Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Life Transitions for Aging Moms (QF: The View from Here)

This series of posts results includes excerpts from information shared with a journalist in August of 2015 who had questions about the Quiverfull Movement as it related to the Duggar Family.

Find the Index of all posts HERE.

What changes did you see among the many peers that did join QF? How did their personalities, dress, happiness levels et cetera alter?

Response Part Three:

I did see notable changes in my peers as they approached middle age. Normal human psychosocial growth and development is heralded by different phases. During one’s twenties and thirties, healthy people focus on relationships and family. But near age forty, one’s natural focus shifts into a concern about what one has accomplished in life and what one leaves behind them. It is at this point of normal life transition that I’ve seen the most profound changes in women within the movement. 

There is a sense of regret over having spent so much energy chasing an ideal that did have some benefits for those who were lucky and lived more balanced lives. For others, it becomes a time of regret for having stretched their resources so thin and now feel trapped into another decade of hard work which they now find fatiguing. As stated, some of that is a natural and healthy change of aging, but the QF/P movement doesn’t make any allowances for this predictable change in the focus of mothers who become weary in body and spirit because of the high demands of performance in the quest to create the perfect family.

I’ve witnessed two primary responses in parents as their own children become adults. Those who remain entrenched or are still enamored with the ideals of the movement suffer terribly as the formulas they trusted fail to produce the perfect adults that were promised to them. Some parents dive more deeply into the movement and its ideals, scapegoating their adult children who walk away from the community as evil apostates, as they have been called. Sadly, we now see the Jeub and the Duggar Families coming to terms with these disappointments which must be horrible enough without the media attention against which they now wrestle. These families typically shun their children.

I am encouraged, however, by parents who are honest with themselves about the mistakes they have made and the high price that the cultic life passed on to their children. I have many friends and acquaintances who struggle with their guilt over the impossible demands that they placed on their children, believing that it was what God required of them. In hindsight, these aging parents, now grandparents, have come to a place of honesty and grief because of the toll that the movement has taken on their relationships with their children. Many of them have children that have left their families or have broken contact with them. Their children have expressed that they were cheated in many ways and blame their parents for the deficits that they now face as adults in the mainstream world. 

 Those who remain Christians seem to struggle more with guilt and regret, believing that they completely failed their children. Some who have abandoned religion altogether also face the daunting task of rebuilding relationships with their now adult children, and they do so with anger toward all religious groups. I still marvel at the pervasive collateral damage that the belief system has created for so many — and I believe that it is inestimable.

~ Cynthia Kunsman
The view of Quiverfull from my vantage
August 2015