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Well hi how are you and how's the family. This is the program that looks at the family a small unit with a large influence on individuals and society produced in transcribe in cooperation with the State University of Iowa the National Association of educational broadcasters through WSU life presents. How's the family. This is the summary program of the series giving you a round table discussion by the four State University of Iowa consultants who outlined the situations portrayed in previous episodes. They are Dr. Frank Coburn senior staff psychiatry. Dr. Boyd McCandless director of the Child Welfare research station. Dr. Harold Saunders
chairman of the department of sociology and anthropology. And Mr. Wayne basi director of the School of Social Work. Here is Dr. Coburn these days there are a lot of so-called experts who go around talking to all kinds of groups about how their families are. The problem is whether these experts cause the problems or whether there really are any problems. Did grandpa and grandma have the sorts of problems with raising their families that the parents today have. Dr. Saunders what would you like to say about that. Well I think Dr. Coburn that as a sociologist I might say that there seems to be a long run trend here where the members of our society are becoming more and more concerned about the nature of some of our social institutions like the family and how they are functioning or operating in our society. The most important individuals in the family I suppose I really
the parents the children have to take what's handed out to them or last. Yes I think I would agree with you on that. Also I would say of course that as we get more and more research in the social science areas and learn more about how some of these situations are developing and what effects they're having on the people involved Naturally this heightens the degree of interest or the degree of concern in these problems so I suppose it's somewhat like the hen and the egg as far as the expert in the problems I can sing probably didn't have probably wouldn't have experts but when you have experts these problems take on a new light or perhaps they become magnified in many instances not your McCandless How about the influence of parents in the family. And. So I took problems that parents have in bringing up their families today. Then you're saying has been going at least since the time of
Aristotle that as the twig is banned so shall the tree grow. Only I think in the last twenty or thirty years however the generation of social science have we begun to question some of the patterns the recipes which were laid down for bringing up children. We've had recipes during the time of the ancient Greeks recipes. As of the 1920s the more knowledge we have gained the more we know that there is no single way to bring up your child the best. At this point I think all of us say that parental influence is profound as the family passes on its standards and the standards of the society of which it is a part. So is the future generation affected. Consequently the area we're talking about is one of the enormous important Mr Vaizey does this mean that parents should preach at their children so
the children will acquire the parents standards. I could fall back on the old dodge I'm glad you asked that question. I really am the behavior of the parents is much more important and has a lot more meaning to the child than any amount of preachment or lecturing the child is likely to take a very cynical attitude towards the electorate toward a lecture from a parent on moral behavior. If that parent is not providing through his own behavior an example a pattern for the child to follow. However Mr they see Wouldn't you agree that one of the aspects of being human is that we speak. We use words we talk that we influence one another verbal as well as in terms of our gross actions and secondly that one of the things that needs to be done whenever we act in a certain way toward our children say is that we provide some kind of an explanation for our actions so that there if so that these children are able to understand their parents is what they're trying to accomplish and so on
so you wouldn't want to rule the words out altogether would you. Dr. Saunders I was navigating sign language in my home. I do think that you have to have a combination of precept or example with an appropriate amount of explanation but it's one that becomes preaching or lecturing. We all get bored by lectures and children are no exception. You're talking then about the propaganda of the deed as opposed to the propaganda of the word. But mainly you would like to see the two things correspond is that it is right and consistency is the danger. To put this in a different way. It seems to me that the parents have to set the example in their behavior but at the same time it's advisable for them to point out to the child the principal underlying the reason for this form of behavior. Yes but Dr. Coburn in the child's own words or in terms of his own that is not in terms of the parents go the parent has to have a pretty good understanding of the
child and what he's capable of accepting and the manner in which the thing must be given to him in order to be accepted. Yes little practical things come up. We're invited to go somewhere and then we get an invitation to go somewhere else where we'd like to go a little bit better. And the child you know in this situation so decide to stick to the original invitation and go where we had first accepted and we point out to the child why we do that because it would make the other person quite unhappy if we broke up their invitation at the last moment. I think to Dr. Coburn that our family lives our cities our transportation our television the tendency for schools to get children into activities have made life so much more complex these days for a family than it used to be actually in my grandad's time you were mentioning grandpa a while ago that as Dr. Saunders pointed out the place for explaining the child the need for explaining to the child in terms of
