. If I had my druthers, we'd live like the Amish and my son and his wife would build a house next to ours. I am not understanding separation. Heard a funny comment on the radio last night. They were interviewing a family in Iraq, parents and two young twenties children. The interviewer's assumption was that if the economy was good, both the daughter on son would be "out on their own". You could hear a bit of confusion due to the fact that this is not the goal at all. Yes; the economy was bad, but THAT wouldn't be the result if it were great! And the interviewer spoke demeaningly of young adults still living at home.

    Neither of my HS kids are at all clingy, I must add. Wish they were a bit more so.

    I do notice an interesting phenomenon with my daughter. I was working at the church (still am) when she was born, and from the beginning she'd be at parish events and would be passed from person to person. She grew up in this very trusted extended community of our parish. As a result (I think) she is VERY social, and very outgoing and friendly. I also worry a tiny bit that she is way too trusting.

  5. With the family ties, I suppose socio-economic status makes a difference. For example, in many Russian families I think that even just having an extra room would be an improvement. Just having a door to shut would remove a lot of the tension of multiple generations living together. It's one thing when close quarters have been incorporated into the culture; it's another when
    you don't have a choice.

    What is weird to me is when the entire family's hope is placed in one child. But then again, it's a part of human nature to worry about the future and our line being extended.

  6. Ahhh... I get it. Women should be silent in the church, or should ask their husbands when they do not understand something. Have you seen this one in the Scriptures?

    I do not want you to think I am saying this to you to shut up... but in a way I think I do.

    You see... you won't get it. You have no idea what the men want and if you think you have a slightest ides of what Jesus wants, you may, as well, go and take a nap. A good woman is a restful or a child-bearing woman. That's pretty much it. Go ahead - slam me.

    Are there Peters and Pauls that want to serve Jesus in this land?

    No just ladies. Great.

  7. Vitali, go find a men's blog to read then! No one is forcing you to read this one.


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