What has happen to family life?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Star In N.C., Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Star In N.C.

    Star In N.C. Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2002
    I was sitting today talking to a couple of people that I know and we all asked the samething what is happening to family life today.

    My DH lost his dad and his mom could care less so all the family he has is me and our daughter. I am in the same boat as DH. Our daughter is both of our lives and each other that is all.

    I guess I grew up thinking of a big family but that never happened.
    I can not have any more childern nor in mine and my DH shape would want any more. I just wonder if that is happening evey where or if it was only us.

  2. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    One word - Selfishness.

    A incredible self centeredness which is encouraged and nurtured by popular culture. It is the sort of thing that has filtered down to every fiber of society unfortunately. It has affected marriage, children, relationships with older parents and about every other part of familial and social interaction. Too many kids or relatives might cramp someone's lifestyle.

    I'm old fashioned I suppose.

    I believe that marriage is 100%/100% not 50/50. Protecting, supporting and cherishing that person unconditionally and totally. Not doing things out of a sense of obligation but out of love and deference. Putting your partners needs ahead of your own selfish wants.

    A friend is a friend and you have that person's back no matter what. Your word of honor meant something. Friends are not meant to be discarded when they become inconvenient.

    Family members, especially older ones, are to be treated with respect and deference. Family members aren't discarded either when they become inconvenient. A person should do considerate things for them without having to be asked.

    People are so self centered today it sickens me. It is all about ME ME ME. Look at me! I am special! I am important! My needs and wants are placed above everyone else's! The world revolves around me! Just watching football tonight I see the game reeks of it. Nothing is about the team. Exaggerated, stylized, limb flailing dances at the end of every play. Look at me! Look what I did! Look at my greatness!

    As a 32 year old gen-xer I would say my generation is swimming in it and the younger people are, the worse it gets. Just watch little kids in the store in a public place and you will see what I mean.

    'scuse the rant but that is something that has been bugging me today.

  3. Dave in Ohio

    Dave in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    I agree, family values have eroded. Remember when you would go to visit, it would be hours if not all day, now maybe it is 20-30 minutes then it is time to go. There are alot more things to do now days, people are busy working to keep up with the Jones. We spend more time at the computer visiting our cyber family than we may with our own physical family, kids needing to go to this and that. I think that families also are getting away, years ago you would be stuck in a certain area but now days people are getting away. I was in PA and now I'm in Ohio, have a brother and sister in AZ and the rest back in PA. Aunts and Uncles that are still alive in PA and NJ, nieces and cousing in VT and NY, and my kids in PA and VA, so trying to get a reunion takes alot as both spouses need to get off work, kids out of school and money to travel. Maybe the Amish have it right by shunning modern conveniences? All I can see is things will get worse before they get better.
  4. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Wild, Wonderful WV
    Before I agree wholeheartedly with Quint :) , I would like to say that I realize large families aren't in everyone's plans. Obviously some people can't have children, some don't want children, some can't handle children.

    My mother was one who can't handle children, lol. She was a good mom, just very high strung, a nervous wreck all the time. When I was a child I wanted a brother or sister more than anything. Now I realize that my mom probably could not have handled it.

    Then there are those like Quint described. Selfish to the core. I stopped in to see an old friend when I drove past her kennel. As we were chatting, we walked over for her to show me her new house they were building (McMansion type), we went out to he barn for her to show me her animals, the 4 horses she has but no time to ride, the chickens living under the barn and she doesn't collect thier eggs, the mini cattle she bought because they were cute..... Then she brought up her dh, and the fact that he wants children, at least one, and she just doesn't want any..... How would she have any time for herself? Or time for dh? or the animals? or work? She just doesn't want the "hassel" of having a child. She looks at me like I'm crazy for having four, and is completely baffled that I would like more.

    I don't understand people like this.

  5. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2004
    I definitely agree with Quint.

    Family and friends are always commenting to me that I do too much for my family, that hubby gets to go away with the guys too often (1/yr.) and that i should do more for myself. hubby and i have a great relationship.

