“Quality Time”

The Other McCain writes about the history of the term quality time in Living Well Is the Best Revenge:

The cliché of “quality time” was invented by Baby Boomer yuppies in the 1980s to rationalize the way their lifestyles deprived their children of so many traditional childhood experiences. Whereas most Baby Boomers grew up in traditional families — perhaps our parents were not as perfect as Ward and June Cleaver, but we still had the basic security of a stable home life — many of the Boomers sadly failed their children in this regard. If you’ve read Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s book The Divorce Culture, you understand how the cliché of “quality time” insinuated itself into the vocabulary of parenting. The working mother might not be able to give her children the kind of daily supervision and care she’d like to give them, but she could take them on a three-day vacation to Disney World and say they’d had quality time together. The divorced father might only see his kids one weekend a month, but he could take them out jet-skiing at the lake and tell himself that this quality time made up for the absence enforced by the custody settlement.

Rationalizations are a psychological defense mechanism — the ego defending itself against negative feedback — and everybody has to do whatever it takes to stay sane in difficult circumstances. Even if we have been able to avoid the worst impacts of cultural decadence in our own lives, most of us have friends and relatives who’ve been directly affected by the unraveling of our social social fabric. Divorce, suicide, drug addiction, criminal violence — the kind of stuff Tucker Carlson was talking about Wednesday night — are both cause and effect of the downward spiral that has been destroying American culture for the past 50 years.

I didn’t notice the link back here until I caught up on his posts yesterday, so that was a pleasant surprise.  I would argue however that the term wasn’t generally a rationalization by the fathers who were kicked out of their homes, but was instead a rationalization by the people who assisted with or advocated kicking fathers out of the home.

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This entry was posted in Child Custody, Denial, Divorce, Rationalization Hamster, Robert Stacy McCain, Tucker Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to “Quality Time”

  1. Zarathustra says:

    This is exactly how I was raised. By age 5 I was walking home from school all by myself and sitting on the front porch as my parents didn’t trust me enough at this age to give me a key, waiting for my “career mother” to come home from work. But it didn’t matter because once a year we went on a fancy trip and that was suppose to make up for all the lonely hours with no parental contact. I no longer speak to either parent.

  2. I’ve dealt with hundreds of families in depth over the years. “Quality time” is in my experience a phrase used almost always by mothers – seldom fathers. That might reflect social expectations, of course. As in it being more acceptable for the dad to devote more of his time to work than the mother.

    Thirty years ago, Allan Bloom saw our future, in this as in so many things, in “Closing of the American Mind.”

    “Are both parents going to care more about their careers than about the children? Previously children at least had the unqualified dedication of one person, the woman, for whom their care was the most important thing in life. Is half the attention of two the same as the whole attention of one? Is this not a formula for neglecting children?”

  3. NotaBene says:

    In the past I’ve taught on the five “love languages”, one of which is supposedly quality time. Wondering if this is related, or a construct of this type of rationalization.

    I sort of self-identify in this camp, I thought it meant more that I primarily need (and give) time/activities/recreation to the people I like best – wife and kid – rather than, say, an expensive gift or hug or chores (all of which I stink at).

  4. BillyS says:

    Larry,

    I hear a number of radio shows where overworking fathers are maligned, stating that time with the family is so important. They never address whether that father was working to provide for his family or truly over focused on work. I suspect most cases are the former, though the latter is what is trotted out.

  5. Anon says:

    “Quality time” is a way to pretend that “quantity time” is not important.

    However, any parent with a tiny bit of insight and awareness of their surroundings knows this is stupid.

    I can be sitting on the couch reading a book for 4 hours while my son plays on the floor with his wooden tool set.

    Then all the sudden he will stand up, climb on to the couch and snuggle up and say “I love you daddy” to me for no reason.

    We do not set the time that these things will happen. They do.

  6. Paul says:

    If “Quality Time” serves as a reminder for parents to give sufficient love and attention to their child regularly, while also giving the child the feeling of being enough available for them, I have nothing against it.

