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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #25

Worldview Theme #38: Love As Family Glue                                    Worldview Theme #39A: Tough Love

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: unconditional love, kinship metaphors, family life--promoting, parenting styles,  overprotection  

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: tough love, personal responsibility accepting, dysfunctional family, shame / shaming, alcohol or drug abuse treatment programs 

alcohol or drug abuse treatment programs -- many of these programs include 1) treatment to help people physiologically deal with withdrawal, 2) arranging for fellow recovering addicts or substance abusers to provide each other with mutual encouragement and emotional support, and 3) counseling that typically involves lots of “tough love”.

altruism -- putting the interests, welfare, happiness, and perhaps even survival of other people or living things above one’s own interests, etc. This devotion often involves self sacrifice. In an extreme case it can even mean giving up one’s own life so that another can live.

attitude--a characteristic evaluative orientation and / or response tendency toward something previously experienced or encountered.  The associated evaluation can be positive (like), negative (dislike), or neutral  (no opinion.)  Beyond this evaluation--which may or may not be directly communicated--observing the particular response allows more about the underlying attitude to be inferred. Attitudes form based on inputs from three domains: 1) cognitive (thoughts, beliefs), 2) affective (emotions, feelings), and 3) conative (volition, action tendency or disposition).

attitude change, factors in--generally people's attitudes change for various reasons, including 1) as a result of  learning, 2) in response to reasoned persuasion directed at them, 3) in response to an emotional appeal directed at them, and 4) to relieve tension by reducing or eliminating a perceived inconsistency or cognitive dissonance.  A corollary of this is that attitude change is less likely to occur when such consistency is already present.

austere--severe, stern, unadorned, somber  

brotherhood -- an idealized situation in which people treat each other in a highly considerate way as if they were members of the same family (brothers or sisters)

child care–refers to watching and caring for young, preschool age children. Traditionally such care was provided by a stay at home parent.  This began to change in the middle of the 20th century as women increasingly joined the workforce.  Today, in most Western countries, child care outside the home provided by paid non-family members has become the norm given the need for both parents to work.  More affluent families may employ nannies to care for children at home.  According to a  2020 survey conducted by childcare.com, 72% of parents say they spend more than 10% of household income on child care, and more than half of families report spending more than $10,000 per year on this expense.  

coddle--to baby or treat in an overprotective way

Confucianism -- an ethical system / agnostic practical philosophy based on the teachings of the 6th century BC Chinese sage, Confucious. Its key teachings include: 1) Ultimately the happiness of society rests on sincere investigation that produces relevant knowledge; 2) Happy societies are built on a foundation of disciplined individuals in disciplined families; 3) Respect for and fidelity to natural obligations, most notably to parents and family, is essential. 4) The right relationship between individuals is important, one based on sympathetic “fellow feeling”, treating those subordinate to you as you would like to be treated if you were the subordinate -- ideas which provide the basis for a Confucian Golden Rule; 5) Avoiding extremes and embracing moderation --finding a Golden Mean -- is important.

conservatism -- believing  that social and political traditions should be valued and maintained, and continuing to think as you were brought up to think.

cosset--to overly coddle, care for, protect

data—information, often expressed with numbers, collected through observation, is typically gathered, collected, reported. After being expressed in the most convenient form to represent the knowledge involved, it may then be analyzed and displayed in graphical form.

delaying gratification--the ability to postpone receiving some reward and control impulses pushing for instant gratification.  Those possessing this are believed to be more emotionally mature than those lacking it.

didactic--instructive, sometimes in a moral or character-building sense

discipline vs. punishment--the former refers to treatment that brings someone under control or imposes order upon them; the latter to retributive (meaning paying someone back) treatment that involves suffering, pain or loss. Discipline is designed to correct, reform or rehabilitate, punishment to penalize for wrongdoing.

