Keeping the Honeymoon Alive
Having a child shouldn't mean the end of intimacy.
The Pressure-Cooked Family continued...
Overwhelmed parents constitute a national crisis, says veteran family
therapist Braulio Montalvo, co-author with Marla Isaacs and David Abelsohn of
The Therapy of Difficult Divorce. "There is so much talk of recent
prosperity, but it doesn't drip down to where the support is needed," says
Montalvo. "The family in this country is besieged, and it is an
inter-institutional problem. We need quality day care for workers with young
children and enlightened corporate policy supported by the federal government.
People think we are at the top of the world, but we have a lot to
Cowan, too, says the working world makes few concessions to families these
days. "These couples need parental leave, flex time, time off when children
are ill." But despite the booming economy, parents don't feel they can
bargain with employers. And, says Cowan, most parents feel alone in their
problems. Single mothers suffer too, of course. "They are tired, often not
emotionally available to their children after a long day at work, and many of
them worry about leaving their children in substandard day care."
Sarah Davis, who teaches a course in stress management at Santa Fe Community
College in New Mexico, knows about women with young children working on a
survival level. "It describes most of my class. Several of them even have
two jobs, and all of them worry about the kind of day care their children are
getting." Davis has seen a healthy camaraderie build as people in her class
share and discuss problems. Although it might not remove the obstacles, just
being heard eases some of the stress.
The Road to Survival
The Cowans make a case for professionally guided support groups and
counseling -- where they say even a little help can make a difference. In the
original study, a group of new parents picked at random met with psychologists
over a six-month period to discuss issues from raising children to
relationships with their own parents. After three years no divorces had
occurred in this group, while the families without such support had a 15%