Parenting has always been hard. Parents of every generation surely had their own share of challenges and problems, and today’s generation of parents is no exception. However, today’s parents have a number of problems on their plate that their own parents in the 80’s did not have to worry about, and here are some of them:
1. Social Media
Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, we now have Facebook – which our moms in the 80s did not have to deal with. And while Facebook has a number of benefits, parents have soon found out that it, along with other similar social media networks, has made parenting much more difficult. Yes, it gave us a platform to show off our cute babies and their antics to the world, but it also provided a venue for mostly unsolicited advice. And although Facebook also provided a way for like-minded moms to bond together, share experiences, and even form support groups together, it also became a minefield at times for parents as they are rebuked for things that they do or don’t do. Even the cutest baby photos can result in an online backlash, so its no wonder that some parents have chosen to minimize social media use or even gave it up altogether.
2. “Mommy wars”
Because of social media, “mommy wars” are more present and felt than ever before. Moms these days are either breastfeeders or bottle-feeders, baby-wearers or stroller users, co-sleepers or independent sleepers, stay-at-home or working, and a whole lot more that are just plain overwhelming. Thanks to social media, moms these days are judged every which way, whether they do something or they don’t.
3. Kids’ screen time/gadget use
Kids these days are definitely more techie than we were at that age, thanks to the proliferation and use of smartphones and tablets. Some parents have discovered how effective it is in teaching kids and keeping them occupied, but recently, research and several articles have come out stating that gadget use may be doing kids more harm than good. This paved the way for the ongoing parent debate on whether to totally ban such devices or how much screen time to allow for their kids. Nothing is definite for now with regards to screen time, as not enough time nor research have been allotted on the subject, but maybe in a few years or so our kids will say something like “I can’t believe my mom gave me an iPad when I was 2” in the same way we say things like “I can’t believe my parents smoked cigarettes in our home.”
4. To vaccinate or not
This was not much of a question back in our parents’ time as vaccines were considered a must back then. Unfortunately, parents now must deal with anti-vaccine movements and a lot of information or misinformation regarding vaccine safety. The anti-vaccine movement gained traction thanks to a British doctor’s claim linking the MMR vaccine to autism. And although the study was retracted, high-profile personalities have taken up the crusade, resulting in overly concerned and confused parents. As such, parents today have to scrutinize every available information (or misinformation) there is about vaccine safety and decide for their families, compared to it being a no-brainer decision for our parents.
5. “Super parent” concept
I’m not sure about other moms, but I’ve noticed that a lot of parents these days are hounded by the need to do everything – from working a full-time job to provide for the family, to being as hands-on to our kids as much as possible. At the same time, these days we are expected to fill our kids’ days with as many activities as possible – from classes to play dates to sports and other activities. Compare this to our time as kids when such activities were not really a norm, and we were expected to make do and occupy ourselves most of the time.
Surely, there are not enough articles to encompass all the challenges and struggles parents are bound to encounter, but parents should also keep in mind that the most important thing is that our kids are happy, healthy, and raised well.