discovery learning--involves teachers designing learning environments that maximize the chances for students learning by discovering facts, relationships, etc. themselves.  Such an inquiry-based educational approach can be exciting and maximize chances for students remembering / retaining what they learn, but it can be both inefficient in terms of what is learned per time invested and frustrating for those students who don't make the intended discoveries!   

divorce--the legal dissolution of a marriage by means other than the death of a spouse. Divorce rates in the U.S. and Europe have in past decades ranged such that between 15 to 50% of all marriages ended in divorce. In the USA the rate has dropped from around 46% in 2008 to 39% in 2019. 

domestic violence–occurs when one person in a relationship (or family) attempts to control or dominate–either physically or psychologically–the other (or another family member).  The forms it can take range from continual emotionally abusive name-calling / putdowns to sexual / physical assault.  Estimates of the % of woman who report being physically abused by an intimate partner vary by country--ranging from 10% to nearly 70%.  In the USA, according to 2017 CDC data, over 50% of all female deaths by homicides were perpetrated by intimate partners—98% of which were men. While socially unacceptable in western countries, elsewhere there is widespread support  for the belief that a husband can be justified in hitting or beating his wife.  Indeed,  in a UNICEF survey,  between 80 % to 90% of women in some countries between ages 15 to 49 polled agreed with this. In one country (Tajikistan) 48% of those women agreed that the woman’s refusal to have sex with him provided such justification.  In the USA, a National Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) offers  help to victims.   

dowry--transfer of money / gifts from the wife's family to the husband at the time of marriage.

dysfunctional family--a family characterized by chronic turmoil, inappropriate behavior, conflict and frequent failure of parents to meet their parental responsibilities in a healthy fashion--resulting in children not knowing what to expect, their needs often going unmet, and, in some cases, being abused (verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually). Family dysfunction can typically be traced to parental alcoholism / substance abuse, their emotional / mental problems, or inappropriate parenting style (too dogmatic, authoritarian, controlling, distant, etc.). While the problem behavior originates with parents, children growing up in such unhealthy environments typically develop their own emotional problems, which increasingly affect family dynamics.

empathy -- concisely it refers to “fellow feeling” , that is imagining that you are in the other person’s shoes and experiencing his or her feelings, struggles, etc.

endogamy--marriage between members of the same social group.  Example: a Jewish girl's parents tell her that they won't allow her to marry a non-Jew.  Contrary to this example, many are more comfortable marrying those with similar background, lifestyle, etc., and endogamy can lead to social stratification. Carried to extremes by ethnic groups, it can also lead to genetic disease as the practice limits the size of the gene pool.  

exhort--to strongly urge or attempt to motivate

family--one of those difficult to define terms.  Definitions range from narrow ones, like the U.S. Census Bureau's "two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption, who reside together," to broader ones which also include people living together, or bound together by shared economic or other concerns.

families, expanded --can refer to extended families which include three generations or collateral households where siblings and spouses and children are included.  see also family, nuclear vs. extended

family, nuclear vs. extended--the former refers to a family consisting of two parents and their children, the latter refers to this basic unit extending to include grandparents and other relatives.  Currently in the United States the nuclear family is the third most common household type (two person households are first, followed by individuals living alone in second)  

family life-- promotingTwo ways to do this: 1) "find ways to bring mothers, fathers, and children back home" (not divide parents,  children) by seeking to "end all discrimination against stay-at-home parents"; promote home-based employment; promote policies favoring family businesses and farms, end those favoring large business,” and 2) working to "create true home economies" (lessen big government,  corporate control of families)  by working to "encourage employers to pay a family wage to heads-of-households"; protect home schools; "encourage self-sufficiency"; and  "end the culture of dependency found in the welfare state." (the above has been excerpted from The Natural Family, by A. Carlson & P. Mero)

family literacy--a family focused approach to improving reading and  literacy skills.  Behind this approach is the belief that literate families are stronger families, and that the parent is the child's first teacher.

