Marya Axner—
International Liberation Reference Person for Parents


We parents are up against so much right now. As society collapses, our families are highly vulnerable—to a failing economy, war, climate change, hunger, repressive governments, and increased oppression. Even if our family does not experience a big tragedy directly, we watch others suffer. That is painful in itself; we also understand that our family could be next.

We are struggling against economic oppression. We are not paid for our work as parents, which is at the heart of parents’ oppression. On top of that, in our paid jobs we have to work longer hours for less pay, making it difficult or impossible to support our families. Some parents are working at many jobs to make up the difference. Some cannot find any job at all and have no income. We want to provide for our families. Nothing is more painful than not being able to provide the basics for our children. When we aren’t able to do that, we blame ourselves.

As society falls apart, resources that used to be available to families are no longer available, making it tough to parent in the way we want to. We don’t have enough time for our children, our partners, or our extended families.

As our institutions break down, the whole society suffers but the effects on families are especially harsh. For example, when health care is not available, if a parent becomes sick, she or he cannot provide for her or his children, and they suffer too.

We are also facing a breakdown of communities and neighborhoods, largely because of loss of jobs. People don’t know each other or trust each other. Fewer people are going to church or synagogue or mosque—institutions that with all their problems have provided a place for people to find other people and connect.

In addition to parents’ oppression, parents are dealing with all the other oppressions, such as racism, classism, sexism, and young people’s oppression. As the economy falters, relationships between parents who are raising children together get strained, increasing the sexism aimed at mothers. Men’s oppression also increases.

Parents of children targeted by racism and genocide are struggling against the threats their children, in particular, face from police, other forms of violence, and suicide.

In many places schools are getting much harder for children, and for parents. There is less flexibility, and children are expected to work longer hours and produce more. They have little time to play and be close. Schools target all young people with violence and harshness and especially Children of the Global Majority and working-class children. Many parents struggle with what kind of school to put their children in. Some are homeschooling, but that is not an option for many.

In some parts of the world, drugs and alcohol are increasingly dominant in teen and young adult culture. As parents we struggle with keeping the lines of communication about them open with our children. The dominant culture frames drugs and alcohol as a moral issue in which those who use them are “bad”—rather than showing how refusing them is a liberation issue. Our RC young people need a lot of relaxed support to face the question of drugs and alcohol for themselves, while staying close to their friends who use them.

In the Global North, computers and smart phones have become an increasingly difficult issue for us as parents. As we work longer hours and spend less time with our children, our children use these devices more, which can lead to isolation and fewer opportunities for physical play. While computers have a lot to offer, some businesses use them to lead young people toward distressing and addictive websites, such as those that portray pornography or offer games with a lot of violence.

All these difficulties make us vulnerable to believing the lies of the oppressive society—that we are not good parents, that if only we figured it out better we wouldn’t have problems, that something is wrong with us as individuals. In addition, parents’ oppression is not recognized; it is accepted as the “way things are.”

The most important thing is to set up a society in which children and parents (and all people) are treasured.


It’s getting harder for parents to participate in RC classes and workshops. They have less time and money to do so, and they are more isolated.

As we reach out to parents targeted by racism and to working-class parents, we need to figure out ways to make our classes more flexible and welcoming.

We need to discharge any distress that would make us judge parents.

We need to support moms and dads to discharge both sexism and men’s oppression and learn to back [support] each other as co-parents, whether they are in a heterosexual couple or an LGBTQ one. There is still a lot of confusion about how to take responsibility for one’s distresses and work on disappointments and frozen needs. We also need to think about single parents and how hard it is for them to participate in the RC Community.

We parents need to get better at working on our chronic distress, so we can thrive, think better about ourselves and our children, and think about how to handle the collapsing society.

We all need to discharge on sexuality, drugs, and alcohol, to provide a safe place for parents and children.


Outside RC, we need to think about future generations and how they will deal with all these things and build a new society to replace the old one.

The world needs basic information about reality, and an understanding of distress recordings, oppression, human intelligence, and discharge.

Marya Axner

International Liberation Reference Person for Parents

Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time 188, July 2017)

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00