If my parents told me once, they told me at least 100 times, Dont talk to anyone about their religious or political beliefs. They meant that those topics are likely to generate tension and angry conflict. As such, they were not the stuff of polite social conversation.
A third caution should be added to the list: parenting.
Numerous people from all over the country have told me of parenting disagreements that led to the breakup of even close friendships. Ive long ago lost count of parents and grandparents whove told me sad tales of alienations within extended families. Teachers and administrators constantly convey stories of parents who take their childrens sides whenever issues arise at school.
Most significant, disagreements between husband and wife over how to raise children, especially when and how to discipline them, have become a major cause of divorce, ranking right up there with conflicts over sex and money.
This trend has been exacerbated by the growing popularity of radical parenting philosophies like attachment parenting, advocates of which promote extended breast-feeding and parent-child co-sleeping.
Whether its a matter of complaints by men of playing second fiddle to the kids or complaints by women of husbands who come home from work and undermine their attempts to keep the kids under control, its obvious that marriage, once entered into for the purpose of having children, is now threatened by children.
I am acutely aware that a significant number of mental health professionals do not appreciate (a mild way of putting it) my traditionalist perspective. But even if I was taken out of the equation, agreement in the mental health community would still be lacking.
The larger problem, however, is that when the parenting traditions of a culture begin disintegrating and are replaced by parenting anarchy, the very survival of the culture is threatened. Until relatively recently, parents were trying to raise children such that America was sustained and strengthened.
Todays parents, by and large, have tunnel vision. Their parenting is all about the children. The needs of the forest are ignored in all the fuss over the supposed needs of the individual trees. And no one can agree over what the trees need in the first place.
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