The Good Old Days

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 12/09/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )




Ever since becomming a parent I've been thinking a lot about how different my generations views are of parenting compared to our parents and their parents views on parenting.

I want to share stories. Discuss the difference between what your parents or their parents think is good or okay parenting compared to what you think is appropriate.

What have you learned? How do you differ from your parents and theirs? Do you?

I thought I would use tough love a lot more than I do. I thought I would raise my kids and let them learn from living, like the 'good old days' did. However, since having kids, I realize I am practically futuristic.

The good old days seem to just consist of no parenting, or barely any. Which is far different than the newer generations.

My grandma was definiatly the old days parenting type. My mom was labeled over protective and they sheltered me as a child, even a teen. Then there is me. I cannot believe what my mom has let my son do, or given him at too young of an age, or think is okay to feed him too soon before he can handle it. So my parents give me flack for being over protective because if they were labeled over protective, I must be out of my mind ;)

I also despise this whole 'we raised you' line they tell me when I question what they are doing to/with MY sons. Ugh.

So, lets see where this leads. What have you noticed about parenting over the generations? Shifts in consiousness? Where do you think we are at now, overall? Write whatever comes to mind :)


[deleted account]

My grandma was raised on a farm, I think there were 9 of them, all girls? Each girl had to work until they could find husbands. By the way, it's REALLY weird to think of a society like that!

I don't think that my grandparents were really parents at all, at least not to my mom who was the 2nd youngest of 7. She was actually raised by my aunt. All I really know is that my mom hated her childhood - she opted out of saying much more.

My mom, perhaps in response to her lack of supervision as a child was overly strict and controlling. We weren't allowed to do anything, except use the restroom, without clear verbal approval (not exaggerating). It was a little strange. She punished with kitchen utensils to spank and soap to wash our mouths out. So, much like my mom, I also hated my childhood. :)

So, when I got pregnant I really had to make a decision, what kind of parent did I WANT to be? I spent the first four years either being exactly like my mom (too strict) or exactly opposite of her (too lenient). Poor little guy probably thought I was losing my damn mind. Somewhere in there, something hit me like a ton of bricks. He's a person that I only 'have' for 18 short years, and then he's off, out there to be his own man and the question became, what kind of person do I want him to be? I shifted my focus from me as parent to him as a person. It's a little tough to explain... I try to parent, not as a dictator and not as a friend, more like a guide, using my short time to be the best influence possible, leading by example, disciplining only with good reason, always showing him respect, crossing my fingers that he will grow up to be a truly good, decent person.

Parenting is the best job in the world, I feel fortunate that I've been blessed to enjoy it more than I believe my mom or grandma did.

Amie - posted on 12/09/2011




I’ll start with my gramma’s era. My gramma’s started working or being bred to family life young. It was all they knew and for them, having kids that were just kids and had a “life” was a bit of a stretch. They were raised that children were seen and not heard, they were expected to work and help the family. They raised my parents this way. Both my parents started working at 12ish to help the families out. They paid their way.

My gramma’s generation were also young adults when the “new” idea of letting kids be kids started to form. It was in the 50’s that the first generation of teenagers were actually called teenagers and less was expected of them. By todays standards, a lot of was expected of them but by previous generations to them they had it easy.

By each successive generation the one after it has it easy and it’s true – mostly.

My gramma’s also grew up during WW2 and the like. My paternal grandmother spent most of her childhood helping raise her younger sisters. My great grandfather had been killed by hitlers elite when he refused to take up arms. So my great grandmother, my gramma and her siblings all fled Germany. They spent years bouncing around Europe before finally coming to Canada once the war was over. My other gramma, well residential schools were still around. That’s all there really is to say. She was a native girl and her childhood was no better. She had to be “civilized” because natives were heathens. Which is putting it in extreme short form.

They had to work hard and women breaking into the “mans” workforce was still something that could be considered new. They did what they had to make ends meet. One of my gramma’s was a house wife her entire life. She went from raising her siblings, to raising her own family. She knew nothing else but she knew her kids could have better. It’s why she pushed education so hard, alongside the work ethic. My other gramma left my grandfather after having 5 kids with him. I can understand why, he was a drunk that was a continuous cheat. She finally had enough. So she spent the rest of her life working long hours, for a pittance to scrape by with her 5 kids. Each of my parents started working young to help support the family, even though they were some of the youngest of their siblings – it was expected of them.

Now let’s move onto my parents generation. My parents are children of the 70’s born in the 60’s. Both my mom and dad are the 2nd youngest of all my aunts and uncles. They had no less expectation on them because of that though. There was no “youngest child” syndrome. They had to help and lord help the person who decided they were going to slack. My mom still remembers being beaten with a switch.
They are a product of their environment though. They had parents who had rough starts and pushed very hard for them to have better lives. Which included an education, a sense of family and a strong work ethic. That is something that is not seen much anymore. The education is taken for granted, families have less and less time together and the work ethic you see from one generation to the next is noticeable.

