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Where Have All the Mothers Gone?

By Bob Doman

My colleagues and I have a fantastic job. We spend our days helping families help their children develop and improve their lives. We do this without actually working hands-on with any children beyond doing evaluations and then designing the children’s comprehensive home programs. As an organization, NACD has proudly been changing lives for almost 50 years—the lives of children across the spectrum, from brain-injured children to autistic, Down syndrome, learning and attention issues, to typical and gifted children. All without directly working with a single child. We work with moms and dads, the real experts on their children and the ones most vested in the results. We educate and train parents, providing them with targeted, specific programs designed to address their “whole” child, along with ongoing support and coaching. We help parents parent and assume their primary responsibility, helping their children grow and develop into successful adults, realizing their innate potential.

We can achieve what are often exceptional results through the efforts of extraordinary parents. As developmentalists and educators, we question current trends and know you cannot replace dedicated, committed parents. Who has a greater vested interest in their children’s development than the parents, who hopefully know their child the best? Who knows the whole, complex, unique child? Unfortunately, today more and more parents are being left out of the equation. “It’s not their job; it’s the job of the schools, the teachers, the therapists, the psychologists, and the doctors.” Today’s schools and interventions often try to convince parents to stay out of the way; it’s the professionals’ job.

Where have all the mothers gone?

I have watched society change rather dramatically since the ’50s and ‘60s when I was growing up. The family structure is being lost, the value of family deemphasized, and, along with it, the perceived need for and role of participating mothers. It’s ludicrous to think that all of the schools, teachers, psychologists, bureaucrats, and others can replace the family and our mothers. “Helping” each unique child develop without the only people who actually know and are vested in the whole child is like expecting a basketball team to function as a whole without a coach or expecting a bunch of subcontractors to build a house without plans and a contractor in charge. If society continues to denigrate the role of family and mothers, we can forget about our children and future generations achieving their potential.

There is no more important job or greater responsibility any of us will ever have than raising our children.

At NACD, we know we can only help children achieve their potential through the family and, in reality, primarily in most families through moms. 

I just returned from three weeks in the beautiful mountains of Transylvania, where I worked with families whose children have a broad range of issues. I saw great Eastern European families addressing various issues with their children and working to resolve them. 

My Eastern European families, relative to the US, are rather “old school” and epitomize dedicated families. Our collection of moms includes medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, lawyers, a former judge, architects, a banker, marketing IT, realtors, and other professional moms. Most of these moms are now at home, dedicating themselves to their child’s future or arranging their work schedule to accommodate working with their child and/or permitting dad to stay home to do the hands-on job. 

We work with these wonderful, hardworking families virtually throughout the year, but get to see them in person once a year. These trips are invigorating and always leave me with hope for the future. Dedicated parents with the necessary and proper support can move mountains. 

Lots of pictures from the trip!

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