Gen X Parents – Raising Gen Y Kids- Lessons for Sibings

If you Are Generation X parents raising Gen Y siblings , your family models may come from your  parents, grandparents -or the little or big screen  media. We can tune into reruns on Netflix and use parenting the Walton’s John-Boy to managing Twilight’s Cullen vampire clan, as a model for sibling parenting.

Television and film can show us a historical record- good bad and ugly- of how we have looked at the family and raising siblings- since the 1950’s to today.

The evolution of the American family and bringing up  siblings in those families  can be seen through the lens of the  camera over the last sixty years. Television showed America different ideas of the extended family with many different types of siblings from the mid-seventies to the beginning decade of the twenty-first century.

The role of siblings has been reflected in these TV versions of the American family. Beginning in 1972 we saw the Waltons, a classic example of the extended family Americans had known for generations. In 1974 we saw the family add the adopted sibling in Little House on the Prairie. In 1989, Family Matters gave us a new version of the extended family, different from the Waltons. In 1990, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air brought us even a newer version of the extended family.

The TV version of the family headed by the single mom evolved from the  1970s TV show Good Times where a poor black family headed by a single Mom  lived in a public housing project to singing  seventies single mom, Shirley Partridge, who  led her  five kids on  the road to entertain  viewers with their songs and music. The TV version of the family headed by the single mom evolved in the year 2000.

Although the family in its nuclear form has hung together, the single-parent, single-mom family is more the model for these Generation Y young people. The parents have evolved from the salt of the earth models in TV’s The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie to the movie parents of the blockbuster film Twilight in 2009.

Beautiful and lonely teenager Bella meets the ghostly, handsome Edward because she has relocated since her parents’ divorce to her dad’s dark home in rainy, dank Forks. This pack-your-suitcase or perennial kids’ backpack moment came because her immature mother has remarried again. Bella’s mom has tied the knot again with a minor league baseball player, and she sent Bella to chilly Forks, Washington, so she could hobo around with her perhaps younger husband who makes a living playing a game. Bella feels like she is leaving her inept scatterbrained mom on her own to spend time with a dad she hardly knows. Edward, the paranormal, lonely,  John Barrymore look alike boyfriend, has an intact, devoted, wealthy family, but they are vampires.  He and his siblings Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, and Carlisle .Technically, Jasper and Rosalie are twins. They are all  well dressed perfectly coifed – adopted vampires

What we have learned as midlife siblings and parents of present-day siblings is that the way we parent the children in our families is governed by many cultural rules passed on to us by generations past. Some of these are the rules our parents learned from their parents and passed on to us . Many are modeled on what the media reflects back to us  through the glowing tube -real or imagined.


About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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