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Archive for the ‘father’ Category

What Father’s Need to Know

In Abstinence, Child Development, Diane Robertson, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Marriage, Parenting, Research, The Family, Values, Violence on June 17, 2015 at 9:29 am

Germany, Bavaria, Munich, Son (2-3 Years) kissing his father, smiling

by Diane Robertson

We need fathers. The politically correct modern notion that as long as a child seems loved and cared for, then it won’t matter who raises the child is just wrong. Children need fathers. Society needs fathers. Mothers need fathers.

For years fathers have gotten a bad rap. They are often portrayed as either aloof workaholics or silly and wimpy. This needs to change. Study after study has proven the importance of a father’s presence in the life of his children and how that importance extends to the health of every society.

Fathers need to understand their importance. How can we expect men to stay and raise their children when they are constantly told they aren’t necessary?

British researcher Michael Lamb notes that negative stereotypes about fathers can have consequences. “Fathers can hardly be expected to maintain a belief in their importance when they are continually being told of their irrelevance, other than as economic supporters.”

Nothing could transform society as substantially as putting the father back in the home. This will not happen unless the majority of people give fathers the praise that is their due.

Statistics show that boys without a father in the home are more aggressive and are much more likely to engage in anti-social behavior. Girls without a father participate in early sexual activity, and that fatherlessness is the number one indicator for teenage pregnancy.

This father’s day let us remember that we really, really do need our fathers and let’s start telling them that.

Who Will Raise the Leaders of Tomorrow?

In father on June 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

dad close to daughterBy Valerie Preston

A young father was stranded in LA and was in need of a cab to make his flight. Taking all risks into account, he found a ride from three young teenage boys. As a visitor to LA, he commented on the beautiful city. One boy responded, “Naah, it’s rough here, man. It’s hard.” As they began talking, the father questioned if the boys were involved in any of the many gangs surrounding LA. They were not. The teen boys had chosen alternate paths that would hopefully give them a future, instead of a bullet in their head. They chose to walk away from the gang life. Intrigued, the father wanted to know why. Having just returned from a Men’s Movement Conference, he asked if the boys in the car all had fathers living in their home. The answer was affirmative. He then asked if the boys in the gangs at school had fathers. The answer was negative. One of the boys described his father as, “always behind you, pushing you, keeping you in line.” The other boys agreed. It dawned on this man that maybe fathers really do make a difference. He credited his safe arrival at the airport that night to the fathers of these three teenage boys.

This young man’s intuition about the influence of fathers on their children is right. Fathers throughout the U.S. and throughout the world are influencing their children in one way or another. Research has identified that fathers influence their children for the better by being in the home. They are more likely to live away from poverty, they are more likely to be emotionally and behaviorally stable, and crime rates go down. In addition, teen pregnancies and drug abuse decreases, high school drop outs are lower and other results stem from a father being present in the home. This is not to say that children who grow up without a father in the home will always result in these threats, but the risks are definitely higher.

On the opposing side, there are many who do believe that fathers are replaceable. When fathers leave the home, some believe they can be replaced. A National Survey was completed by the National Fatherhood Initiative regarding mother’s attitudes on fathers. “A majority of the mothers agreed that a mother or another man could be an adequate substitute for an absent or uninvolved father.” 91% of the surveyed mothers believe that there is a father absence crisis in the United States today, but instead of promoting the fathers to be in the home, they are settled on the idea of replacing those fathers. But who is making this decision? The adults of society? Or the children who receive the direct impact of a parent in the home? Little research has been done to determine the child’s perspective on their fathers. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. They each have a voice and need to be heard.

In 2013, Grace Evans, an 11 year old girl, used her voice to speak up about her need for both her mom and dad to grow up to be a woman. She spoke out in a Minnesota Hearing regarding marriage laws. She boldly declared to the people her need for both her mother and her father. She explained that her mother taught and showed her how to be a girl, a good woman, and a wife. Miss Evans noted that her dad could teach her those things, but that her mom taught her in a special way that her dad could not. She then spoke about the need for her father. She emphasized the need for her dad because he protected her and gave her the confidence she needed to be a woman. She declared that she would not be able to be the woman she wanted to be without her dad. Every child needs a mother and a father to be born, so she believed that every child also needs that mother and father to grow. She concluded with a bold question directed at each person present asking, “Which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?”

Who will answer this question? In response to the results of the National Fatherhood Initiative survey mentioned earlier, many fathers voiced that they are needed in the home. Miss Evans also declared in the Minnesota Hearing that the father is needed in the home. Research is saying that fathers are needed in the home. The children that are being raised today are going to be the leaders and the future of society tomorrow. Instead of insisting that a child will grow up “just fine” without a father, we should rise above settling for “fine” and rise up to raise outstanding individuals in whom we can entrust our lives with.

