Future of nuclear families critically endangered?

I was at a workplace conference recently, and a woman came up on stage and proudly declared – there is no such thing as a nuclear family. This is a lie. In this post, I’ll explain why.


A nuclear family refers to the traditional family that forms the nucleus or core bonds between parents and children. These are the people you want to come home to and regardless of their shortcomings, these are the people you love. A father is not only a provider but someone who makes you feel safe and gives you the courage to explore the world. A mother who creates the connection in the family with her ability to engage emotionally through – kindness, compassion and love. The role of the family is to raise the children up. This prepares children feel safe and confident to leave the family nursery when the time arrives.


The reality is that 1 in 4 children experience divorce before the age of 18. This is really bad for children. Regardless of the family configuration, the stability, safety and security of a biological mother and father is crucial for a child’s brain development, especially between the ages of zero and four.


Our fore-fathers were stolen from us in the industrial revolution when men left their farms, bakery and work-sheds in search of white collar jobs in modern cities. The rights of passage that transformed boys into men was lost in the absence of their fathers. Daughters acquired masculine qualities to compensate for the lack of a strong, healthy father figure.

Our mothers were stolen from us the moment career was prioritised at the expanse of motherhood. It is important to remember the most valuable thing that we can give to our children is not the best education, extra curricula activity or escaping reality with screentime but rather quality time through emotional availability. This form of nurturing and support comes from unconditional love.


When you look outside western culture, a family unit does not simply consist of a mother and father but grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. For this reason, a natural community exists and the grown-ups are heavily involved in looking after the kids, not just their own. This creates a community buffer where no kid feels alone, abandoned or left behind. If this was the case today, we would not need the brute force techniques that I teach on my courses to regulate the nervous system.


Today, we can find like-minded people and be part of a community anywhere. Yet, the roles and values of a traditional family is being rapidly degraded because of the decline of a single bond: the core, the nucleus that holds a family together – this is quite simply Love.


The promise of falling in love is becoming rapidly endangered. The value of being adored by a special someone has been replaced by empty emotional attention by strangers you have never met. When this coping mechanisms begin to fail, people eventually decide to settle, because they are lonely, single and running out of options. They settle for less rather than for – Love.


Without the strength of love holding a family together, marriages begin fail because of abuse, addictions or affairs. Instead of addressing the core needs of what holds a family together, we may be forced abandon the important people in our life. Without true love, nuclear families may become extinct.


True love is not dead, we are dead – without true love. Many marriages stop working before ever discovering what is beyond the temporary chemical high for the purposes of reproduction and parental care.

The love of family goes beyond how you feel about them. Love is present even without secure attachment or a healthy separation from parents for example, in adoption. Even when there are conflicting ideologies, lifestyle and political beliefs – love cuts through these constructs as if it was never there. We have seen this family bond throughout human history where, we drop everything and show up for our family in times of great need.


How do we bring back the gifts that traditional families have to offer?


We begin by forgiving and the beginning began when we were born. Our parents have our best interest, yet no childhood is perfect. So we forgive the most important people in our life. Forgiveness isn’t something you say but a transformation of how you feel about your parents entirely when viewed through the eyes of unconditional love.


Only then do we see the behaviour of our parents through their kind eyes. We forgive them for the mistakes they made trying to protect us. We forgive them for being unreasonable when we were yet to think for ourselves. We forgive them for disrespecting our dreams because they cared for our long-term security. Forgiveness transcends all that has happened before because our relationship to what matters has changed.


When you find love in your heart, the prayer of forgiveness will naturally unfold. By forgiving once, you forgive all.

This is how you create a nuclear family. When you are with that special someone, you are not reacting from old childhood patterns but rather from a deep space of love. You have faced your pain and this frees up your emotional availability to help each other grow.


By forgiving, we break the cycle of intergenerational pain and provide our children with the love, stability and security that they deserve.


We do not arrive at love by ourself, it is through each other that we learn to love ourself.

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