The way we raised children seems more effective than modern parenting 130



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Popular Australian columnist Angela Mollard is frustrated with modern parenting. In fact, she’d go so far as to say today’s methods are not working.

Instead, could the way baby boomers raised our children prove more effective than modern-day approaches? How can we help our children raise the next generation?

According to Mollard, today’s kids are “stressed, entitled, fat, over-medicated, fragile and lacking resilience”.

“They’ve got that way because parents have assigned their power over to their little princes and princesses”, she says.

Mollard believes a lack of governance starts when today’s kids are only young.

A “toddler was running up and down the escalator blocking a long queue of fellow shoppers”, says Mollard about one recent example she witnessed.

“‘Come hold my hand’, called the little girl’s mother, at which the child laughed and dashed ahead”.

“Did the mum scoop up her child? Did she tell her that we don’t play on escalators? Or that we need to consider others? No, she laughed”, describes Mollard.

As grandparents, there are often interactions we observe that we would like our children to correct as they become parents themselves.

Some of the most pressing concerns that grandparents have include their grandchildren spending too much time on screens, being given too many material things, not spending enough time with extended family and having no firm rules to follow.

Modern parents often spend more money on their kids, in lieu of quality family time. Children aren’t always disciplined because today’s parents feel guilty and anxious about being strict.

As grandparents, we often want to encourage our children to set firm rules and instructions, have dinner with their little ones, or do simple things like go on walks and picnics as a family.

It’s hard to broach these subjects without causing family friction though. In approaching difficult conversations, sometimes it helps to practice the dialogue with someone else first.

Pick a quiet time to raise this conversation, and let your children know the topic is important to you. Ensure that everyone is feeling relaxed and there’s plenty of time to discuss the issue.

You might want to remind your children that their own kids could benefit from additional structure, leadership and discipline.

As Mollard puts it, modern parenting is “very loving and everyone is heard, kids are asked what they’d like to eat, prizes are plentiful, bedtimes are flexible and everyone has the newest iPhone”.

“But in focusing on nurturing we’ve forgotten that other key pillar of parenting: governance. Someone has to be the boss”.

Do you think modern parenting is failing? Do you believe the way baby boomers raised our kids was more effective? How do you speak to your adult-age children about parenting and families?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I agree with everything said here but, I also believe that the ‘baby boomers’ as you called them, were themselves raised with hardly anything as far as material goods were concerned and as a result of this, made one gigantic mistake, which was to give our children way more material things than was good for them. In short we absolutely ruined them. The result of this is that they have used this same method to raise their children and are making the same mistake we did. Over indulged children are not nice to be around. There are no family conversations now. The children are not taught healthy communication or even how to use their manners. They do not have a lot of respect for self or others modelled around them and are being raised by the electronic gadgets they are indulged with. If someone can suggest how we could bring back good old family times, then this might help. I made my parents a cup of tea when I was ten I don’t think that many kids these days would even know how to put the kettle on.

    16 REPLY
    • I agree Lisa and when you add in parental guilt about both parents working full-time, you’ve got a real recipe for disaster. The children are virtually raised by someone else until they go to school.

    • Why do both parents have to work when kids are young , surely this can’t be good for them , the Governments greed for revenue is at fault and the need for material things by every one , mums or dads should be home bringing up their children instead of having them brought up by strangers in child care centres by people who would rather be home bringing up their children

    • I agree with u my 43 yr old still puts the kettle on for a cup as soon as i walk in i only hope all my grandchildren can do the same when the reach age

    • I am a baby boomer, I did not ruin my children, I taught them manners and to share, and disciplined them the way I was bought up. To this day my grandchildren are taught manners, how to say thank you and please, and always come and kiss me and their grand dad hello and goodbye. Not all baby boomers ruined their children but as so often happens a minority always messes it up for the majority.

    • My grandchildren take turns in making dinner for the family from the age of 13. They all sit up at the table for the evening meal and converse. I believe I taught their parents how to behave and it has been passed on. So even though I am a baby boomer (almost), I have hopefully instilled some communication skills and good behaviour into them.

    • I agree but my children have manners and had boundaries and have grown into wonderful caring adults but we gave them everything they ever wanted and still do and yet I’m horrified at what my grandchildren receive in gifts. I have no idea why when we’ve done the same thing. Not to mention that we too spoil our grandkids.