There will always be a voice speaking up about one side of a topic or threat. At times, the voice is so loud, that the other side backs down in fear. This can change. As some individuals feel there are adequate replacements for fathers, we need to stand together and voice the needs of fathers today. As we unite our efforts, our voice can be heard. Fathers will hear the plea to come home and take responsibility. The father crisis can decrease and the strength of the children can then increase.

In 2009, a voice was heard. President Obama voiced from personal experience that “the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.” Fatherhood Programs are beginning to evolve. These programs involve groups meeting locally throughout the U.S. to inform, help, provide activities, and more to promote fathers. These programs are open to those who desire to attend, so they do not reach everyone. There is, however, a way that we can reach others. We can individually do our part by using technology, media, writing, and our voices to promote the fathers within own communities. We can start small. Brian Klems, is an avid blogger for dads. He has taken the initiative to write about the life of a dad from his own experience. He has taken it from a humorous point of view while still giving fathers good advice to help them with their families. In addition, he has written a book, “Oh Boy, you’re Having a Girl” as a survival guide for raising daughters. Klems has taken a step to advocate for fathers. We can do the same. The use of technology has increased and we can use our voices there. Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, web pages, YouTube, and online articles are ways that we can make a difference. Once again, the voice can be heard. It needs to be heard. The leaders of tomorrow are depending on it.

Valerie PrestonValerie is a soon-to-be graduate of Brigham Young University – Idaho. She plans to make good use of her Bachelors of Science in Child Development degree as she continues to advocate for the family.

Confusion Conclusion

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Gender Identity, Marriage, Parental Rights, Parenting, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Transgender, Values on June 15, 2015 at 10:54 am

bourne identityby Marlene Hinton

Robert Ludlum begins his book, The Bourne Identity with Jason Bourne as an amnesiac looking for clues as to who he is.  His first tip is when a gun is tossed to him and he is told to take it apart and reassemble it, which he does effortlessly and expertly, increasing his sense of wonderment about himself.

There is psychological and emotional strength in a clear concept of one’s identity because that enables us to reason and act based on understanding.   Confusion is debilitating, disrupting, and threatening (Thoits, 1991).   Jason Bourne was deprived of his resources and capabilities, including judgment, because of the uncertainty of who he was, what he knew, and what his abilities enabled him to do.  To survive, he focused intense energy on discovering his identity.

Although role identity is adaptive over time, a firm sense of personal identity is central to emotional and behavioral health (Stets & Burke, 2000).   Gender is a primary component of personal identity – indeed of the nation itself, as stable families are the cornerstone of any society.  Children are the result of gender.

How unfortunate, then, that elements of our culture are advocating for confusion through biological, emotional, and behavioral blurring of gender.   Roles, such as who-takes-out-the-trash do not define an individual in the same way that gender and its physiological, psychological, and emotional potential does.

Some sociological and science researchers claim gender is irrelevant.  However, the research cited in backing such claims is largely flawed.  For example, one article reveals that the comparisons of families are NOT actually between same sex couples and traditionally married heterosexual couples, but rather unmarried cohabiting couples.  The data for the latter vary dramatically from those of heterosexual married couples.

Also, the samples used are convenience rather than randomly selected, further impairing validity.  Likewise, the research organization often has a pronounced bias, selecting and shaping everything from conceptualization and questions to interpreting data and reporting findings.  These considerations make reports that there is no difference or even advantages to same sex relationships less valid.

In fact, several forums claim that domestic violence is a greater problem in same sex relationship households, so much so that a U.S. Justice Department study refers to it as “epidemic” (Callie Maire Rennison, “Intimate Partner violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99,” Bureau of Justice Statistics: Special Report, Oct. 2001).   Additionally, married women in traditional heterosexual relationships experience the lowest rate of violence in comparison with women in other types of relationships (“Violence Between Intimates,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings, Nov. 1994:2).

Only recently have we had to clarify whether two-parent homes are made up of a married man and woman.  This confusion of basic gender differences weakens the strength of the concept of marriage, of family, and of parenting.  It also sets the stage for young people to wonder about their own identity and explore – taking apart and reassembling in some fashion – their identity, particularly regarding gender.

Ironically, media creates at the other end of the spectrum a hypersexualized model that contributes to the morass of what young people view as appropriate or “normal.”  It is little wonder that identity confusion in this and other areas is propelling society toward chaos.   Emotional and psychological confusion disrupt the ability to feel contentment and peace and live accordingly (Burke, 1991).

There is great power in structure and security.  In jerking the firm gender foundation from under the feet of families, we leave a quicksand of insecurity and insanity for the next generation to navigate.   Married mothers and fathers are the solution.

Parenting is most powerfully expressed in assuring each child of his or her precious individuality, distinct worth and worthiness, and the unlimited devotion of family members.  Mothers and fathers model this adoration in their daily interaction and response to each child.   Confusion is replaced with confidence, stability, and resilience in maintaining clear understandings of identity.

