Then and Now: Raising Children

At a recent family gathering as we all cooed at my cousin’s darling little baby, raising children quickly became a trending topic at the table. From raising boys, multiple children of the same gender or even one of each gender – the fact is that parenting has become much more difficult in recent years than ever before.

My grandmother is 73 years old. She was the oldest daughter in a family of 5 girls. She married early in life and had four daughters of her own. My mother had three children, two girls and a boy. Then there is my family consisting of one girl and one boy.

While each parenting generation may have been faced with their own difficulties for that era, I stand by my view that parenting today is much harder.

Raising children today is increasingly more difficult than it was 20 to 30 years ago. It’s harder for numerous of reasons and I’m sure there are reasons that I haven’t even thought about yet.

Of course, you’re asking yourself how come parenting has become a much more difficult task when the basic tasks of raising children has become so much easier for parents with various tools and resources so readily available?

With these new tools comes information. Information that was not available to the parents of generations before us. We now spend countless hours researching each and every product available prior to bringing home a new baby. We search safety records, recalls, product reviews and we can only hope that our research has led us to the best product that our money can buy.  In previous generations, parents simple bought the same products as everyone else. Our parents didn’t have a large selection of products, the research was not required and there were no recalls or news stories to frighten you about the potential dangers of each new product.

There wasn’t any 24 hour news coverage or various social media platforms to remind you how dangerous the world has become. Today parents do not simply send their children outside to play unsupervised. This shit has to be well-planned and carefully coordinated. Our parents would simply send us outside to play with little to no worry for our safety, after all they did raise us. I remember growing up and being outside shortly after breakfast until dinner time. Often playing with friends, riding bikes, skipping rope or just running around being kids. Our parents worried less about us. They didn’t run after us spraying us with sunscreen every 20 minutes and they didn’t worry that we were running around dehydrated – they knew we’d find a hose and drink from it if we got that thirsty.

Then there is the expectation for parents to spend more time with their children. Growing up, I don’t ever recall my parents reading bed time stories to me, do you? Today’s parent will not only read multiple stories before bed time but we will also spend numerous hours on the floor engaging and playing intensively with our children. Research has shown that parent’s years ago were the complete opposite; while dad was out at work all day, mom was typically spending time on household chores while the children were often outside unsupervised and running around being children.

Our grandparents and parents raised their children the best way they knew how and people minded their own business. You raised your children and had little to say about how others raised theirs. Today, we are criticized, confronted and questioned publicly about our own parenting choices.  With the recent uprising of parenting blogs and online forums we can easily compare our choices to others and question which option is best and we forget that these are often personal family choices and are not required to be approved by others. We struggle daily with the choices we have made, contemplating whether or not we have made the right decisions.

So yes, while today we have more resources and tools available to us, we also are faced with a unique set of challenges that make parenting in today’s world harder than ever on parents.

Do you feel that parenting was easier in generations past or is it really easier today? E-mail me at busymomdiary@gmail.com. Please share and follow us to read about our adventures in parenting.

5 thoughts on “Then and Now: Raising Children

  1. We’re just now expecting our first kid but I can definitely see where it’s more difficult today. I’m also a teacher and it’s the same thing in teaching – new obstacle and problems to face that make things just a bit more complicated.

    Thanks for linking up at #bloggybrunch!

  2. I had this discussion with my husband’s grandmother a few years ago. We were staying at her home for a few days and she had the chance to see how we interacted with our kids and parented in general. She told me she was glad she had kids before parenting got so hard!

    1. For sure, it’s harder today. I do think other generations had their own struggles but it was less talked about because parents did what was expected of them and there wasn’t so much social media blasting parents for their choices, if that makes sense. Thank you for reading!

  3. You’ve selected an excellent topic for discussion. In terms of being able to communicate with my children and allowing then to communicate with me, that part has improved since my childhood. There were certain topics that we were too embarrassed, shy, or afraid to talk about with our parents. This included questions and concerns about sexuality, relationships, and managing emotions. In today’s world, we have to deal with social media and its impact on our children, which is something we didn’t have to worry about as teens and young adults. Each generation has its challenges and struggles, so it’s hard to say who had it rougher. But the comparisons, when categorized, can provide insights into what is helpful and what needs to be adapted when raising our children. Thanks for offering this important topic for discussion. I look forward to following your posts!

    1. Thank you so much. I think each generation had its own challenges. When you break it down piece by piece, there will be some parts that were harder previously and some that are harder now. This was just my two cents on these two points. Thank you for following.

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