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The nuclear family living in a nice house, with one working parent, eating dinner together, watching TV shows together, a strong sense of neighborhood community when kids played outdoors with one another unlike today. Did that really exist or was it something created by 1950s U.S. TV shows?

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Of course it existed. I lived it along with tens of millions of other families.

It was a reflection of society, not a myth created by writers.

No internet, smart phone, TikTok, InstaGram, YouTube, video games.

Three TV channels, plus maybe one UHF channel. We read books, had conversations, played board games, ate dinners not nuked in microwaves and not filled with chemicals, drank clean water from the faucet, rode bicycles without helmets, played sports with other kids.

Seeing someone obese was a shock, it was so rare.

This is not some fanciful memory with a bias to remembering only the good. Skilled workers in factories and the service industries could buy a house and live a good life and support a family well.

Now, it’s all crap.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

Yes, because I lived it (in the late 60s to 70s). 3-bedroom house with a huge yard. 4 kids. Father was a public school teacher. Mom didn't work.

Very nice neighborhood in Canada, with a mix of middle class to professional class families. Although the middle class can no longer afford living there. It's since been extensively subdivided into smaller lots, many of which are owned by wealthy foreigners who bought their properties as investments and to hedge their geopolitical risk and don't spend much time there. Just like that arrested Huawei executive.

We used to play street hockey almost every day except summer, when we played baseball, went camping or swimming in a lake or just wandered around. Now, the streets are empty 99% of the time and yet kids are banned from playing on the streets -- for safety reasons. The few kids still around are chauffeured to and from school in large SUVs and they seem to spend much more time indoors than we ever did. We used to ride our bikes to school every day, except when it snowed.

Canada has changed a lot. And not for the better, if you ask me and millions of other Canadians who have lived long enough to experience the changes, to figure why the changes were made, and in whose interests those changes served.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

The fact the discussion question itself is framed not as 'What was it like?' but rather 'Did it even happen?' shows how dangerous and uninformed the digital world is.

Growing up in the 70's/80' in Australia was similar to what is described above. People worked very hard, but were rewarded. For children the outdoors and dropping in on friends for the day on weekends was the norm.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

It sure as hell existed in my family till 1980.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Well, it certainly isn't true for one demographic in the US. 67% of black children are born into a single parent household. Surely this wasn't the case in the 50's and 60's?

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

It really did exist and I grew in it. It was NOT a life of luxury, but we did not want for necessities. Lots of second hand clothing and used cars and bicycles and shopping at discount department stores for the remaining necessities.

Then it all changed in the 1980s.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Sure did exist.

Probably not in Japan though.

Father's here were luck if they got to see their kids during the week.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Yes, it was reality until Reagan destroyed it.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

When I was a kid in the 80s my life was more or less like that. Definitely that was real.

If I had to venture a guess I’d say it was mobile devices that is screwing things up the most (as far as family dynamics are concerned, not broader social problems). We just had the living room TV back then for entertainment in the evening so the whole family had to form some sort of rough consensus on what we would watch together. “Screen time” back then was a shared experience and you could laugh together at the same jokes on a sitcom, get excited together at some action movie, etc etc.

Now everyone has their own private screen so “screen time” no longer has that bonding element to it. As a parent today I find myself constantly trying to find ways of breaking up that “everyone looking at their own screen” situation that constantly crops up. Board games, movies, letting my kids jump up and down on me, going outside as much as possible (hard to do at this time of year), encouraging hobbies in the “real” world, even playing video games on TV together - there are options out there but parents need to be pro active in encouraging them, otherwise everyone just goes back to their own little screens.

Seperate from that, Covid screwed up a lot of social routines for kids. The kids in my neighborhood got accustomed to a world in which kids don’t go to their friends house to play together, something I used to do all the time as a kid. That has proven tougher to break.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yes, in the 70's and 80's it was my childhood, but in the late 80's my "stay-at-home" mom was becoming a rare species. Ironically, my stay-at-home mom was the one who planted an enormous garden, tended it, supervised us kids to harvest it and help can and freeze it. We are "farm to table" produce in the summer and the home preserved produce all winter. We got lots of exercise and training with all the gardening. I think my mom had a very important job.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It existed but mainly for one demographic. Poorer minorities and many immigrants, especially those of color, didn't have all the luxuries that white America had. That's because they weren't established as well and the system was pretty biased against them. Look at those TV shows. What color were the overwhelming majority of the characters?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Mocheake...