Families find happiness, communities flourish, and society increases in peace when each individual acts with a certainty of who he or she really is.

Marlene Hinton is a wife, mother, grandmother, and defines herself principally through faith, family, and freedom. A teacher for many decades, education, particularly in those three areas, is a focus. She holds degrees in history, Spanish, bilingual education, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Resources
Burke, P.J. (1991).  Identity Processes and Social Stress.  American Sociological Review. 56:6, pp. 836-849. 

Ludlum, R. (1980).  The Bourne identity.  New York:  Bantam Books. 

Regenerus, M. (2012).  Children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.  Social Science Research 41:752-770.   

Stets, J.E. & Burke, P.J. (2000).  Identity theory and social identity theory.  Social Psychology Quarterly.  63:3.  224-237. 

Thoits, P.A. (1991). On merging identity theory and stress research.  Social Psychology Quarterly.  54:2, pp. 101-112. 

___________

Forests and Families

In Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Sanctity of Life, Schools, The Family, Values on June 12, 2015 at 7:29 am

family in forrestby Tom Christensen

When driving through the arid national pine forests of Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, one cannot help but notice large numbers of dead trees.   Mountain pine beetles about the size of a grain of rice bore into, lay their eggs, feed on and protect themselves in the soft phloem of an older tree, creating a deadly girdle cutting off the transmission of nutrients to the rest of the tree.

Vulnerable pine trees infested by the beetles quickly turn orange and die.  Abandoning a dead tree for one living, pine beetles spread from one tree to another until there are no mature trees left.  Literally millions of acres of pine forest have been destroyed in this manner.

Bark beetle infestation is a symptom of a sick forest already weakened by draught, disease and the aging process.  Pine trees when young and healthy have a natural internal defense mechanism against bark beetles.  They produce a pitch substance that encapsulates or drowns the beetles; and the beetles naturally avoid them.  When the trees grow older and are weakened by draught or disease, they are unable to stave off the beetles.

Bark Beetle.jpgA pine forest cannot be protected from the beetle by impractical artificial means, such as the regular injection of insecticide into trees, or by waiting for unreasonable natural means to destroy the beetles, such as extreme cold weather or forest fire.  The best approach is to steadily “replenish” the forest by planting and nurturing a fresh supply of seedlings and younger pine stock.

Not only are the scores of dead trees unsightly, the non-reproducing dead trees contribute to soil erosion, mud slides and flash floods.  The dead trees also affect wildlife habitat, food chains, and a broad range of ecosystems.

The Devastation of the Natural Family

Like a majestic ponderosa or lodge pole pine forest, the future of an entire civilization turns on the health and strength of its families.  The greatest hope for society is the formation of impenetrable unions of strong, capable men and women who honor their marital covenants, care for their own, and produce a steady supply of young ones prepared to carry on the fight for life, liberty, and the family.

 Forest After Bark Beetle 2.jpg
The internal defense system of an enduring society is a stable family structure, elevated moral standards, and a willingness among parents to “multiply and replenish the earth.”  Like a pine forest, a human society is replenished when the older population renews itself with healthy, responsible young people who marry and continue the cycle of life.

On the other hand, a family’s internal defense system can be weakened by narcissistic dysfunction, addictions and attitudes.    Like pine beetles, negative social policies and conventions (such as those that disfavor traditional marriage, religion, childbearing and responsible parenthood), feed on families under stress.  However, unlike bark beetles, they target the young as well as the old.

Similar to the death and destruction of millions of acres of pine forests, the effects of the weakening and dissolution of families throughout the world are plain to see.  Nations depopulate, crime rates rise, schools fail, quality of life declines, and economies sink.

Preserving the World’s Families

What can be done to protect the health of the world’s families?

Family Working Together.jpgFirst, each family must strengthen its own internal defenses and immunities.  Stable families can resist those who would destroy them if they are well-organized, self-sufficient, and put their marriage and children first.  The best protections include living by a consistent code of rules and expectations; practicing forgiveness, integrity, thrift and industry; communicating with and loving each other; and playing, working, and worshipping together.

Second, individuals, families, communities and nations must resist harmful external influences such as media, policy, institutions, and peer influences that seek to penetrate them.  They must acknowledge that high-sounding policies of government paternalism, anti-capitalism, and moral relativism stunt economic growth and opportunity and destroy lives, families, and personal initiative.  Government policy too often addresses the symptoms of family decline rather than the causes of it.

Parents are the first line of defense.  Next comes the faith institutions, the school and university, and the community.  In some settings such as the United Nations, the opposition is so vast and organized that one cannot fight these battles alone.  To provide an effective voice of reason, families, churches and organizations must join with others, including professionals, to influence policymakers and to shape policies at distant, unreported venues.