    I try to explain to them that i am giving a lot, but getting just as much in return. They don't understand - alot of them are selffish. We are very close family unit and do everything together. If the kids want to play a little bit of video games, either my husband or I are there playing too. We don't make any plans for Sunday's - that's our day to spend together. We live a few miles from my Inlaws and see them on the weekend for a few hours and sometimes a shorter visit during the week for tea or something or they drop by here. The rest of hubby's family live out of state.

    My family is pitiful when it comes to seeing each other. Mom(Aunt who raised me) won't drive the 15 minutes to come see me from a few towns away even though she is no longer working and able to do so. I volunteer at the kids school a lot and would love for her to visit once in a while even if it was just a short one. I try to get there when i can, and even do what she likes. We are very different. I'm actually going to the christmas tree shop this week because she wants to (yuck - i'm trying to be a good daughter). Can you tell this is one of my issues......... I'm working on it. My brothers live out of state and the one that isn't he and his family are too busy to get together.

    I learned at a very young age (4 - my mom died in a car accident) that life is precious and the most important thing in life is your family. I want to share everything with my kids, before long they will be grown. Although I can't change my side of the family, i can teach my kids different.

    My kids prefer to not do after school activities because they just want to play either with hubby or me or friends. In this suburb everything is scheduled. It is very expensive to live here (why we want to move). People want bigger better houses and so both have to work. I feel blessed to be able to stay home, but work hard doing my "job". People ask me if i watch soaps or get bored and i die with laughter. When hubby gets home we have the whole evening together as a family. Around here some people work just to put their kids in activities instead of just spending the time with them themselves. Kids are just shuttled here and there and they think that's showing love - a bit sad.

    I definitely think around here people just want to keep up with the jone's and think things are a status sympbol. I almost actually fit in at the school when they saw i drove an appropriate car, then i got out in my work jeans and hair thrown up and no makeup - the snobs won't even say hi, but i do have some good friends i've made there.

    I belive family is a state of mind and relizing that what's in front of your nose it what's important. I feel so thankful for my gifts from god (kids) and my hubby everyday. The traditions and time i start/spend with my kids and hubby today will carry us through and hopefully many more generations.

    Sorry for the rambling.....

  6. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    I am a firm believer in family also, but unfortunately my family isn't. What I mean is we are very close to our 2 sons, their wives and the grandkids. But DH has no one alive on his side and on mine, well, if you don't bend over backward for them they don't acknowledge you. I'll never forget the time my own mom said we spent way too much time with our kids. She said that when we were little she'd just sit us down in front of the tv! You know, that explains a lot.

    Karen in NE Indiana
  7. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    It's unfair to judge a couple or single person and say they aren't a family, or hold family values of interest to them and perhaps hold a broader view of relationship with their fellow human beings and nature. Selfishness can exist through many forms of greed whether someone procreates for children, or not.

    Carla, it's kind of you to mention the reality that some people don't want children as a choice, or perhaps can't have them, or don't care to handle raising them. There are also too many people have kids that really didn't want them. That is a sad situation also.
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    Do you know the irony here? This was the promise of America... come here and you can be a success. Come here and you can do better, achieve more, educate yourself better, than your father did. Without social constraints to hold you back. You can move to where the jobs are, or simply to a part of the country you like better.

    But mobility comes with a price.. scattered families. Upward mobility requires trade offs: time at work vs. time at home. And one person's acceptable trade off's is another's sell out. One person's adventure in moving is another person's loss of family.

    I bet 150 years ago as young people were leaving the east in droves for new territories out west people were mourning the loss of "kith and kin" the same way. Or how about the people who have left family in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America... in some cases never to see them again. There's a loss of family!

    We can mourn the loss, but the lack of mobility (upward or geographic) also extracts a terrible price. In other countries that don't have mobility stagnant economies, cultural and ethnic racism, maintain a "traditional family" and "traditional culture" which often go hand in hand with primitive agriculture, poor nutrition, limited education, and inadequate medical care.

    I'm not convinced you can have it "all." I think you have either a mobile society or a stagnant one... and given my druthers, I'll take the mobile one. It is inconvenient and expensive to have parents thousands of miles away... but they're happy there, and I'm employed here. One of us should be desperately unhappy simply so we can live geographically closer together?