My generation (I am a child of the 90’s born in the 80’s) had a cake walk compared to 2 generations previous. I had a social life, I had a job but my money did not have to go back to my family unless I wanted it too. My parents taught me everything they knew but it was still different. They were softer than my gramma’s had been on their generation. I was spanked but I was not beaten. I had a job but my money was my own. I did have chores but the consequences were not as dire if I sloughed off.

I am raising my children today (by some standards) as a very hard parent. I expect a lot of my children but they always deliver. I expect a lot because I know they can do it. I’ve given them the skills and they know how to go about finding the information if they become stumped on anything. I am not much different than my gramma’s were but our methods are different. I expect my children to work hard but I don’t beat them if they don’t. I don’t use negative reinforcement. My kids work hard because of their sense of accomplishment they get when they’re done. Which isn’t saying my parents don’t feel that but it wasn’t a lesson they learned early. My children will have jobs but I won’t expect their money. I will expect them to pay for their “extras” if they want them. Which includes fancy cell phones, their own vehicles, etc. My children can be children as long as they want (within reason, of course) but they will come out the other end with a pile of skills and knowledge. The same as my parents did but through different means.

I’m not saying any generation has been raised wrong. It’s all been very different and a lot has to do with circumstances. My gramma’s had it as hard as they did for a few reasons. The wars, their race and society as a whole was a bunch of bastards because of it. My parents generation it was getting better but still pretty bad. My mom quit school and started working full time in grade 8 because of the constant racist bullying. She did go back to school eventually but instead of working on the problem the solution for her was to quit school and go to work. If what happened to my gramma’s or my mom happened today – charges would be brought up and they would win. Hell, my gramma’s generation did win years later but the damage was already done.

As we grow and learn as a society we become better – supposedly. There are those who will get it “wrong”. There will always be those type of people out there. It’s not that they are terrible parents but with only 60ish to years to learn how to parent teenagers, while letting them be kids but still giving them the skills they need – I’d say we have a ways to go as a whole.

Those are just my experiences though. Others, I know, will see things differently but that is because of their experiences and circumstances.

Sorry it’s so long. I didn’t really write about food issues and the like. My family (on both sides and even my in laws) have always been breastfeeders, co-sleepers, etc. That part of things has always been the same. It’s the discipline/punishment and expectation side I see changing little bits with each generation.


View replies by

Mary - posted on 12/10/2011




Honestly, I'm not really sure it's possible to compare the way our parents or grandparents raised us to what we ourselves are doing today. My mother was born in 1945 - the world is a very different place now as compared to the one in which my grandmother was parenting my mom. I was born in 1970, and although I am raising my own daughter in the same town that grew up in, the town of 2011 is barely recognizable compared what it was in the 70's.

In some aspects, my life situation is very similar to that of my grandmother's; both of us had our much longed-for daughters late in life, and we only had the one child. My grandmother was 40 when she had my mom, and I was 38. However, starting from our birth "experiences", things were radically different.

My grandmother was a tiny woman - 4'10. Although it was the mid 1940's, her doctor feared that her baby was way too big for her to deliver safely, so they did something that was pretty radical at the time - an elective section. My mother weighed just shy of 10lbs which, for the time, was pretty abnormal. My guess is that my grandmother was a gestational diabetic, but they had no knowledge of such things back then. Chances are, that "radical" decision probably granted her a live, healthy, developmentally "normal" kid. However, it also meant that she had little awareness of my mother's existence for over two weeks. General anesthesia, the only option in 1945, was not what it is today. Many people died from it, and those who didn't were sick, confused, and lethargic for weeks afterward. My grandmother was lucky, but I think it was over a month before she was released from the hospital, and capable of caring for her baby.

In comparison, I had an uneventful vaginal delivery of a 7lb baby girl. She was in my arms the second she was fully emerged, and rarely left them for the day and half we remained in the hospital. I was able to breastfeed her with ease. I can only imagine what my grandmother had to deal with just feed her baby. Formula and bottles in a time before bottle warmers, dishwashers, and microwaves. Cloth diapers in a time before most "normal" people had either "automatic" washing machines or dryers in their homes. (The typical washing machine of the day, if you had one, involved some type of human-operated wringer system).

Perhaps I had the luxury of spending more time focusing on my baby's development, and responding to her every little cry and whimper; after, I didn't have to devote even half as much time or physical energy to just the basic maintenance of my household. Life may have been "simpler" back then, but it sure as hell wasn't easier.