In summary, the stakes are too high and the potential destruction too devastating to allow the enemy of the family free reign.  For a society to flourish, the limits of government must be understood, mature families must be replenished and strengthened from within, and the common characteristics and vulnerabilities of those who would destroy the family must be clearly identified. 

What’s Really Behind the Bruce Jenner Revelation?

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Gender Identity, Media, Sexual Orientation, Values on June 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Kaitlin Jennerby Rebecca Mallory

Usually the trash on social media just makes me shake my head in sorrow for the lost morons who gobble this stuff up. However, this whole Bruce Jenner thing needs to have the other side addressed. It is not only disgusting, but extremely dangerous because of the mixed messages that it sends. This is not about a man who thinks he’s a woman. It’s about shoving an agenda down our throats and making millions of dollars while doing it. Why do we insist on normalizing destructive behavior? And don’t you dare disagree or voice an opposite opinion! Especially you close-minded conservative, bigoted, homophobe, Christian kooks! With the bombardment of the media, you’d think you were the only close-minded weirdo left. Guess what percentage of people there are in the gay and transvestite community? Less than 2%. Can you believe that?? Yet many are loud, obnoxious, and militant so it seems like a much higher number. It’s time we voiced our opinion.

Here’s the bottom line, Bruce is still a man. Cosmetic surgery and injecting synthetic hormones will never change the internal workings and organs of a human being. That pesky Mother Nature… ruining all our fun again. Kind of puts a kink in the old “they’re born that way” philosophy. It’s tragic that Jenner’s always felt he was a woman. I admit that I have never had same sex attraction or transgender leanings and I have sincere empathy for anyone who struggles with these tendencies. What would make me truly empathetic would be if “Cait” was suddenly plagued with hot flashes, night sweats, thinning hair, severe mood swings, belly fat, and suddenly getting paid 70 cents on the dollar compared to a real man. But I contend that there is a much more lucrative motivation here.

An amusing part of this whole thing is what it must be doing to the feminists around the country. In an age where it is taboo to objectify women, that men are pigs who gawk at a practically naked woman on a magazine cover, low and behold, here comes “Cait” in full blown sex-object garb debuting to the world that he/she is a beautiful 65 year old (extremely photo-shopped) woman to be gawked at and fawned over. Society has told us that we cannot, under any circumstance, disagree or show any kind of disgust with this vile revelation. Let me just be clear about one thing. If you were born a man and think you’re a woman, or vice versa, have at it. But do not make a complete spectacle and bombard me with a barrage of “hey, look at me and how brave I am!” nonsense that I am just supposed to swallow and applaud. Not going to happen. My beliefs, which last I checked in the constitution says I have a God-given right to, say this is wrong. Take Charity, now Chaz Bono, for instance. “He” came out with very little fanfare, huge media blitz, or “in your face” television special to shock the world and in the end make millions. His choice. Have at it. Jenner has deeper and more cash-conscious motives. This isn’t rocket science, folks.

It’s laughable to read and watch the mainstream media’s reaction to this situation. One commentator was horrified that “Cait” didn’t come out in a dignified pantsuit instead of skimpy bathing suit. Seriously?? Since when did pantsuit pinups sell magazines?? Starting to see the motivation here? (This would be a great place to discuss free market Capitalism as well as supply and demand, but I will restrain myself.)

While conservatives had their own list of complaints about this national celebration, the more intriguing ones came from the left. For instance, many people criticized the Vanity Fair cover of Jenner as a pinup. “One step forward for Caitlyn Jenner, one step back for womankind,” Eric Sasson complained in The New Republic. “As a media sensation, Jenner had many choices for how to reveal herself to us, so the fact that she chose a way that only reinforces how much our society objectifies women is a bit distressing,” he explained.

Jonah Goldberg lamented on “Townhall” this week, ” Fawning is mandatory, dissent forbidden. Babbling morning hosts cooed over the Internet “buzz” (which they were fueling). Somehow they forgot to mention that a hefty portion of it expressed sadness, disgust and outrage at all the pandering .This publicity barrage is selling a new series on the cable channel E! titled “I Am Cait.” You can now see all the gears and pulleys of this publicity machine. Bruce stuck with male pronouns in the first stage with ABC, so that they could make a drama out of the actual rollout of “Caitlyn Jenner.” Every sensitive liberal soul is carefully taught that Bruce is a male until he decides that he’s not. He changes his name for a new TV show. At that precise moment, everyone joins the pronoun revolution. Isn’t this whole linguistic regime tremendously convenient for a publicist?

   The dominant theme of the pandering is how “brave” Bruce Jenner is, from President Obama’s tweets to every other liberal in America. ESPN will be giving him a “Courage Award” at their upcoming ESPY Awards show.

