Posted by: kulanjiyil | May 14, 2008



 Did you know that Paris Hilton too allegedly wants to become a mother? The story is out there she as saying, “I have lot of beautiful animals that I look after and I feel I would have a lot to give to my children.”  I’m not sure if Paris believes that children are a bunch of “beautiful animals,” like puppies and kittens, but I am convinced that child bearing and child rearing are quite different tasks.  An animal lover doesn’t necessarily turn out to be a good parent. Parenting is much more significant, challenging and conscientious.

Last week I also read about a mother in NY announcing her eighteenth pregnancy. I wonder what motivates this mother to have such a large family in this day and age. I would guess that she has a love for children and that she is able to adequately care for all of her children. I can barely imagine what it looks like, on an average day, to fix a meal for the entire family, or to do everyone’s laundry. Think of the other areas of responsibility like providing education and health care, meeting emotional needs and socialization needs, and providing a safe and healthy environment for children to grow and to achieve their maxim God-given potential. What a call of duty!!!

Parenting is not something that we can take for granted. None of us are born with natural knowledge and abilities for parenting. It is something that we learn and continue to learn. It is a calling in life, and an awesome responsibility. Those of us who are parents know that it takes sacrificial love, dedication, and serious effort to bring up physically healthy, psychologically sound, and socially well adjusted children. Responsible parenting demands consistent discipline and moral instruction. Unfortunately, the popular culture has very little to offer to this kind of parenting.  

Have you noticed; nowadays we talk more about care-taking and less about parenting?  Parenting today occupies less of our time, commitment, and sacrifice. In our passionate pursuit for success and personal fulfillment we have relegated children to the category of “the miscellaneous.”  They have become less of our priority today. The mistaken assumption is that what a child needs is only a good care-taker, it does not matter who that person be; it could be a biological parent, a nanny, or a relative.  Is there any surprise, then, that quite a number of children in our society grow up without really bonding  with their biological parents, and they continue to struggle with issues of loneliness and alienation, constantly looking for love and affirmation. The serious deficits in these early developmental stages affect their personality and social development. For example, according to Erik Erikson, the famous developmental psychologist, when warmth and attention are provided to children, they develop trust. When they are denied they develop mistrust towards others. Lamentably, our understanding of child rearing is flawed.  

The popular culture also wants us to believe that a father figure is not necessary to bring up healthy children. The available research tells us on the contrary. Certainly, a single mother, resourceful and determined, might be able to compensate for some of the deficits in parenting. However, that is only an exception, and not a rule. The absence of a father at home is a major crisis in the contemporary American society. Some statistics indicate that over 24 million father-absent homes are found in the U.S today. The bare truth is that in comparison to children from two parent households, children raised by a single-parent are more susceptible to such risks as educational deficits, high School drop outs, substance abuse, adolescent delinquency, violent crimes, and other social and personal impairments. We need not send our children this path. Parents, resolve in your mind to become the best parent you can be by investing your time, effort, and resources in the lives of your children. That will be a rewarding experience.



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