Here is what I do know about the parenting "skills" of my mother, grandmother, and even my great-grandmother: Our challenges, tactics, methods and knowledge were certainly different, but somehow, each generation managed to produce daughters who grew up feeling loved and cherished. Each of us, when asked, would tell you that we had happy, and at times, magical childhoods. Perfect?, perhaps not, but I do know all of us were very secure in the love and support that we were given by our own mothers throughout our lives. I may do things differently than my mom did with me, but I will consider myself a raging success if my own daughter looks back on her childhood with even half as much fondness, happiness, and affection as I do mine.

[deleted account]

This should be fun lol.
I'll start with my parents, my grandmother died when I was 13 so I dont know a whole lot about how she parented.

My dad first off was really big on going to school and doing good... my mother on the other hand was the one whispering "if you don't want to stay at school today just come home" And because my dad worked ans was also a firefighter it was kinda hard for him to "force" his will I guess you could say, about school. They let me have sleep overs with a friend that I have known my entire life, I went to the skating rink alot, went to parties (some my father didn't know about) I guess you could say my own mother was a bad influence on me lol.
As far as discipline went, I was spanked... and I lived! I was slapped in the mouth once by my mother for calling her something I shouldn't have at 15. We weren't really "taught" manners per say, we just had them, its hard to explain.. I guess common sense, we knew when to be quiet and we knew what was appropriate and when it was.
Working(this kinda of ties into school for me) I got my first actual job at 15 , worked full time and went to school. My father always told me "ill support you as long as your in school, even if your working, if you don't finish school, fend for yourself" Lol boy was he right. I dropped out and he made continue working until I moved out at 18. (HUGE mistake by the way.Abusive boyfriend)
It always bothered me when my mom or ex mother in law would say " he's fine, nothings going to happen!" in regards to my son when he was first born, everything from eating to playing with the damn dog ( who was old and mean). I can't tell you how many fights I got into with both of them about how I wanted things done with my son. It got to the point where I kept my son from them for a few weeks ;)

Now.. ( jeez this is long) My husband and I are hell on school with my son, he goes everyday unless sick, homework is done every day, checked, fixed etc every week. We make him read at least 30 min a day also (which is art of his homework but I try to throw in extra when we can. My dad is real big on "well you never did " when talking about school, I HATE that and so does my husband. I finally had to tell him that "just because I was raised a certain way doesn't mean I'm ok with MY kids being raised that same way"
My son has had ONE sleep over with the kids of that same friend of mine... We lived across the street from each other and I still called EVERY 20 minutes to check on him lol. I dont let him go anywhere with friends, I drive him to school etc. Yes I am very protective, that's just how I am as a mother.
Me my sister and brother grew up in a VERY loving home, "I love you" was said literally every day a few times through out the day. It was always comfortable ya know. I'm as loving as my nature will allow.... honestly I'm not much of Lovey person, but I make a point to ALWAYS hug kiss and love on my kids.. you can tell them all day you love them but I think kids need to also feel it. Its harder for my husband because he was not raised lovingly ( I do not care for his father and step mother at all).

We don't ever make empty promises to our kids like my husbands parents did to him and his brother.

We constantly joke with each other ( MAYBE a little too much? lol)

I remember also, my parents, it seemed always had friends over when we were growing up, on those nights it was kinda of free for all for us kids.

My husband and I would rather not have friends haha... its just easier, we have NO obligation to anybody but our kids.

This is really long, not sure if its what you were really looking for but here it is :) I dont know that much about my grandparents... on either side, like I said my mom's mom dies when I was 13 and when she did, my "grandpa" left with out a second thought about us. I have never been close to my dads mother or siblings so I don't know much about them aside from (this is pretty interesting) my dads great great great great uncle? Id have to ask again. Was what they called the "mexican robin hood" lol seriously

That's pretty cool :) I guess that's all I have for now. Enjoy!

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 12/09/2011




Debb - that's exactly how I feel. My grandparents were no-parenting. My parents over-parented to the dickens. I don't want to be anything, except like you say, a guide.

I want them to be happy. I want what they want and hopefully I can help them get there when they are old enough and realize what they want to do (job, college, life)? I hope that made sense. It sounds jumbled in my head

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 12/09/2011




Very well put Amie :)

I enjoyed reading about your family and now realize how little about my own lineage I really know.

My grandma and grandpa's don't even talk to us. They weren't around when I was growing up. I know their life stories, but ultimately they have no familly values and I never got to know them.

My boyfriends and I's family lack family values. It really breaks my heart. My parents preach it but don't have it. My boyfriend's mom says she'd do anything for her kids, yet hasn't talked to her son in four months because of a spat we got into over Cheerios. Seriously? You are so bitter you are going to let Cheerios ruin your relationship with your son? So that is the biggest difference my boyfriend and I want to teach our kids. That family matters. The importance of family. How you should try to always be there for family.

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