Poll

Simple objective poll, do you think raising children in the modern world has gotten easier?

yes
22 (20.6%)
no
70 (65.4%)
I'm not a parent or I don't care or whatever
13 (12.1%)
other (write ins)
2 (1.9%)

Total Members Voted: 106

Voting closed: June 07, 2017, 05:57:28 PM

Author Topic: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?  (Read 5858 times)

EscapeVelocity2020

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I personally think some aspects of modern parenting are much easier than they were.  Long spans of time - "have a look at this little screen".  But other aspects are significantly harder - your friend has a $700 iPhone, well, sucks to be you.  And, 'I know this or the price is too high...' - and the internet trumps you.
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Sibley

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 07:43:39 PM »
I'm not a parent, but that also means I can look at parenting objectively. The expectations and pressures on parents today are completely insane, and I think a lot of what parents are "supposed to do" is really detrimental for children in the long term.

Yes, there are tools and resources that may be helpful. But I don't think it's enough to make up for the general insanity right now.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 07:50:22 PM »
Just FYI - my vote is 'no', although it is easier to distract children and keep the 'busy' and satiated.  Giving my children a wholesome fulfilling appreciation of life takes the same amount of effort, and I feel undermined by modern life most of the time. 
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okits

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 10:54:40 PM »
I'm also going to go with "no".  My kids are young but I know that soon enough we'll have to contend with "so-and-so has an iPhone/iPad" and negotiating Internet and social media usage. 

There was no sexting or cyber bullying when I was growing up.  A responsible kid could be at home alone or walk to school alone (didn't have to be 12 or 14 or whatever the hyper-cautious standard is now).  Body image expectations for youth-targeted celebrities (what kids see and try to emulate) are crazy (when I was young boys needed to be tall and muscular, girls needed to be thin and pretty.  Now boys also have to have six-pack abs and girls also need to be super-toned with breast implants.)  Porn and violent content are ridiculously easy to access. 

The surveillance and judgment is extreme.  If your kid is playing alone in the backyard (even if you're supervising from inside) someone may call the police.  You're a bad parent if you let your kid eat a fast food meal, ever.  Heaven forbid a drop of formula ever touches your baby's lips!  If you do/don't use daycare or do/don't have a dual career family you're damaging your child.  The expectation of a university education at a prestigious school has filtered down through the middle class, where a degree is now something to be pursued at great expense and beyond the boundaries of good reason (in some cases). 

Being able to hand my kid a handheld computer to keep her/him quiet is not enough to balance all that out.

Just FYI - my vote is 'no', although it is easier to distract children and keep the 'busy' and satiated.  Giving my children a wholesome fulfilling appreciation of life takes the same amount of effort, and I feel undermined by modern life most of the time. 

I can relate to this.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 11:28:13 PM »
It doesn't matter. Life is life.

Hargrove

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 01:22:19 AM »
It doesn't matter. Life is life.

Nnnn... nnnn... nuh uh!

Lol.

Socialization always removed some parental control. Parents were afraid their kids would play with the "wrong" kids and such. It has gotten, uh, a little weird, though. Kids can teach each other about sex with video tutorials, revel in ultraviolence and beating-up-homeless-guy clips on Youtube, request a $600 computer their friends all have at age 8...

Parents always, at various stages, lose control. If Something Bad™ happens, we don't really forgive them.

Yet, we made it really easy for them to lose control... (various barely filter-able "normal" social influences)...
raised the stakes significantly (the kids better go to college, and pre-k, and post-k)...
heightened our willingness to intervene (this brain candy will help you focus past your ADD, Billy)...
increased the control parents are expected to have (no kids outside in the fenced-in yard!)...
parents have less time than ever to deal with it (both working)...
and it costs more than ever (you love Junior enough to pay for college, right?)

You could still make the argument, though, that this is just... the crazy mess we never thought about inheriting because we didn't feel it was part of our responsibility, until we thought about becoming parents. Maybe the shock is the same shock our parents had. You can find an Elvis or Ozzy Osbourne in every generation. Is ours just "the internet," or is it significantly worse than that? Did we make a lot of these problems and just start pretending we couldn't solve them?

I won't give a kid a cell phone very young, that's for sure. I won't pay for college, though I may pay for some as a surprize after one goes and graduates, having signed their own loan papers with the credit rating they built from age 16. If I marry my SO, she wants to be a SAHM and work part-time to keep propelling our savings, while I would still plan to come home and help with house work.

There's a danger in thinking your situation is specialer than a very similar situation scores of others dealt with.

Laura33

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 07:09:31 AM »
I think it is overall equivalent, just very different.  Our kids are physically much safer than ever before (car seats, penicillin, etc), and there is much more paid support available than ever before (daycare, maid services -- when I was a kid, you had to be wealthy enough to have a nanny/maid).  OTOH, we appear to have offset those "ways to make parenting easier" with additional self-imposed demands to make it harder ("enrichment"; this concept that kids must be engaged and overseen at all times vs stuck in a playpen or kicked outside). 

I also think much of the answer depends on how much your life conforms to the social norms of the time/place you live in.  If you enjoy being a SAHM, then parenting would have been easier for you several decades ago, when it was easier to support a family on a single income, and your life conformed to the social norms.  OTOH, if you were a single mom like my mom, who both needed and wanted to work, life now would be much easier, because you have things like paid daycare, and being divorced no longer means "man-stealing Jezebel" to the rest of the neighborhood.  Similarly, for LBGTQ people, parenting is largely much better, as there are at least parts of the world where that is socially accepted and legally allowed.  OTOH, for an anti-materialist Mustachian, life might have been easier back when my dad was a kid, when they ran around the farm and went hunting in the woods all day.

I am not as much compelled by the "big risks" argument, because whatever choices and risks we had seemed just as big/important/difficult then as they do now.  My parents had to worry about AIDS and cocaine/crack and Mutually Assured Destruction; their parents had to worry about the Cuban Missile Crisis and sex and drugs and rock and roll and their kids being shipped off to Vietnam; their parents had to worry about WWII; etc etc etc.  as Roseanne Roseannadanna said, it's always something.  I do tend to think we have it easier big-picture than parents in the Great Depression and WWs, when your kids' survival was at risk and you didn't know if you could put food on the table; OTOH, I also don't live in a dying factory town, wondering when I am going to be laid off and my job sent overseas.  Etc.