Let’s call it for what it is folks. Brave? Hardly. You know what brave is? Soldiers who are serving our country right this minute with no clear objective of why they’re putting themselves in harm’s way because of no definitive foreign policy. Brave are the wounded warriors who come home having lost limbs or suffering from PTSD as they watched their buddies blown up by Islamic militant animals who do not value human life. Brave defines the thousands of children who each day, face another round of chemotherapy or some other treatment for potentially fatal diseases. But Bruce Jenner? Not brave. Self-aggrandizing, shocking, degrading… anything but brave. And when you have a pandering media that refuses to recognize an iota of morality, that’s called lazy, spineless, and pathetic.

Changing the subject just a tad, anyone been reading about the now grown up children of same-sex parents? The vast majority of them feel “cheated that they didn’t have a father figure in the home”. Ever hear about those stats? Of course not. Because it doesn’t fit the liberal agenda which fills the coffers of Vanity Fair, E! Entertainment television, or the Bruce Jenners of the world. How screwed up will these poor children be with these mixed messages that money is King of this world? C’mon America. Can we stop glamorizing destructive behavior?

Strong Families Will End Poverty

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Courts, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Government, Marriage, Religion, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on May 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

poverty stop itby Diane Robertson

During a panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Obama, and Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam chided Christian religious organizations for focusing too heavily on “divisive issues” such as abortion and gay marriage.

The New York Times reported that President Obama, “chided religious organizations for sometimes focusing too heavily on issues like abortion rather than keeping the pressure on politicians to confront poverty.”

President Obama said, “This is oftentimes viewed as a nice-to-have relative to an issue like abortion…I think that there’s more power to be had there, a more transformative voice that’s available around these issues.”

The Washington Post reported that Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, went even further. Referring to Catholics and Evangelicals, he said that they “are the two largest faith communities in America. They have historically been involved in the public square. They’ve been emphasizing homosexuality and abortion and issues related to sex. If they employ the same strengths that religious institutions have on behalf of poor kids as they have on other issues, it would make a real difference.”

What President Obama and Mr. Putnam misunderstand is that religious institutions strengthen families, and strong families beat poverty. Marriage reduces the likelihood of childhood poverty by 82%. The Heritage Foundation reported that:

“Most poor children live in single-parent families. Seventy-one percent of poor families with children are headed by single parents, mostly single mothers. Compared to children raised in an intact family, children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; and drop out of high school.”

This means that the Christian religions focusing on marriage and the right to life fight poverty in a very real and meaningful way. The government already gives money to the poor, and has been for almost a century. But that has not gotten rid of poverty. Teaching the people about marriage, counseling with them, and helping them with the knowledge and resources to maintain strong marriages and families will give the people the resources they need to get themselves out of poverty.

The divisive issues of gay marriage and abortion are intimately related to family. Strong families believe in the right to life, and strong families lead the world in the fight against poverty.

Yes! Family Love is Possible!

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Drug Use, Families, father, Freedom, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on May 26, 2015 at 1:08 pm

family forgivenessby Nathalie Bowman

I write what’s in my heart. I don’t study statistics or research papers. I write what I know to be true. As this is my last blog post for United Families International, I want to share some thoughts from my heart about families in hopes it will be inspiring and helpful to you.

Children need a present, loving mother and father. Both roles, male and female, are vitally important for the well-being of a child. Children raised in a home where a loving father and mother work together to overcome challenges and give their children love and open communication are much further ahead in their ability to become successful adults as they  experience new life challenges.

Families face complicated issues in our world. Financial stress, loss of a loved one, addictions, physical and mental health challenges are just a few. In spite of the crazy stress of our world, the family unit was designed to be a sanctuary of love, forgiveness and fun.

Imagine the family unit as the first and most important place for your children to learn the beautiful feeling of being loved, as well as the feeling of failure and disappointment. You as the parent have the perfect opportunity of nurturing your children through their mistakes and shortcomings, redirecting them through teaching correct principles and giving them another try. Everyone in the family will make mistakes, including mom and dad. What a wonderful invitation that is, to learn forgiveness and to let go of control, manipulation, and pride.

As parents, it’s easy to use manipulation and coercion as tools for discipline because we want to make our children do as they’re told. They need to know what’s right and wrong, what behavior is good and what is not tolerated. However, this kind of treatment is damaging to the child and to the parent. At some point, the child (likely teen) may become sick of the control and manipulation and will fight back through rebellious actions such as drugs, sexual relationships, pornography, or any other way they can get back and prove they have freedom to do whatever they want, and are mature enough to handle it. Or, the response of the child  may be depression and hopelessness.

Manipulation and control is damaging to the parent as well as the child. When parents resort to manipulation and control, it creates more need to be right and pride steps in, creating an inability to forgive and start fresh. After all, “What I say stands. Don’t ask why. Because I’m the parent, that’s why. Just do as you’re told.” Instead of looking the child in the eye, feeling their soul, understanding their need to be loved, and openly communicating with their child, the parent dismisses the child in favor of their own need for power. This can become a negative cycle for the parent when they realize they’ve done wrong, but don’t have the courage to apologize and they feel guilty about their actions. Then it happens all over again and pride reigns supreme.