words so that they can understand this this complicated sort of rat maze that life has for most of us is if anything more important than it used to be. In the good old days when we lived down on the farm the whole family had pretty much a common goal. Nowadays that's changed quite a bit isn't it Dr. Saunders. Yes I think that's true Dr. Coburn particularly referring to what is often called the family owned and family operated farm that was a family enterprise. We had a lot of common activities there that all went together to make a living and provide the means of life and livelihood for the family whereas now say in an urban type of community the father may devote long hours and a lot of hard work to a very specialized type of job that he has but the other members of the family may know very little about it it isn't a common activity in which they participate or even where they have very much information as to just what he does
and what kind of problems he had as a as an employee if he's an employee and some type of enterprise as a person in the social work field. Mr Vaizey you must find this lack of understanding of what different members of the family are doing causing difficulties. That's right it does cause difficulties if there isn't a certain amount of confidence and trust in the family situation if the parents view the child with suspicion. Consider every difference of opinion or a difference in conduct is a major break with the past or something which is certainly propelling the world on the road to the dogs. That sort of thing is the kind of misunderstanding that creates a lot of tension and problems in families. Would you agree your doctor McCandless that it is quite important to sort of
keep the lines of communication open within the family so that within our family we know what the other people are doing and why they're doing it. I would agree with that I'd like to add it seems to me we're singing the blues as it were a little bit too much about our modern complicated society I grew up on an old fashioned farm quite a long ways from here as a matter of fact. One of our neighbor families about a mile and a half away had six six children in the family. This was a bitterly unhappy family for periods of years at a time the mother and father literally did not talk with each other except through one of the children or except through notes. Are these children in this family. Several have as adults actually had mental breaks that as they were sick people which is not surprising considering the family now I think that our complicated many different interests out of families where the children have school activities whether or not this is a lighted possibly with unhealthy
parents may give youngsters may reduce a little bit the feeling of security that children in very happy homes get. But at the same time gives a healthy community and a healthy healthy school. A little bit more of a chance to help the youngster out from such a sick band I saw I honestly think there are possible advantages as well as the advantages to this alliance. I wonder Dr. McCann if I might ask a question then. You're saying that first of all there should be communication all of them none of the members of the family so that each knows more or less what kind of activities the other is engaging in and therefore they have some common understanding of one another and their common problems. But you would also say wouldn't you that there perhaps should be some common activities in which all members of the family take part together maybe on recreational lines or along certain other lines that might go more than just merely acquaint them with what they do in the compartmentalise the more compartmentalize that aspects of that I'd
agree with that entirely. We should have some common activities. We should have a lot of commonly understood pools and activities but they needn't be identical for every member of the family. I'm glad to hear you say that because I was beginning to fear that the only common activity was one of drudgery and I romanticizing of the good old days when everybody had so many chores to do that he didn't have time to think about his family relations. It's good to hear you put it in a positive manner. This business of having different goals and variety within the family does have some tendency to make people in the family feel a little less secure. Isn't that right. Well I suppose so but what's so important about security for its own sake. There's also a lot of differences. If the family will utilize those differences they'll take advantage of them if they give
people who are different in a family situation a chance to express them. That's why I agree with Dr. Saunders And you and Dr. McCandless too in your emphasis on common goals rather than one single type of activity which they can share variety is the spice of life. People do. And in a family you can get a lot of feeling of security and happiness out of enjoying the activities of other members of the family although you don't participate in them yourself. I think we might add there too Dr. Coburn the fact that it isn't just change in and of itself or differentiation and so forth within the family that perhaps contributes to insecurity as it is the feeling of competence that the individuals have of dealing with changes that are going on or are of consolidating some of these differences into a larger common patterns with a common goal. You feel quite confident although with a change in our society we've had a
change in problems you feel confident that people can deal with them. Yes I think that's at least the assumption on which most of us will have to operate in the social sciences if we're going to engage in research thinking that new knowledge is going to add to the confidence of people to handle these situations. Understand the one big change that is certainly occurred in in the family is greater education more years of nonproductive ety that parents have to support their children longer than they used to. Isn't this true Dr. McGinnis. This is a very true state of affairs I know my grandfather expected that he would help his children a little bit in college if they could make it all the way through the first year of college. Absolutely on their own and unsupported by anyone else. And this had a result for about half the youngsters did make this very very steep hurdle. And the other half in this very large family didn't make it. I think most of