  7. DrTorch says:

    I thought that MLK invented this term since he didn’t have time to spend w/ his kids.

    But Anon sums it up exactly right, ““Quality time” is a way to pretend that “quantity time” is not important.” It’s true in any relationship: proximity matters.

  8. drifter says:

    Boomers get a lot heat for this mindset, and rightly so. My parents (both of which came from intact families) are boomers and were divorced by my third birthday. I have 2 half-siblings; with one I share a mother, and with the other a father. By all indications, they (parents) were on track for failure by their early teens. They both had quiet fathers and loud mothers.

    My wife’s parents’ immediate families were also riddled with serious problems. Again, neither of her grandmothers would have promoted Titus 2 doctrine…and one was “ordained”.

    My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?

  9. DrPinWV says:

    When I was ejected from the family home, I quickly realized that I could not be an effective father “by appointment” – that is, by having dinner with my children a few nights a week. One has to just be there with them when something happens – when they come home with a report card, when they master a skill or win a game, when they need advice, or reassurance, or a kick in the pants. I did the best I could, and I had – and still have – an affectionate relationship with my now-adult children, but I know I had relatively little influence on their development. It took me a long time to accept this. It was like mourning the loss of loved ones and, in a way, I guess that just what it was.

  10. Oscar says:

    @ drifter

    My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?

    Ultimately, it was rejecting God.

    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [d]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [e]manifest [f]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [h]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    The rest of the chapter reads like American history from 1960 until the present.

  11. drifter says:

    @Oscar
    3 of the 4 sets of grandparents were regular attenders of church, and one set of those three were “in the ministry”. Btw, they keep telling us this was the greatest generation.

  12. Lost Patrol says:

    @ drifter

    The “Greatest Generation” was not actually the baby boom generation. It was the people that lived through the great depression, won WWII, and then raised kids – their kids being the boomers.

  13. earl says:

    My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?

    Oscar got to the root of it.

    A lot of it was creeping subversion through communist-Marxist education camps (college), the pill-legal abortion-no fault were introduced as the boomers were becoming young adults, and things like going on drug fueled adventures were considered more important than raising kids. We’re probably on the third-fourth generation of this.

  14. Oscar says:

    @ drifter

    3 of the 4 sets of grandparents were regular attenders of church, and one set of those three were “in the ministry”. Btw, they keep telling us this was the greatest generation.

    1. God has no grandchildren. He only has children.
    2. Jesus warned us multiple times about counterfeit Christians (see the parable of the wheat and the tares, for one), so attending church doesn’t make anyone a child of God.
    3. Jesus warned us multiple times about false teachers (see Matthew 7 for one), so being “in the ministry” doesn’t make anyone a child of God either.

    The WWII generation was definitely a great generation. “Greatest”? I don’t know. But they were human. And humans fail. And that particular generation failed to pass on to their children (the Baby Boomers) the values they received from their parents.

    So, let’s recognize their failure, learn from it, and ask ourselves; “where am I failing?” Because we sure as hell are no greater than they were.

  15. Anonymous Reader says:

    NotaBene
    In the past I’ve taught on the five “love languages”, one of which is supposedly quality time. Wondering if this is related, or a construct of this type of rationalization.

    Easy test: when was Love Languages published? Before or after the 80’s?

    I have not read that book so I have no opinion on whether it is a rationalization or not. Even in a fully committed SAHM / working father family the issue of “we time” is real. Women can fill up their waking hours with busy things, then complain how there is never any time for anything else.

    Time management is a valuable skill. Wife management is also. Sometimes it is the same thing.

  16. Cane Caldo says:

    @LP

    I read Drifter as referring to his grandparents as from the Greatest Generation, and wondering where they (the GGs) went wrong.

  17. drifter says:

    @Cane Caldo
    Affirmative

  18. feeriker says:

    My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?

    Ultimately, it was rejecting God.