I feel the same way about the "stuff" issue.  Yes, there is lots more stuff for kids to be tempted by, but it is also far more affordable than it was before -- when I was a kid, I couldn't even have a Big Wheel because it cost too much, and only the one rich kid in town had a swingset (one of the metal kind with three swings); now you can get all varieties of plastic crap for $20, and every other yard has some version of a swingset or plastic playhouse or something.  And no matter what income level you are at, there is always, always, stuff that your kids will want that you either cannot afford or are not willing to get them.  When I was a kid, it was the $40 alligator shirt and the $100+ Air Jordans -- yeah, it's not the same cost as an iPhone, but when your mom makes $22K a year, it is equally unaffordable.  And now we are in a much higher socioeconomic bracket and can afford to get my kid a phone (and honestly enjoy the independence it allows her and convenience for me personally to be able to work and still know what she is up to), but that also means full-pay for college (so do we try to save $100K, or do we plan on her working full-time and taking out $50K in loans, or somewhere between the two?  And no, my kids are not special enough to count on any kind of scholarship). 

Yes, it's a first-world problem -- but the point is, no matter where you are, there is always someone who has more than you, and always someone who has less, and you need to figure out your own morals and values and how to say no when the kids plead for things that you don't want them to have.  I get so angry at my kid sometimes for not appreciating how much she has -- but it's all she's ever known, so she has no way to compare.  Just as I have no way to compare my life to my mom's or to her mom's before her.  So I have to assume that their problems felt just as real and serious to them as mine do to me, and vice-versa.
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shawndoggy

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 07:30:22 AM »
It has always been hard, and for the most part people always try to do the best they can within their social context.

Yeah now there is cyberbullying... but when I was a kid, bullying itself was really something more like "don't be a victim."

Sure, parents these days are a bit more helicopterish (at least in certain social strata) than parents were when I was a kid.  In a way, I think that that gave me a little more self reliance and a little more problem solving ability as a young adult.  At the same time it also exposed me to a bunch of shit that I was unprepared to deal with at 15 or 16 or 17, and my own kids have had the opportunity to extend their childhoods a bit during that time. 

For example, my mom didn't give two shits about what was happening at my high school, and neither did any of my friends' moms.  But my wife and I (as well as my kids' friends' parents) have been very involved.  I don't think that that's "better" or "worse" parenting, it's just a reflection of shifting social norms.


little_brown_dog

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 12:03:03 PM »
Yes and no….alot of it depends on socioeconomic circumstances. But assuming we are comparing upper middle class American me, to my upper middle class American parents, I say some things are harder while some things are easier.

Psychological stress of being a “good parent” – Much worse today. With all the new public health and educational achievements over the years, there are more rules and must-dos for parents nowadays. For example, in the early 80s, according to my mom, no one cared if you didn’t or couldn’t breastfeed. If your baby struggled, you just gave a bottle – no big deal. Nowadays, breastfeeding has transformed from a “nice to have” or “try it” to a “must do” according to our pub health guidelines, and parents who fail to achieve breastfeeding perfection (aka: exclusive, extended >6mo) are often viewed as subpar parents – failures. Same goes for other things like eating organic, avoiding sugar, no screen time, pressure to put kids in the best schools, etc. There are just more things to beat yourself up over because we have more options, more data, more guidelines, etc. If you have a kid with a disability, you have access to much better treatment options and screening, but that comes with the pressure to push yourself and your kid to the max with special schools, tutors, early intervention in order to try to give them the best opportunities (whereas before people used to just accept that some people were going to be pretty limited).
Safety – Better today – Even though we probably have more stress related to our kids’ health and safety today due to all the new guidelines/rules, overall things are a lot safer for kids nowadays. Kids are far, far safer thanks to better carseats and guidelines on their use, child proofing and fall/accident awareness and prevention, widespread availability of first aid/cpr classes, etc. SIDS rates dropped dramatically once we realized that we could prevent the majority of cases by putting kids to sleep on their backs, in their own cribs, and without any bedding or stuffed animals. So, while I may be way more stressed about following those safe sleep rules, my kid is far less likely to die from accidental sleep death than I was as a kid in the early 80s, when parents weren’t scared about sleep safety but routinely put babies in dangerous sleep environments. I’d rather be worried about safe sleep than have a kid at risk for accidental death. We have some unique safety concerns that are on the rise, like mass shootings, but overall your kid is far more likely to make it to adulthood without dying from an accident than ever before.

Health – Better today – Overall, human health has continued to improve in terms of the major killers/problems for children, like vaccine preventable illness, water quality problems, etc. My mom battled chickenpox with all her kids, but most kids don’t get chickenpox today thanks to the vaccine. And while more kids are obese and diabetic today, that epidemic really took off when I was a kid. In the 80s, no one knew how bad soda and sugar were for you. Now we know and we have health guidelines and information so that parents with the knowledge and resources can keep their kids safe from those long term problems as well. Upper middle class parents today who are having their babies know all about the importance of avoiding gestational diabetes, avoiding sugar and too much processed foods in infancy/toddlerhood, etc. My parents didn’t know that. We also have much better environmental regulations today - they are far, far from perfect, but they are a crapload better than what they used to be. The water my daughter drinks is cleaner, the air is cleaner, and her toys and environment far less likely to be polluted by lead or other heavy metals. Apparently the mid 1900s were disgusting in terms of pollution and enviro toxins. So while my peer group panics about organic and gmos (that parenting stress) in reality our kids are much safer from pollutants now than they were 3-4 decades ago.

In short – for us in the privileged lot, as we have done away with the most pressing concerns of parenting that have consumed parents for centuries (accidents/disease/violence/access to enough food/decent education/etc), they have been replaced by more mental health woes like stress and “higher level” concerns like bullying, self esteem, career trajectory, perfecting one’s diet to avoid disease, etc.  In many ways, the fact that many of us have moved on to these more abstract issues shows that indeed, parenting overall has gotten easier over time for huge swaths of the population. But that does not mean it is EASY. The challenges are just different for many of us now.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 12:18:14 PM by little_brown_dog »

Milizard

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 07:05:21 PM »
I'm not a parent, but that also means I can look at parenting objectively. The expectations and pressures on parents today are completely insane, and I think a lot of what parents are "supposed to do" is really detrimental for children in the long term.