    • My best memory of Christmas and presents …
      I was 10. Now 68.
      We were a basic family but I didn’t realise that. Thought we were just like everyone else in our area.
      Christmas Eve 1957 my dad pushed a new bike into my bedroom. Dad made it from 3 old bikes. I needed a bike for intermediate school.
      My mum followed him into my bedroom and gave him a huge kiss. Then she said … You can always say .. I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus.
      It was my most most memorable Christmas present and as they are both now dead I weep each time I hear the song.
      Sweet memories.

  2. It is not up to us to be parenting our grandchildren, they have parents of their own, and I follow the rules they lay down

    12 REPLY
    • if the grounds rules are lacking Julie , then you are in trouble, most good parents have their own boundaries with their children

    • Then why are we grandparents isn’t it our job to guide them as much as we can with things we were taught

    • guide yes but parenting NO, they have parents of their own, it the parents responsibility to lay down the ground rules. When you start trying to run your grandchildren life to , you are stepping into dangerous territory

    • Sorry but I won’t be putting up with bad behaviour from my future grandchildren while they are under my care. Luckily I have brought up well adjusted children who appear to be on the same page as their dad and I regarding the upbringing of children – boundaries, consistency, manners etc etc. Yes children of today live in a very different world and the problems they encounter have a lot to do with outside issues, it’s not always the parents fault. However, the basics of good parenting should not be lost. Seen some horrors at shopping centres!! Time will tell when I become a grandparent I guess.

    • I think if a grandparent is looking after or babysitting their grandchildren boundaries need to be set especially if it’s in the grandparents home.

    • I agree we have raised 4 children , it’s not up to us I also follow their parents wishes, if they don’t eat their veggies to bad not my fight lol

  3. If you start telling your children how to raise their hildren, I don’t know if the outcome will be so good for you, the time for you to teach them is long past, they should have been taught when they were young and living at home with you

    1 REPLY
    • I totally agree and no you cannot tell your children what to do with their parents. Can give helpful advice if they ask.

  4. My four grandchildren are not “stressed, entitled, fat, over-medicated, fragile and lacking resilience”. They have been well bought up and are a credit to their parents.

  5. We loved our 3 sons dearly. They were certainly my world but I didnt take any ‘crap’ from them either. By the time they were teenagers we had established an amazingly strong bond. By the time they were becoming adults and parents themselves we could all discuss going forward with the next generation. The grandkids are all being brought up differently. They are well mannered, kind to their siblings and love their cousins. But the general rule seems to be ‘boundries’ – and even though as the granny I always follow the ‘house rules’ – I also have ‘house rules’ in my house. I discipline in all situations if I feel needed. But as a family we sorted this all out ages ago. Nobody gets upset. The 12 of us are a ‘family’ we all work together and it seems to be working.

    1 REPLY
  6. I always “correct” my grand children re manners and “safe behaviour”. Sometimes coming from someone other than their parents have more impact especially when you explain why (ie escalators- can be dangerous so we don’t run around and on them etc) I agree that on the whole modern parenting seems to be failing. As a retired school teacher I have seen a lot of “unusual” ideas re parenting and seen how children react to it and consequences of their behaviour. Children need boundaries and routines.They like to know the boundaries of what they can and can’t do so that they feel safe in playing, exploring and living. That doesn’t mean they cant have an input into what they would like to eat,where to go etc. Children-in general) now days do spent too much time on phones,internet devices, games and tv to the determent of getting out and having fun in the outdoors, reading,playing team sports ( and sport in general) Bad or ineffectual or lazy parenting result in badly behaved, disrespectful, self entitled children and hence adults!

    5 REPLY
    • Leonie if you have to correct the manners of your Grandchildren then their parents are not teaching them the simple life skills, however that does not mean all kids are bad mannered or disrespectful. I couldn’t be more proud of my Grandkids manners and respect for others, they are a credit to their parents!

    • I meant that when my grandchildren are with me, I correct them when and if they need correcting-they are still learning. I too am proud of my grandchildren. BUT I have been in the company of other children who are not being taught manners or respect!