 

Imagine for a moment, if mom and dad together understood that no home and no child can be perfect, and that each person in the family has valid needs. Imagine that the parents value their children more than they value what their friends and neighbors think of their parenting and their children’s behavior. Imagine a family where the children know they are loved, even when they make mistakes, and they are given opportunities to start over and try again. This family has boundaries, for sure, but they are governed by love, not control.

 

A story which illustrates this principle of love and boundaries impacted me years ago. There was a father who was looking forward to his upcoming date with his teenage daughter. It had been on the calendar for several weeks and both father and daughter were looking forward to their time together. But the daughter had made a bad decision and violated a family rule a few days before their date. When it was suggested that their date be cancelled due to the daughter’s behavior, the father stated emphatically that nothing his daughter would do could take away his love for her, and this date was about his relationship with his girl, not about her bad behavior. The daughter was disciplined according to the pre-set consequences they had previously established for that specific behavior, the father daughter date was held, and the family boundaries were kept in tact. In the end, the date they shared worked wonders for the girl, and increased love and trust in their relationship.

Many parents have a difficult time loving and creating this kind of environment in their family, because their own family was dysfunctional and void of much love. I was one of those. I spent years as a mother in the blackness of hopelessness and depression, wondering how in the world could I create love, trust and fun with my children when that wasn’t my past experience? If you wish you could have more love, but you just don’t feel it, please know there is hope for you. The anger, anxiety, hopelessness, lack of confidence and void of love can be healed. Keep searching for your answers. They are there for you. You are loved and God desires the success of your family. Don’t give up. Your children need you and are willing to forgive when you make a mistake. Talk to them, open your heart for your little ones to show you what love is. You are worthy of love. Receive it.

The above paragraph may not apply to you. That’s ok. You are more ahead of the game than some of us. There is room for improvement in all families, and I am grateful to know now, after many years of suffering, that the family unit can be the most beautiful place to experience love and happiness. It’s available for your family as well! (For some solid, detailed ideas of how to achieve this love, please see my previous posts about “living love”)

I want to thank the readers of this blog. You are dedicated to the cause of the family and your own personal improvement. It has been a joy and blessing to write for you. I am full of  gratitude to UFI for allowing me to learn and be a part of their team. This is my final blog post for UFI, as I will be creating my own blog and growing my business to mentor families. Thank you!

 

Thank YOU Nathalie!  Our readers are going to miss your insights and wisdom!  We wish you the very best in your new ventures!    United Families

 

Adult children Need Support Too!!!

In Child Development, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, The Family, Values on April 14, 2015 at 7:32 am

father comforting adult daughterRachel Allison

It has been over nine years since my father passed away. Over the past couple of days I have been thinking of him a lot.

My Dad was a man of few words, but life’s lessons had given him a wisdom that enriched each of our lives. When he spoke, “we listened.”

My youngest sister tells of an endearing experience she had with Dad. She had been having some very discouraging setbacks in life. One morning she received a phone call from him. The first thing she heard after she picked up the receiver was dad singing, “I just called to say I love you. I just called to say how much I care,” (“I Just Called to Say I Love you” by Stevie Wonder.) My sister started to cry, but the ensuing conversation comforted and gave her hope and courage to tackle the future.

I have been surprised in recent years to hear friends admit that now that their adult children are out of the house, “they’re on their own.” In other words, these mothers and fathers with years of wisdom have chosen to let their children make mistakes without a word of advise. I am so much better because my parents stayed involved. Granted, they lived six hundred miles away, so it’s not as if they were at my door every day, but they were always just a phone call away and they always took the time to offer advise when I needed it.

The advice I specifically remember came at a time when I was a newlywed.   Looking back I see a very immature (dare I admit even spoiled?) young woman who called her parents often to express her frustrations with her new husband. My parents would always listen, but our conversations always ended with my mom and dad telling me how much they loved and appreciated my husband. They NEVER EVER badmouthed him. As the months and years passed, my tirades subsided, but when I did need to vent, my parent’s positive expressions were always a reminder of just why I married my husband.

Now that I have three adult married children I am determined to be as good a listener and advisor. I try to NEVER EVER badmouth my son-in-law or daughters-in-law. The few times my children have called with relationship issues I listen and I give them advice as to how THEY could make the situation better. We learn from an accumulation of generations of wisdom. And when the wisdom is shared each generation tends to get better and better.

 

What’s My Role? – The Grandparent Dilemma… or Opportunity?

In Child Development, Divorce, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, Health Care, Media, Parental Rights, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, Technology, The Family, Values on April 13, 2015 at 6:30 am

Grandpa and grandsonby Chuck Malone

Indeed one of the most fascinating, albeit frustrating, challenges facing any family unit is trying to understand and adjust to changing roles. The constant challenge to the definition of family in today’s changing environment makes that challenge even more difficult.

