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Parents and Children, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 899

Essay

It is estimated that 45% to 50% marriages end up in divorce in America (Politifact). There may be numerous reasons for high divorce rate such as more women joining the workforce, couples rushing into marriage at young age, and absence of social stigma against divorce that was once quite prevalent in America. But a CNN article by Amitai Etzioni (Etzioni) does make us wonder whether children are also contributing towards high divorce rate since having children often leads to feelings of neglect in a relationship. Etzioni mentions several studies supporting the notion that parents hate children duties but argues that we should not focus on happiness but the value of happiness. He supports the approach often taken by religions and social philosophers that “a good life is not one centered around squeezing as much pleasure out of life as possible.” (Etzioni). In short, Etzioni suggests not striving for happiness that is derived from fulfilling personnel needs but instead happiness that results from serving the needs of others including children.

Etzioni emphasizes the fact that we have social needs and we cannot survive in this world on our own. Our relationships help us feel complete and these relationships also include children. Parents’ relationship with children is also unique, like any other social relationship. Children do not only provide variety to life with different experiences but also help us discover the realities of life. Etzioni claims that his children have made him a more responsible person. The author points out a Pew Research Survey according to which parents consider their relationships with their children and spouse to be the most important of all relationships, even above with jobs or careers. This demonstrates the emotional bond that exists between parent and children. It may be a reasonable assumption that children do result in close-knit families. The author is also surprised that ordinary tasks such as changing diapers are given huge weights while there are many more things far depressing than that such as losing a child or children not coming home at night on time. In other words, the author stresses that we are focused on ordinary problems that should not even be an issue in the first place.

The author’s ideas are convincing and can be applied to other aspects of life. First of all, we have to realize that we cannot survive on our own in this world. We need relationships not because they fulfill our need to connect with others but also because we may need others’ help at some points in life. Just as we desire others’ help in times of need, we should also be willing to lend helping hands to those who may be weak or in difficult situations. This realization of interdependence and passion to help helps create stable and fair societies.

Another lesson from the article is that not all issues are the same. The life is full of surprises and problems and if we let small issues bother us, we won’t be able to face the major issues in life. This is why we should embrace challenges and problems rather than avoiding them because each experience makes us better prepared for the challenges ahead. Successfully overcoming challenges increases our self-confidence and morale and we feel more in control of our lives.

Etzioni also teaches us that survival and success in life are often about compromises. We do not always get what we desire because different needs are often in competition with each other for time and resources. Thus, we need to understand our priorities and make them work. In addition, we should also realize that change is a constant factor in life. We cannot expect things to remain the same, thus, instead of complaining, we should adapt to change. If we refuse to adapt, we are bound to have problems and instead of blaming the changed circumstances, we should accept our fault.

Last but not least, we often make a mistake of focusing more on the negatives of an issue than the benefits. This may also be why we put little efforts in dealing with the issues since we expect to derive little satisfaction or value from the solution. The reason why some couples blame children for their marital problems is that they are focusing too much on the duties they have to perform such as changing diapers and accompanying children to playgrounds. But they do not realize that home is livelier with children and having children will lead to less-lonely times during retirement. If we are also focused on positives, we start enjoying even the most mundane tasks.

Etzioni claims that the debate on the impact of children on parents focuses on the wrong aspects of the issue. Etzioni recommends a greater focus on the positives of the children-parent relationship and advises against the pursuit of only personal interests. The author also believes that children do not only require sacrifice from the parents but also teach parents several things about life. The author makes sense because social needs are important and different relationships help us meet different social needs. In addition, no one can survive on his own, thus, we should fulfill our roles by helping others prosper because we never know when we may need others’ help as well.

References

Etzioni, Amitai. Does having kids make you less happy? 30 July 2012. 3 August 2012 <http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/30/opinion/etzioni-children/index.html>.

Politifact. Steve Sweeney claims two-thirds of marriages end in divorce. 3 August 2012 <http://www.politifact.com/new-jersey/statements/2012/feb/20/stephen-sweeney/steve-sweeney-claims-more-two-thirds-marriages-end/>.

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