Tag Archives: parenting

Times Have Changed… Are You Keeping Up?

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.

 

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Nature vs Nurture

Why is this important?

I got to talking with a friend of mine after wrapping up a photo session. For the first time, we discussed our particular health issues, treatment choices and just our overall daily struggles. It made me realize that so many women have some of the same worries about the impact of their youth on their adult life.

In my short thirty-something years, I can say with confidence that I have had some pretty bullshit hands dealt to me. I have had experiences that keep me up at night, now that I am a mother.

DSC_0240
            my inspiration

I spent the greater part of my adult life in this cycle of pity, self-destruction and an unhealthy obsession with success and proving everyone wrong. I made terrible decisions; thankfully this was before the ‘cloud’ reared its stupid head.

I really don’t like to dwell on the past anymore; it ruined me. It became this baggage that I literally carried around with me everyday. I was letting it weigh me down and I was letting it become my identity.

At my core, I believed that I would never be anything but that girl who was molested for years and whose mother threw her out like the trash when she was 15. The girl whose father took her in and kept her locked up like a bad secret.

Then life knocked at my door and made me face my reality. And as messy as it was, I did it. In return, I started making better decisions and started fucking sleeping better. In 2011, I started to slowly put the baggage down, piece by piece. It is 100% possible to change your own narrative.

Like anyone who has suffered, you struggle with the notion that history will repeat itself. That no matter what you do, you will become a product of your experiences.

I started to realize that I didn’t have to fight so hard to not become a product of childhood. That I would not become the mother I had or the shitty experiences I endured.

Nature Vs Nurture

Do you ever wonder why you are so different from your siblings? Or how you were able to overcome trauma that others could not? Or maybe you wonder why you do not relate well to your family?DSC_8302-S

Here’s what I know, and I am adding a reference for those who think I pull this shit out of my arrogant ass.

Researchers now believe that genes could have a stronger influence on temperament and personality than perviously thought. This is probably not a news flash, but the genes can influence such qualities such as optimism, depression and aggression. (Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy, 2007)

HOWEVER, “while a child inherits certain traits and tendencies through her genes, the story of how those traits develop has yet to be written,” explains Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy.

So what does this mean to me? We are a product of nature AND nurture. It means that we have genes that have been passed down through genetics that cannot be ignored AND our caregivers have to ability to help shape our personalities.

However, science has taught us that the human brain never stops growing and never loses the ability to form new connections and synapses (cells that join together in a network of connections). It gets more difficult with age, but change in attitudes and behaviors is always possible. Isn’t that a fantastic bit of information!

When have a lifetime of experiences to move past and taught behavior that doesn’t work for you, it can seem impossible. But the magic of the brain is that you have the ability to change your own narrative.

You can take what you learned and experienced through the nurturing phase of your life and use that to fine tune what nature gifted you. 14355531_1279686685397836_7803897842245525869_n

Despite the shit sandwich that was my youth, I am not a stripper with daddy issues who is on Welfare with 10 kids; despite what the statistics say!

Nelson, Jane, Erwin, Cheryl, Duffy, Roslyn. Positive Discipline for Preschooler, For Their Early Years- Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful and Resourceful. New York: Harmony Books, 2007.

 

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]