Yes, there are tools and resources that may be helpful. But I don't think it's enough to make up for the general insanity right now.

I am a parent, but +1 on rest.

scantee

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2017, 09:01:48 AM »
I responded "yes" but mostly I think it's about the same difficulty it always has been, just with a different set of challenges.

My sense is that the parenting insanity of the current moment is mostly attributable upper-middle class parents' anxiety about their children's futures in our winner-take-all society. That anxiety fuels an (unconscious, I think) desire on the part of parents' to provide the very best in every realm so that their children will have a leg up compared to all of the other upper middle class children whose parents couldn't or didn't make the optimal choice. We see this crop up in all of the parenting wars about the "best" way to raise kids. Breastfeed/bottle feed. Stay-at-home/work. Attachment parenting/traditional parenting. Lots of activities/more unscheduled time. Public school/private school. And on and on. I think there is this sense that if we just make the right decisions and give our kids these just-so-perfect lives then they won't be at risk for falling down the economic ladder towards a lifetime of struggle.

To me, none of these decisions is all that important. There is no way to game the system, choose the exact right life, and ensure your kids will have struggle-free lives 20 to 30 years from now. What really matters is what has always mattered: being there for them, supporting and guiding them, helping them develop the emotional and intellectual tools to adapt and thrive in whatever environment they find themselves in as adults. 

Milizard

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2017, 09:54:26 AM »
I grew up in the 80's--a time when kids were allowed to roam freely, be left alone, be a little independent, and parents didn't get in trouble with the law for it.  I went to sports practices on my own--on my bike, and parents weren't expected to sit on their asses watching intently from the sidelines the whole time.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2017, 09:58:31 AM »
I think there is this sense that if we just make the right decisions and give our kids these just-so-perfect lives then they won't be at risk for falling down the economic ladder towards a lifetime of struggle.

Yes….or that they can keep their kids from getting sick which is a major fear of all parents (both short term and long term illness). The personal health movement has been very empowering, but the brutal downside is that it basically turns poor health into a victim blaming endeavor. It leads to this completely false notion that you can completely prevent or protect yourself as long as you do “all the right things” and if you don’t then well, it’s your fault if you get sick. If your kid as asthma it must be because you didn't breastfeed exclusively. If your kid is chubby, it must be because you let them eat too many cookies on occasion. This is a complete bastardization of health science and risk assessment, but the public eats this type of ideological thinking up and asks for seconds.

scantee

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2017, 10:35:14 AM »
I think there is this sense that if we just make the right decisions and give our kids these just-so-perfect lives then they won't be at risk for falling down the economic ladder towards a lifetime of struggle.

Yes….or that they can keep their kids from getting sick which is a major fear of all parents (both short term and long term illness). The personal health movement has been very empowering, but the brutal downside is that it basically turns poor health into a victim blaming endeavor. It leads to this completely false notion that you can completely prevent or protect yourself as long as you do “all the right things” and if you don’t then well, it’s your fault if you get sick. If your kid as asthma it must be because you didn't breastfeed exclusively. If your kid is chubby, it must be because you let them eat too many cookies on occasion. This is a complete bastardization of health science and risk assessment, but the public eats this type of ideological thinking up and asks for seconds.

Totally.

This is even more true when it comes to children's mental health. Some of our privileged children, who've been given every advantage in the world, will still struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, and other mental health diseases, and a lot of that (not all, but a lot) is completely out of our control. For some kids, their mental health issues will limit their ability to succeed in traditional ways. Is this somehow a parental failing? Sadly, I think some people truly think it is.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 06:03:14 AM »
What poster said about how the enviroment IS better regulated, from car seats to pollution, means we have time to worry about upper-level things.

But also worsening economic inequality is increasing the anxiety parents have about preparing their kids for a good future. Before parents worried about physical safety, now we worry about making sure they're getting the correct stimulation to be the best they can be (because otherwise.... doom and gloom).
 
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2017, 06:24:36 AM »
Ugh...parents these days get in trouble with the police for things that would have been very mainstream in the past.  Oh you let your 12 year old walk half a block to the park by themselves!  Child endangerment!  Child sitting alone in front of neighbors houses for the school bus, neglect!  Parents getting in trouble for walking kids to and from school. 

Technology and medical advancements have made quality of life from a health standpoint better, but those advancements also brings along things like cyber bullying and the want for that higher technology.  You used to get picked on by a group of kids at your school but now multiply that by every bully at every school because everyone is online.  I think it is harder for the kids as well. 



Pigeon

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2017, 06:37:59 AM »
I think it is just different and we tend to romanticize the past. 

I grew up in an era and demographic where birth control was frowned on.  My parents had way too many kids, as did most of the families around us.  My mother was completely done with mothering by the time I came along, but she had to do it anyway.  So that absolutely sucked.

I'm so happy that the automatic expectation that women will be SAHMs is gone.  I worked full time right through.  It was and is hard, no doubt.  But I would have been in an asylum after a month as a SAHM, and I enjoy my career and we have benefitted greatly from it.

The technology has its pros and cons.  I don't much like the social media and constant texting aspect of it for kids, but I do like being able to be in touch when plans change, etc.

I think our societal attitudes toward bullying, racism and homophobia, while not perfect, are much better.  I had one kid who was being bullied in school and one call to the vice principal and he stopped that kid in his tracks.  My husband went through the same district and adults never intervened in bullying.

There are higher expectations for kids to be involved with activities.  That's hard on parents.  It can be hard on kids or it can be fabulous.  I'm a little jealous of the music and dance opportunities my kids have experienced and I think they'll lead richer lives because of it.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2017, 05:25:08 AM »
Just want to wrap this up by saying I'm actually surprised how decisively 'no' the answer was, at least for this demographic.  Technology was supposed to make things better and easier.  Geeze, thanks Joan and George Jetson!
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daverobev

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2017, 08:49:08 AM »
I'm interested to hear people saying about pressure about being a model parent a lot.