    No... that's not a good idea either.
  9. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    You may not have lucked out with the people related to you by DNA or they may feel they are the unlucky ones. Either way, that does not mean you have to do without family.

    My children chose a couple at church that had grandchildren in other states and needed some kids that lived closer for snuggles, good times and adventures. We have been so blessed to blend our families and it has been so good for the kids (the "grandparents" say they are the blessed ones!). Extend your "family" by choice this time and bless someone who did not win the birth family lotto. Adoption can take place at any stage of life.
  10. billooo2

    billooo2 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 23, 2004
    I see 2 issues here. The one is the loss of extended family, and the other is the loss of the traditional family. The loss of extended family, although not a real substitute....developing close relationships with friends. Some of my friends refer to their circle as their "chosen" family. The loss of the traditional family is a huge issue, and there is a "movement" in this country to address this and improve marriages, and families. An interesting "study" that I came across...they looked to a common factor in school children who perform better, and appear to be happier, and more satisfied. The comman denominator was that these kids came from families that had dinner together consistently. If you want to try to find resouces a place to start might be a web site called, "Smart Marriages." Some communities are developing Marriage Coalitions, which exist to improve marriages and families in their communities. We can sit around and moan and groan about how today's society has eroded families.....or we can take initiative and improve our little corner of the world. A lot of people may think we are weird.....they may look down their nose at my 93 Pontiac, and my 94 pick up truck. But they are paid for. And, when they do, it tells me volumes about what their values are. I love (I am a little "warped") to meet people for the first time wearing blue jeans and sneakers. Then when they see me another time I may have the shirt and tie or suit....or be the speaker at an event. It is always interesting to see if they react to me differently. I am getting off topic....sorry
  11. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 14, 2002
    Fl Zones 11
    If you read The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder you will see that their extended families scattered across several states. This mobility of population is not new in the US.
    I worked outside the home when my children were small, but was very family oriented outside work. Their friends had working moms too, but their friends moms made excuses for not being involved in their lives due to "working".
    My family -of - origin never sat around for "family" visits. "Family" visits were for going to the zoo or museum or beach or mountains or to a play or historical site. When I married Grandfatherbear we both had adjustments to make. He says he prefers to "do" things with the grandchildren now rather than "sit around" like his folks did. Sometimes "doing" things means we sit in the house and play Barbies with the grandaughter or construct Legos with the grandson- but they understand they don't get to retreat passively into their video games when we visit.
    L'm just trying to say you can be family oriented while you are on the go. Being active doesn't necc mean you're not family minded.
  12. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2004
    The loss of traditional family life is a serious problem. I see it all around me, and it is sad....kids know nothing but TV and video games, they think love is giving them money or more junk.....sad, isn't it? :(
    The Liberals dismiss these problems a LOT, they must be blind to the fact that these problems stem from weakening traditional families. Weakening marriage, materialism instead of spiritual values and love, etc.
    These are just some examples. I've seen lots of studies that back these things up, like someone mentioned above about the simple act of having dinner together like what was once more common. Just signs of our sad times.... :waa:
  13. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Lets face it, having a close family means a whole lot of work and a whole lot of putting up with each other's quirks. I live 1200 miles away from my family. Once a year I make the time and expend the effort to go there for a good long visit. A couple times a year a family member comes up here to visit. In addition there are lots of e-mails and long-distance phone calls. This all takes time and money and work to do.

    Hubby's parents (he's an only child) live 2 1/2 hours away. We see them at least once a week. We usually go there to visit so we can check and make sure the refrigerator is full of decent food and the house is liveable. They are both in their late 80s and just can't keep up with things the way they used to. Again, this takes time - a whole day is gone doing this - and it takes effort.

    Time and effort are just things it seems like most people aren't willing to expend unless it directly benefits them. We live in an immediate gratification world, and having a traditional family is the sort of thing that benefits you in the long run. Immediately it can be sort of a pain in the neck.
  14. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2004
    OK...I realize I am out numbered here, but I must reply to this.

    My parents are still married. I grew up within spitting distance of my 5 uncles on my dad's side and my 4 aunts and uncles on my mom's side. My grandmother is the very model of a good christian woman. There isn't a hateful bone in that womans body. And from her I learned never to judge another and to always help those in need. I am blessed to have a family that I love and care about and who cares about me.

