“You cannot raise your children the way your parents raised you. Because your parents raised you for a world that no longer exists.”
I posted that on social media and I was immediately hit with emails suggesting that I was “dead wrong.”
It’s true…our values we should be teaching our children haven’t changed. Things like respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, patience, forgiveness, honesty…the list could go on.
While our values have stayed the same…our society has not.
So no…I cannot raise my children the way my parents raised me…because it’s not 1985. Things are different and I need to adjust to the times.
Back in the day, we had pen pals…our bikes were always outside our friends’ houses…we had Kool-Aid stands…we caught lightning bugs…we talked to our friends on the phone (but only until 9 because then our parents would take the phone off the hook)…we made forts with blankets…we had makeshift tents outside…we whipped our friends around on the tire swing…we recorded a mix tape for our crush…we played M.A.S.H…we roller skated in our garage…we played Pac-Man at Pizza Hut while we waited for our pie.
It was SPECTACULAR. It was FUN. It was SIMPLE. It was DRAMA-FREE.
If there was drama, you worked it out on the playground…and at 3:00pm on a Friday, it was over. Forgotten.
Monday is the new Friday for our kids. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter are the new playgrounds…or as I like to call it…”Virtual Red Rover.” The rude comments…photographic evidence of exclusion…it is all like a clothesline to the throat over and over again.
Don’t tell me that it can be solved by taking away a teenager’s phone. That accomplishes nothing because at some point, our children need to learn how to survive and thrive in today’s society…and that involves social media. Mean girls and jerk boys…grow up to be mean women and jerk men. (I could write an entire thesis with thousands of examples on this one) So you have to learn pretty early in life how to deal with it…and you have to be prepared to deal with it MUCH later in life too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I love reconnecting with old friends…I love being able to share milestones with friends and family…I love all of that and everything in between.
But social media has changed the parenting game BIG time.
There is a pressure to be perfect. And it’s an unattainable kind of perfect that social media created with its filters and hashtags. The ridiculous goal of getting “a lot of likes” or “a lot of shares” is taking a precedence over being a GOOD KID. And let’s face it, adults face the same pressure. Whether it’s someone who posts a picture of their immaculate home or their 6-pack abs three days after having a baby…social media has a way of making us feel “less than.”
I can’t speak for any other parents…I can obviously only speak for me…but I feel an enormous amount of pressure as a mom. I see my oldest daughter, who is in the throws of being a tween. We’ve raised her with the same values we were raised with…but I’m still worried her priorities are very much 2019 priorities. I tell her every day: purpose over pretty…purpose over popularity. I pray that sticks with her.
Sure, I can pretend it’s 1985 and start taking things away completely. “KIDS, WE’RE GOING TO USE THIS PHONE…IT STAYS ATTACHED TO THE WALL.”
But then I would be failing as a parent.
I need to prepare them for the world ahead…not hang on to what once was.
So yes…the values are the same.
But I am taking off the rose-colored glasses.