I guess I'm too much of an introvert, but I pretty much only hear about this online. Perhaps it'll change when my children go to school (as opposed to daycare for the eldest - school starts this year!).

I mean... Canada is def. different to the UK (I'm in Canada now, but spent most of my life including all of my childhood in the UK). There were all sorts of adverts, notices and lectures about not getting into cars with, or accepting sweets from, strangers. I certainly don't feel that Canada-now is more 'sinister' than the UK was when I was growing up.

The peer pressure shit... well, I don't do Facebook or any of that. I don't know if we are judged.. though I did get the police called on me once for leaving my daughter in her pram in our driveway, in the shade of a tree while she was sleeping.

I think I'm taking a rational stance. I'm a 'shitty' parent in that, again, I'm an introvert and hate 'activities'. I take her to the park, but her mum mostly takes her to parties and things. I take her for walks and play with lego and read stories. I'm lucky that her mum likes 'having fun'. I feel she is getting a range of experiences.

Life is certainly easier for us than it was for my mum, who was a single parent. I would guess it is easier for us than it was for my wife's parents, because they were both teachers, whereas I am self employed with a very laid back client, and my wife combines part time and self employed stuff, so we are both at home a lot.

For someone working three jobs? No, life's hard, and would've been hard 30 years ago too. But less stigma these days. And in Canada, a LOAD more government money (I assume?).
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TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2017, 08:55:56 AM »
I'll touch on one of the main differences that I see, and conversations that I've had with my father-in-law.
The biggest difference is how much more hands on fathers seem to be then they were when we were kids.  Now, I'm not saying my dad wasn't there, because he attended every event and was always there to help me when I needed it.  However, my father-in-law was a farmer, raised crops and had quite a few head of livestock.  He'll tell me, and he does quite often, that he is impressed with how much time I'm able to spend with my girls.  He was always out of the house, but, there was reasons for that.  The farm made them survive, and how has made the family prosper.  It was hard work, but he said most nights he wasn't back inside until his kids were in bed.  Now, there are 3 months out of the year that I'm in a similar position, those times being when we are planting or harvesting our crops.  But, besides that, I do my best to always get home at a reasonable time, and limit my after work activities so I can spend time with the family.

Is parenting harder than it was before?  I don't think it's any harder, I think technology has made teaching children a bit easier in some ways, but technology has also probably hindered parenting as well.  It's too easy for me, after I've had a long day or a long week, to come home, and turn the tablet on for my 3 year old while she's eating supper or while me and my wife are having family discussions.

I know that when we were kids, we'd often be outside and around our small town until it was dark.  While that sounds cliche, it was true.  I think the amount of information that we, as parents, now see with kidnappings, murders, and kids going missing in general gives us a hesitancy to not allow our kids to play outside by themselves, not give them the leash that we had as kids.  That's both good and bad, but it does make parenting a lot more hands on then it probably was 25 years ago.


Also, that's all probably really poorly worded...the baby has had a 102 degree temp for two days, and I haven't slept, so disregard anything that doesn't make sense.

hunniebun

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2017, 08:57:02 AM »
My parents never had to worry about someone calling child and family services for letting me and my brother play outside when we 6 and 10 or whatever. Now this is common occurance...


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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2017, 07:56:43 PM »
I think that the actual active work of raising kids is way easier... our lives in general are thanks to advances like baby swings, delivery, Amazon prime, disposable diapers and TV.

What has gotten harder, I think, is the emotional and psychological side of things. We now have the expectation of controlling our world and our lives and for many people, having kids is  our first experience with having absolutely no control and having to just accept being unhappy and uncertain. It's extremely different from how we interact with other parts of our lives and requires a different mental skill set that many of us haven't developed; accepting pain and fear, hardship, lack of control and being fully present and responsive in the current moment. My guess is that previous generations lived in a world that better developed those skills before people had kids and so people had those skills already available.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2017, 08:20:37 PM »
I vote for much, much easier. I had an epidural with my second kid for Pete's sake. Just the comparison between the two labors was quite an education in how much easier the modern world makes it to be a parent.

I can do all the housework for the week in two days. That's all the meals cooked, all the laundry done, all the floors cleaned, everything we need to keep functioning taken care of. Frees up 40 hours per week for me to work at my intellectually stimulating job.

All the pressure on parents--I keep a mental firewall against that stuff and as a teacher I've seen plenty of other parents who do their own thing, completely disregarding the stereotypical modern expectations. It's possible to keep activities to a minimum and let kids be kids. Probably helps that I live in a densely populated working class neighborhood of immigrants. Raising children for most of these people is a similar project to what it was many decades ago. Lots of free range kids running around cuz that's just how the neighborhood families roll.
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2017, 08:22:55 PM »
I think that the actual active work of raising kids is way easier... our lives in general are thanks to advances like baby swings, delivery, Amazon prime, disposable diapers and TV.

What has gotten harder, I think, is the emotional and psychological side of things. We now have the expectation of controlling our world and our lives and for many people, having kids is  our first experience with having absolutely no control and having to just accept being unhappy and uncertain. It's extremely different from how we interact with other parts of our lives and requires a different mental skill set that many of us haven't developed; accepting pain and fear, hardship, lack of control and being fully present and responsive in the current moment. My guess is that previous generations lived in a world that better developed those skills before people had kids and so people had those skills already available.

Nice insight NUF.  It certainly is easier, on long flights or road trips, to have distraction.  Same goes for any downtime, except it becomes a crutch.  I'm sure my parents would be jealous given the horrendous road trips I took as a youth that brought myself and my sisters within an inch of our lives, but it must be used judiciously.  That's why I was so surprised that the overwhelming answer was no.  I thought more parents enjoyed this new option of throwing iPads in front of their kids and having them become zombies.
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2017, 05:49:39 AM »
EV2020 - Thanks! I think we're so used to being able to pick up a phone and have people bring food to us, or just go somewhere and get clean diapers that we forget the reality of having to cook food from scratch for every meal no matter how tired parents were, or having to hand wash cloth diapers after babies had gone to bed.

