“Things were different when I was raising my kids.”
“Kids didn’t have all these problems like (insert learning difficulty, neurological disorder, chronic health condition, allergy here) back in my day.”
We’ve all heard how different parenting is today compared to generations past. Some of us have probably even dropped a “back in my day” ourselves on occasion.
It often gets brought up like it’s big news: “Parenting is so different now!”
But what happened ‘back in the day’ probably wouldn’t have happened in the generation before.
We all seem so shocked that parenting has evolved, but why shouldn’t it have? Everything else has changed – technology, our lifestyles, even the environment. It stands to reason that the way we bring up our children changes as well.
Yes, reflecting on the way things have been done in the past can be helpful and informative. Getting hung up on how much things have changed is not.
Modern parenting is seen by many older generations as easier. After all, we have machines that wash our clothes, convenience stores on every corner and information at the tips of our fingers.
However, this perspective doesn’t account for the increased emotional, mental and logistical minefield today’s parents must navigate with their children.
Previous generations of parents didn’t have endless streams of (sometimes conflicting) studies, statistics and expert opinions telling them what they should or shouldn’t do for their child’s wellbeing.
They didn’t have to navigate a digital world that constantly throws up new challenges and potential hazards.
They didn’t have the pressures to give their child every possible opportunity to succeed in life, whether that be through schooling or extra curricular activities.
Previous generations lived simpler, less consumer driven lives and whether that is a good or bad thing, it was one less thing for them to contend with.
There is so much that contributes to the modern parenting landscape that comparing parenting today to parenting even 20 years ago is like comparing apples and oranges.
As modern parents we need to move away from the judgement offered by older generations and understand that the unique environment we are raising our children in is unchartered territory.
Yes, kids still have the same fundamental needs – food, shelter, education, love. But it is how we teach them to carve out their own place in the world that will define our success as parents in the modern era.