What's the biggest difference your child is having during childhood and yours was?

Katherine - posted on 04/09/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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The older my kid gets, the more I realize her childhood will never be like mine. It doesn't matter that I'm raising her a mere 16 miles from my childhood home. It doesn't matter that I have pretty much the same values as my parents before me. There are some things that are just never coming back.



And when it comes to the mullet, that's a good thing (seriously, Mom, that third grade picture ... really?). But it's no wonder parents today are neurotic .. life is so different. Just take a look:



Childhood Then: Mom taught you to avoid that empty house down the street.



Childhood Now: We teach them to avoid high fructose corn syrup.



Then: When you complained about your food, your mom told you about the starving kids in Ethiopia.



Now: If they really think they have it rough, they could try living under Joseph Kony.



Then: Ernie & Bert were our favorite babysitters.



Now: The only babysitter we trust speaks three languages and has a PhD in child development.



More from The Stir: 8 Childhood Horrors Our Kids Don't Have to Face



Then: Mom worried we'd get in trouble for trading Garbage Pail Kids cards on the playground.



Now: Our kids would get suspended if they brought a peanut butter sandwich into the cafeteria.



Then: You couldn't wait until your pictures came back from the developer and Mom picked them up.



Now: They wish we'd stop sharing every single thing they do on Facebook.



Then: We came back inside from playing when the street lights came on.



Now: What do you mean "go outside?"



Then: The lucky kids got Wonder Bread with Goober.



Now: The lucky kids don't have to eat kale chips.



Then: Casey Kasem provided the soundtrack for the lives of everyone in the family.



Now: Radio? We only let them listen to Kidz Bop.



Then: Mom magically paid for toys by writing out a check at the department store.



Now: BPA-free, wooden toys magically appear on the front porch after we order them online.



Then: Movies were a Saturday afternoon day out at the theater, paired with popcorn that was absolutely soaking in butter.



Now: Movies are popped in the DVD player, Pirates Booty is poured into a bowl and plopped in front of them, and we vamoose out of the room as fast as we can.



Then: Itchy bug bites were coated in Calamine lotion, and we were sent back out the door.



Now: We take their clothes off and send them straight into an organic oatmeal bath.



More from The Stir: 10 Childhood Joys, Rediscovered



Then: Friday meant family game night with pizza.



Now: Friday means dad's on the Xbox, mom's on Facebook, and the kids are playing Angry Birds on their iPads.



Then: You fought with your brother over who had shotgun.



Now: They won't be riding in the front seat until they're in college!



Then: You had to wait until Mom had time to take you to the library to do research for your school project.



Now: They can look up whatever thy need on their laptops.



Then: Visiting with Grandma and Grandpa meant making cookies and staying up late for snuggles on the couch.



Now: We set them up on Skype so they can talk to our parents.



Then: Three words: raw cookie dough.



Now: You just found a recipe on Pinterest for carob brownies made with free-range eggs and zucchini hidden inside that looks fabulous.



Then: Kool-Aid stained our teeth.



Now: Organic Honest Tea is a rare treat. Otherwise it's a stainless steel bottle full of water.



Then: You brown-bagged your lunch to school.



Now: They have a monogrammed, insulated bag made from sustainable fabrics.



Then: You had to sell candy door-to-door for the PTA.



Now: You take an order form to work because the school has forbidden the kids from actually selling to a real, live person in case they're pedophiles.



Then: There wasn't enough room in the car for all your friends, but the squished in anyway.



Now: Your only child can move their booster seat to any of a variety of seats in the minivan.



What is the biggest difference between the childhood your kid is having and yours?

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25 Comments

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[deleted account]

It must be hard. We are very lucky to have our home in a semi-rural area. The local families on the whole are respectable people and fortunately for us, our kids have made friends with decent kids. There may be a small handful of people I'd stay away from but even then, they are not really bad people, just different. There can be a bit of bikie gang action in neighbouring towns but again, nothing that directly affects our community. We have no plans to move from here for a very long time.

Tena - posted on 04/11/2012

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I suppose I will always worry because I am older than most of my kids peers parents. Even moving to the burbs didn't help. The really good suburbs we can't afford to rent or buy and the closer ones are getting as bad as the inner city.

[deleted account]

That's classic, Tena. It really does make you wonder about people. I wouldn't let my kids go over to that house either. But I don't think that is an indication of the era we live in. I think those sorts of people have always been there, yesterday and today. I agree that is best to stay away if you want your kids to have good influences in their lives.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we shouldn't be careful with our kids and what they do, where they go, but in safe neighbourhoods with people that are known and trusted why do some parents still feel the need to be by their child's side every waking minute? That is my point. There is a lovely family not so far from us. Our daughters sometimes play together. These girls do not ride their bikes to go and see each other, nor do they walk to each other's homes. We pop them in the car and we drive them. My point is that in my own childhood we would have biked to each other's homes to play. I would trust my own daughter to ride her bike over there and come home at the right time. I know she'd be safe in our neighbourhood, but it's just not the done thing any more. That is what I think is sad.

Tena - posted on 04/10/2012

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Either myself of the kids dad goes to parties with my 7 year old. Around here you just can't trust the parents hosting the party. My son just went to a birthday party 2 months ago and the parents were there drinking. I would not trust a drunk person to watch my child. I also have to know the parents of the children my kids play with and will do at least one visit with them. I have found that "stupid parents" raise "stupid kids". Example of that is when my 19 year old went to a friends to play one day when they were on break from school. He had to of been 10 or 11 at the time because he was still an only child. The kids were all over the place running wild (she had about 7 kids of all ages) with her grandson screaming - he was colicky. Her 15 year old daughter was breastfeeding and didn't know that she had to eat properly. The only thing she had eaten for the day was some flaming hots (chips) and buffalo wings. And here is the kicker the mom said that she got pregnant the first time she spent the night with her boyfriend. She didn't know that you could get pregnant the first time you had sex. This from a grown woman in her early 30's Needless to say my son did not go over there again. Maybe I am just old fashioned and out of tune with today's young mothers - I have found that most parents of my 2 younger ones, especially my 2 year old are young enough that I could have almost given birth to them.

