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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Parenting Styles

I have been observing families all over America and in some countries of Europe over the past several years. I also have reflected on my own upbringing and on my own small family.

Parenting styles have become more and more inconsistent over the years. I actually blame the fact that parents have wanted to be friends with their children on an misunderstanding or refusal to take God-given authority over one's children.

But, even in years past, pre-Vatican II if we Catholics want to have a point in time in which to place changes in family life, parenting styles were becoming more and more fluid.

Even in the 1950s, one could see patriarchies in the Midwest of American having differences of interpretation. As I grew up among Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Luxembourgians and Czechs, the families were based on patriarchies.

Ireland, England, and Malta are matriarchies.

But, even within these larger categories, parenting styles vary.

I see that some parents want to be parents always, which is good and bad, but not necessarily respecting their adult children as adults.

I see some parents stopping being parents as soon as the children leave home, living very separate lives on purpose from their children.

I see parents disagreeing on parenting styles in families, causing confusion among the children and causing a disgust with authority based on an unreal, antagonistic view of what and how a couple should act with children.

More and more, I am witnessing a huge problem of parents not training their children to respect adults.

This, sadly, is very obvious in Malta.

But, one thing is clear-that the Catholic ideal of parenting is rarely employed, people falling into ethnic or dysfunctional models learned as children.

A real sign of the decay of the West is the lack of parental, specifically paternal authority. Only when a biological father decides to be a real spiritual and psychological father can there be stability in a family.

I intend to reflect on my large sample of experience, but also to look into what the ideal family should look like, as God has a plan for families. This plan does not mean that we are to live like cookie-cutter parents, but that within a framework of the true religion, there is a way for stability and spirituality within the family.

One thing is very clear--the matriarchal model is not only dangerous but an aberration to be corrected.  I am not sure in some cultures that this is possible until fathers and husbands decide to embrace the authority given to them by God.

to be continued.....