You know what I’ve learned since becoming a parent? Everyone just loooooves to talk to you about how you’re parenting your kid. This can be good, sometimes, when a stranger pauses to comment on how well-behaved your child is.
So when Ariel sent me a piece called Parenting in the good ole days by Washington Post columnist Carolyn Hax, I rapidly read through it, reread it, and promptly forwarded it to a few friends who are also parents. Hax is responding to the following reader question:
Dear Carolyn: A non-parent here with a gripe about today’s parents: I don’t remember my parents helping me with my homework on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Isn’t it their homework? I don’t remember my parents playing (read, entertaining) me every day, either. We played with our friends. Why do parents today feel the need to do everything with their kids? — Anonymous
Here’s my favorite part of her response:
Unless they choose to homestead and home-school, each generation has to raise children in the context of current society — including but not limited to neighborhoods, schools, media, best scientific and medical practices, scientific and medical fads, and other ideas gone aerosol, not to mention whatever the lawyers dictate.
Some examples: Working parents are the majority now, single or married, so fewer kids come straight home after school, translating to fewer neighborhood kids out scratching together a kickball game. Plus, compared with 25 years ago, fewer households even have kids in them, with fewer kids per home, spaced farther apart — meaning fewer local playmates altogether.
Also, grandparents are staying healthier and in their own homes, thus diluting their influence on new generations — yet, better communications technology means more people have more ways to scrutinize parents’ choices, and more ways to pull kids away from their parents’ values. The village of my childhood has been replaced by something that’s still taking shape.
What do you guys think of the piece?