fellowship--involves people communicating and sharing their lives and concerns with each other--not surprising given that humans are social creatures!  In some settings, such as churches, this companionship can involve mutual respect and perhaps unselfish love.  While the desire of lone individuals to share common interests or participate in activities requiring others fosters much fellowship, according to M.V.C. Jeffreys  (in his 1962 classic Personal Values in the Modern World) "the natural and original context for fellowship is the family."

filial piety -- the devotion and natural obligation that exists between parents and their sons and daughters. In Chinese tradition (either Confucian or Buddhist) this refers to one’s responsibility to take care of one's parents, to honor, respect, love, and if needed support them -- not ignore, dishonor or be rebellious towards them.

incest taboo--the nearly universal cultural prohibition of close relatives mating or marrying.

instant gratification–the thrill that comes when you immediately get a desired something.  Driving this is a childish "I want that now!" force.  For some, this force is powerful enough to overcome the opposing force: a rational, restraining adult attitude that questions whether it is really needed and whether there is money to pay for it

interpersonal communication effectiveness, behavioral model--according to this model the effective communicator 1) has social confidence, 2) creates a sense of togetherness, 3) controls and monitors the interaction so that both speaker and listener(s) are satisfied, 4) expresses a feeling of genuine involvement, and 5) is attentive to, listens, elicits, adapts to and is concerned with the needs and feelings of the audience.

interpersonal communication effectiveness, humanistic model-- according to this model the effective communicator possesses these qualities: 1) openness--besides disclosing his or her thoughts and feelings, this includes taking responsibility for them and reacting honestly to feedback others provide,  2) empathy, 3) supportiveness--includes being tentative rather than certain, and accepting or descriptive rather than judgmental, 4) positiveness--both in one's own attitude but also in providing others with positive reinforcement, and 5) the ability to communicate as an equal and to give others "unconditional positive regard" (as humanistic psychology founder Carl Rogers put it.)

interpersonal communication, relevance of--effective communication can enhance one's ability to engage in intimate relationships, parenting, counseling, teaching, coaching or mentoring, mediating or resolving conflicts, managing workers, persuading others, selling something, etc. 

Judeo-Christian-Islamic Conception of God -- this is based on likening the relationship between man and God to the relationship between a child and his father. Of course a child eventually grows up and becomes independent of his father, whereas, here, man does not: he is always subject to God’s authority and must obey his commands.

kinship metaphors -- examples of these abound: brotherhood, sister cities, fraternities and sororities, mother country and fatherland, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”, “Our Father who art in Heaven”, etc. All of these seek to extend the natural love or special treatment that exists between blood relatives to those who are unrelated. Evolutionary biologists explain the special treatment of kin in terms of relatives sharing many more genes than nonrelatives and that natural selection can work to insure survival of common, favored genes by promoting favored (altruistic behavior) treatment of relatives. (See selfish genes.)

lenient--merciful, tolerant, generous, gentleness

love--one of those difficult to define terms, since its meaning varies between cultures and, within a given culture, there are typically many different types of love. Here we limit the discussion to the kind of love that exists between people.  Whereas the ancient Greeks had different words for altruistic love (agape), love between siblings or friends (philia), and desirous, sexual love (eros), in English, this single word can refer a range of emotions ranging from compassion to lust.  While dictionaries may have multiple definitions built on degrees of and reasons for attachment or affection, attempts at providing universal, single sentence definitions of love are harder to find. Here are two: 1) "that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own" (from Robert Heinlein, in Stranger in a Strange Land, and 2) "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth" (from Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled). see also unconditional love. 

love vs. hate–Collier describes love as having to do "with bringing together into a whole that which belongs together" and hate "with enforcing separation and difference, driving apart [what is] inherently whole." 



marriage and health--research indicates that married people live longer, healthier lives. In particular, it appears that happily married people better cope with stress, and  suffer less from cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, cancer, and mental illness than singles.

