HLN Now recently posed the question, “Is parenting too hard these days?”
My take, NO! I’ll tell you why I don’t think it’s “harder” per say but it brings a different breed of challenges.
Parenting when my parents grew up in the 50’s and 60’s had changed from even the time I grew up in the 80’s. I can’t say the rearing is different, at least in my household, but there’s more challenges in raising my daughter – let’s call it social media. When my parents grew up- 50’s era- their parents didn’t deal with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, or even email. It’s funny that we still had dial – up Internet when I was in high school and FB was just being introduced to the world when I was about to graduate college. Now? My 7 year old is well acquainted with FB, Instagram, and Twitter. So much so, she reminds me to tweet something I just said or better yet photograph our lunch! It frightens me. What will the next generations communication skills look like?
Yes, when my parents grew up you rarely heard of infidelities, depression within the home, out of wedlock children, etc. -All things no one discussed out loud. I was even raised in our home to keep family business, family business. You didn’t discuss household business with those outside the front door. It was called privacy and having a united front. Do families still do this, these days?
When I was growing up, it was still off limits. Now for my daughter, she’ll be growing up in an era of total transparency-sometimes even too much transparency. Not sure teens and young adults now know how to filter any sense of privacy.
So to my point, I don’t believe parenting now days is ‘harder’ -there’s just a different set of challenges. The same issues of: suicide, depression, children born out of wedlock, infidelities, drug use, loss of job, the ‘mean girls club,’ and promiscuity all existed just as they do today. Our grandparents, parents, and not even the 80’s baby had to deal with it all be blasted on social media. It took a little longer for horse and carriage to deliver the latest gossip, but you better believe it was happening just discreetly.
I suggest that parents pay close attention and learn the various social media outlets so that they can keep up with the latest trend and ‘challenges.’ Don’t just tell your kids to now have an account, but point out how detrimental it can be to their future, if not utilized properly. Let them know you are not against it, but want them to use it responsibly and when they are fully ready, you’ll let them know. It takes maturity and finesse to enter the world of social media. It has it’s pro’s and con’s, but when used the right way, a broader network and accessibility to those who once seemed intangible is granted.
Parents, I’ll be the first to tell you that there are benefits in having a basic FB account. It will help you see the latest craze with the ‘fire challenge’ -slowly killing our kids by the way- and help you get well acquainted with your kiddos friends. As I mentioned previously, there’s maturity that comes from responsible social media activity-let’s face it, many kids don’t have it so they’re totally transparent. Who you see hopping off the school bus with Billy may not be who his friend is in ‘real life’ Social media will give him away. Mark my words. Now back to this latest craze- The Fire Challenge- youth are lighting themselves on fire after dousing themselves in rubbing alcohol in the shower. They ‘think’ they have the ability to put the fire out quickly, but are walking away with severe burns or worse. Parents open your eyes and know that your biggest opponent may very well be social media, it’s no different than our parents searching for every hot and steamy letter we wrote to the little boy we thought we were into. Mine was my mom going through my journal and my daughters will be me lurking on her social media pages. Parents learn to be great at lurking and talk with your kids about life in a real manner, not in a perfect world. We don’t live in one of those and kids are learning from their not so intelligent friends. It’s time out that we attempt to be their friends, but understand the world they-we live in.