Parents one generation ago had many of the same social pressures that we do now. I know my parents stretched financially to buy us into the best school district they could afford, and I remember my mother feeling stressed out and guilty at feeding us pizza.

I wonder how much of this debate is the fact that we remember the past as children, we didn't really have access to all the shitty parts. But we experience the present reality of parenting as adults, shitty parts galore.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2017, 06:36:48 AM »
I wonder how much of this debate is the fact that we remember the past as children, we didn't really have access to all the shitty parts. But we experience the present reality of parenting as adults, shitty parts galore.

This.  I remember a conversation with my Granny -- in my know-it-all way, I was ranting about how I couldn't believe people had built homes with these beautiful hardwood floors, and then they had come along and covered it up with nasty wall-to-wall carpet.  And she listened, and then after a while said very quietly, well, I had hardwood floors in Kansas with the three boys, and with the dust and the dirt and the dog it took me four hours on my hands and knees every Saturday to scrub them, and then I had to do it again to put the beeswax on to polish them up.  So when I got carpet and could just run the vacuum over it, I was happy as a clam.  I never want to see hardwood again.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2017, 06:54:44 AM »
As a parent in the modern times we live, the ease comes with the improved safety and abundance of resources everywhere (somewhat previously mentioned). The library is full of books and movies and has tons of kids programs. There are more kid-carrying accessories for bicycles than the hard plastic seat I sat in as a child without a helmet.

In general, I second the thought that's is about the same difficulty but really different from a generation ago. With this forum and other like-minded individuals being able to connect, share ideas, or vent frustration with the social pressures around us, I think it's a little easier (especially to live a more frugal lifestyle). Even with the constant stream of advertising that goes with the internet, my kids are better off because I can tell/show them that the world is bigger than just the here and now of our city or area.

Plus, the ability to watch DIY videos on just about anything makes me much more useful as a dad who can fix things.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2017, 07:38:12 AM »
Social media really is toxic, thanks for bringing that up.  Two recent stories come to mind.  Apparently Netflix released a series with a graphic depiction of teen suicide (Thirteen Reasons) and it swept across my son's Jr. High school like wildfire.  My son had no interest or awareness of this stuff, but the exposure was there and we had to have a long and difficult discussion about it.  He is still very confused, since he isn't fully in the throes of adolescence.  The second story is really terrible, so you might want to not read it, but it's a sad reality.  Apparently a girl sent some 'nude pics' to her boyfriend and he shared them around school.  The two students were promptly removed when it was finally caught, and since they are teenagers it became a police matter.  The girl has still not returned to school.  The boy then confessed that he took a photo off of the internet and photoshopped her face on to it.  Apparently the boy has been in trouble multiple times and does stuff like this for attention. 

So yeah, no social media and have to be very careful with closed chat groups.  Even then, weird 'fads' pop up out of nowhere, like 'the cinnamon challenge', odd or dangerous pranks, and just plain annoying time wasters like bottle flipping.   
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2017, 11:39:07 AM »
As far as first-world nations go, the US is one of the worst places to have kids, because our country is not built around families; it's built around cars and making money. We don't have paid, parental leave as a nation, we don't have guaranteed healthcare that won't bankrupt us, we don't have cheap daycare for all. France, Israel, Scandinavia, etc all have much better, family-oriented situations.

As far as comparing USA-today vs USA-in-the-60s-through-80s, I'd say our parents had it easier, simply because the nation was overall less uptight about leaving kids along at home and letting them roam.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2017, 02:41:11 PM »
I grew up in the 80's--a time when kids were allowed to roam freely, be left alone, be a little independent, and parents didn't get in trouble with the law for it.  I went to sports practices on my own--on my bike, and parents weren't expected to sit on their asses watching intently from the sidelines the whole time.

Agree. The No.1 challenge today is kids don't learn any sense of independence, initiative or autonomy. Yes, they're scheduled in a dozen different activities. They go to school where they're taught-to-the-test, to check the boxes, and to collect trophies, certificates, and participation awards by the truckload. Any free time is spent in front of screens. You will not find kids mowing lawns, starting businesses, getting on their bikes and going anywhere, playing outside, developing hobbies and interests that aren't part of organized, adult-led activities. A child today can be an elite athlete and have never played or practiced without adult supervision. They've never played pick-up sports of any sort. A child today can reach the age of adulthood without having ever broken a sweat working -- i.e. yardwork, home repair, house painting. Independence? Most 16-year-olds couldn't care less if they get a driver's license or not. Their lives are all about sitting at home staring at a phone.

My sons, 14 and 11, are high achievers at school and in sports. And yet I worry constantly about all of the above. Our screen-based, helicopter parenting, every-kid-is-a-winner, no-child-left-behind culture has made parenting far more difficult than it was when I grew up. (I'm 47).
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 02:43:08 PM by LiveLean »
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High Income Parent

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2017, 04:30:34 PM »
I grew up in the 80's--a time when kids were allowed to roam freely, be left alone, be a little independent, and parents didn't get in trouble with the law for it.  I went to sports practices on my own--on my bike, and parents weren't expected to sit on their asses watching intently from the sidelines the whole time.

Agree. The No.1 challenge today is kids don't learn any sense of independence, initiative or autonomy. Yes, they're scheduled in a dozen different activities. They go to school where they're taught-to-the-test, to check the boxes, and to collect trophies, certificates, and participation awards by the truckload. Any free time is spent in front of screens. You will not find kids mowing lawns, starting businesses, getting on their bikes and going anywhere, playing outside, developing hobbies and interests that aren't part of organized, adult-led activities. A child today can be an elite athlete and have never played or practiced without adult supervision. They've never played pick-up sports of any sort. A child today can reach the age of adulthood without having ever broken a sweat working -- i.e. yard work, home repair, house painting. Independence? Most 16-year-olds couldn't care less if they get a driver's license or not. Their lives are all about sitting at home staring at a phone.

My sons, 14 and 11, are high achievers at school and in sports. And yet I worry constantly about all of the above. Our screen-based, helicopter parenting, every-kid-is-a-winner, no-child-left-behind culture has made parenting far more difficult than it was when I grew up. (I'm 47).