    I am an Eagle scout and I am still active with scouting today. I have 3 kids and one more on the way. I have never let the TV be the babysitter. I have always taken the time to play with my children and to honestly listen to what they have to say. I talk to them nearly every day about the evils of materialism. As a parent I am in a daily struggle with the marketing machines of corporate america.

    I do not consider myself a liberal...but you would probably would.

    I don't know how to solve societies problems. But I do know that this is one that both sides of the political spectrum face. To try to blame it on one or the other is pointless.

    Another issue here is some folks think they have ownership and domain over "Family Values". I grew up in central Kentucky. When I moved to Ohio I was treated like scum. I was told the reason there were so many problems "here" was that hicks like me were coming from Ky and WV and we didn't have any "values". I was going to school so I kept my Ky tags on my car for 3 years. It was MUCH cheaper to register it there than here. The result was that every cop car I passed knew I was from Ky. I got pulled over at least once a month, sometimes twice....never got a ticket. No, No....they just wanted to know what I was doing here and when I would be leaving.

    I don't want this to turn into a rant, but this issue is so complex that for any one of us to try to put the blame on one thing just insures more of the same.

  15. Beststash

    Beststash Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2003
    Liberal Texas (Austin)
    What happened to family life?? Family life is what happens while you are busy working to pay the bills and trying to save enough to weather the "bad times" which are just part of life.

    As a nation we love to blame government for "values" - it has nothing to do with it - just another conservative excuse to pass the buck.

    If you want family values - live like you mean it. A lot of people have become so afraid of their community (ignorance or prejudice) that they remove their children from society by home-schooling and create a whole different set of problems. At some point everyone has to face society and hopefully learn to get along with people that are different than themselves. We you try to all of be clones of each other you've got a mess because there are no two of us alike. Embrace differences, race, cultures and quit trying to be the perfect little family.

    Chill out folks - family life is everyday, not when you plan for it.
  16. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2004
    I don't think anyone was saying that they weren't a family. We all have choices in life. Okay, I hope this doesn't start an argument, I know I tend to state things very strong sometimes, but here goes. This is what I believe is causing this problem.

    Carla made a very good point, which, whether she noticed it or not, backed up what others had said. I have to say that MOST of the "categories" she listed are caused by selfishness. The first. She is right. Most people do not want kids. This is absolutely wrong, I firmly believe that. Whether you want to accept it or not, marrying is for ACCEPTING the gifts from God and procreating children & becoming as much like Jesus & His bride (the Church) as possible. As soon as you stray from this you are less of a family, though a family nonetheless. If you aren't open to God's gifts, there is something seriously wrong, after all, marriage is NOT just between the wife and husband, but it is threefold, including God. You can't not accept his gifts (UNLESS FOR A VERY GRAVE REASON), think how rude this would be in "real life!!!".

    Second point she made: "Perhaps can't have them." Okay, this is probably going to be the one I get slammed for. Now, to start, I understand that there are alot of people who have trouble having kids. I also know that some of these are for natural reasons and are a huge hardship on couples. I sincerely wish they could, and I feel very bad for them. I have many close acquaintences that are in this boat. But I hate to say it, MOST are not for natural reasons, although they appear to be on the surface. How many of these women have used birth control, specifically the "Pill" during their lifetime, messing up their bodies? How many have had an abortion when younger, how many have drank like crazy, smoked, drugged themselves up, etc..., and probably one of the biggest, other than the pill, how many go after careers and worldly ideas of success, and put off marriage until they can "plan" it when they are older? Most of the women I know who can't have kids are older. I am sure most have used the pill while younger so they couldn't get pregnant. DID YOU HAPPEN TO NOTICE ALL THESE THINGS ARE SELFISH????? How many people didn't get married in College or High School because it wasn't accepted, how many women didn't even consider it, it wasn't in "THEIR" plans. What about God's plans? Now I realize, before you criticize me, that not everyone fits into the categories above. There are those who couldn't find a mate, or just naturally can't have kids. Like I said before, my heart goes out to them.

