By David B. Hannah
I think three of the major differences between Parenting now and parenting 20 years ago are….
- The Family Dynamic.
- The lack of parenting skills.
- The lack of role models.
In the mid 90’s the family dynamic consisted of a mother, a father, and the child or children. It was a single family household where there may have been only one job or maybe the other parent had a part-time job. One of the parents (mom) stayed home to save money on daycare and to help raise their child or children. During that time parents raised their own children, parents disciplined their own children and the system didn’t get too much involved with that process. During that time education was something that people could see and would strive for it but it wasn’t always a possibility and to be able to have an education was a privilege. The parents were normally younger, maybe mid-twenties, but Grandparents were old. Grandmothers were the glue that held the families together. Grandfathers were spoken of in a respectful manner. They were legendary. They built the family from the ground up and drug them through depression and oppression. The grandparents were the backbone of the family. The family looked up to the grandparents. The grandparents were the elders, they were the role models. You wanted to be like grandmother. Grandmother kept the house together, cooked family meals, and made sure that the kids were taken care of. You wanted to be like grandfather. Grandfather worked hard in the fields, in the mines, or at whatever service job he may have had. He worked 10 to 12 hours a day every day. He put food on the table, provided, protected, supported, and worked his fingers to the bone to make sure the family had what they needed. Often grandfather went to war and became war heroes or the families created some fables about the metals he won. The grandparents were role models and respected. The grandparents passed on their parenting skills through demonstration. With this type of family dynamic it made it easier to raise your children. Your children respected you and listened to you. The family helped raise the children, not the system.
Somewhere between the mid-90’s and the present those things started changing. The family dynamic has become a single parent household with the other parent across town or not even in the picture, often leaving mom to raise the children by herself. A single parent faces many obstacles from finances to the ability to locate resources and services. However, for the portion of dads who are in the picture, they have what the courts call shared parenting. The children have become a bargaining tool. This creates a division in the family. It’s no longer two parents working together to make sure the children are taken care of. It’s become two parents almost competing in one way or another. The child has to learn how to navigate in two different worlds. It also creates a situation where the parents have to try to parent their household and the other parent’s household. While the parents are competing, oftentimes, parents try to be the child’s friend or the “Better Parent”, which causes the children to see that parent as an equal and an equal doesn’t get the same level of respect that a parent would. This action produces disrespectful children. So, now the parent or parents allow the children to do whatever makes them happy. At this point the control over what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong, is lost. As a whole children stopped getting told what to do and started getting asked what they wanted to do. Welcome to the new age parenting.
The dynamics have changed. As the dynamics are changing the lack of parenting skills play a great part in this whole scenario. Twenty years ago parents learned how to be parents from their grandparents and their parents. But now mom is 12 to 14 years older than the child, grandma is in her mid-40’s, and granddad is nowhere to be found. Who’s teaching who and what are they teaching? How does one teach another something they do not know? The parenting skills have been severed at the umbilical cord. Twenty years ago women taught young ladies how to be women. Where are the debutantes? Where are the Girl Scouts, in the inner city? There was a time when young men were taught by older men how to be a real man, how to be a provider, how to be a father. Where are the young David’s preparing for battle to fight Goliath? Where are the Boy Scouts in the inner city? Where are the groups of older men scooping up the groups of young men and young boys and taking them out and teaching them to fish? Teaching them to put down their guns or better yet, not to ever pick them up. Where did that time go in the last 20 years? I said all of that to say this. With all of those things missing in today’s parents, society asks them to raise a child up lacking the parenting skills of old. Twenty years ago society worked with parents, not against them. Parents now are trying to raise lost children. Young men have been castrated by the society they live in because they’ve never been taught how to “act right” and then the young ladies are labeled as easy because they were not taught how to be women without giving “it” up. This all goes back to the lack of parenting in the home. When they say it starts at home this is what they mean. If they are taught how to be productive adults, productive citizens, young men and young women at home, when they go out into the streets it will still be so. It has to do with the lack of parenting skills, but it’s not their parents fault because their parents didn’t pass on the proper parenting skills to them and now it’s a generational curse.
How has technology affected parenting now versus 20 years ago? Twenty years ago the internet was just now catching on and becoming real popular. Twenty years ago we had dial-up and you had to wait for whatever you wanted.. It wasn’t instant. The internet has created children who feel they deserve everything right now. For the most part parents start playing into it. This makes it difficult for a parent who would like their children to feel like they fit in with the other children, because parents don’t get to just compete with the neighbors or the community. They have to compete with the latest fashions across the globe. The internet is killing the interaction part of being human. While the internet is taking that interaction part of being human away from the children, the video games are de-sensitizing them. That’s why it’s so easy for a 12-year-old to pick a gun up and shoot another 12-year-old or to shoot their parent or whomever. Children have no sense of game over. These are the types of children society wants us as parents to raise. Children who grew up on the internet, not really sure how to interact with other children, which started at a young age. They have all this stuff getting sucked into their heads and then you add the fact that they are in a split family, where they’re with dad every other weekend, listening to the stuff that dad says about mom and the step mom says about mom, and then you go with mom during the week and you have to listen to mom talk about dad and his new wife. With all of this adding to all of that, it’s a wonder your child’s head doesn’t explode. Where does the child turn to, to clear their minds. THE INTERNET, looking for answers. Where are the role models? The role models have moved out of the house, they have migrated onto the TV screen, and computer screens, and all the smartphones. They are now millionaires and billionaires. They are now people in whom the children cannot touch. The role models are untouchable. Our Children’s role models are now in big square boxes, televisions, movie screens or the little boxes that are held in their hands, smartphones. Instead of being real live people in their household the role models have all become little and big square boxes.