I couldn't agree more. It's a constant battle to push my kids to be independent. Society seems to push the exact opposite.
If someone saw me encourage my son to build his own electric skateboard and battery that he desperately wanted and earn the money to buy the parts they would probably think I was some kind of cold-hearted miser.
But the amount of woodworking, physics and financial skills he obtained from that six-month project would never be learned in school.  Plus he had about 58 different failures and he had to push through those.
These are the projects that will help them succeed in life, not the 14 different participation trophies for some no score soccer league.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2017, 08:35:57 AM »
@Milizard & HIP - Really strikes a chord with our current situation with our 13yo son, but in a slightly different way.  We gave in this past Christmas and bought a PS4 and PSN account.  Now all he wants to do is go online and 'hang out' with his friends while gaming.  He is still getting good grades and it isn't intrinsically bad to spend some time blowing off steam, but he used to entertain himself (drawing, making things, being outside).  In the span of a few months, it has gotten to the point that we have to take the PS4 away just so he 'recalibrates' back to not relying on the fast paced, immediate gratification / distraction that gaming has become.  On one hand, I recall spending long hours on Nintendo's Zelda, Metroid, and Final Fantasy, so I can't fault him for wanting to play, but I progressed through those games and I could always set them aside and come back to them after a break.  With the online conversations and stimulating graphics, video games now suck kids in but don't go anywhere or have much of a redeeming quality once the basic tactics and balancing of the characters has been worked out.  I'm hoping that he eventually finds a balance between gaming and slower offline activities once the newness wears off, but I can see how it's tough to log out when the other kids are online gaming as much as they want.   
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clairebonk

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2017, 04:07:35 PM »
My mother-in-law and a lot of parents with kids past the age of 20 or 30 have totally forgotten what it is like to have little kids. So of course they are always going to tell you it was easier back then. My MIL (who gave birth to 5 kids, amazing) told me that 4 days after giving birth your stomach goes back to "normal", that babies sleep 4 hours in a row at 4 weeks, 6 hours at 6 weeks, and so by 8 weeks sleep through the night every night, and that her kids slept better on their tummies and crawled earlier. Now, after having kids of my own, I can't believe anything she tells me about parenting.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2017, 04:35:29 PM »
My mother-in-law and a lot of parents with kids past the age of 20 or 30 have totally forgotten what it is like to have little kids. So of course they are always going to tell you it was easier back then. My MIL (who gave birth to 5 kids, amazing) told me that 4 days after giving birth your stomach goes back to "normal", that babies sleep 4 hours in a row at 4 weeks, 6 hours at 6 weeks, and so by 8 weeks sleep through the night every night, and that her kids slept better on their tummies and crawled earlier. Now, after having kids of my own, I can't believe anything she tells me about parenting.

I seem to recall research that putting babies on their backs to sleep does tend to make them slower to crawl.  I can also totally believe some babies have a harder time sleeping on their backs.  However, it reduces the risk of SIDS.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2017, 09:44:12 PM »
Well, I clearly recall crawling around in the back of the station wagon many times as a young child (seat belts, we don't need no stinkin' seat belts) so maybe part of the ease of parenting our forbears enjoyed resulted from blissful ignorance and lack of real-time comparing.  Us 'modern parents' are constantly reminded of the dangers of prescription drugs (or vaping, pot becoming more available, kush) along with underage sex (and exposure to adult situations), and (gasp) riding a bike without a helmet, eye protection, elbow and knee pads...  It's quite easy to become confused if you are doing a better or worse job, despite your best intentions vs. the closing proximity of bad influences. 
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2017, 09:28:38 AM »

Nice insight NUF.  It certainly is easier, on long flights or road trips, to have distraction.  Same goes for any downtime, except it becomes a crutch.  I'm sure my parents would be jealous given the horrendous road trips I took as a youth that brought myself and my sisters within an inch of our lives, but it must be used judiciously.  That's why I was so surprised that the overwhelming answer was no.  I thought more parents enjoyed this new option of throwing iPads in front of their kids and having them become zombies.

I think your response was really interesting (the bolded in particular) because the thing I find the most difficult about "modern parenting" is essentially trying to be an 80's style parent in 2017 world. Everyone always tells me it would be so much easier if I stuck my kids in front of the TV or went out to eat more and I would love to do those things, but I don't think it would be good for my kids if they were a regular occurance.

Specialists and scientists and whoever are all pretty firm that the conveniences of modern parenting (TV, tablets, fast food, etc) are not good for our young kids (mine are 3 and 5) and yet, for a two income middle class household, you really need those conveniences for sanity.

The thing that is hard for me is scratch cooking while spending quality time with the kids, keeping good "sleep hygiene" routines while teaching them to be empathetic people and good citizens, and working a 50-60 hour a week job, while also maintaining a clean home.

I know I'm not an outlier here, lots of our acquaintances with children are the same way.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 07:33:00 PM by StarBright »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2017, 10:15:15 PM »
Great comment Star.  We have found an overwhelming enthusiasm from our kids when we slow down and invite them to help with cooking, fixing things, or other more unique tasks.  Unfortunately, they aren't that excited to set down their iPads to unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, fold the laundry, or mow the lawn (although they have to do those things too)...