[deleted account]

That's too sad. But don't forget that some (not all I grant you) of these things did still occur back when I was a child. You must have grown up with "stranger danger". It's just that we have so much more media around us informing us of every tiny little incident that's occurred, we now think that it is happening more often. I don't live in the inner city so for my kids and their friends there should be no reason at all why they can't get on their bikes and go for a ride around the block or walk unaccompanied to their friend's homes.

But tell me, why is it necessary for a parent to stay at a birthday party with their child? It's not like there are no adults to supervise. Why can't a kid just go to play at a friend's house? Why does Mummy have to be there too? It's these little freedoms that our kids have lost that prevent them from growing up with a sense of independence.

If you were to delve into the history of growing up and of society, you would see that the world has never been a safe place to live. Dangers lurk everywhere. It's just that the types of dangers we face change with time. When progress eliminates one kind of danger, a new kind pops up to replace it.

Tena - posted on 04/10/2012

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Statistics might show that it is safe but statistics don't take in to consideration all community make ups. Here the inner city is NOT safer that it was in the 70's, 80's or 90's. In the 70's we could go to bed at night and leave our doors unlocked. By the 90's there were a lot of drug bust and now you have to worry about being shot in your own home by a stray bullet from a drive by (a lady that worked in my old apartment complex - her 13 year old daughter was shot in the head while sitting on the couch doing her homework - car driving down the street shooting). My grandparents bought their home in the 50's and my parents around the corner from them in the 70's - none of them could recall ANY child being abducted in the area (me either) until in 2003 when a little girl was abducted and murdered. We didn't hear about serial killers in our backyards until 2009 when even other countries were covering the Anthony Sowell story as it unfolded. So no my kids from young adult to toddler will never have the freedoms that I did or will be as safe as I was.

Katherine - posted on 04/10/2012

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I truly hope so. I hope it's just a stupid trend that will run it's course and fade away.

[deleted account]

Yes, and if one Mum dares to break out and allow their child a little freedom all the other Mums jump on them and label them bad mums or irresponsible. Do you think it will ever change?

[deleted account]

No they don't. It is sad that our kids won't have the same freedoms that we had. It is all our own doing though, some people of our generation decided that the world wasn't safe and started to "baby" the kids and everyone else followed suit. Statistics show that this time in history is the safest in which to live, so why are we all so distrustful? Why do we always fear the worst?

Katherine - posted on 04/09/2012

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Then: Sleepovers



Now: Not so much :(







People don't trust as much as they did.

[deleted account]

Birthday Parties..

Then: dropped off at start, picked up at finish. You attended on your own as YOU were the one invited. You had a great time.



Now: You go to party accompanied by Mum (sometimes dad as well) plus brothers and sisters and Mum sits and waits until it's time to go. You can't enjoy yourself because Mum (or Dad) is constantly watching you.

[deleted account]

Then: got on our bikes and went to our friend's house to play. Came home on our own just in time for dinner.



Now: ring friend's mum to arrange play-date. Someone must be home to supervise. Child gets dropped off by parent in the car and picked up again at a certain time or dropped home by said friend's parent.

Katherine - posted on 04/09/2012

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They were much better then. You didn't have to worry about half the stuff we worry about now.

Tena - posted on 04/09/2012

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Things were much better then overall. Technology has made some things easier but something as simple as a power outage and kids today are lost. I don't remember the last time I saw kids playing kick ball, jacks or anything we did. Then again I am not the normal parent since my oldest son is grown and my youngest is a toddler.

Jennifer - posted on 04/09/2012

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I keep a much better eye on my kids than my parents did me. I left by 9am and was back when when the street lights came on. I had my horse, my dog, my slingshot, and my pellet gun everywhere I went. It was not unheard of for me to put in 20 miles a day. If I don't hear and see my kids every 20 minutes, I'm looking! Of course, my kids don't carry cell phones. My 7 year old daughter has a friend who stays here for 3 or four days at a time, never seeing a parent, just text them every so often. I often wonder if it ever crosses their mind how easy she could be lying about where she's at??

Tena - posted on 04/09/2012

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Everything is different! We did not have video games till I was a tween (Atari 2600), the only computers were these ancient things that hooked to a tv and you did everything in Basic (Radio Shack and Timex Sinclair) We had records and 8 tracks and moved up to cassettes. We played outside until the street lights came on, ice cream trucks were okay. There were no digital cameras, video cameras didn't exist until I was a teen, microwaves were a luxury.



Things are even different between my kids. With the first there were cassettes and cds and he used a VCR.



Now I feel old

Karen - posted on 04/09/2012

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This was adorable! Did you write this yourself!?



I can just take one step into my kid's room and 1 second is all I need to see how very different she has it!



THIS!

"Then: Friday meant family game night with pizza.



Now: Friday means dad's on the Xbox, mom's on Facebook, and the kids are playing Angry Birds on their iPads."



Sounds about right! hahaha

Katherine - posted on 04/09/2012

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My mom used to let use go wherever. We used to be able to do that :(

America3437 - posted on 04/09/2012

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I actually know where my kids are at all times and can find them at the touch of a button. Wow glad my mom didn't have that option.

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