marriage, sanctity of -- belief that certain things (having sex, bringing children into world, etc) should not happen unless the two people involved are a happily married heterosexual couple

martinet--a very strict disciplinarian, often found  in a military setting 

meme--a theoretical unit of cultural information such as an idea, particular behavior, story, etc. that propagate from mind to mind guiding human cultural evolution, in analogy with genes carrying genetic information, propagating from organism to organism and guiding biological evolution.  Whereas genes are transmitted in reproduction, memes are most fundamentally trans- mitted through imitation. 

military education and training--its goal is to prepare individuals for a life of military service. It can begin in private military schools where parents send their young children, become physically demanding in the basic training of new military recruits, and culminate as some become military officers at prestigious national military academies.

mind / body connection --Wholistic health practitioners have long recognized this important connection, now increasingly traditional, reductionist practitioners of western medicine are realizing it as well. If the contents of one’s mind are unhealthy (anxiety-ridden, negative, full of blame, etc) it can literally make the body sick, or get in the way of its getting well. Similarly, psycho- logical health, reducing stress, being upbeat, feeling loved, etc. can be linked to maintaining or regaining physical health. To underscore the importance of feeling loved / not being lonely, Dr. Dean Ornish writes, "I'm not aware of any other factor in medicine -- not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery -- that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death.".

monogamy vs. polygamy–the former refers to a relationship where an individual is committed to but one partner; the latter refers to relationships with multiple partners such as a polygamous marriage in which either spouse has more than one mate. 

nepotism -- preferential treatment or favoritism given to a relative with respect to hiring decisions or filling appointed positions

non-verbal communication--communication that occurs without words where messages (both intended and unintended) are sent using eye contact, facial expressions, voice quality or emotional content, gestures, body language, posture, dress, hairstyle, body adornment, etc. While such communication can (either intentionally or unintentionally) transmit information, more importantly it can transmit feelings and attitudes.

overprotection -- behavior that parents engage in when their child fails to become independent, but remains excessively dependent. It can involve be any of the following in excess: pampering, mollycoddling, sheltering, spoiling, indulging, encapsulating, and being solicitous.

parental leave--the right of working parents (typically the mother) to be excused from work to care for a (typically new born) child. In many western countries the leave is paid and ranges in duration from two to eighteen months, except in the United States where law mandates up to three months of unpaid leave.

parent-offspring conflict -- the conflict between parents’ desire to invest time and energy in all of their off spring equally as needed, versus a child’s wanting a larger share of the parents’ attention for himself or herself. This conflict is played out in many different ways: an unborn child robbing a mother of nutrients, prematurely weaning one child to prepare for nursing the next, sibling rivalry, etc.

parenting styles --Given that the primary task of parents is to influence, teach, and control their children, different parenting styles emerge based on parents' differing behavioral control strategies, and the degree of parental responsiveness (warmth / supportiveness).  General styles commonly seen enough by researchers to have been named include:  indulgent (or permissive) parents, authoritarian parents (demanding but not responsive), authoritative parents (demanding and responsive), and uninvolved parents. See permissiveness.  

parenting, the art of–just as artists impose order & structure on perceived chaos in their creations, parents do a similar thing in raising children.  Their parenting style and its implementation helps make each child a unique creation.

paternalism -- a system in which adults are treated in a fatherly way like children, with their conduct regulated and their needs met. Typically in exchange for this care, the authority expects loyalty and that those receiving the care will accept their relinquishing of personal control.

permissiveness -- a liberal orientation adopted by some in positions of authority in which those who might otherwise be dominated and controlled are instead granted considerable freedom as to how they can behave, and behavior that some might see as a transgression is instead viewed with leniency.

