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Kylie Orr

What our parenting generation does well

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Kylie Orr

Ever feel like we attract a rubbish reputation when it comes to parenting? Our generation has been labelled everything from helicopter to bulldozer parents (ones who clear the way, removing obstacles to ensure success for their child).

 

Generally speaking, we are more well-off than our parents were. We are more in touch with our feelings and have a desire to offer as many enriching opportunities to our children as we can. This apparently makes us over-indulgent, over-involved, and at risk of creating self-entitled monsters who will neither be able to hold down a job nor fend for themselves.

 

I seek to challenge this notion that we are permanently damaging our children by looking at some of the child rearing traits we hold that are wonderful rather than woeful.

 

Shared load and gender equity (well, working on it)

 

As parents in this day and age, we share the parental load much more equitably.

 

In a standard household there may be one parent working full-time, while the other works part-time. Out-dated rigid roles where the full-time worker comes home to dinner on the table at 6pm, after which they remove their shoes and pop their feet on the ottoman whilst smoking a pipe, as the other parent takes care of children’s bath and bedtimes, are long-gone. The household and child-rearing load is shared.

 

Which parent works full-time and who works less hours is a completely individual decision made within the four walls of a family’s home. It’s no longer dominated by society that the man works, and the woman works at home.

 

Not to mention, with so many changing faces in family structure - we have same-sex parents, step- and blended families, single parents and a gamete of other dynamics - there is no longer a family “norm”. Social services that now recognise a growing diversity of families have also provided support that wasn’t available when I was growing up.

 

Workplaces still have significant headway to make in embracing flexible working arrangements. However, my husband and I both work from home, teleconferencing and commuting only when necessary. Rather than subscribing to an obsolete model where we must be in an office every day to show we are working, we can still be productive while working around family needs. Not all employers, or jobs roles for that matter, are as adaptable but they are certainly an improvement on my parents’ working days. My dad agrees that there is more pliability in our concept of work, “you’re open to shifting career gears, or whole careers, to achieve better balance at home. Our generation made all the shifts to accommodate the workplace. Home had to fit around work.”

 

Open conversations

 

I was lucky enough to grow up in a liberal-thinking household where informal, open discussions were frequently conducted about a range of topics.

 

Not all my friends were gifted such candidness.

 

As parents now, our generation is much better at listening to our children and validating their needs. This sometimes lands us in the “soft parent” basket, accused of letting kids rule our worlds but as my parents admitted, “You listen to your kids and respond to needs we would not even have acknowledged.”

 

Less smacks, more praise

 

A friend once confessed her dad gave her and her sisters a “just in case” bedtime smack each night, to cover bases should he have missed a misdemeanour during the day.

 

Nowadays, that would be considered child abuse.

 

The rights of children have undoubtedly become a priority and societal pressure around what is appropriate in the parenting field has infiltrated our homes.

 

This can be controversial and is often challenged but it has definitely spotlighted the less effective ways to discipline children. Smacking being one of them.

 

Praising positive behaviour and building our children’s self esteem are more popular methods of guidance and child rearing in today’s parenting arena.

 

Environmentally savvy with global awareness and connectivity

 

The whirlwind advances in technology over the past 30 years mean we are parenting in an entirely new sphere, with global awareness and connectivity that was a mystery to my parents.

 

Our children are used to a world of information at their fingertips (unless you live where I do, with an internet speed slower than Latvia). They can transcend physical boundaries, chatting to someone on the other side of the world.

 

Not all these developments in globalization have led to positive outcomes. The World Health Organization references widespread environmental devastation, with 30% of the world’s natural environment destroyed over the past 30 years, thanks to increased economic consumerism and unsustainable rates of consumption.

 

As a result, we are much more tuned in to our impact on the world and committed to educating the next generation in sustainable living and global responsibility.

 

It is true that each generation of parents will do their utmost to improve on the last. There will be ever-growing knowledge and access to resources we don’t currently have that may make our children look back on their childhood and cackle about how backwards we were. But as is the case, with every generation of parenting, we are doing the best we can with what we know and what we have.

 

So, fellow parents of this generation, I pat you on the back and offer some positive encouragement. Despite all the criticism, we are doing more than okay.

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dad2two_

 

Despite all the criticism, we are doing more than okay.

 

Sorry I disagree. Perhaps there are some things we as parents are doing well, but they are all totally negated by the fact we have taken the childhood obesity levels in Australia from one of the lowest in the world to one of the highest. It's so high, it is now referred to as an epidemic. So no, I don't think we are deserving of a pat on the back. We need a slap across the head.

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seayork2002

I used to think there is now less of the ‘seen but not heard’ and kids nowadays are being treated a bit more equal and not talked down to as much but now I think it has gone too far the other way.

