In the western world healthy families are soon going to be a scarce commodity.
A radical decrease of good stable paying jobs, bad financial management or excessive credit card debt, a promiscuous society, and a lack of a secular moral code for impressionable young minds in elementary school is the reason why families are disintegrating because there is a breakdown of trust between humans and trust between the governed and the governing leadership.
Why marry in the first place since it is really a serious responsibility that fewer and fewer humans are capable of handling well in this modern society. The answer is that you should marry if you can afford it and find a good mate since it has many benefits which are not at first that obvious. If you marry the right spouse then you will have a best friend who will be loyal to you, whom you can trust even with intimate secrets, who will encourage you, care for you, be a companion if needed, will provide safe sex, will offer truthful advice when needed, will share your triumphs and failures, will not make you feel lonely, will offer the joys of raising hopefully successful offspring, and will make you feel that your life is worth living and that you have a worthwhile purpose in life besides the other goals in your life.
This book is an attempt to resurrect heterosexual family life by showing how a happy caring financially responsible married life with offspring is possible and desirable emotionally and functionally. Yes, there are many single parent families and quite a few gay families, each with their particular problems and solutions but they will not be covered in this book because their drawbacks must be addressed and I have no personal experience with or knowledge about them.
Each family is unique and most fall into broad categories based on finances, jobs of the parents, education of the parents, number of children, and number of relatives.
Financially there are poor, average, and well off families. To make a go of it the poor families must be much thriftier, the average families must avoid credit card debt, and well off families must be cautious by not lavishing too much money on their children to avoid overly dependent, lazy, irresponsible adult children.
Very many families start off with two employed parents so one of the most crucial considerations is who will take care of the very young children in their formative years. If both parents want to or have to continue to work then hiring a competent loving nanny and even a tutor for young offspring is a must and must be planned for.
Few women can take the time off work to care for young impressionable offspring since this creates great economic hardship on the husband. What may often happen is that a wife with three offspring will probably have to stay home taking care of the offspring and the husband will become the sole breadwinner. A smart move may be to set up a savings account to be used to finance a stay at home wife for the first 4 years of offspring life.
The number of offspring is a very important consideration. One offspring is easier to raise, especially if you are on a limited budget, but there is a tendency for them to grow up to be more introverted and sometimes socially shy or awkward. Having three offspring is a real challenge but if they are not too far apart age wise then the older siblings can teach and take care of the younger ones to some extent which lessens the parenting engagement. Often offspring from big families grow up to be more extroverted and tend to have more emotional intelligence which is useful in managerial roles and leadership positions.
Many participating relatives also tends to make offspring more social and they benefit from good relative role models. Of course the opposite is true if some relatives of the family are black sheep then this may have an adverse effect on the offspring. In some cases on of the biggest family problems is grandmothers or grandfathers taking one side in a marital dispute thus causing misery, arguments, and misunderstandings which can become overly burdensome to handle on a regular or ongoing basis. If relatives become an annoying problem then spend less time with them if possible since they can cause considerable marital stress.
For physical health one of the most important things is the environment in which the offspring are raised. Apartment dwellers without a nearby park are at a severe disadvantage when compared to a suburban life with ready access to bike riding and property large enough where a vegetable garden or clubhouse can be built. Trees are also an added plus if you can build a treehouse or have fruit harvested on a yearly basis.
Very many offspring can become addicted to cellphones and computer games so it is important to supervise the offspring so that they don’t become couch potatoes just staring at a screen all day long which can be very unhealthy both mentally and physically. Physical toys such as building blocks, erector sets, action figures, plastic animals and dinosaurs, toy cars, toy trains, small tricycles, bicycles, balls, tools, magic sets, hobbies such as stamp, coin, insect, leaf, flower collecting, and board games are good alternatives to mindless TV and computer games, and apps.
One great problem with passive engagement without responsibility is that offspring tend to become lazy and irresponsible. That is why it is so important to have offspring do personal hygiene and housework as soon as they are mentally and physically able to do so. With more than one offspring a chores wheel may be made so that offspring alternate on a daily basis with chores to do.
Examples are set the table, do the dishes, prepare the food or help with the food, do the laundry, clean the floors, appliances, bathtub, commode, and windows. Feed the pet, take out the garbage, clean the table and countertops, make the bed, and put away the toys. Read a book or teach them how to read and do math if they are younger offspring and supervise younger offspring if you are an older sibling. All of this will create a sense of responsibility in offspring so that they can easily transition to responsible independent adults eventually.
Most offspring learn through imitation of parents and playmates so it is very important to set a good example. When reading to very young offspring and teaching them words and math it is also important to show them that you too read books or articles. Do as I do not do as I say should be what you demonstrate to offspring.
Perhaps nothing is more important than conveying your moral or ethical principles to your offspring. There are always emergency exceptions to absolute moral or ethical rules but they should be presented in a dogmatic way to impressionable young minds. Religion used to reinforce those morals during church or synagogue speeches but today many families do not attend religious ceremonies on a regular basis. All public schools should teach a secular moral or ethical code to young impressionable minds but they don’t, so a good idea may be to post a modern secular moral code somewhere prominent in a residence. An example is- in non emergency situations- don’t destroy biodiversity, don’t lie, don’t be inefficient, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery if married, and don’t murder.