I haven't seen a definitive study that it's 'unhealthy' to be in front of a screen with self-directed distraction when your parents would prefer you use your own imagination on a long drive or a repetitive commute.  I personally feel that there is value in being OK with being bored and alone, but who am I to say that against the never-ending stimulation (my kids currently enjoy making musical.lys) and constant interacting / texting.  Maybe downtime isn't a useful skill 5-10 years from now?
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Cooper62

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2017, 11:21:39 AM »
I think overall it was easier for our parents.  As kids we were outside all the time playing with all the other kids on the block.  Mom sent us outside during the summer and after school and I don't think knew exactly where we were most of the time.  As kids we'd ride our bikes a few blocks to the neighborhood pool and swim all day.  Now my kids can't go to the neighborhood pool without an adult until age 14.  With the kids occupied and out of the house all day my Mom didn't have to do a lot of parenting and had time to clean the house, cook meals and relax a little.  I don't remember my parents having to put in as much work with extracurricular activities associated with school as we do either.  I think they would have hit the roof if I'd asked them to do everything the schools ask us to do for our children's sports.  My daughter cheers at the high school.  We have to work four concessions slots at games, put in a full day working their cheer competition plus go over the night before for several hours to set-up.  Plus work three full days in concessions at one of the pro ball games in town.  I actually had to take vacation time to work some of this.  So working during valuable vacation time instead of taking a break.  The teams have a lot more stuff than our teams did as a kid so parents need to be working concessions to raise money for all this stuff.  Matching Nike sweat suits, Nike cheer bags, additional sweatshirts to wear to school, many fancy cheer bows (why a couple won't do I don't get:)), two pairs of matching practice shorts and shirts, senior banners, money for senior week gifts.

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2017, 12:18:52 PM »
Yes it is easier now for sure.
- Much easier now to research how you want to raise your kids (thanks Internet).
- Much easier to compare & purchase the necessary stuff
- Much easier and more acceptable to raise & educate kids 'non-mainstream' i.e. homeshool, etc. My folks were considered nuts to do so. They paved the way. It is now considered a bit luxury/mainstream to do so.
-Way more options for learning & entertainment.

Basically we have everything the previous generations did, plus MORE. More tech, More solutions, More information, More gizmos, More options.

There have always been the 'keeping up with the Jones' stresses, and worries about doing it the 'right' way. Those are self-inflicted stresses. The actual job is a lot easier to research, plan, and execute.
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arebelspy

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
Much easier.

But people make it harder than it needs to be, and, in fact, make it harder than it used to be.

So I think most people are experiencing it as harder, but that's by choice (even if not purposeful). It could be, and should be, much easier.
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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2017, 04:46:17 AM »
After reading a bunch more replies, I think it's... both.

Our choices, options, and available tools are significantly increased.

Unfortunately, our available time may have decreased, and our desire to "make the right call" can slow us down, given the incredible volume of options available.

Our belief in the "stakes" seems to have steadily increased, making many more nervous about it, and lengthening all aspects of the demands on children's (and therefore parent's) time.

I think that sense that the stakes are very high, and the fact there are so many choices, leaves many feeling it's harder than it needs to be. Keeping up with the Joneses, or not, is a choice we can make, obviously. While it's not impossible to teach kids to ignore this, it's not easy - they learn a lot from imitating their peer group.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 04:48:17 AM by Hargrove »

Poundwise

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2017, 07:36:03 AM »
The sense I get is that a lot of today's parenting is unnecessarily hard. For instance, there's a lot of social pressure to helicopter and spoil children. I find this hard to resist not because I care about what other adults think, but because my kids see other kids being pampered and cossetted and driven around to 1,000,000 activities. They think that because we don't do it, we don't love them as much as other parents love their kids. 

However, I think that social pressure has always been there.  In other times, probably people felt pressure to spank their kids regularly to keep them in line, or to, I dunno, starch their petticoat frills, etc.  Possibly the 70s and 80s were an unusually easy time for parents. By fourth grade, I was left at home for hours every day and would bike over to my friends' houses (and they were alone too). Then I'd go home and heat up a Hungry Man dinner and watch TV, and it was great. Can't imagine getting away with that as a parent today, at least not in my area.

Kio

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2017, 08:15:33 AM »
I think it is overall equivalent, just very different.  Our kids are physically much safer than ever before (car seats, penicillin, etc), and there is much more paid support available than ever before (daycare, maid services -- when I was a kid, you had to be wealthy enough to have a nanny/maid).  OTOH, we appear to have offset those "ways to make parenting easier" with additional self-imposed demands to make it harder ("enrichment"; this concept that kids must be engaged and overseen at all times vs stuck in a playpen or kicked outside). 

I also think much of the answer depends on how much your life conforms to the social norms of the time/place you live in.  If you enjoy being a SAHM, then parenting would have been easier for you several decades ago, when it was easier to support a family on a single income, and your life conformed to the social norms.  OTOH, if you were a single mom like my mom, who both needed and wanted to work, life now would be much easier, because you have things like paid daycare, and being divorced no longer means "man-stealing Jezebel" to the rest of the neighborhood.  Similarly, for LBGTQ people, parenting is largely much better, as there are at least parts of the world where that is socially accepted and legally allowed.  OTOH, for an anti-materialist Mustachian, life might have been easier back when my dad was a kid, when they ran around the farm and went hunting in the woods all day.

I am not as much compelled by the "big risks" argument, because whatever choices and risks we had seemed just as big/important/difficult then as they do now.  My parents had to worry about AIDS and cocaine/crack and Mutually Assured Destruction; their parents had to worry about the Cuban Missile Crisis and sex and drugs and rock and roll and their kids being shipped off to Vietnam; their parents had to worry about WWII; etc etc etc.  as Roseanne Roseannadanna said, it's always something.  I do tend to think we have it easier big-picture than parents in the Great Depression and WWs, when your kids' survival was at risk and you didn't know if you could put food on the table; OTOH, I also don't live in a dying factory town, wondering when I am going to be laid off and my job sent overseas.  Etc.

I feel the same way about the "stuff" issue.  Yes, there is lots more stuff for kids to be tempted by, but it is also far more affordable than it was before -- when I was a kid, I couldn't even have a Big Wheel because it cost too much, and only the one rich kid in town had a swingset (one of the metal kind with three swings); now you can get all varieties of plastic crap for $20, and every other yard has some version of a swingset or plastic playhouse or something.  And no matter what income level you are at, there is always, always, stuff that your kids will want that you either cannot afford or are not willing to get them.  When I was a kid, it was the $40 alligator shirt and the $100+ Air Jordans -- yeah, it's not the same cost as an iPhone, but when your mom makes $22K a year, it is equally unaffordable.  And now we are in a much higher socioeconomic bracket and can afford to get my kid a phone (and honestly enjoy the independence it allows her and convenience for me personally to be able to work and still know what she is up to), but that also means full-pay for college (so do we try to save $100K, or do we plan on her working full-time and taking out $50K in loans, or somewhere between the two?  And no, my kids are not special enough to count on any kind of scholarship). 

