Thursday, March 12, 2009

No such thing as 'quality time' to a child.

A quote from a psychologist who writes a weekly column for our local paper:

"Here is the stark and uncomfortable truth: Children don't give a damn about quality time. That little bumper sticker was coined to assuage parents, not to describe a terrific child-rearing model. Children have very simple and concrete ways of looking at the world. To kids, parents fall into two types: there and not there. Present, reliable and accessible. Or not."

He's talking about custody of kids in divorce situations. I think the concept equally applies to families having two wage earners (who are supposed to be parents, too), and to families where one parent works too much or is otherwise not available to kids when they are home (because they drink, watch a lot of TV or computer, have a time-intensive hobby, or whatever).

I think there's a reason for the uncomfortable truth that people don't even want to talk about in church: God asked mothers to stay home with their children, and fathers to support the family and partner with mothers in raising the children. It's a very simple, but extraordinarily unpopular traditional family approach to living.

Maybe, just maybe, could we consider the possibility that God knows more than we do about what's best for raising children, even if it's inconvenient or socially reprehensible (like raising your own children has become)?

The 'quality time' myth has also been applied to spouses. Really, the only way to have a healthy, happy marriage and family is to forget about designing 'quality time' and just spend as much time together as possible. The happier, the better.

1 comment:

morelightthanburden said...

Too true, too true.