    • Leonie in every generation there are those that are well mannered & those that aren’t, you just have to read some of the things that are said on here to see that, overall I think parents today are doing their best & doing a great job, we weren’t the perfect generation & parents & neither will this generation of parents be, I think more support & less criticism would be a great start.

    • I agree that in every generation there are those well mannered and respectful etc but you only have to see the news ( victims of violence etc) walk down the street, on the roads etc to see more rude disrespectful people-teenagers, young adults- in general. Parents do have a tough time of it nowdays. MOST parents do try BUT it seems that more are likely to try to be their child’s friend instead of their parent. Maybe the problem is that too many grandparents are not helping-whether they are too busy or the parents are not encouraging them to help. In past times the elderly were respected and part of a family,helping out with family life, minding the grandchildren and overall being a valued family member where their advice was sought etc. Maybe that is part of the problem. I am not saying that ALL families are like this but generally speaking.

    • Leonie the media concentrates on the bad not the good. There are so many good teenagers and young adults out there, but we dont hear about them, only the few that are violent and rude.

  7. I couldn’t be more proud of my Grandkids, their parents have done an amazing job of raising them, well mannered, educated, fit and healthy adults that they are now. It is not our job as Grandparents to raise our Grandkids, however if you can see their parents are struggling with teaching them life skills then maybe offer some help to your own kids if it is something that you were good at by making some suggestions, saying that I don’t mean take over it is not our business and it will only creat friction within the family. BUT OUT!

    1 REPLY
    • When you are caring for your Grandchildren at your place or theirs or taking them out they need to obey your rules and standards of behaviour or you wouldn’t be a safe person for them to be with.

  8. It is not our place to have a conversation with our children about their parenting style. Its called “interfering”. I don’t see all these problems with children that the author sees. What I see is children who are given way too much homework and have no time for sport after school. Children who are constantly pressured by how they will perform in the HSC. Children who are worried about the world they live in; will they get a job, how will climate change and all the economic problems affect their lives.

    2 REPLY
    • Bah humbug….loads of homework….NOT ENOUGH is more the case!
      I remember my schooldays with tons of homework to do and was often at it till 9pm!
      Sport was done in the weekends and 1 after school afternoon per week.
      We were also pressured into getting a job straight after HCS and no hanging around on couches thank you!
      Boredom never existed (Mum or Dad would always find you something to do) and “can’t or won’t” was never accepted.

    • Wow! I do not know lazy kids like that. My granddaughter is in yr 9 and spends every night of the week doing homework and has one afternoon off on the weekend. When she came with us on school holidays she worked on assignments every day from. 9am until 1pm, we couldn’t do a whole days outing. She has dropped out of her netball team as she doesn’t have time to go to practice one afternoon a week. Boredom doesn’t exist for her. You know I was the first year that did the HSC and I really did not have to do anything like that amount of work.

  9. Except that the children “we” raised are raising the kids of today .. we must have done something wrong if these kids are such failures

    1 REPLY
    • Don’t forget that society has changed dramatically! Even though you have raised your children the right way, it has become so much more difficult because of all the ‘do-gooders’ that have managed to change the goalposts on discipline and respectable behaviour.

  10. I don’t agree with the author, why do we generalise about all kids, my grandchildren or any of my friends grandchildren are not any of these things, it’s like saying all old people are cranky old people, we did our best raising our kids & now they are doing their best raising there’s with the examples we gave them, it’s not our place to tell our kids how to raise their kids, we are only here to support their decisions, how many of us can say we were the perfect parent, but we did our best with what we were taught just like parents of today are, times change & we just need to accept it & stop complaining all the time & support them more.

    2 REPLY
  11. I don’t have any desire to parent grand children, however I will treat them exactly as I treated my children, and all 4 are fantastic adults and will be fantastic parents. At the end of the day it is non of our business unless there is abuse or neglect, then I would be the first one to report my children or their spouse to the right authorities. I certainly did not want any advice when I was a young parent …unless I asked for it. It does not mean the method of parenting is wrong just different, and what works for one child may not work for another. I just want to enjoy them.

    1 REPLY
    • When there is sickness and usually financial stress comes with it you could be called on to be a hands on Grandparent then you do have to parent the way that’s right for you and not just the way you would as a visiting Grandparent. Totally different thing.

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