    Third Point. Not caring to raise them. Obviously this is extremely selfish, once again. It's not a matter of what you want in life, it's a matter of what God wants. There is nothing greater than having children and passing on some of yourself to the next generation. Our purpose in life is not to live, but to try and become as holy as possible, so we can eventually reach heaven. Obviously only through God's grace, it is not us, although it is our choice from day to day.

    Lastly, I would like to say, that not only does the selfishness not stop at having kids, but at the number of kids. I firmly believe that unless you have a GRAVE reason for not having more kids, you should try and have them. I believe birth control of any form, even if you are using Natural Family Planning to PREVENT kids, is wrong unless you have a very grave reason. I could go into all the reasons why, and if you want to know, I will, but suffice it to say that I believe this is God's will, and by the way, paying for your kids college, or them having the latest fashion, etc is NOT an opt-out. Kids can have some if not all the responsibility for this. My hubby did, and he is more successful than most people I know who got their way "payed"/paved for them.

    I believe that the problem today is most people want to control things, if they do want alot of kids, they want to space them & plan for them, not just let things happen (with a little help from the hubby. :eek: ), they want to do this and that before they get married, they don't seem to ever leave this up to God COMPLETELY. I will never space my children unless I need so, I will never not accept a child from God unless I am in a VERY, VERY serious situation. Is it hard having 3 children in 3-1/2 years? (Obviously most would not be like this, every woman is different, I am just on one extreme side of the spectrum!) Yes, it is, but you know what, it is much easier than having to go out and work at a normal job, it is just another job option, if you want to look at it that way. Alot of people take care of 20 kids for their job during the day, why can't I??? I can say one thing, it is alot more rewarding than any other job I have held, and I was a nanny for a short while too.

    Natalie 22 wife to
    Dale 38 parents to
    Rachel 2
    Jacob 11 mo.
    Baby -1-1/2 mo. :D Can't wait!!!!!!!!!
  17. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    Something that I see in my work with school families is that they are constantly on the go "for the kids": running to this sport or that, music lessons, tutoring, dance lessons, enrichment programs... I have third graders with Day Minder calendars!! Granted, I work in a well-known suburb, with a mix of affluent and low income people (very few in the middle), so I don't know if this applies to people who live more rurally, but it's still a trend I see.

    The parents really think they are doing the best for their kids, because they want them to have an "edge" when they get to college, etc. If any of these families eat together, it's a burger in the car from McD's on the way to another item on one or more of the kids' agendae.

    In my observations, I've noticed that this driven lifestyle produces two things: entitled attitudes and lack of family connection.

    The kids feel that they are entitled to all of the goodies life has to offer, and that they should not have to lift a finger because Mom and Dad are "supposed" to do these things FOR them. (I work with one second grader who stands and waits for me to open the door for him! Stood there almost 4 minutes one day until he finally gave in and opened it, then had to do it all over again because he charged ahead of me instead of letting me go first...)

    I don't blame parents for wanting their kids to be able to get into good schools if that's a priority for THE KID. That's something they can deal with in high school, however. Grammar school is about learning the basics in academics and in getting along with others.

    Parents are losing so much by not spending time with their children, having expectations that the children will pitch in with family chores and duties, and also letting the kids have some precious down time to just goof off and daydream and be KIDS.
  18. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    Perhaps nothing has changed except your age and point of view.

  19. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Oct 18, 2004
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Or perhaps much has changed in their lifetime but not in yours?
  20. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 6, 2004
    Well, when I young and lived with my parents--our family was so dis-functional. My father was the 'general' he ran our house like the Army. Mother was a depressed, angry, bitter women who did not need any children. In all my years, before I married I NEVER rememeber them ever saying: thank-you, I love you, you are smart, you are beautiful, you look nice or anything that helped me become a loving, giving person.

    My siblings and I do not talk, write or see each other, my parents are gone. When the died I shed not one tear, and did not /have not felt a loss for them!

    I think love/family/ caring is " learned " lifestyle. So many people live what they have grown up with... Teaching their children the same response...

    I am one of the luck ones. My DH is the most loving, giving, helpful person and through him I have learned to love and cherish people. And most of all to love myself!! I beleive that --If you don't love yourself --you can never love another...