    Yup, and that started a whole lot earlier than either the Boomers or “the Greatest [sic]” Generation. At a minimum, the rot began to seep in in earnest during the Progressive Era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and really snowballed right after World War II when the Proggies were more or less given carte blanche control of all of society’s major institutions by a far-too-naive-and-trusting public. Things are finally now reaching the terminal stage and in hindsight we can see the stages at which things really accelerated downhill. That’s why the first half of the Boomer Generation gets so much (well deserved) flak.

  19. American says:

    By age fifteen, I had already been placed in an orphanage by my mother who had divorced my father to copulate with one of the Latin Romeo’s (in the vein of Julio Iglesias) the Harlequin Romance novels of the period trumpeted from every supermarket and book store across America in those days. He got raped in divorce court while she played out the “safe rape” fantasy by the dark skinned romantic Latino… both occurring in real time, in real life, at the same time.

    At seventeen, I was able to locate my father. He was living in a studio apartment in gangland Los Angeles. I took the money I had saved by laying tile that Summer and ran away from the orphanage to live with him. My first night in Los Angeles I made the mistake of trying to go down to the local convenience store to purchase a Coca-Cola and a Time magazine. The Mexicans who ran the store (a converted 7-11 they had placed a 7-12 sign over apparently to avoid franchise issues) wouldn’t sell that to me instead whistling down the street to alert the local Mexican gang calling itself the “United Bad Boys” that a victim was being presented for them. They came at me fingering the knives in their pockets but I had been on the track team at the public school I attended while in the orphanage and made it back to my flat where I didn’t venture out much (except for school during the day and Okinawan karate lessons at night) until my father moved us into a better neighborhood a year later.

    But only whites are racist and all females innocent victims of male oppressors the leftards tell me with that same hypnotized glaze that religious cult followers have.

  20. feeriker says:

    …wondering where they (the GGs) went wrong.

    Trusting in Progressive ideas and institutions (to include an expanded government) was probably their most catastrophic mistake. That’s what led inevitably to abandoning God’s rule.

  21. Anon says:

    You guys don’t have to call me anon

    It’s me, Scott

    After I shut down American Dad I made some changes to my gravatar and it reverted to this older version.

  22. BillyS,

    I suspect most cases are the former, though the latter is what is trotted out.

    And how many men who are “overfocused on work” are in that hard to reach bracket now of “has a job that can support a nuclear family on one income and doesn’t have a freakin moat [in economic terms] around his position?” Probably a lot. Try being a 35-50 year old white, cisgendered male with a SAHM in anything computer-related, and you had better be putting in 5-10 hours a week at least reading up on where things are going unless you want to be unemployable.

  23. Anonymous Reader says:

    After I shut down American Dad

    ?huh?

  24. Sharkly says:

    Fortunately my late parents were old when I was born, and were from the Greatest Generation.
    what fubar’d our boomer parents?
    I’m just guessing since I wasn’t around, but…
    America had just kicked the world’s ass, nuked our enemies into submission, and become the only superpower, broke the speed of sound, were golfing on the moon, and exporting our culture and values worldwide. Is it possible we got a smidge of pride? I mean I don’t think we as American’s are near proud enough, but maybe some of our foreign commentators have their own backwards turd-world perception on this. Like that poor Kiwi living down on the butt end of the world. Or maybe, some of our snaggle-toothed pasty faced inbred island dwelling subjects of the queen can tell us what’s not to love about America being so great again? I don’t think we Americans are that proud, considering how much better we are than anybody who has ever been, in fact, I think we actually deserve some international recognition for our great humility, but what say the rest of you?

  25. info says:

    “Quality time” with children would always accompany spending on childcare(daycare) for working mothers.

  26. Lost Patrol says:

    @ Cane and drifter

    Thank you. I misunderstood what I was seeing. You’d be amazed how often that happens. Or maybe not.

  27. Lost Patrol says:

    It’s me, Scott

    Everybody that knows the farm got it on the first try.

