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Nuclear Families

June 02, 1993

Although we happen to have a nuclear family, we have found very little basis for supporting a model idealized by Susan Carpenter McMillan ("Ozzie & Harriet for the '90s: Ozzie & Harriet," Column Right, May 25) "where dads play one role and moms play another."

In our experience, the only things mom does that dad can't do are give birth and breast feed. Both of us change diapers, give baths, cuddle, read stories, wrestle, make dinner, earn a living, or sing songs, pitch a ball, explain things, give hugs and kisses, build castles, make a puppet talk and kiss a bump on the knee.

Kids need lots of adults who love them and give them attention. Young men need role models and societal approval for taking their fair share of the responsibility for child development. Dads in the 1950s were primarily breadwinners. No wonder they weren't happy!

The best thing about being a parent is nurturing a child in many different ways, and seeing the results in your child's physical, intellectual and social development. Those of us who have made a free choice of parenthood, and have built our families in whatever way will give all of us satisfaction and pleasure, will have the most success in raising our children.

ABBY HAIGHT ARNOLD

KARL ARNOLD

Santa Monica

* I don't know Susan Carpenter McMillan or what her marital or parental status is, but I dare say that a return to the Ozzie and Harriet world of the 1940s and 1950s that she so prescribes as the antidote to our moral decline would nearly excise from her italicized credentials everything but her name. She would not be a KABC-TV commentator, or a spokesperson for the Pro-Family Media Coalition, or a co-founder of ShE List. She would simply be Susan McMillan and she would not be writing Op-Ed pieces for The Times.

LAUREL HALL

Whittier

* Three cheers for Susan Carpenter McMillan. The premise of her column is right on. Exactly what have the past three decades of sociological "change" created for us? Certainly not the international respect our model society had at one time.

America doesn't need change. Bosnia and South Africa need change. America needs to return to its roots. Let us return to a time when it was considered an asset to have Ozzie and Harriet for neighbors.

TOM DASBACH

Newbury Park

* Since I was the sole support and a single parent of two boys and two girls for 11 years (all have grown up to be marvelous adults) I find the current lifestyle debate disturbing. By creating this debate we have reduced what are real problems in our society to liberal vs. conservative lifestyle decisions and eliminated the opportunity to effectively create an environment that would value all families and give support and acceptance to the non-traditional family as well as the traditional family.

Family dysfunction was alive and well in the families of the '40s and '50s. And it is rampant in today's families. Stop this silly debate about "Murphy Brown." Most non-traditional families are not made by choice but by circumstances. Let's work together to create an environment conducive to good mental health and family function.

KATHERINE L. TODD

North Hollywood

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