Very young offspring will sometimes lie to their siblings and sometimes parents, try to steal toys and possessions from siblings, and assault siblings with violence. It is important for parents to monitor this kind of behavior and nip it in the bud before it becomes a bad habit. Threatening with punishment in the form of time out or in the form of privilege withdrawal will often work but for very small offspring the threat of a spanking and then follow through may have to be done where lying or stealing is becoming a daily or weekly occurrence.
For offspring it is your responsibility to care for them or nurture and protect them. For very young offspring an explanation can be given followed by a loud no. Not playing with matches, not touching a hot stove, and looking both ways before crossing a road are rules designed to protect offspring from potential harm or injury.
Just as important is nurturing or encouraging offspring with praise when offspring do something very well. It can also be a very good idea to give monetary rewards for getting A’s and B’s in school as a sign that good grades will eventually result in good paying jobs. Bribing or paying money for good behavior is a bad idea as is paying money for daily chores that are done around the house. Responsible behavior is to be expected and only occasionally rewarded with praise, especially when attempting to make good behavior a good habit which then comes impulsively or naturally without much thinking.
Family activities are very important such as eating meals together, bicycle riding together, going outdoors such as a park together, going to a museum or amusement park together, going shopping together, watching a good movie together, going fishing together, playing a game together, traveling together, swimming together, etc.
One of the most important things for offspring is having caring parents, caring siblings, and caring playmates. It is the parental responsibility to demonstrate caring behavior, especially caring behavior between the spouses. Kissing, hugging, words of encouragement, minimal arguing, nice discussions, and sharing time to educate and participate in offspring events is essential for parents to demonstrate nurturing and protective behavior which is caring. It is also important for parents to guide the offspring in selecting the best caring children to associate with as playmates.
The greatest cause of divorce is not enough family income or financial mismanagement by the husband or wife or both. Setting up a family budget of all the monthly expenses is a must to avoid financial difficulties. For two working spouses separate accounts may work or joint accounts are also acceptable if one spouse has good math skills, takes charge of the finances, and the other spouse does not interfere in monthly money disbursement.
One ongoing source of arguments and dissatisfaction is a wife who spends too much money and goes into credit card debt that soon drains the income to the point where you are living paycheck to paycheck without any money saved for a rainy day. Even with a good income it is a good habit to get into if you can lead a thrifty life and spend money on things that you really need or can’t live without and spend very little on things which you want but can really do without.
Some arguments are inevitable and many complaints are that the husband is not spending enough time with the offspring and the wife shops too much. This is where compromise or a win win solution is necessary. The wife may promise to spend less money on clothes and cosmetics in exchange for the husband spending less time with buddies or watching sports and spending more time interacting with the offspring. The arguments are usually about spending too much time, energy, effort, and money on activity A and not spending enough time, energy, effort, and money on activity B. Time spent on activity A and B can be adjusted with a schedule to be followed.
No one is perfect and both spouses have some bad habits or behaviors which annoy the other spouse or is something they find hard to tolerate. If it is a handful of bad habits or behaviors then change for the better is possible with courage, determination, and motivation to change. Unfortunately many couples make the mistake of not listing all the bad habits or behaviors before marriage, marrying, and then finding out that living with the bad habits and behaviors is intolerable and not easily changeable if at all. If one spouse has a severe addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling then change for the better is highly improbable. The lesson is don’t marry an addict.
Life is a struggle for most and having a family seems like an overwhelming responsibility which can make the struggle even harder. Many modern humans come from families which have been dysfunctional in some way so many do not come from happy prosperous families that encourage us to have our own happy prosperous family. It is a sad fact that many modern adults don’t have the slightest idea on how to raise offspring successfully and how to happily communicate with a spouse from day to day, especially for a lifetime.
Historically male and female roles were relatively well defined where the husband was the authoritarian head of the household and the major breadwinner who ensured that discipline was maintained in the household. The wife basically took care of the offspring and the husband worked his ass off supporting the family financially. Today some of the happiest families are still those with the husband as the major breadwinner and the wife taking care of the household and offspring. This is still a worldwide standard for a prosperous happy family.
In modern times the financial need for both spouses to work and a push for an equality of the genders has resulted in role confusion and many men have been demasculated to the point where they are no longer that certain of what their role is in the family. Their dominant role in the family has been taken away and in much of family life there is now a desperate need to compromise in a very Democratic like family atmosphere. The wife often wants a career and so does the husband and offspring are largely ignored in the process. Those families which can afford a competent nanny and tutors do relatively well but where both work without competent nannies or childcare the effects on the neglected offspring can be devastating.
It is wise to prepare for marriage rather than having to deal with problems after the marriage. If you don’t know much about parenting and marriage or come from a dysfunctional family then read some good books on parenting and marriage. If you have communication problems with the opposite sex then read some good books on how to have a stimulating conversation. If you want life to be interesting then read up on things that interest you and accumulate some useful knowledge about those interests. If you have some bad habits then read about those bad habits and with courage, determination, and motivated effort try to change them for the better before you marry.
Before you marry you should also find out as much as possible about your mate. Find out what the mate’s goals are in life, how many offspring are desired, and what some of the bad habits of the mate are. If you can agree on the goals, spending habits, number of offspring, and think you can put up with the bad habits and you truly like each other then marriage is a distinct possibility.
Congratulations if you have read this far. If you still have questions about marriage and if it is something that you want then read more books or articles about marriage and family life until you are ready to commit. Remember, don’t commit to marriage if you still think it is not something that you really want!
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