  28. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    drifter: My parents (both of which came from intact families) are boomers and were divorced by my third birthday. I have 2 half-siblings; with one I share a mother, and with the other a father.

    It’s even worse for today’s children. Some boy out there has two daddies. When his daddies divorce and re-marry, he’ll have four daddies. Four potential predators.

  29. Anon says:

    Dalrock said :

    I would argue however that the term wasn’t generally a rationalization by the fathers who were kicked out of their homes, but was instead a rationalization by the people who assisted with or advocated kicking fathers out of the home.

    That is because while RS McCain is certainly moving in the right direction, he is still just purple pill at best, and clings to a number of Tradcon tropes.

    i) He still has no problem with the way divorce and child custody laws are. I challenge any fan of his to find a single article written by him where he says divorce and child custody laws are anti-male.
    ii) He still assumes that all Republican women are against feminism. He thinks the evils of feminism are restricted to staunch Democrat feminists.
    iii) He still assumes that the average American woman today is no less suitable for marriage and motherhood than 60 years ago.

    He is moving in the right direction, of course. But he still has a long way to go.

  30. Anon says:

    Scott,

    You guys don’t have to call me anon

    It’s me, Scott

    It is good to have you back!

    But pls choose a handle other than ‘Anon’ (even if just ‘Anon2’) so that people don’t get you and I confused. I have been ‘Anon’ for over three years.

  31. Joe says:

    We don’t like that “5 Love Languages” stuff.
    Take the test, then kick back and expect from your spouse what the test says you should be getting.
    “Hey dear, my love language is acts of service. Here’s your list”. Get busy pleasing me. It’s my love language, you know, so you have to”.
    No thanks.
    5LL is an invitation to selfishness.
    I know what floats my wifes boat and she knows what floats mine. We don’t need a book. We just pay attention to each other. It’s not rocket science.

  32. Gunner Q says:

    “By age 5 I was walking home from school all by myself and sitting on the front porch as my parents didn’t trust me enough at this age to give me a key,”

    That was inhuman. Old enough to walk home alone is old enough to be at home alone. I hope they eventually learned that you were more important than their valuables.

    drifter @ 4:46 pm:
    “My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?”

    If you want a single answer then television. It has proven to be the greatest mind control tool ever devised. Boomers were the first generation to be raised on mass media, when nobody but the devil understood its implications.

    Only in recent years has the tech been incorporated into our culture and still not completely. I sometimes wonder if banning women from social media is the only way we’ll be able to recover. It’s too easy for the devil to incite female rebellion against men when all women are on Twitter. It’s his one stop shop for sowing discontent & whispers.

    In fact, I wonder if humanity can survive telecommunications at all. The wicked have proven much more capable of global organization than the saints.

  33. timrean2444 says:

    Unless there is physical abuse, kids are self absorbed, and they don’t pick up on the conflict in marriage. They only want their parents together. However the “emotional health” of the children is another argument that the gold digging ex uses to eliminate the husband from her family and extract cash and prizes. From her perspective, nothing has changed except she no longer needs to honor her vows.

    Then of course you have “emotional abuse” which is defined as “withholding of time, money or affection”. When two couples reach the point of divorce, they are emotionally abusing each other, but only the man’s abuse is considered.

    Speaking from experience here after kids and more than two decades of marriage. Now working one day out of every three to pay for my ex to work part time.

  34. timrean2444 says:

    — My other post was cut off.

    A corollary: “Divorce is better for children because they are no longer exposed to an ‘unhealthy relationship'”

    Unless there is physical abuse, kids are self absorbed, and they don’t pick up on the conflict in marriage. They only want their parents together. However the “emotional health” of the children is another argument that the gold digging ex uses to eliminate the husband from her family and extract cash and prizes. From her perspective, nothing has changed except she no longer needs to honor her vows.

    Then of course you have “emotional abuse” which is defined as “withholding of time, money or affection”. When two couples reach the point of divorce, they are emotionally abusing each other, but only the man’s abuse is considered.

