How to Encourage Kids to be Family Oriented

by W.F. Price on December 7, 2012

Commenter MKP asks some tough questions — questions we probably don’t address enough here:

A lot of “don’ts.” What SHOULD you do if you have children?

“Avoid sending your children to the cities for college?” Where SHOULD you send them? Austin, Texas is a city. Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a city. Provo, Utah – home of BYU – has half a million people in the metro area. It’s a city, by any reasonable definition. Should you just not send your children to college? What if they’re 18 and they decide they want to go even without your permission?

Are your sons going to go to college? If so, where?

Jaego was on one of the threads the other day talking about how his conservative friends had 3 daughters who grew up to be liberal feminists. Well, Jaego is a smart guy and I’m sure his observation was accurate. But I didn’t catch the part where he explained HOW you can avoid that fate. “Stay away from the big cities – danger lurks there!” is exactly the kind of thing that will get kids to dream of running off to the big city before they go to bed every night.

Should you keep your daughter locked up in her room studying the bible until she’s 18? She’ll just just rebel even harder when she finally moves out – which, if you DO want grandchildren, you’re going to have to allow at some point. Should we follow our daughters around from the time they can walk and club them in the head every time they say something “liberal?”

“Oh, you’re just being a dick.” OK, fine. What SHOULD we do? Serious question.

I’m not trying to be a jerk. But honestly, what the plan any of you have for raising children to be responsible, non-liberal, non-feminist, family-oriented adults? Not a list of “don’ts,” but an active plan. How many grandfathers do we have here, anyway? Not many, is my hunch.

I think we tend to avoid these questions because 1) we don’t have many good answers, and 2) most of us aren’t directly facing them right now (although some of us will in time).

First, we have to admit that even in the best society not all kids are going to grow up to be family oriented adults. No matter what we do, some of them are going to reject that lifestyle, and that’s something we have to accept. However, when you have half of urban young adults opting out of family as it is today, there’s obviously a big problem with the current setup.

So what are a few steps we could take to mitigate the damage? I responded that I intend to take a practical approach to education where my kids are concerned to prevent them from wasting time and money on classes intended to indoctrinate them to be good little urban liberals, i.e. to be selfish and hate their own people. Instead of sending a daughter straight out of high school to a four-year school to learn how to be “open-minded” (read: open legged), why not first have her learn a practical trade so she has something to bring to the table economically, and the means to support herself if needs be? Same goes for sons, of course, but daughters are much more likely to attend college these days, so they are a bigger concern.

Maybe we should bring back some form of home ec. for the contemporary family. Teach girls how to manage household finances, how to save and avoid using credit, and how to prepare for motherhood if they want to do so. Small business administration would be a great skill for a woman married to a small business owner, such as a carpenter, mechanic or even an attorney or doctor in private practice. Also, have boys attend classes on family law so they know the consequences of getting hitched with the wrong girl. In short, teach them how to be family oriented adults rather than give them the false expectation that they can do whatever or be whatever they want. A woman has to learn how to be a wife and mother while she’s a girl, and a man how to be a husband and father while he’s a boy. Without some experience, it’s going to be much more difficult when they are first thrust into that role.

I don’t think preaching to kids is going to help much. We preach all the time about the wonders of reading and math to kids, and it has almost no effect. They learn through practice, and we don’t give them a choice about it. The same goes for being family oriented, I imagine. If we put no effort into teaching them how to manage family, how can we expect them to be prepared for it as adults?

As for the desire so many kids have to go out and see the world, this is natural and something we have to accommodate in some fashion. Even the ultra-conservative Amish make allowances for this, letting their kids do their own thing while they are going through their youthful rebellion stage (typically age 16-21). This period is called “Rumspringa,” which means “running around;” during Rumspringa adolescent acting out is generally tolerated.

So why don’t these young Amish abandon their community during or after this period? I suspect it’s because they’ve already internalized the family oriented life by that time. In other words, they’d learned how to become family people by the time adolescent hormones and wanderlust kicked in, and it became a part of them. When true adulthood sets in and they calm down, they then return to what they already knew.

Of course, few of us have the desire to live the technophobic life of the Amish, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything from them. To operate successfully in a technologically advanced society, one doesn’t need to abandon the domestic arts, or to take classes on gender theory for that matter. And that’s the point: much of what parents choose to feed their kids in the course of their education is not only unnecessary, but harmful. Think of the liberal garbage as the mental equivalent of fast food. It’s bad for kids, but far too many people give it to them anyway. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a direct correlation between childhood obesity and later adult family dysfunction in any given community.

This is an issue that will require a lot of thought and effort on the part of concerned parents, so I’d be happy to see what other people have to say. There’s so much ground to cover that I think it would be worth it to put together some kind of handbook for those who are concerned. My own above thoughts are merely a brief outline of some of my ideas, and I’d be happy to flesh them out with some help.

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