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Being a parent in a not-so-family-friendly culture

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It’s Time for Parents to Set Better Examples for Their Kids

Being a parent in a not-so-family-friendly culture

Rebecca Hagelin’s wit and wisdom combine to make her new book, Home Invasion, the solid reminder that American parents need: Parenting is not a dress rehearsal. If parents want the best for their children, they have to be willing to make the tough calls and to expect from themselves what they would like to expect from their children.

For those of us who have worked in Washington, we know how important activism is for our society and culture. If we want good laws and good citizens, we have to work for them. In fact, that’s what brought many of us to Washington in the first place.

While activism is essential in political realm, Hagelin shows how activism is also the primary responsibility of parents toward their children–this is true for all parents, regardless of their career choices.

Families Under Attack

True, many elements combine to make the job of parents more difficult–for example, media, marketing, and even education. The family is undeniably under attack. But these factors make it even more imperative for parents to take action in their homes.

Parental action includes numerous things like installing filtering programs on computers and televisions, opting children out of sex ed programs, encouraging creative learning projects and environments, being involved in your children’s lives, and, perhaps most importantly, living the example of the life we want our children to live.

As Haglin rightly points out, to be silent as a parent is to shirk the responsibilities owed to a child. The problem today is not so much young people as it is the adults who fail them. These adults are their parents and teachers. They’re also the adults who shape marketing ploys and determine programming content. And they’re the adults, like some notorious politicians and personalities, who fail to set a good example of what it means to be a responsibly effective member of society.

Taking Responsibility

Not incidentally, the responsibility of parents toward their children starts with the relationship that the parents have toward each other. Home Invasion also offers a practical analysis of the relationship that needs to exist between parents in order to stay together and provide the loving, stable environment that families need in order to survive the culture wars.

Different parents are going to have different parenting styles and not everyone will agree with the practical suggestions in the book, but the fact remains that some sort of parenting needs to take place even if the particulars differ.

Many parents would like someone else to take care of the problem or at least accept responsibility for the problem–hence, the readiness to blame everyone and everything but themselves. And then there are those parents who have no concept that something is wrong at all.

Hagelin’s book is clear: We do not live in a family-friendly culture and parents need to step up to the plate. The sad thing is, we need her book. The status quo of our culture reminds us that too many people have forgotten the obvious principles she outlines. A crucial factor in determining the success of her book will be whether or not more parents accept their responsibilities and start to fight back by making their families and marriages stronger.

Written By

Mrs. Mackey is vice president for government relations at the Family Research Council.

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