The conclusion the post came to was this “despite our parents’ worst efforts, we turned out ok. So it would seem. But we didn’t turn out OK.” And afterward, a list of issues are raised as problems from how they were parented.
As a child of that generation, I understand the point. And I also see the gap in the logic proposed.
We were expecting 19th-century kids to raise 20th-century kids who will parent in the 21st century.
And we thought it was going to be kumbaya.
Most of our parents grew up as kids when the only source of information was from the neighborhood they grew up in. When the TV came up, all the news and influences were from their region.
By the time they started raising kids, the TV had gone national, bringing influences from all over the country. And let’s not forget the movies and TV shows from other parts of the world, bringing new influences- something completely foreign to them.
Schooling had expanded to bring in kids from other parts of the country into one melting pot. Kids in school were not just one culture, it was a party over there.
It’s a different world from where they came from.
But we say we are better than they were.
Parents From Children
C.S Lewis calls such a thinking process chronological snobbery.
We think we are better than our parents because we now know more.
I won’t be surprised if my kids think some of what I did as a parent will not work for them as parents.
Each generation will have its unique problem which that generation of parents will need to adapt to.
By the way, the problems may look different but they remain the same. No matter the generation.
Now and again, I hear parenting experts try to shock you into action by telling you “the world is going to get more immoral”, “the jobs of today may be gone by the time your kids grow up”, and so on.
Newsflash! It’s the same thing that happened to us.
Jobs like the typist which existed when I was growing up had disappeared when I got into the labor market.
An unmarried guy and girl living together was a rarity when I was growing up, now “Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who, who?”
Same thing happening all over again.
So, am I saying we do nothing?
Well-equipped children for the future are a combination of pro-active parents and responsible kids.
Pro-active parents make sure they do everything on their part to make their kids ready for the future based on what they can envision. They don’t make excuses for not doing their best.
Responsible kids take action for the most important themes in their lives. They don’t sit on the by-line and hope daddy & mummy will make their best lives happen.
Sometimes, pro-active parents end up with ill-equipped adult children because the kids did not take responsibility for their lives.
Also, complacent parents end up with well-equipped adult children because the kids took responsibility for their lives.
No matter how good a parent is, the kids have to take responsibility before everything works out well.
Who Rigged the Game?
Yes, I agree that parenting is a different ballgame now.
Some rules still haven’t changed.
As a parent, you need to have a community and a support structure.
A community with whom you have shared values and beliefs, where your children can be safe and find good friendships.
A support structure that you can learn from and share the burden of parenting with others.
Our parents had family and tribal connections that were close to where most of us lived.
We have to get more creative.
I have to think of playdates for my kids – something I never had to do as a kid. I just walked to the next house on the street without notice and we played.
My wife and I joined a group of other parents where we all work through a training curriculum for a year.
We are all in different parts of the world.
Most of us may never meet.
But we learn from each other.
In a way of two.
No More No More
We can’t blame the parents of yesterday for the problems of the parents of today.
Most of the parents of yesterday did the best based on what they knew.
And that is what we the parents of today can hope to do for the parents of tomorrow.
No more blame-shifting.
Just accept the work shift you have because of the times you find yourself in.
And put in a good shift.
So that, in the end, you can say.
“I did my best to help my kids become the best they could become in the future they will face.”