Is the saying true that each generation “swings like a pendulum” away from the ideas, practices, and values of their parents? So who will the children of today be as the parents of tomorrow?
Parents across generations have an honest discussion about their upbringings, parenting philosophies, anxieties, and hopes for how their children will remember them.
Table of Contents
Doing Everything “By the Book”
Gen X parents speculate that their children’s generation may avoid “choreographed” or prescribed parenting techniques. They wonder if some strict parenting and child development philosophies ignore children’s diversity and needs, like unconditional positivity or safe sleep (forcing an infant to sleep alone).
One mother remarks, “I feel like I am a better mother because I don’t spend time feeling like I have to do things a certain way to be a good mom and projecting those things onto her.
I am more responsive to my daughter’s needs because I am less worried about what an influencer says I should be doing.” These parents envision their children breaking away from the parenting molds.
Too Phone Obsessed
For better or for worse, parents reflect on being too consumed by smartphones, both their children’s and their own. One user admits, “My kids have demanded I stop looking at my phone. I could imagine a future in which they say, ‘I’m never going to look at my phone when my kids are around.'”
Not only do parents consider themselves guilty of “phubbing” or phone snubbing, but they also confess to being too obsessed with restricting their children’s screen time. They wonder if their kids will grow up anxious about competing with phones for affection.
Too Social Media Obsessed
One of the greatest fears among today’s parents is that their children will feel betrayed by a lack of social media privacy. Yet, it is not uncommon for parents to document every significant moment in their children’s lives, from pregnancy and birth throughout childhood, and share those experiences publicly.
One user remembers an unfortunate instance of a friend posting a picture of her son vomiting in the car. He writes, “I’m horrified that I spent almost two years of my kids’ lives posting their faces on the internet. What was I thinking?”
Parents are especially critical of influencers who profit from posting their children on public platforms. Some recommend the Family Album app as an alternative way of sharing memories with family and close friends.
Universal Parental Leave
A few hopeful individuals propose a future with flexible and guaranteed parental leave for both mothers and fathers. What difference could have both parents present in a child’s early days make in a family’s life?
Maximalism Out, Minimalism In
Can you imagine life without your Pinterest vision boards? Parents wonder if the days of extravagant birthday parties and amassing useless, influencer-approved gadgets have created a culture of maximalism that their children will grow to reject. One user joked, “Balloon arches and backdrops are starting to become tacky (thankfully)!”
How Do We Learn Consequences?
If you’ve ever witnessed a teenager having a public temper tantrum, you know the feeling of foreseeing a rude awakening in someone’s future. Caregivers share parenting styles that they believe are too relaxed and accommodating.
An individual writes, “I do fear a lot of kids are being raised in a bubble,” insisting that children must learn about actions and consequences with empathy but firmness. Part of a parent’s responsibility in raising a social citizen is instilling a clear sense of self-awareness and responsibility.
I Sleep, You Sleep
In the ongoing debate between safe sleeping (forcing an infant to sleep independently) and co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed as your child), today’s parents anticipate a generational return to intrafamily sleeping arrangements.
Many believe forcing babies to sleep alone is not conducive to their vulnerable and dependent natures. Some mothers even say that co-sleeping has revolutionized their sleep quality and excited their children for bedtime.
This sleeping style may not be for everyone, but the next generation of families can choose what works for them!
New Definitions of Achievement
Millennial parents hope the next generation is not so fixated on academic records, admittance into prestigious schools, and unrealistic expectations for their children’s careers. Instead, they want their kids to grow to prioritize the things that can genuinely make them happy.
Parents imagine social values will shift away from traditional academic achievements towards a greater emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, community, leadership, and how individuals participate in their worlds.
Preoccupation at the Price of Expression
A middle school teacher denounces “enrichment activities” for stifling children’s innovation and self-expression. Activities designed to keep kids preoccupied– what parents and students may describe as “busy work–” limit their opportunities to get bored and start creating. Some advocate for a return to parenting styles more focused on encouraging imagination and play.
The Dangers are More Known Now
An older man watching his children become parents contemplates the differences in their respective approaches to parenting. He compares his own light supervision and “free range style of parenting” to the much tighter leashes he sees parents keeping today, metaphorically speaking.
Considering the formative experiences of his childhood that today’s kids may not ever get, he laments, “Things aren’t more dangerous, but the dangers are more known now.”
No matter their individual perspectives on their upbringings, the coming generations will undoubtedly pave their own unique paths toward parenting.
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This article was originally posted on STEM Education Guide.