The Culture of American Families Project offered some thoughts for practitioners. We must address the following concerns:
The Reality Gap—“Not My Kids” Parents worry about all sorts of challenges to their children’s development and vitality, but they have difficulty admitting to their children’s problems, preferring more optimistic assessments of their own family.
The Quandary of the New Therapeutic Familism. Spending time with children “at their level” has taken the place of teaching, guiding, and discipline, which are the more traditional forms of American parenting.
The Relative Autonomy of Parents By and large, whether by choice or by constraint, most parents are “going it alone.” They do not turn to their neighbors for parenting support, and only small numbers,
relatively speaking, turn to local institutions such as faith communities and after-school programs.
The Challenge of Technology The overriding concern is the negative influence of new communication and entertainment technologies. Many feel helpless in the face of these technologies and uncertain about how, or if, to limit them.
The Need for Safety. Parents report finding few places where they can comfortably let their children play freely. This is not only a stress factor for parents, but it is physically and emotionally unhelpful for children to miss out on free play with their friends.
The Significance of Family Culture Moral qualities of goodness and character reside within individuals and that these
qualities simply need to be “called out” into expression in the decisions made by individuals. Added all together, these individual decisions constitute the basis of a good society.
How can our programming respond to these issues?