The New American Family: One-on-One with Ron Taffel


Today’s one-on-one between Ron Taffel and Rich Simon about the “New American Family” was fascinating for me especially as I’ve grown up as part of this new era. I completely related to everything Taffel described--the powerful influence of the peer group, the “second family”, the dwindling sense of hierarchy, and the lack of rituals.

Many who grew up in my generation tend to have trouble connecting to the conceptual norms of our parents and grandparents’ childhoods. We have trouble imagining a childhood hanging out in the living room--perhaps around a fireplace--with our families rather than holing up in our bedrooms with friends and an IPOD.

I feel I somewhat understand this disparity in adult authority because my parents have repeatedly emphasized how different their parents raised them as opposed to how they’ve raised my brother and I. In observations of kids today, I recognize the issues that can arise when authority is taken away from the family and is placed instead solely on peers.

Taffel’s descriptions of how he applied his research and observations to therapy were so interesting. He said, “The whole aim of everything I’m talking about is to establish and re-establish an adult authority within the post-Boomer family, recognizing that it has to be done in different ways…in such a way that creates a powerful relationship, a connection between parents and kids.”

If you listened in today, what did you think? How did you relate (or not relate) to Taffel’s descriptions of the “new” and “old” family?

05.26.2010   Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE   By Psychotherapy Networker
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