Yes, it's a first-world problem -- but the point is, no matter where you are, there is always someone who has more than you, and always someone who has less, and you need to figure out your own morals and values and how to say no when the kids plead for things that you don't want them to have.  I get so angry at my kid sometimes for not appreciating how much she has -- but it's all she's ever known, so she has no way to compare.  Just as I have no way to compare my life to my mom's or to her mom's before her.  So I have to assume that their problems felt just as real and serious to them as mine do to me, and vice-versa.
This is a fantastic response!

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2017, 08:42:09 AM »
The thing I find harder is, as several have mentioned, the weird societal random nondecipherable coparenting. i.e., Police or CPS being called for a kid being in a Lego store, a four year old running naked through a sprinkler in their own yard, a child playing in her own fenced back yard, three siblings walking a few blocks to a park together every day, a mature ten year old home alone for two hours...And the resulting 24/7 intensive parenting shift that results.

I find it very difficult to guess what my invisible "coparent" thinks is okay and what it will call an authority over. For some of the families it's happened to, the trajectory has been devastating.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2017, 10:17:40 AM »
And this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/teen-opioid-kanata-sean-oleary-1.4180095

The government and medical system refuse to help her, but her parents aren't allowed to, so the police do their job of providing free transportation closer to the drugs.

As a parent, I find stuff like that hard.

And there's very much an equivalent issue for neuroatypical kids even without drug use.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2017, 04:34:40 PM »
And this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/teen-opioid-kanata-sean-oleary-1.4180095

The government and medical system refuse to help her, but her parents aren't allowed to, so the police do their job of providing free transportation closer to the drugs.
As a parent, I find stuff like that hard.
And there's very much an equivalent issue for neuroatypical kids even without drug use.

Wow, I need to practice some gratitude tonight that we haven't seen anything like what is in that story.  And it does seem like every second child has some 'issue' (ADHD, ADD, OCD, food allergies...) which didn't seem to be the case when I was their age and for the generations before that... 
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2017, 08:43:54 PM »
Note sure about "easier/harder than parents," but DEFINITELY easier than great-grandparents. The whole 2/3rds of your children will not live to adulthood pretty much trumps everything in my book.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 08:46:02 PM by YttriumNitrate »

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2017, 09:06:44 PM »
...it does seem like every second child has some 'issue' (ADHD, ADD, OCD, food allergies...) which didn't seem to be the case when I was their age and for the generations before that...

I think a lot of those were present before (e.g., my neuroatypical kid is only like his neuroatypical parents and grandparents on both sides), but now we're not allowed to let ourselves and our kids do things like: exit school in grade five and go full-on trades; do lots of physical work from a young age; etc. My dad credited that path in his case, and understood how so many kids can't manage the new expectations (sit all day, study certain levels, etc).

In a lot of places, homeschooling is allowed, but the expectation is still that we feed our kids crap so they can "fit in." Depending on location, we're not allowed to build small, simple homes per development regulations. Parents are still tasked with caring well for their children, yet are hyperregulated vs free to do what they see as optimal. (I like that where it protects children from, say, beatings or being locked in cellars, but not in the examples I gave earlier.)

So, not necessarily higher rates of intrinsic issues, but regulations and pressure for bombardment, which doesn't suit everyone's biology.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2017, 12:14:59 AM »
Note sure about "easier/harder than parents," but DEFINITELY easier than great-grandparents. The whole 2/3rds of your children will not live to adulthood pretty much trumps everything in my book.

Well, I guess if we put it in those terms!  What is almost funny is that we have relatives trying 'waterbirth' and midwives - it's almost like childbirth is so 'safe' nowadays that we should try making it harder :)

And JFP (sorry, I'm an engineer and that is how your name maps in my mind, I have no idea how to shorten and codify it better for the time being) - you've hit upon something that I worry about more for the future generations, maybe by accident.  I see it in my children's natural tendency toward constant stimulation, ability to instantly gratify, and isolation.  Maybe it is a new language and will ultimately enhance their experience.  But holy crap do kids spend a lot of time communicating electronically, which seems to enhance what might have been latent ADD in a prior generation. 

So my theory is that, as you said, ADHD and allergies were present in previous generations in similar numbers, but there is something about the 'overprotective' and/or 'processed' lifestyle which has amped-up this tendency and made what was once a fringe problem more a mainstream normalcy. 

Anyway, gets me to appreciate how slow life 'should' change to not be overwhelming, and how many standard deviations we have gone away from that.  Or maybe I'm just idealizing my childhood that had lots of quantifiable change, but pales in comparison to the exponential leaps society has made and continues to forge in technology (especially internet advances), normalization of recreational / prescription drug use (or abuse), 'alternative lifestyles', and now a President that daily breaks the most precious, hard-won historical traditions and expectations of measured response, international collaboration, and the value of respect and honor.
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Is Modern Parenting Harder or Easier than it was for our Parents?
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2017, 12:32:27 AM »
JFP totally works :)

Yeah... I guess I think there's an optimal balance, and that we haven't reached it... And that we (as a society) maybe accidentally routed poorly vs optimally at the most recent juncture.

I mean, I'm a HUGE fan of tech, for example -as a person with ASD, it completely opened my world, made me suddenly able to work etc. It's a fantastic disability tool, among other wonders. But, I think while all the groovy new tech, social concepts, etc, were developing, we also went wonky in terms of regulation of parenting. I feel like we're barely allowed to raise healthy, strong, resilient kids...yet we're asked to...yet we're "intervened on" if we do...   I think it puts parents in a difficult position, between a rock and a hard place. (What's that movie with the trippy dad? Captain...???)

If we're going to have supertech + fentanyl + vast volumes of processed food available at every turn + a lord of the flies school system + a backward or failing medical system, then at least give us room to parent in response to this new reality.

I spend a wild amount of time, energy, effort, and money aiming to navigate the weird system parents are supposed to engage in, while attempting to prevent the poor outcomes that result for many. (I do know a group of parents who've completely opted out; I don't land there, though.)