A couple of good friends recently sent me this video where Dr. Gabor Mate speaks about the perils of child rearing in contemporary culture. According to him, one of the problems we face is the way in which society has dramatically changed in the past century. As a result, children don’t form attachment properly to their parents and don’t receive the strong parental nurture they really need. He cites a host of societal practices intended to compensate for this problem that actually do more harm than good — from psychiatric medication to television programming.
Dr. Mate’s comparison is with how child rearing is done in hunter-gatherer societies, where the old proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is simply a way of life. Contrast that with our society, where maternity leave is short, breastfeeding is under-practiced, technology often serves (ironically) as a barrier between kids and their parents, and nuclear families are separated from communal forms of life by contemporary family practices. Dr. Mate points out one interesting phenomenon that likely has an enormous impact on children’s views of their parents and other adults: the fact that TV programming aimed at kids often either doesn’t feature adults at all or has them as “laughable, peripheral figures.”
This kind of stuff is deeply interesting to me, largely because I became a father about 18 months ago. I want to raise my daughter in a healthy way, and I also want to think seriously about how to raise her in a Christian home where she is nurtured in the faith. The video is a little over 13 minutes long, but it is worth every minute of it. So if you have kids as well, then give it a look. And if you want to visit Dr. Mate’s personal website, you can find it at this link.