In a nutshell, let me set the stage for the object of this blog – “the grandparent.” What do we do with them? What does it mean to be without them? Who loses if they are not in our children’s lives?

My children had grandparents during their childhood years, but my parents struggled with that role. They were so careful not to interfere, that they became almost ghost-like; appearing and then almost as fast… disappearing, leaving evidence of their visit in the form of gifts, food, and/or a little chat about “what’s new with the kids?” Or “you are pregnant… again?”

My wife’s mother on the other hand was made to be a grandmother. She loved her grandchildren as much, or more, than her own children… and treated them as such.

So now my wife and I are “the grandparents.” Interesting, isn’t it, how fast time flies? I got to thinking about what makes someone a good grandparent “now that I are one,” with the goal of discovering some qualities that I don’t now possess, and work toward getting better at understanding my role, because I have to admit… I am lost here!

Because I had never been a grandparent before, and even now after 17 years of practice I still consider myself lost when it comes to understanding my role… so I looked into the fountain of all wisdom – the “Internet.”

What I found was like reading a daytime soap opera. Grandparent
estrangement? Narcissism? Increasing divorce rate among grandparents? Grandchildren

being raised by grandparents because the adult parent-child is not responsible enough to care for his/her own children? On and on…

What?

As disturbing as it was, however, to read about this drama enveloping the family unit, it was even more disturbing to learn that the majority of those polled agreed that having grandparents in their children’s lives had benefit, but they didn’t know how to extract it.

So when both sides of the conflict are confused, no wonder we have, as one writer put it, “erosion within the family unit.”

Ok, I’m going to get personal here on the bet that at least a few readers of this UFI blog will relate. I’ve had my hands slapped several times because I overstepped the boundary of my YouAreNotTheParentofMyChildren status. I didn’t even know I had status to begin with, and now what little I had was taken away when my children became parents?

I soon learned that although it is not written in the grandparent’s handbook I received (wait! I didn’t get my copy) there “are” boundaries now. My past role as the leader of the pack, the solution to every problem, the get it done guy… all gone! Instead, I am “bra-man.”

I am here to “support.” Not to lead. No voice! No authority! Actually, that’s ok. I just needed to know that, because it was a change. These new parents… our adult children, are now responsible. So I need to let them be, and accept my new role… to support and to love unconditionally!

So now that we know there are boundaries… let’s set some for the adult children too. We grandparents have a life. Just because it may look like we have nothing to do when you drop in unexpectedly with high hopes for grandma and I to watch the little darling(s) while you go out for a while, it “may” be that we do (or did) but are hesitant to expose that for fear we might never see little precious again. So parents, please heed the wall plaque in our home for all to see: “Grandchildren Welcome Anytime; Parents by Appointment!

Ok, on to the next grandparent boundary… Keep your mouth shut! As Anne Rolphe, shares, as one of the 27 writers in the NYT bestselling Eye of My Heart… “Ah, my poor tongue is sore from being bitten.”

When an adult child decides to move his/her family across the ocean in pursuit of their own dreams, and takes our grandchildren with them, it is very hard not to cry and stamp our feet while yelling, “unfair – unfair!” As hard as it may be to accept, our children deserve to make their own road in life… even if the road they choose isn’t the road “we”

would have taken and it gets bumpy at times. And even if we might have saved them from making a big mistake, had they listened… no one will leave earth life without getting bruised a few times. And they will become all the better for it. So wish them the best and learn how to skype.

“I am Ari’s Grammie. I live in Dallas and he lives in New York. We don’t get to visit in person that much, so we video-chat most days. Thanks to 21st century technology, we are virtual grandparents. We have eaten dinner together, played with toys, and sung. We’ve watched him reach many milestones like walking, thanks to technology. We stay updated, though we wish we lived closer. We cherish the times we actually get to spend with him and hope there will be many more to come.” –Michele Kesner (As quoted in HuffingtonPost.com)

Now let’s talk about a word society seems to have forgotten – Influence. A grandparent is in a wonderful position as support to grandchildren. Without skin in the game, we can observe from the bleachers and cheer and yell encouragement, and then head home before the locker room rant starts.

Yet, the wise adult child will recognize the benefit of having grandparents as an ally and not just as a guest or spectator. But parent and grandparent need to work together… and that is where the rub comes in for most. Grandparents still think they should parent and the adult child wants to show he/she is in charge, and in walks the conflict.

So grandparents, back off and remember your role, bite your tongue, and listen to what your adult children need from you in the way of “influence” over their children.