    Speaking from experience here after kids and more than two decades of marriage. Now working one day out of every three to pay for my ex to work part time.

  35. Nick Mgtow says:

    Sorry of what you went through as a kid Zarathustra

  36. Frank K says:

    I have 2 half-siblings; with one I share a mother, and with the other a father.

    And those two half siblings are not related to each other. There should be a Heineken commercial praising such modern familiar constructs.

  37. Oscar says:

    OT: Baby, don’t fear the Dragon, because demographics is destiny, and men with no families rarely build nations.

    https://www.steynonline.com/9128/a-forest-of-bare-branches

    Unfortunately, as Tucker Carlson noted in the American context the other night, it’s easier for the state to demolish the family than to rebuild it. China wound up with an unintended Cultural Revolution: The cultural norm of having households with multiple children faded away so totally that, even when it’s no longer illegal to have two kids, very few Chinese want to; they’ve gotten out of the habit. In Germany, by comparison, there are many, many childless couples, but you’ll also run across the occasional parents who have two, three, or maybe even four kids, and thus keep the idea of family alive. When the state is powerful enough to insist that every couple has no more than one child, the notion of a big family doesn’t even survive as a minority pastime. If no one’s seen a two-child household for two generations, the rhythms of life shift – and are hard to shift back.

    All those forced abortions and sterilizations didn’t help either. China, Iran, and a whole bunch of other countries are growing old before they got rich. If you think overpopulation is a problem, just wait until you see what population implosions do.

  38. Lee says:

    “My question: what fubar’d our boomer parents?”

    The rebirth of transcendent spirituality during the romantic period. Each generation accepted and added more than the previous generation until it was fully accepted by the generation of the late 60’s.
    It’s not that hard to figure out: Just work backwards from the current acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism.
    Next: Ask moral leaders to actually define sexual immorality-don’t let them off the hook by giving examples-demand an explanation.
    Most people cannot define it because they are living the logical conclusion of why homosexual marriage and transcendence is accepted.
    Romans 1 offers a great insight…..

  39. NotaBene says:

    @Joe

    Yeah I hear you, but that was a fairly “worst case” scenario usage of the theory. The book helped me to (in a limited way) understand why my wife could be trying her best to please me, and me taking it as disrespectful, or not even noticing. Or vice versa… why she didn’t appreciate some of my attempts. Just stuff like that. Like many “personality” type tests or books on men/women differences, it can be taken too far, but at best they can help you understand how people are different from each other with the goal of showing love in ways that will be interpreted better by the receiver.

    This seems sort of benign to me, so I’m curious about why people don’t like it, and how it went wrong.

  40. Opus says:

    Quality Time has become an euphemism: I spend quality time when I am with my favoured local prostitute. Likewise Friend (or Girlfriend) does not always mean quite what one might at first assume. Home Alone is not good and yet the opposite namely helicopter parenting is surely as bad. I assumed my friend was going to give me a lift home (Half an hour in the car) but he explained that he could not do so because it was not possible to leave his son (aged twelve or thirteen) for that half an hour although that son stuck at his lap-top had not even ventured out of his bedroom all day. Even as a four year old I wandered out and wherever my fancy dictated and then wandered home again to my mother – no lap-top, not television. In many ways the 1950s really were better.

    I had always thought it was us British who had broken the sound barrier and so I checked. We hadn’t – quite. My mistake was caused by an entirely dishonest British movie which falsely asserted the fact (never trust Pinewood to be historically accurate) although we would have been first for we had been at it since 1942 and then in about 1948 HMG entered into a knowledge sharing arrangement with America thus gallantly giving you the opportunity for glory. I am an Atlanticist.

  41. Hmm says:

    From my experience as a boomer, I would have to agree with Gunner Q that television is a major player. It interrupted dinner time, which was the usual place where questions were asked and answered, and values passed along. It kept most of the kids out of books (not me, fortunately), which was another way. And it adjusted our values due to the constant hammering of both glamor and commercials, in a way that movies, being a once-a-week thing, never could. Once in the late 60’s, even the news played up the sexual and political revolutions.

