Does it seem to you that life is more complicated than when you were growing up? Do you think that in many ways your parents had it easier? Certainly seems that way to me.
Not only has technology increased opportunities, both good and bad, but there are also a lot more complicated relationships in families as well as increased temptations for drugs, alcohol, and early sex. Bullying is another problem that is seen with increasing frequency in our schools and neighborhoods.
The changes in families and family structure are significant. What we used to think of as a “normal” or typical family (2 birth parents and 1 – 3 children) is no longer the “norm”. Today we have step-families (parents and grandparents), same sex couple families, adoptive families, bi-racial and multi-ethnic families, single parents, grandparents rearing grandchildren, and many others.
Parenting does not come with instructions, either, and it is often hard to figure out how to rear emotionally healthy and intelligent people, and yet this is an important skill required of parents even more today than in the future. Children have to learn how to think clearly and make healthy decisions for themselves. Successful families require a common sense and open approach to life and parenting.
A new book, "The Secrets of Happy Families", by Bruce Feiler was recently reviewed on NPR and that story, along with my experience with many families over my years as a therapist, leads me to suggest 7 habits of successful families.