personal responsibility, accepting -- Before an individual can overcome some personal difficulty or solve a personal problem, he or she needs to acknowledge that the difficulty or problem exists, by saying something like, “This problem is mine and I must solve it”. In this context, taking personal responsibility means that you don’t ignore difficulties or problems, expect others to solve them for you, or shift the blame to others. In a family or social context, taking personal responsibility can mean voluntarily limiting your choices or restraining yourself for the good of the family, tribe, village, community or whatever. Richard Critchfield refers to this as “the freedom to choose self responsibility”.

polyamory–the practice or philosophy of having more than one loving, intimate relationship and doing so with the consent of all involved.  It promotes idealistic ethical behavior w/o jealousy & possessiveness.

population and family planning--refers to efforts to limit the number of children in a family.  The goal of such planning is to insure that all children born 1) are truly wanted, and 2) can be adequately supported and raised to adulthood given the resources available. While implemented at the individual family level, policies can be formulated at the national government level. This has most notably occurred in China, where the "One Child Policy" was adopted in 1979 to address population growth concerns.  (This was rescinded in 2015 with reversion to a two child limit.) Family planning services typically focus on promoting and providing access to birth control devices (contraceptive pills, condoms, etc). Where those fail, counseling as to whether to use an abortion clinic's services may be provided.  More draconian options include forced sterilization--which has been used in the United States to prevent mentally deficient people from reproducing.

primary interpersonal relationship in a family--refers to the relationship between the two principal people in a family--meaning the husband and wife in traditional families.  This relationship is maintained for various reasons including love, emotional attachment, sexual gratification, for the sake of children, for convenience, for financial reasons, out of fear, to maintain the status quo, etc. Based on the attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyles of the principals, primary relationships can 1) be traditional, stress interdependence and two becoming one, 2) be a loving union of two independent people that stresses preserving their individuality), and 3) be a distant relationship held together by convenience in which two people who want mostly separate lives continue to live under the same roof.  Communication patterns in primary relationships can similarly be classed into four types: 1) equality (communication shared equally in all areas) , 2) balanced split (equality with each principal having control in certain areas), 3) unbalanced split (similar to 2) but with less balance), and 4) monopoly (one person is seen as "the authority").

primogeniture--refers to one being the firstborn child, or a system in which that child--or the eldest son--exclusively inherits family property and wealth.

Protestant work ethic -- an ethic based on self reliance, hard work and frugality being the path to salvation that has been important in shaping post Reformation western (especially American) society of the last five hundred years. Thus, ingrained in my people’s heads, since their earliest childhood, were sayings like “God helps those who help themselves”, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, etc. Only recently has a consumption ethic begun to seriously compete with, some would say replace, this work ethic.

reproduction, human--begins with sexual intercourse in which the male penis deposits sperm into the female reproductive tract.  There it combines (at the moment of conception) with an egg (in a process called fertilization) to produce a zygote. Containing genes from both parents, this grows rapidly (via cell division) and soon is referred to as an embryo incubating inside the female uterus, where it receives nourishment from its mother.  After two months this developing human organism is termed a fetus.  After a (typical) slightly longer than nine month pregnancy, reproduction is deemed successful if the fetus emerges into the world as a new human being.  

same sex  marriage--an arrangement in which two people of the same sex live together as a family.  Controversy surrounds organized efforts to ban such marriages, extend to them the same legal rights that heterosexual marriages get, or something in between.  Civil unions or domestic partnerships fall in this last category, in which partners enjoy some but not all of the benefits of marriage. 

self actualization--the ultimate personal development state as studied by Maslow and other psychologists. Self actualized people, according to Maslow have achieved, “the full use and exploitation of talent, capacities, potentialities, etc.” They are self confident but also possess humility that allows them to listen carefully to others and admit their ignorance. They see life more clearly than others partly due to a better understanding of themselves. With this superior perception comes a better sense of right and wrong. Among their attributes, Maslow includes “honesty and naturalness, the transcendence of selfish and personal motivations, the giving up of lower desires in favor of higher ones.” Such people feel a strong bond or kinship with the rest of humanity. They typically seek important and meaningful work.

