I have been wanting to chime in about parenting today versus parenting past for quite sometime. The generational divide in parenting can cause tension, debates and even ruin relationships; and that’s just in my house.
Now, I understand that children are still children; that hasn’t changed. They still have developing brains and bodies, and are usually difficult and lovely all at the same time.
But the amount of information we have learned about their developing brains through research is nothing less than groundbreaking.
Times have changed, and in order to stay ahead of our children and provide them what they need to develop in today’s world, you have to acknowledge that. I want to kind of ‘explain’ where my generation is coming from and what we face as parents.
The days of busy signals and dial-up internet are long gone, you see. Days of playing outside from sunrise to sunset are basically fairy tales we will tell our kids to put them to sleep.
When my parents were growing up, bigger families were normal and often meant more hands to help out. Parenting from this generation was about survival rather then fine-tuning a human being. If the basic needs were met, then that parent was doing their job and could then focus on keeping the family afloat.
When I was growing up I played outside all day, everyday and I was a “latch-key kid.” I came home after school, let myself in and was unattended until an adult came home. I did not have access to a computer, except at school where we learned basics and played Oregon Trail. I do not remember kidnapping or online predators being something my family worried about.
Things have changed in so many ways since technologically has taken over our society. We have access to immediate information, food, doctors, taxis, porn… you name it. You carry a computer on your person, all day long.
We are over-run with technology! You may not be tech savvy, but that does not mean these things aren’t happening. Life with kids was VERY DIFFERENT in the 80s, which is when I was growing up.
Let’s start with the fact that I have absolutely no memory of having a car seat. Car seats weren’t even a thing when our parents were kids! Next, kids were able to walk around the city or town without much worry at earlier ages. You could let them walk to school, the corner store, a friend’s house. Now parents are turned into CPS if they let their kids walk to the park unattended.
Now, you have to add parental locks on every goddamn thing (doors, electronics, phones, TV). Kids have constant access today to technologies that were either considered a luxury or privilege or that didn’t exist in previous generations. ie. Phones, TV, laptops/tablets.
Can you imagine having a smart phone at 10? It is happening, and younger than 10! I had a pager when I turned 13 and let me tell you, I thought I was hot shit. It was bright teal green, by the way.
Kids also have tv’s in their bedrooms now. When was growing up we had one family tv and it was run by the man of the house. I got like 1 hour during the week and cartoons on saturday morning, and in my world I was lucky.
SIDE RANT: Social media is so important to today’s young people that they will delete pictures if they do not receive enough likes. There are countless stories of suicides tied one way or another to social media. Their goddamn self-esteem in tied to their social media accounts and how the “world” sees them.
Facebook, Instgram, Snapchat and tons of other apps that I am not hip to are something parents of my generation deal with. Having children who struggle to stay engaged because there is always a screen in their face is just an everyday struggle. Instant communication with who ever then want; instant internet connection at their under-developed fingertips (brain, not fingers y’all). It’s a disaster.
When I work on the weekends, family meals out mean head in phone and little to no interaction. Laptops are now an essential school item, like pencils and paper, so forget the notion that you just won’t give them any technology.
Was this an issue 30 years ago? No, no it was not. Parents today have to be one step ahead of their kids when it comes to technology and they have to monitor it.
Then we have the fact video games are changing the chemical make-up our youth’s brains’. We also have doctors over prescribing medication when there are organic therapies and options to consider. We have a school shooting epidemic to worry about. Oh, and the new common junkies are high-school aged kids who graduated from narcotic prescription pills to black-tar heroine.
Teen pregnancy is so last season. Now I am worried about my kid believing her self-worth is tied to her social media accounts, being targeted or preyed on by online predators, being shot at school (or anywhere) or trying hard drugs with friends.
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