The Parent Trap: The Challenges of Socializing for Autonomy and Independence

Jeffrey DillMar 3, 2015

In the United States, parents overwhelming rank “thinking for yourself” as a top priority for their children. Some see this desired quality as reflective of parents’ felt need to instill autonomy, independence, and self-fulfillment in their children to adequately prepare them for an individualistic age. Evidence from an interview study of 101 parents of school-aged children in the United States suggests that the meanings parents affix to the “thinking for yourself” priority are complex and varied, and do not follow a direct line to autonomous selffulfillment. For a majority of parents in this study, “thinking for yourself” means the child internalizes a moral code that comes from the parent, and enables the child to resist negative influences. Parents seem to embrace the language of autonomy and independence, but their concern appears to be more traditional and disciplinary: to instill a certain kind of character and virtue in their children.

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R. J. SnellFeb 18, 2015

On Mars Hill Audio, R. J. Snell speaks with Ken Myers on how newer ideas about natural law focus less on moral propositions and concepts and more on the thrust for meaning and value.

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What Parents Mean by "Think for Yourself"

Jeffrey DillFeb 5, 2015

As Alexis de Tocqueville traveled through the young United States, he observed remarkable differences in parents’ relationships to their children compared to the families in his home country of France. In 1830s America, he saw less authority and tradition in the parent’s role, and a greater desire to develop the choices and opinions of the individual child. These more democratic familial arrangements, in Tocqueville’s mind, had significant effects on the larger American society.

Read the full article at Family Studies.

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The Qualities of a Great Leader: Do You Measure Up?

R. J. SnellDec 1, 2014

In a recent essay, Mark Shiffman notes that in the fiercely competitive but nonetheless gloomy context in which university students find themselves, many opt to “major in fear.” Fear that they won’t find work or pay off student loans. Fear of lost opportunities or moving home with mom and dad.

Read the full article on the Intercollegiate Review.

The Growing Backlash Against the "Overprotective Child"

Jeffrey DillNov 27, 2014

It used to be kids could take bike rides to a park blocks away, or even to adventures in the woods.  All parents asked was they come home in time for dinner.  It's a different story for today's parents.  “But almost all of them could not imagine giving that same kind of freedom to their own children," says a faculty member at Eastern University, Jeffrey Dill.

Watch the full interview on WETM 18's MyTwinTiers.

What is a Person? Transcendence in Kant's Philosophical Anthropology

Steve McGuireNov 13, 2014

Research director Dr. Steve McGuire presented "What is a Person? Transcendence in Kant's Philosophical Anthropology" at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Political Science Association, a leading regional professional organizations in the United States for the study of politics. 

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Prudence and Moral Absolutes

R. J. SnellSep 4, 2014

Refusing to make exceptions to absolute moral norms is not unrealistic, imprudent, or inhumane. The purpose of norms is to promote human flourishing and protect what is good.

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