>I was recently asked to complete a survey with two primary questions. The first is in the headline, and I found it very difficult to choose one social ill in the United States as the top issue facing the country.
Finally, I decided on this response:
The social issue with the most repercussions is that children are being raised by cell phone with videogames as their constant companions, and they seem to be growing up self-absorbed, wild, and sociopathic. They are a danger to themselves and to others.
The second question was: What do you think could be done to resolve this issue?
I’m not of the “marriage should only be between a man and a woman” ilk, but I do believe that children should have complete families with two parents. Some people will say it’s cruel or harsh, but I don’t think people should have children who cannot afford for one parent to be home with them instead of being focused on their careers, dating (in single parent households), and “me time.” Sure, parents need some “me time” too, but the child should be the parents’ first concern.
That’s all I said in the survey, but I will say a bit more here.
BABIES DON’T SOLVE PROBLEMS
I’ve known several women who got pregnant because their relationship was in trouble. They thought having a child would force the man to “start acting responsibly.” I suppose, in a few rare cases, some people who unexpectedly find themselves “with child” have done a complete 360 and changed their whole outlook on life, but I wouldn’t count on it.
The problems in the relationship are typically going to be amplified by having a baby. Any money troubles are going to get worse, because kids are expensive. If you think you don’t have time for a proper date night when you’re childless, what’s going to happen when you have a baby who needs constant care?
THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE IN COMMON
My husband and I both like science fiction, and we’ve both known people who were forced to (or at least expected to) give up their collections or their hobbies or their friends because the spouse (typically the women) didn’t like it. In another case, a women who went to all her boyfriend’s sporting events while they were dating thought that, once they were married, he’d stop playing on those teams.
Here’s a tip: You should date people, and definitely marry someone, with whom you have something in common. It gives you something to talk about and enjoy together because sex and having a date on national holidays does not a strong marriage make.
Talk about the issues and events of the day. If you’re shocked and heartbroken by the events in Japan and he’s cracking jokes about it, maybe he’s not the right man for you. If she likes to go to the gun range on Saturdays and you think that individuals shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms, guess what? It’s probably not going to work out. You won’t know that if you watch a football game together, have sex and go home, because she’s probably only watching the game because she knows you want to, and she’ll be offended if you want to spend your Saturday on the couch once you’re married.
Let’s say you have really good insurance that will cover the pregnancy, birth, and pediatric child care. You still have to buy special food, and clothes, and toys, and baby gear, and dishes, latches for the cabinets, and a locking gun cabinet for her firearms. Some of the expenses will go away as baby becomes toddler becomes student, but they’ll quickly be replaced with new costs.
Look at ways that you can adjust your spending. Can you live in a less expensive home or apartment to reduce monthly rent/mortgage payment? Can you make do with one vehicle instead of two, to save on insurance and maintenance costs? Which one of you is going to clip coupons (or print them from the internet)? Do you really need cable TV? What other monthly expenses can you reduce or eliminate to pay for what the kid needs?
Because what the kid really needs is a parent to guide him or her. A child learns from the parent. You can put them in school, but the teachers aren’t supposed to teach morality any more. You need to be the one who explains what bullying is and why it’s wrong, who tells your child to take a few steps to a trash can instead of throwing a drink cup or bottle on the ground. Plus, teachers can’t give your child the personal attention that a stay-at-home-parent can: one on one reading help, going over math problems one by one until s/he gets it.
In a single parent household, the parent usually has to work. I applaud that. I certainly don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for someone else’s mistake. The solution is to abstain or use protection in order to avoid an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, to use common sense in selecting a suitable lifemate, and to provide a two-parent family for the child. In cases where the mother or father is widowed, I am truly sorry for your loss. Those are the situations where extended family and good friends are important to providing adult guidance for your child.
In many two-parent households, the money earned by one of the parents is “gravy.” It pays for the extra vehicle s/he needs to get to the job, for the child care while both parents are at work, for unnecessary luxuries like store-bought cakes, iPods, cell phones with unlimited texting for every members of the family, and so on. In the great scheme of the universe, are those things, those inanimate objects, worth more than personal pride, integrity, honesty, cleanliness, a good work ethic, appreciation for diversity – those intangible things that come from fathers and mothers spending time face-to-face with their offspring?
Of course not.
If you’ve wondered why you’re hearing more stories of children killing each other or their parents or their grandparents or the neighbor’s dog, I believe it’s a direct result of parents not being actively involved in their children’s lives every day. And with each successive generation getting less attention and education from their parents, it’s only going to get worse.
And that’s why I answered the survey questions the way that I did.
What do you think?