Poorer minorities and many immigrants, especially those of color, didn't have all the luxuries that white America had. That's because they weren't established as well and the system was pretty biased against them.

All true but doesn't explain why black fathers are abandoning their kids with such alarming regularity.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

In response to remarks made by Mr Kipling and Mocheake:

Before the war on poverty launched, 87% of blacks lived below the federally defined level of poverty in 1940. By 1960, that number had decreased to 47%. A 40 point drop in 20 years. That’s probably the greatest economic prosperity period for blacks in the history of this country. And this all happened before affirmative action, before the so-called war on poverty.

— Larry Elder, from the documentary Uncle Tom (2020)

Up until 1962–63, 85% of all black families had a man and a woman raising children. But that all changed in the 60s. The architect of this destruction was Cloward and Piven, a couple of renowned sociologists at Columbia University School of Social Work. And their theory was, if we could separate work from income. It would make men redundant. And if we can just remove the stigma from welfare and entice more people to flood the welfare system, it will bankrupt cities and the country.

To recruit people into the welfare system, we relax the rules. If a woman had to declare paternity in order to provide welfare, the ACLU sued and said this is a violation of her privacy rights. They also said that the nuclear family, Izzy and Harriet, was Eurocentric and therefore racist. The women’s movement concurred with that. The black power movement also agreed. Millions of black in a period of less than four years flooded into the welfare system in major cities, at a time when the unemployment rate for blacks in New York for males was less than 4%. What you then saw as a consequence of separating work from income, the out of wedlock births in the black community began to skyrocket, went from under 25% to 70%.

— Robert L. Woodson, from the documentary Uncle Tom (2020)

It is a neutron bomb that was dropped on this country and it really hurt families, especially the black family. During slavery a black kid was more likely to be raised under a roof with his biological mother and biological father than today. The welfare state has done more to destroy and destabilize the black family than even slavery did.

— Larry Elder, from the documentary Uncle Tom (2020)

It is the strategy of forcing political change leading to societal collapse through orchestrated crises. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, amassing massive unpayable national debt, and other methods such as unfettered immigration thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse by overwhelming the system.

— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloward%E2%80%93Piven_strategy

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Everyone wishing for a functional society will prioritize the family. Everyone wishing to bring down a society will not. It is really just that simple.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It was probably a post-war ideal to aspire to after the misery of WWII.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It existed but mainly for one demographic. Poorer minorities and many immigrants, especially those of color, didn't have all the luxuries that white America had. 

They had two parents at home and some family bonding. Maybe both parents worked, but that was true for many white families as well. People tend to overestimate how important money is and underestimate how important a loving and bonded family with two parents is. Poor home can produce successful kids and rich homes can produce complete failures. The real wealth is in whether someone is raised with a loving family.

Sadly, today's culture has taken us away from that - and I think we are just beginning to see the results.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

In the '60s and early 70s, where I grew up in Canada, we had such a family. It wasn't the 'Leave It To Beaver' show, and both parents worked. But we didn't lack for anything. I could walk or bike to school, hike alone to a lake three miles away for a swim, toss my football through a swinging tire put up by my step-father, play 'road' hockey in a nearby lacrosse court in summer...I could go on. I was lucky, in one way, I suppose. But so were all my friends and neighbours. It was a different time. A different life. Something that deserves gratitude for being born in the right place and time, I suppose.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Um,is this for the Americans?

Still happening here in Amami.

Though I don't count myself as 'working', because I don't have to engage my brain.

Kids playing out 'til dark,no idea where they are,no T.V but we watch downloaded films and programmes on the tablet together after I make tea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That was my family in the 1950s & 60's. We read many books and listened to Father playing the piano.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

It existed until the 1980s.

"One parent working" ended due to a combination of women's liberation, rising cost of living, rising cost of real estate, and a fall in real terms (like real estate) of men's wages. While I think it was good for the 1970s to liberate women and give them more career opportunities, fast forwarding to now only presents a society where both parents have to work to get by. Having to work to get by is enslavement, not liberation. As a big economic trend, the move away from manufacturing to services in Western countries, usually referred to as "globalization", has robbed the West of well paying jobs and created a society in thrall to financial interests without industrialists as a countervailing force. When interest rates are set in 2024, nobody mentions industry. They did in the 1980s. Instead of families having one earner working for the benefit of industry, we now have families with two earners working mostly for the benefit of rentiers.

