Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Ethics of Parenting (Nine Paradigms)

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash
Our Sabbath fellowship has been studying ethics using Steve Wilkens' Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. The book goes through nine different theories on what makes something right or wrong and how we can know the difference. Anyway, I put together the following descriptions to make some of this theory more relatable. I give you the ethical theories of parenting. Enjoy!

Cultural Relativism
Look to your neighbors and fellow Mommy bloggers for advice. Follow the culturally accepted standards

Ethical egoism
You're raising up your future caregivers. Also consider points for present enjoyment and cuteness, help with chores, and how they contribute to your status / reputation.

The way you parent is simply a reflection of the way you were raised yourself (+ various other complex factors involving your environment and DNA). You don’t really have any choice in the matter.

Make your kids happy (use of a spreadsheet in tallying up potential happiness points for each child is encouraged). Your parenting will be judged solely by your success / failure in producing human beings who can function in the world (whether you followed all the right steps or acted out of love is irrelevant...only results matter).

Kantian Ethics
Can the rule apply equally to all the kids? Does it apply equally to the parents? Should all parents follow this rule? Only if the answer is yes, should this be a rule. And if it’s a rule, it must be followed rigidly at all times regardless of how tired/hungry your kids are.
Virtue Ethics
Learn the traits of a good mom or dad. Be a good mom or dad.
Situation Ethics
Love them. Love them with hugs. Love them with spankings. Love them with treats. Love them with life lessons. Break the rules to show your love for them, if necessary.
Natural Law Ethics
Follow that motherly instinct. God gave it to you for a reason. Create rules to prevent them from hurting each other and to help them grow. These rules should flow out of that motherly instinct. But, remember motherly instinct is not enough. You need Jesus too.
Divine Command Theory
“Why, Mom?”
“Because I said so.”

p.s. if you're interested in the book (which I would highly recommend as a fairly easy to read introduction to ethical theory, to anyone who might be interested in such a topic), you can get it from Amazon here (affiliate link)

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