Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Dysfunctional Family in the "Internet Matrimony Age"

In an ideal family situation a child is born from the love expressed by a husband and a wife, and through the subsequent years of his/her life, firm guidance, positive reinforcement, emotional bonding, and disciplined social development are provided by both parents. Whenever couples decide to get divorced, and one parent has to absorb the bulk responsibility of the child's needs (that must continue to be met) that ideal situation becomes "dysfunctional," which is defined as: a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system. Overnight, a child has to readjust a previously defined social practice (getting up daily to mommy and daddy), which undermines the stability that child was accustomed to within that social system (his/her family). Though I applaud many American men and women who have been able to "replace" the "missing parent" within the daily life of the child, it is unfortunate that in the "Internet Matrimony Age" many households are only exacerbating an already dysfunctional situation when bringing a "replacement" into the house. This becomes even more problematic when the "replacement" comes in with blood on his/her hands. I will explain!

After a recent argument I had with a single mother who decided to move her "boyfriend" into her household with her 3 daughters (a man she found online and moved in after only 6 months), I was appalled at the reasoning that went into the this decision. More disturbing was the perspective of the children who began to alienate themselves from the household they once called home due to the fact that their mother was making decisions with absolutely no regard for how they felt about the situation. Unfortunately within the mind of the mother (who explained to me that she was tired of being mommy and daddy) she was convinced that as long as the man she chose to walk into her house "did as he was told" that the situation would eventually work itself out, and she would have succeeded in effectively "replacing" her ex-husband. This type of thinking is an albatross in many respects, most importantly 1) it provides the wrong message to children about what a functional relationship is, 2) it undermines their social development, and 3) it's abusive in that the person being brought into the household hasn't been properly vetted, but given the major responsibility of taking over a critical role in the child's day to day life.

It is unfortunate that in recent years many American's have made the decision to "abandon" their vows and walk out on a marriage. Whatever compels a person to run into the peril of dysfunction by walking out of a marriage built by them and their partner is one thing, but to make matters worse by moving in a "stranger" is a social condition that must be corrected in order for the child's social development to be proper. In my friend's case she allowed a man into her house who had previously "failed" at raising his own children properly, being twice divorced and having grown children who were holding onto problems of their own, that he wasn't moving to solve. This situation is egregious, and should be addressed so that future generations don't follow what seems to be in this era "commonplace."

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