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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Linda & Richard Eyre: Who’s winning the war on families?

By Linda & Richard Eyre, For the Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 19 3:55 p.m. MDT

 Even as parents try harder and put forth more effort, raising responsible and values-centered children is getting harder and harder.

Even as parents try harder and put forth more effort, raising responsible and values-centered children is getting harder and harder.

(Shutterstock)

There is a war going on right now, and it pits anti-family forces against parents.

For more than three decades, we have been writing and speaking to parents and families around the globe (46 countries at last count). The disturbing thing is that even as parents try harder and put forth more effort, raising responsible and values-centered children is getting harder and harder.

This is partially because the larger institutions of our society no longer put forth much effort to support the smallest institution of family.

So after 30 years of trying to fight the war for families by arming parents with methods and techniques and ideas for raising kids — and yet still seeing the fight get harder and the tide turn more and more against families — we decided it was time to call out those who are intentionally or unintentionally harming the family and undermining parents. It's the reason we wrote our upcoming book "The Turning," which the Deseret News is currently publishing excerpts from.

Not long ago, as we were giving a speech at a national convention composed mostly of parents, we asked the audience what they thought was to blame for the increasing breakup of families and the steady decline in family life. They all tended to blame themselves.

“Not spending enough time with my kids.”


“Working too much.”

“Not knowing their friends well enough, or what they watch on TV or what they do online. It’s our fault.”


We probed further.

“Do you really blame yourselves? How many of you think of your family as your highest priority?”

Ninety-five percent of the audience members raised their hands.

“Then why do you let these things happen?”

With that question, the tone of the audience’s responses changed. Hands went up all over the auditorium.

“We don’t let them happen!”

“We don’t choose how long we work … or what is put on the Internet … or the attitudes our kids pick up from their friends or their school.”

“We’re the victims of it — it happens to us.”

“Well, then,” we rephrased the earlier question, “who do we blame — who are the culprits?”

Now the audience members were releasing themselves from parental guilt, realizing there were new, larger forces causing many of their family problems and undermining their efforts to be good parents to their children. We got answers from the personal to the sweeping.

“It’s my employer.”


“It’s greedy corporate America.”


“It’s the Internet.”


“It’s advertising and instant gratification.”

“It’s all the easy credit and debt.”

“It’s the schools — what they’re teaching and what they’re not teaching.”

“It’s the movies and the rap music and the violence and the pornography.”

We made a long list of “culprits” on a big white board and we asked the next question: “What do we do about it?”

“Boycott them.”


“Write our congressman!”


“Sue them!”


But the answers rang a little hollow. We were all feeling our smallness and inadequacy as parents to fight such big and powerful “culprits.”

Then, a young mother at the back of the hall gave the key answer.

“It seems to me that we can blame a lot of these bigger forces, but I doubt we’re going to change them. Maybe if we just see and understand what all these things in our society are doing to our families, we can talk to our kids about them and work out how to use more of the good and avoid more of the bad.”

We agreed with that young mother then, and we agree with her now. The first step to making change is to understand what we are up against. It's our responsibility to make our own family cultures stronger than all of the Internet, media, corporate and peer cultures that try to suck our children away.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Their new book is "The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters, and What the World Can Do About It."

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1. dalefarr
South Jordan, Utah,
Aug. 19, 2014

Our economic system does not favor the family unit. Parents can't spend the time necessary to build strong family units because they cannot afford it. In a large majority of families both parents have to work and live paycheck to paycheck. Bankruptcy is only a couple of paychecks a or more likely, a serious health problem away. As a society, we can't say we support family values if we are not willing to pay for it.

2. John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT,
Aug. 19, 2014

The Eyres ask, who is winning the war on familis? Unfortunately, the modern entertainment industry is.

The modern entertainment industry has an open and stated agenda of promoting substance abuse and wanton sexuality. Part of this agenda includes an attempt to destroy traditional marriage and family. 

Modern Hollywood portrays marriage as a burdensome institution to be scorned and ridiculed. Indeed, Hollywood treats marriage as something to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, an impressionable public has begun to imitate what is shown on television and movies. As a result, the rates of illegitimacy and disease are skyrocketing.

The irrefutable fact is that wanton, uncontrolled sexuality does have harmful effects for both the individual and society. Shame on those who seek to impose this harm.

3. Understands Math
Lacey, WA,
Aug. 20, 2014

It's always a war. "War on families!" "War on cars!" "War on Christmas!" And of course, "Class warfare!"

Who are these anti-family forces mentioned in the first paragraph? It's up to the reader to put their own favorite bugbear in that particular slot.

How does this war on families manifest itself? Not really discussed.

But it's a war! A war on families!

To find out more, buy our book!