 

Less smacking but having a 20 mins debate instead is not necessarily the way to go “now little Jane/Johnnie it might not be a very good idea to stick the fork in the electrical socket, now it is ok please do not stress but there was a research study done buy X university and they have found it is not really a good idea so lets all embrace and have a confab about it”

 

Back in time parents made decisions and just got onto it now we need a forum and a poll and endless angst about which bib to buy and is buying a pink one sending the wrong message

 

Then there is the multitude of parenting books and endless labels lets not feed kids how about we 'BLW'

 

Then we have the Ipad/gadget generation so I guess a positive is they can teach us :)

Edited by seayork2002
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Ellie bean

Less smacking but having a 20 mins debate instead is not necessarily the way to go “now little Jane/Johnnie it might not be a very good idea to stick the fork in the electrical socket, now it is ok please do not stress but there was a research study done buy X university and they have found it is not really a good idea so lets all embrace and have a confab about it”

 

Yeah because there is no middle ground between smacking and a 20 minute consultation...lol

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Kylie Orr

Sure, we have plenty of areas to improve but this was intentioned to lift spirits not crush them further.

 

In the scope of the article the word limit didn't allow me to document all the things we have improved on since the previous generation. And I have to qualify that we probably parent on the stricter side by today's standards.

 

Lord knows there are reams of virtual paper that have been dedicated to how crap we are. I think what we do badly is a constant commentary in most publications. I felt it would be nice to focus on what we do well for once :yes:!

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katpaws

Hmmm... I don't agree with a lot said in the blog. And what generation are we talking about? I am a way better parent than my mother (I'm Gen X) but that's because i don't believe in abusing children and i believe in being an educated and informed parent. And i think i am a better parent that some Gen Ys out there, who, for example, do the negotiation thing with three year olds that last for ages but doesn't achieve anything and pander to their kids. When my daughter was growing up negotiations were short and sweet and when she was asked to do something it was done in an age appropriate manner. My sister who is Gen Y is not a glowing picture of parenthood; she doesn't fit into the positives as mentioned in the blog.

 

I'd probably be considered a helicopter parent but i've only got one kid and i don't want to lose her. I don't consider myself a crap parent, although i would like to provide more material things for her (having a child killed my career opportunities).

Edited by katpaws

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Future-self

Sorry I disagree. Perhaps there are some things we as parents are doing well, but they are all totally negated by the fact we have taken the childhood obesity levels in Australia from one of the lowest in the world to one of the highest. It's so high, it is now referred to as an epidemic. So no, I don't think we are deserving of a pat on the back. We need a slap across the head.

Actually the great upward trend in obesity levels began in the 1970s-1980 - When many of this generation of parents were still to be born. And in fact there's a marked downward trend amongst preschoolers in obesity thereby indicating that this generation of parents with small children are in fact very conscious and aware.

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dad2two_

Actually the great upward trend in obesity levels began in the 1970s-1980 - When many of this generation of parents were still to be born. And in fact there's a marked downward trend amongst preschoolers in obesity thereby indicating that this generation of parents with small children are in fact very conscious and aware.

 

From the dept of health:

 

Around 20-25% of Australian children in 1995, aged 7-15 years were considered to be overweight or obese. This is double the prevalence recorded in 19861.

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Mumtotwo13

There's a thoughtfulness to current parenting that I like. We're more aware of how our decisions will impact our kids. We're more observant of them. We're more protective of our kids and their rights.

 

I hope this will lead to less child abuse.

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Gudrun

There's not only one generation on here, so I presume you are speaking to some of us only.

 

Further, someone else's experience or observations may be completely the opposite to these.

 

Just the other day people were observing that things may be going backwards in terms of some aspects of expected and perceived gender roles etc.

 

At any point in time there are many different families functioning in many different ways.

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Lou-bags

From the dept of health:

 

Around 20-25% of Australian children in 1995, aged 7-15 years were considered to be overweight or obese. This is double the prevalence recorded in 19861.

 

Yeh that actually supports Futureself's point, that the rapid trend of increased obesity rates in children started WELL before this generation of parents.

 

This upward trend has, by some accounts plateaued, and by other accounts is starting to trend downwards.

 

I don't think it's fair at all to say that this generation (though it's not overly clear which generation is actually described in this blog post) of parents are the ones that needed a slap upside the face, if you were in fact interested in doling out that kind of thing. It seems to me that on the whole, they are doing much better than their own parents did in this regard.

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Future-self

From the dept of health:

 

Around 20-25% of Australian children in 1995, aged 7-15 years were considered to be overweight or obese. This is double the prevalence recorded in 19861.

Yes, as I said, it began in the 80s. The stats you are quoting are the children of baby boomer parents. So not a failing of this current generation at all.

 

And the current parents of young children in the last five years are reversing the trend.

  • The prevalence of obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years decreased significantly from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 8.4% in 2011-2012.