Kids still play outside, depending on where you live. Fewer kids living further apart in a car based society will do it less though. Especially if the place where they played is a road that now has cars frequently passing by.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Mr KiplingToday 12:24 pm JST

Mocheake...

> Poorer minorities and many immigrants, especially those of color, didn't have all the luxuries that white America had. That's because they weren't established as well and the system was pretty biased against them.

> All true but doesn't explain why black fathers are abandoning their kids with such alarming

Your reply has nothing to do with this Have Your Say. In the 1950s, blacks were still second class citizens with real fear of being lynched in many places. So-called sundown towns existed all over America, sharecropping was still a real thing, and the Green Book was created for a reason. The Civil Rights Act had not yet been passed and segregation was a way of life for black people. Eating in the back of restaurants, if you were even allowed to eat there, sitting at the back of the bus, those were realities of life. It's all nostalgic to look at Andy Griffith and Beaver Cleaver as the epitome of the American family but that was only the case for white people. I don't believe any minorities were regular characters with speaking roles on any of those shows, either. Facts irrefutable.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In the 1950s, blacks were still second class citizens.

True but not as many second rate absent fathers as now.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Did that really exist or was it something created by 1950s U.S. TV shows?

Just the question being framed this way makes me think that whoever is in charge of this column or perhaps many on the JT team, might be very young.

Anyone who lived through this time period, can absolutely attest to the fact that this was reality.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Mr.Kipling what part of the article did you selectively did not understand.

The article was about “The nuclear family living in a nice house, with one working parent, eating dinner together, watching TV shows together, a strong sense of neighborhood community when kids played outdoors with one another unlike today. Did that really exist or was it something created by 1950s U.S. TV shows?

No where in the article does it mention anything BLACK, read the article, stay focused on the contents you like many others went south with racist ideologies that had nothing to do with the topic. People don’t read these days they just glance.

All true but doesn't explain why black fathers are abandoning their kids with such alarming regularity

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, yes, for a while. Then when I was 8, mom had to get a job. My brother had to mow lawns for extra cash.

When I was married, both of us worked. So our kid could spend time with her mother, I had to get a part-time job. (Being teachers, we didn't make serious money.)

Them days is gone forever. The economy for the working class virtually assures that a family has working parents. The up-side is that women can have careers. The down-side is quality time with the kids isn't what it used to be.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Isn't that what modern day Japan is like?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

VillanovaToday 03:22 am JST

Isn't that what modern day Japan is like?

A house is different than an apartment and salarymen can eat dinners with their family?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@TaiwanIsNotChina

Most Japanese families live in houses. You are thinking of countries like China and Korea.

And most salarymen do eat at home.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

VillanovaToday 04:29 am JST

And most salarymen do eat at home.

I don't think eating by yourself at 10 o'clock at night is the same as eating with your family.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It only existed in white suburban neighborhoods. 1950s?

It was a period of racism. Fathers were unable to provide for their families. Black men, Mexicans, Asians and other people of color were persecuted. Some not making it home to their families. Black families were not allowed to be part of the community. They were often detained if seen walking through white communities on their way home. Domestic violence was rampant. Women were denied basic human rights. Conservatives were full steam trying to take away their freedom to family planning. Military veterans were demonized. Their PTSD wasn't even being brought to question.

Those were TV shows made to brainwash and model what the "ideal" white suburban family was expected to have! You shouldn't and should not have believed that description of American life. Whether you were a black family living in a ghetto or a poor white trash family living in a trailer, those shows were fake and insulting. The reality of the 1950s in America was far more horrific.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It existed. I lived it. now its all crap. 2 working parents struggling to make a living and never seeing their children. The world has gone to hell.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Certainly did exist - I was born in 1971 and being a teen in the 1980's was brilliant.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That was my family in the 1950s & 60's. We read many books and listened to Father playing the piano.

Those are all fine indoor activities, but it contrasts with the theme of this article:

*when kids played outdoors with one another *

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It was a reality back in the 90's.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

gcFd1

I said

"That was my family in the 1950s & 60's. "

as described in the article.

I then said

"We read many books and listened to Father playing the piano."

Those are all fine indoor activities, but it contrasts with the theme of this article:

> when kids played outdoors with one another

We played outside a lot too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

gcFdi

you should read the article first

"The nuclear family living in a nice house, with one working parent, eating dinner together, watching TV shows together, a strong sense of neighborhood community when kids played outdoors with one another unlike today. Did that really exist or was it something created by 1950s U.S. TV shows?"

It mentions several activities indoors and outdoors.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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