us most most people of. While most people of America at this point where education is a tremendously important thing really sort of halfway expect all the way up through high school and all the way through college they're going to be helping their children out at least in part. And of course this can make bad it makes this that or at least very anxious every once in a while to make sure that he is going to be able to do this sort of thing it's a constant pressure on that. What do you think Dr. McKenna is there maybe some danger here of parents putting too much stress on leaving their children better off than they themselves were when they began life so to speak. That's what we're trying to do I guess is what I've always heard that in Europe a child is successful if he does as well as his father but that in the United States unless he does a lot better than his father he is a pure failure. And we put so much emphasis on education and educational attainment as a means of getting ahead and being farther along at the end of each successive
generation is that you have you know a pattern I don't know whether it's bad or good it is the pattern but I would hope I think that each generation with their children a little better prepared to meet the problems that they are run into. Then we their parents were. Yes but Dr. Coburn if we're so anxious about it that we put undue pressure on the children to do better and we will certainly create problems for them as well as for our selves. We're defeating our own purpose. Yes we might say that it certainly is alright to leave them better off as far as wisdom is concerned or adding to the sum total of human knowledge and so on but doesn't necessarily mean that we have to go to such great lengths on the purely financial side does it. Or living in an accumulation of money or making it so that they don't have to exercise very much initiative and resourcefulness on their own are not necessarily leave them better off educationally either because
there are many successful people who haven't graduated from college by any means. And I think we tend sometimes to over evaluate some of those factors. Maybe sometimes we're just attempting to get across to them that we want them to create a less nice semester than we did. Well anyway I think I would like to put in another point here that our society is pretty immobile society in which people change locations them move about in this age of modern transportation and communication very much either as individuals or as families. They change their occupations in response to the changing economic structure of our society. And there are all kinds of new developments coming along so that certainly we're going to have to help the children meet situations that were not part of the parental experience directly of many of us one say we were younger as compared to our own children so in that sense I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
Leaving your children better off so to speak than you were. Besides these problems I think we might all agree that a happy family is apt to be a good one. And there are certain things that tend to make for unhappiness in families. And I think quarreling and fighting between children is one of those things. Doctor McCandless What is one or two of the causes of fighting between children in the family. I think it is inevitable that brothers and sisters are going to do some fighting at same players as part of being a family actually the first child has had all the care all the consideration all the parental attention. The second child comes along before the first child is really a civilized adult grown up sort of person and the overwhelming majority at least of American families and it simply goes without saying that this first child is going to be just as jealous as they can be. It's a natural human sort of thing.
We don't want to deny the fact I think to hold down to condemn completely. They deny the existence of the fact that this child is jealous is very short sighted and very foolish. What we want to do is use the fact that we have two or three or four or five or six children in our home you know order to help them to learn with to live with other people. Certainly they're going to feel annoyed and gray their noses are going to be out of joint. Recognize these facts then help them to stake out a sphere of interest of their own. Help them to settle these arguments without the play repressed hatred. Help them to build for an adult relationship I actually respect liking and communication with their brothers and sisters. Would you say then Doctor McCandless that one of the things that we should try to avoid is creating the feeling on the part of children that whenever they get involved in rivalries with their brothers or their sisters that there's something wrong with them and create all sorts of guilt feelings.
So one of those may intensify or exaggerate these things that you say are somewhat normal or natural and the other family should mention to your children that certainly there are times when maybe you actually dislike your little brother or sister or your big brother or sister or even your father mother. Yeah yeah but you're all living together there is some sort of constructive way to handle this this this business and go ahead. Taking care in a sense of each situation as it comes up is a little too much of a tendency in American homes I think for us to train the children the way we hope they'll be when they're 21 rather than to help them to get happily through each day or constructively through each day and in each situation as it comes up. We often hear the saying that there are no problem children. There are only problem parents. This is often brought up when talking about juvenile delinquency. Mr Vaizey Isn't there some community responsibility in this as well as parental responsibility.