 

 

Picture form

child-obesity-statistics-age-gender.gif

 

As you can see the huge spike is of the previous generation - plus a bit of a mix of Gen X parents too admittedly

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purplekitty

I'm not convinced about environmental concern although I'm not sure exactly what age parents we re discussing.

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Riotproof

You might have to put your birthdate out there, op.

 

It's 2016, so it is conceivable that someone born in 2000 could be a parent.

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Coffeegirl

You might have to put your birthdate out there, op.

 

It's 2016, so it is conceivable that someone born in 2000 could be a parent.

 

Yep and there are members on here who were born in the 60's and even earlier.

 

The blog talks of 'our generation' but there is at least a span of 40 years of different parenting styles on this forum, if not more.

 

So are we talking gen X, gen y, baby boomers? Who exactly?

 

Personally I think every generation brings good and bad things to the parenting table, but it doesn't mean that one generation is any better or worse than the other though!

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Plaxy

Yep and there are members on here who were born in the 60's and even earlier.

 

 

And even earlier!! Goodness gracious!

 

I think there were dinosaurs walking the earth when I was born.

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Acidulous Osprey

My generation did it perfectly.

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ABabyPlease

My kids diet is way better than mine was. I was fed formula milk, orange sugary drinks instead of water, lots of canned food, a handful of salt with every meal, jam or processed meat every lunch. The only vegetables we had was rehydrated peas and beans, potatoes and occasionally carrots or pumpkin.

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Ellie bean

I'd probably be considered a helicopter parent but i've only got one kid and i don't want to lose her.

 

I've got two and I'm quite happy to be called a helicopter parent, its better than the alternative! My parents let us do some horrendous things, they think it was their skill and that I'm crazy but IMO its pure luck that my brother and I survived :)

 

Sorry I disagree. Perhaps there are some things we as parents are doing well, but they are all totally negated by the fact we have taken the childhood obesity levels in Australia from one of the lowest in the world to one of the highest. It's so high, it is now referred to as an epidemic. So no, I don't think we are deserving of a pat on the back. We need a slap across the head.

I assume you mean we should pat you on the back and you want to slap everyone else across the head...

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Bam1

Not sure which generation you are speaking of but assuming it's your own, which should be similar to mine, I'm not sure what criticism you mean. remarking that parenting has gone downhill is an old chestnut that seems to be pulled out for every generation.

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JJ

You might have to put your birthdate out there, op.

 

It's 2016, so it is conceivable that someone born in 2000 could be a parent.

 

As a parent of a teen born in 2001, that scares the crap out of me! LOL

 

I think one of the things we're doing better than, say, when I was a child (late Gen X here) is treating children as individuals and accommodating their individual strengths and weaknesses. We have a much more accepting view of what constitutes "normal" IMO, plus we're generally not so hung up about being normal and fitting the mould anymore.

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dad2two_

I assume you mean we should pat you on the back and you want to slap everyone else across the head...

 

There seems to be this bizarre notion that parents who give their kids a healthy diet think they have done something wonderful and are deserving of praise. Hey look at me everybody my 5 year old eats broccoli aren't I the best parent in the world. Father of the year right here. :rolleyes: Giving your kids a decent diet is parenting 101, my kids eat veggies and fruit and salad, that's it. They haven't composed symphonies or painted a masterpiece. If your kid eats cucumbers, that is not a major achievement. That is not something anyone should be proud of or think is some kind of wondrous event, unless of course the child is ill or has a disability. We have friends going mental because our kids eat fish or cabbage like they have just smashed out moonlight sonata on the violin. How effing ridiculous. This is now the situation we're in - people mention their kids have a healthy diet and it's regarded as a brag, how sad and pathetic. You don't pat yourself on the back for doing the most basic of parenting duties FFS. You'll want a medal for wiping their ar$e next.

Edited by dad2two_

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Lucrezia Bauble

I thought the OP meant the parents who are raising this current - newest - generation of kids - in my case I'm gen X but early gen-y'ers could be as well.

 

I don't know if I'm doing things that differently to how previous generations were raised - I probably have a bit more emphasis on the household being a democracy rather than a dictatorship a la "because I'm your parent and I said so" - that's different to how I, personally, was raised - but many of my friends were raised in households like that.

 

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AsperHacker

 

I'd probably be considered a helicopter parent but i've only got one kid and i don't want to lose her.

 

Because those of us with more than one child aren't helicopter parents because we can afford to lose one or two of them?!?

 

The post was about things parents are doing that are right. Why do we have to take a blog piece and start in on the "oh but you didn't mention this thing that we're doing wrong... and this and this and this. Therefore, I disagree"?!? Or "so and so down the road doesn't do this stuff. Therefore, I disagree"?!?

 

I love arguing but why turn something written to build parents up into bringing them right back down again?

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Ellie bean

You'll want a medal for wiping their ar$e next.

Actually I would like one, if you're handing them out. Its not a task I'm fond of.

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