Smacking and walking home alone: How parenting has changed throughout the years

Nov 24, 2019
Parenting has changed pretty significantly over the years. Do you feel ready for when you become a grandparent? Source: Getty.

Like anything else in history, there have been major shifts in the style of parenting over the past two or three decades. Certain techniques that were once accepted, and in some cases celebrated, are now considered outdated and negligent.

With so many changes occurring and no way of knowing what is frowned upon or praised in this day and age, soon-to-be grandparents are turning to educational classes to help them adjust to their new role, the ABC reports. The Grandparents Update class is three hours long and explains recent medical advancements as well as ways to support rather judge new parenting techniques.

The classes were a hit with the attendees who said the revamped education was important to ensure adult children truly appreciated their help rather than avoided it. However, friends of those partaking in the classes saw them as a waste of time and an insult to their own own parenting knowledge.

With technology being heavily incorporated into the mix and overcautious, helicopter parenting styles seeing on the rise – it’s difficult to relate experiences between parents over twenty years ago and how it is today. Smart phones and tablets now keep children occupied in the space where toys and outdoor play may have once worked, and increasingly more pressure is put on what kids can eat, where they can go and who they can play with.

Discipline is always a topic of debate when it comes to parents of different generations. For Baby Boomers, a smack on the bum or the threat of the wooden spoon was normal at a time when the cane or a ruler was used for punishment at school.

But now with corporal punishment long gone, discipline has changed to suit the increasingly PC world we live in today. Some see the new ways of punishing kids as a softer and less effective approach, while others simply look at it as a kinder way of treating children. It’s a topic that has consistently divided audiences but in 2017 a report from Australian Seniors said that three in five grandparents admitted to believing that today’s parenting styles were worse than when they were raising their own children.

But that’s not the only thing that has changed throughout the years. Kids safety has also become a growing concern with the introduction of social media and the increase of danger in every neighbourhood. Back in the day, walking or riding to school was the norm, regardless of distance.

While it’s not uncommon today, it’s something that parents are much more hesitant to allow their kids to do with a statement from the Heart Foundation issued two years ago stating that around 70 per cent of children are more regularly driven to and from school, compared to just 16 per cent in 1970. While the threat of stranger danger has a lot to do with today’s cautious parents, traffic is another leading deterrent.

This is also the reason why children are now rarely left unattended to ride around the neighbourhood with their friends like they often did in the past. These days, kids are more
likely to play inside rather than out on the road because of these increased level of modern safety measures.

Whether you see the heightened caution for parents today as necessary or not, it’s undeniable that some measures are definitely better left in the past where they belong. Leaving babies in their prams unattended, unsafe car seats and limited child care options are just a few of the outdated aspects that most parents today would be glad to see gone.

Parenting was indeed much more relaxed when Boomers went through the mix, and while many say this is the approach that has been successful over the years – others can see the link between increased caution and the levels of danger for kids in a more technologically advanced world. So whether or not you agree with modern techniques, when becoming a grandparent – there’s no denying it might take a bit of time to warm up to the new adopted by parents today.

What's the biggest way that you think parenting has changed? Do you think you would take Grandparent Update classes?

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