self control -- generally this refers to exercising restraint over one’s impulses, desires and emotions. Often it can involve deferring a reward or delaying gratification --an ability that many cite as a sign of emotional maturity or even intelligence. Some see the process of exhibiting self control as involving a battle between different parts of the mind.

selfish genes -- a term from Richard Dawkins. Whereas human bodies tend to be rather short-lived, in comparison combinations of human genes passed on from generation to generation can be around a very long time. While genes are associated with heredity, they can also be thought of as an instruction set. Most basically they provide instructions for assembling proteins, but in so doing they govern a great deal of the overall development and function of the organism. Thus, human behavior is shaped to some extent by genes. Dawkins imagines genes giving the following instructions to the body they reside in: “do whatever you think best to keep us alive”. While this is a seemingly selfish orientation, it could explain altruistic behavior within a family of genetically related individuals. Thus when a father or brother sacrifices himself so that a son or sister can live, in either case the “selfish genes” are kept alive.

shame / shaming-- a state of mind characterized by belief that one has acted dishonorably or ridiculously and that other people are also aware of these actions. Shaming refers to the act of subjecting someone to shame. This is sometimes done by parents  in an effort to curtail certain unwanted behavior so as to give children a negative image of themselves. 

shame leading to vengeance -- if a person has been shamed, had self respect, sense of honor, pride assaulted, or for males, manhood attacked, if the assault has been grave and the wounds deep, then sometimes the only way the person can restore a sense of self esteem and standing in the tribe or community is by seeking vengeance.

stroking--rather than being indifferent to another, this generally refers to positively acknowledging the person by complimenting, recognizing, and other verbal or non-verbal communication chosen to make that person feel good.

subsidiarity--a principle that states that matters should be handled by the competent authority at the lowest level.  Some cite this to justify their belief that the family and value shaping institutions of the community (schools, churches, etc) ought to be strengthened.  Subsidiarity is compatible with philosophies that promote decentralized societies and local control. 

tough love--treating someone you care about harshly --often by compassionately forcing them to face the consequences of their reckless, dangerous actions or self-destructive behavior--in an effort to help them in the long run. 

trust--with respect to extending this to another person, it refers to relying on the integrity, character, and ability of that person.  The degree of that trust is in proportion to the belief and faith one has in the honesty, good intentions, and competence of the person to be trusted.

unconditional loverefers to love and affection that is pure and untainted, has no limits, bounds, conditions and is constant / unchanging.  Examples: 1) the human relationship that most immediately comes to mind is a mother’s love for her new born child; 2) those who believe in a personal God, and equate God with love, might say this is the love God has for all of us.  Note many Christians do not value conceiving of God in this fashion as much as valuing the supposed salvation that accepting God’s love can provide.  This belief—and the accompanying concern that the person may burn in Hell unless they do this—only makes possible their extending  love that is conditional.  A similar “dogmatic belief gets in the way” problem exists for Moslems.

unsolicited advicetelling someone what they should do without their asking for your opinion or help.  If you have legitimate authority over the person getting the advice (e.g. you’re his or her boss, teacher, doctor, etc) then your communication may be viewed as instructive, helpful, or supplying guidance (Although even then, carried to extreme it can be micromanaging.)  Otherwise this behavior may be thought of as meddlesome and may be fended off with a “Mind your own business!” admonition.

wishful thinking--involves interpreting events / actions of others, decision-making and forming beliefs based on what one desires to be true (rather than what is true) or what is  pleasing to imagine (rather than facing the (perhaps grim?) reality behind a situation).   A related orientation-- involving deluding oneself and similarly lacking in rational analysis / real world grounding--is "wishing makes it so." This simplistic, fairy tale, magical, childhood fantasy way of dealing with problems is to be contrasted with the planning / hard work / repeated trials before success that adults solving real problems more typically are faced with.  

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