I should say that like a lot of these rather commonly used copy book sayings it does just doesn't explain away the problem. The community does have some responsibility. Some of these children in the towns that have no recreational facilities no group activities of a wholesome nature where they hang around the pool hall or the tavern because there's no place else to go. I'm not condemning either. They create a community situation that sometimes can get beyond the control of the parents. After all a parent cannot control all of the child's waking activities and I think that having a burden on the parent and letting the community off too easily. Isn't this particularly true among juveniles that there are. The other children of the same age have sometimes even greater influence than the parents Dr. Saunders. Well yes these playgroups of children that are formed naturally in connection with the school activities or in neighborhoods and so on often become the groups
in which these children get more satisfaction of some of their desires and wishes than they do in the family itself. And when that happens and particularly when these groups have their own standards of conduct that sort of in competition with the standards of the family creates a situation where there's a lot of cross pressures on the child and naturally it means that if they give their loyalty to these playgroups rather than to the family you're going to have what will be labeled by the adults and parents delinquency and it may actually of course be something fairly serious at times if you have groups that are going around and gauging in extremely destructive activity of property are endangering the lives of other individuals but certain sociologically these groups that are formed by children and adolescents with others of their own age where they develop certain activities and certain standards of their own are extremely important factors to be taken into account in. Understanding Dylan can sing could you almost say Doc Saunders I'm interested in the
sociology of this that it's the families the parents and the families responsibility to develop a very high resistance to infection as it were in the child. And it's the community's responsibility to see that these sources of infection are kept very very low isn't this true. I think any time you know a very good way to state it that parents of course must know what kind of pressures their children are being subjected to in the various groups to which they belong. And when they honestly believe that this endangers certain of the standards of the society at large when actually they don't have to set up resistances to those. But your other point about the community exercising the control over these other groups that's equally important because they are each individual family can't do that. These groups grow out of the nature of the community and only the community can control them or offer substitutes for them. I like your idea of sources of infection. Doctor McCandless but there's a little negative tinge to it. Not only should the community
try to remove the source of infection but they should do some positive things to produce to give good outlets for juveniles natural exuberant activity. Yeah I didn't mean something just sterile and barren and white and cold. It's a very very good at nation. So that the parent has a responsibility then within his own family. But he also has a responsibility in a democracy for what goes on in his community. MR BEAZLEY What would you say about that. That's right I think that we make a sharp separation between parental responsibility and community responsibility. We are likely to disregard the fact that the parent is a part of the community and functions as a parent in the community as a citizen of that particular area. What then are some of the things that we should do in our community as parents to set up the proper influences for our
adolescent children. Well I think that one thing certainly is to provide for adequate leisure time activities with decent supervision and to give the children themselves a chance to participate in the planning of these things. Developed throughout the entire community and interest coronal interest with the children not for the children exclusively. The development of many activities in which I often share I'd like to add to that by saying that as a sociologist there's no substitute for a lot of interaction in the community among the different members of the community trying to arrive at some common standards. Because in our society I think one of the main difficulties as we lack any no arms to guide parents generally in meeting certain situations or there's lack of agreement on them and they will never get perfect agreement but nevertheless we could get something that would come closer to that than what we have at the present time.
Mr. Beazley I judge you mean that the children should be given more and more responsibility for choosing their own activities and setting up their own programs. Yes with guidance rather than control in a strict sense. In conclusion and to sum up we all agreed that the family is here to stay and is the best technique known for raising children. We're going through a time of stress right now because our ways of living are changing so rapidly from the horse and buggy to the modern car and jet propulsion in the future. And the good old days we knew how to bring up children just the way our fathers or grandfathers did it. But today changing living conditions have given new problems for which the old answers don't entirely fit. Basically however the child's needs are just the same today as in the past. He needs parents who have found a good way of living together in which both of them retain their individuality yet support the needs of the other. He needs to feel loved and approved of so that as he
grows up he can like and approve of himself. He needs guidance. His limited experience has not taught him yet how to handle all the problems he runs into. And parents have to make up for the child's lack of experience by setting limits on what is acceptable for the child to do. On the other hand as the child gains from experience these controls must be gradually withdrawn so the child can exercise his own judgment and become independent of his parents in the process. Children naturally become angry at their parents who make them do things they don't want to like going to bed or giving up doing things they enjoy like pulling up the tulip bulbs. Parents should accept the inevitability of this hostility and not react with harshness. How are we parents do this. We would all like a nice neat recipe for bringing up our children. But each and every one of us will do it a different way by the use of our own personality. And that's the way it must be. Don't be afraid of being yourself with your child.
None of us can play a role with our children that he or she does not feel. And there is no need to try. There is no one right way to do it. Give them of your love your time your thought and consideration and you'll be able to answer just fine. When someone asks How's the family. Dr. Frank Coburn senior staff psychologist at the State University of Iowa has concluded a panel discussion on family influences in today's world. Before panel members with the State University of Iowa a faculty consultant to the series How's the family which is ended with this program serving with Dr. Coburn where Dr. Boyd McCandless director of the Child Welfare research station. Dr. Harold Saunders chairman of the department of sociology and anthropology. And Mr. Wayne
How's the family
The family is here to stay
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This final episode in the series is a summary of ideas broached in the various programs. A roundtable discussion with four of the academic advisers for the series is the core of this program.
Other Description
Drama with comment, designed to show in an entertaining way how important the family is to the people in it.
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Radio programs--United States.
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Director: Ware, James P.
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Speaker: McCandless, Boyd R.
Speaker: Coburn, Frank E.
Speaker: Vasey, Wayne
Speaker: Saunders, Harold
Writer: Cederholm, Fred
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-6-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “How's the family; The family is here to stay,” 1955-05-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 2, 2021,
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APA: How's the family; The family is here to stay. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from