“I was extremely close to my grandparents and their presence in my life greatly formed my perceptions of food, gardening, my Swedish heritage and the essence of family love generation after generation. I couldn’t be more delighted to see my parents evolve the teachings of their parents as they interact with my 1-yr old daughter, who couldn’t love her “gamma and gampapa” more. The more love the better, and without grandparents, we’d be missing one of the most important relationships in life.” -Jamie Smith (As quoted in HuffingtonPost.com)

My wife loves to “sit and knit,” to the point she has become very proficient in the art. One of our adult children had some concerns over the recent behavior of her soon to be teenage daughter and mentioned it to her grandmother. It so happened that our granddaughter loved “sitting and knitting” with grandmother. They would talk together during these times, and soon grandmother was able to provide some insight into the mother’s concern over the welfare of her daughter. Now that’s working together.

It helps if the adult children speak kindly and generously about the grandparent(s) in front of the children. It is amazing how much they pick up when appearing to not be listening to a word you are saying.

There is certainly more to say on the topic, for both sides to learn. But if you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren to love… and if you, parents, have someone in your life who loves your children as only a grandparent can, please remember this, as quoted in Grandparents.com: “Family – we may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Resources:

Parent’s lack of Backbone may lead to Children’s Entitlement Demands

In Child Development, Families, father, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on April 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

spoiled girlRachel Allison

A sense of entitlement, which is the polar opposite of a sense of responsibility, is endemic among many of the 1st World’s children today.

It is fostered by our demanding, narcissistic society wherein wants are confused with needs and everyone seems focused on the notion that he deserves what everyone else has. Gone are the days when kids expected to have to work for something.

Too many youth grow up in a reality-show world, thinking of themselves as the central character on the stage. They have their own Facebook page, twitter account, and insta-gram followers. They’re “famous”, and in their own minds,  there is neither room nor need for emotional empathy, self examination, or personal responsibility. There isn’t much incentive or motivation to learn to work. They have all the accolades without genuine effort, and over-indulging parents provide everything else.

This learned behavior entitles them to think they should have no limits, boundaries or discipline.

By not saying “no” and by giving them what they demand, parents become the ultimate enablers.

In their book “Living in the Age of Entitlement, the Narcissism Epidemic,” Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell explain it this way:

“It is increasingly common to see parents relinquishing authority to young children, showering them with unearned praise, protecting them from their teacher’s criticisms, giving them expensive automobiles and allowing them to have freedom but not the responsibility that goes with it. Not that long ago, kids knew who the boss was—and it wasn’t them. It was Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad weren’t your “friends.” They were your parents.”

Then, Twenge and Campbell hit on the true causes of entitlement:

“The  change in parenting is driven by the core cultural value of self-admiration and positive feelings. Parents want their kids’ approval, a reversal of the past ideal of children striving for their parents’ approval.”

As our lives get busier and busier, as both parents work, and as the disconnect grows greater between what we say our priorities are, and where we actually spend our thought and energy, we parents tend to give our children things instead of time, spoiling them as we add fuel to the entitlement flame.

Dan Kindlon, in his book “Too Much of a Good thing,” puts it simply:

“We give our kids too much and demand too little of them.”

Kindlon goes on to argue that when kids are overindulged, it leads to outcomes resembling the seven deadly sins: pride, wrath, envy, sloth, gluttony, lust and greed.

How widespread is this sense of entitlement among kids? Widespread enough that every parent seems to have a close-to-home example of it.

Best-selling authors Linda and Richard Eyre have written over a dozen books on parenting. When they asked for examples of child entitlement, their inbox was flooded. Personal “testimonials” poured in for days. The stories ranged from kids’ funny ideas about “what’s what” and “who does what” to “demands so extreme they were almost humorous.” Here are just four out of the hundreds they received:

 

1.  “I’m a 40-something professional from the Midwest. Recently, I had been gone from my family for a week and was greeted by my 10-year-old son with a big hug. That night at dinner after a catch-up session about things that had happened while I was gone he quietly brought up something he had obviously planned quite carefully. “Mom, you’ve been gone a long time and you missed my band concert. How about buying me the new Wii game to make up for it?””

 

2.   “My 9-year-old came up to me the other day and said, “I have to have a credit card…or a cellphone. At least one of them.”

 

3.  “Our 8 year-old son was aghast when we suggested he might have to work to earn some money to replace the neighbor’s window that he had broken while throwing rocks. “You’re my mom; that’s the kind of thing you are supposed to take care of.”

 

4. “A few weeks ago, I was shopping with my 4-year old who saw something he ‘really wanted.’ He got upset when I said “no” and angrily asked me why I wouldn’t buy it for him. My response was, ‘because I don’t want to spend the money on that.’ He frowned, growled at me and said, ‘Fine, then you just give me the money and I’ll pay for it.”

Parents, when “We give our children too much and demand too little of them,” they may grow up to be entitled spoiled-rotten adults…then, if we don’t deal with them,  society will have to.

 

 

 

 

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