Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Destructive Family Trends - Part 1

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article about family trends in Russia:

"Russia's birthrate, falling for decades, has plunged in post-Soviet times, to just 1.17 in 2004 from 2.08 babies per woman in 1990 - far below the 2.4 children required to maintain the population - according to the Federal State Statistics Service. "

"A UN report last year predicted that Russia's population, around 145 million in 2002, could fall by one-third by 2050."

"Experts foretell the grim prospect of a Russia that can no longer man its factories, field a decent hockey team, or defend its borders."

"Official statistics show that almost 8 of every 10 marriages end in divorce, and one-third of children are born out of wedlock. "

The Russian government is unsuccessfully trying to reverse this trend by offering woman money to have a baby and paying them more money to have a second child. With a lack of stable families, few women are interested in child bearing.

This got me to thinking about the circumstances in my life. Our family has an almost endless network of resources through our family connections. We have my husband's parents who are actively involved with our children. Then, there are my husband's brothers and sisters and their families. My brother and sister and their families. Then there are the aunts, uncles and cousins, and second cousins and their families.

I could go on with almost endless examples of family members (or relative of someone married to a family member) who helped us out. We have benefited from help finding a job, buying a car, remodeling a house, researching medical options, planning a trip, and so forth.

Strengthening family relationships is a main reasons we homeschool. I find the push for more institutional care of children frightening. Universal preschool, all day kindergarten, and schools activities that that intrude upon family time, all weaken family ties.

With disintegrating families, the Russian people face a grim future. The Russian experience provides a glimpse of our future if destructive family trends continue.

For more on the effects of changing family trends see Destructive Family Trends - Part 2.
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