  42. feeriker says:

    Zarathustra says:
    January 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Man, that’s really vile, what happened to you. I’m surprised your parents weren’t charged with child abuse/neglect. You’re well justified in not having any contact with them.

    I wonder how many aging parents cut from the same cloth as yours now realize that the fruits of their reckless, selfish (non-)parenting are children who hate their guts and who are going to leave them to rot in their old age (there’s a whole generation of Boomer women who are about to find out).

  43. citizen1 says:

    “Quality Time” is passe’. I mean how dare you inject any sort of value judgement. it’s all about “making memories” these days.

  44. Gage says:

    “quality time” always seemed like an excuse from parents who had other priorities and did want to spend quantity time with their kids. I have never heard of a SAHM talk about needing quality time with her kids because she gets it in the time she is around them each day. In a healthy two parent family, “quality time” happens as you spend lots of time together.

    My workaholic sister in law, on the other hand, always is talking about quality time with her kids because when she gets home from traveling for work every week, she feels guilty for being gone and tries to make it up by doing something extravagant for her kids when all they really want is their mom to be around. when she and her husband finalize their divorce, both parents can further ruin their kids by trying to purchase quality time every other weekend.

  45. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    The trailer for this alien invasion film is noteworthy for its cast. A group of (I guess) paranormal investigators seek aliens. This group consists of three young women, and two guys (one seemingly approaching middle age).

    The film seems to strive for gender equality, without regard to reality. Why would these three young women hang out with two nerdy, older men? And note how take-charge, and kick-ass these young alien hunter women are.

    Note the curious body language. In one shot, this tall, hulking, older man is fearfully clinging to this petite young woman. I guess because their equals. It’s normal for men to hide behind kick-ass women.

  46. Jean says:

    When our kids were in middle school, they and their friends used to talk about kids everyone thought were “rich.” They were always going on great trips and getting the newest, best, most expensive stuff. Most of these kids weren’t actually rich. Most had divorced parents caught up in an arms race of “quality time” and the material items that substituted for or supplemented “quality time.” Grandparents even got into the act in some cases. Of course, these kids weren’t mentally healthy. They knew they weren’t actually being cared for with these extravagant activities and lavish gifts. It seems like a sad twist when the kids who most need time being loved and enjoyed because life is hard and confusing are the ones who are least likely to get it from a parent.

  47. American says:

    It had to be less than a year that my dad moved me out of that barrio because I lived in the new neighborhood for a short while before graduation. I was in the Navy recruitment office within a week of graduation telling them to “get me out of here” and, of course, they obliged. They sent me to take the ASVAB, then bused me to Los Angeles MEPS (though they told me it was “AFEES” or something like that), and then off to boot camp in San Diego, then A-school, then into the fleet where I sailed against the evil state atheist Marxist Soviets under the great Ronald Reagan :).

    Maybe we were disordered men in an environment where “snipes” would emerge from the bowls of these great vessels and bang their heads against bulkheads but we were always red, white, and blue true loyal patriots. How is hell Yuri, you godless atheist, we vets of that era still remember what you did to the people of Hungary.

  48. Name (required) says:

    “The WWII generation was definitely a great generation. “Greatest”? I don’t know. But they were human. And humans fail. And that particular generation failed to pass on to their children (the Baby Boomers) the values they received from their parents.”

    My parents were of the WWII generation. They had no relationship with God to pass along. Neither did any of their friends and contemporaries that I ever met. That generation, if they thought of God, felt compelled to _not_ talk about him. The WWII generation might have been the first truely secular generation. No surprise, then, that their boomer children became Godless narcissists.

  49. Sharkly says:

    Lori Alexander weighs in on Quality time.
    https://thetransformedwife.com/quality-time-is-a-lie/

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