Bringing up kids is easy.
All you have to do is give them loads of love and a big chunk of your time.
Only it’s not!
Kids need “stuff”, or they get unhappy.
That means — you gotta go to work to get the money to buy the stuff the kids need, so they won’t get unhappy.
So, there’s your first problem. How are you going to give them loads of love when you’re not there? How are you going to give them your time when you’re at work?
The answer is: you’re not. You want to have a career, feel fulfilled, and get on in life, which is only natural, so you short-change the kids.
They notice. You don’t think they do — but they do.
Oh yes, they do.
It can only work when the two of you agree on a “hunter-gatherer” lifestyle. One of you has to go to work and provide all the stuff the family needs, while the other stays home, minds the cave, and supplies all the time and love a growing family thrives on.
Which is great. Unless neither of you wants to stay home and mind the cave.
By the way, this is the way it worked for mum and dad — and granny and grandad. In fact, this is the way it has always worked, since day-dot.
It’s only not-worked since the neoliberals started trying to convince everyone that we were unhappy, and that to not be unhappy we had to undo the whole construct of “family life” — something that has stood us in good stead for thousands of years.
Just saying. Not ranting.
The point is, it’s not about fairness. It’s not about entitlement. It’s not even about NOT changing what works. It’s about a sensible division of labour based on need and ability. About our responsibility to those kids, and to each other. And a broader view of society.
If we want our kids to grow up happy, well-balanced and smart; families have got to learn what works from the successes (and failures) of previous generations. It can’t all be experimental and dynamic new ideas. There has to be some known quantity.
Their friends in the neighbourhood also have to be happy, well-balanced and smart too.
So we can’t let kids come home from school with such confused ideas about what they’re being taught, they don’t even know what sex they are.
Good grief, Charley Brown!
Anyway, to get back to the issue of raising a family.
There’s a second problem.
Mothers turn babies into boys, but fathers turn boys into men. So, what happens if dad’s away at work?
Mothers have to learn to be fathers.
What do I mean by that? I mean, absent the father figure, mums need to learn about what being a man means; then help their sons understand.
Because boys have to learn to stand, make eye contact and reach out with a welcoming hand when somebody enters the room.
Boys have to be taught this. It doesn’t happen automatically.
Likewise, going up the escalator, he must learn that he stands below her, when they’re going up, and above her when they’re coming down.
Walking on the pavement with a woman, he must learn a man walks on the street side.
He has to become a passive/aggressive man. Someone who can and will protect his family.
An old-fashioned notion of how to bring up kids?
Can you point me to a better one? If you can, please leave me a note in the comments below.