My least favorite parenting excuse is “I never did …… when I was a kid and I turned out okay” or “When I was a kid, I did …… and I am just fine.”
(Here’s a retro family pick just for fun. I am the blond on the far right with a polka dot dress.)
Here are some specific examples of this kind of logic:
My mom and dad never talked to me about sex and I turned out just fine.
People used to eat bacon and eggs every morning and they survived.
My mom and dad didn’t monitor what I watched growing up and I turned out okay.
I could do whatever I wanted when I was a kid and I am a responsible adult.
I have heard all of these reasonings before from different friends and even myself. But let me tell you what is wrong with this kind of logic.
The times are different. Way different. Exponentially different. If we were doing a science experiment, the variables are not all the same to make a legitimate comparison.
Our parents didn’t talk to us about sex, but we weren’t also hearing about sex in Ragu commericials and hamburger commercials. Sex scandals weren’t brought up while we watched the Olympics; commercials during sporting events weren’t full of sexy women, and music videos were actually about singing not about being sexy. We can’t compare our childhoods to what children are exposed to now. There weren’t pop ups on the computer and You Tube videos and sexting. Porn was in a magazine on the back of the toilet of the creepy guy you babysat for, not on everyone’s cell phone, computer, and TV. It wasn’t on billboards as you drove down the street or in the music you listened to. You had to go look for it; it didn’t come to you. Our parents could get away with not discussing sex; we can’t.
So our parents let us do whatever we wanted during the day. There was little supervision. Well guess what? Back then we didn’t have cell phones, iPads, iPods, MP3 players, Netflix, internet, FaceBook, SnapChat, video games with Mature themes, etc. Heck, we didn’t even have a DVD player. A day of technology meant we played Mario Kart and watched the Facts of Life or Full House if we happened to be home when it was on. The worst we could run into if left to ourselves is some bedroom scenes on a daytime soap opera or when the boys almost got molested on Different Strokes. We could get into mischief with our friends or neighbors, but the possibilities were much more limited then. We didn’t have to be watched every second; it takes much more vigilance now to be a parent.
And then there is the heated topic of food – we ate whatever we wanted and we weren’t fat. Well that is because we ate more real food back in the day. Not the forms of food we eat now with preservatives and hormones and all kinds of other chemicals. We ate in more and ate out less. Fast food wasn’t on every corner. We had to drive 30 minutes to the nearest McDonalds and dinners out were saved for birthdays and special occasions. My mom never ran through a drive through and passed back our food in the car, so we could eat the homemade cookies and the eggs and bacon because we weren’t eating junk for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were eating real food and treats were actually special, not an every day expectation. Plus we used our bodies more. We walked to school, piano lessons, the store or our friend’s house. We played kickball and tag and jumped on the tramp. We were away from the house for hours at a time exploring the world around us. We were outside more than we were inside.
So do not be fooled to think that we can be the same kind of parents our parents were. The world is too different than when we were kids. With technology and the fast pace way of life, we can’t do what our parents did and get the same result. We can’t use my least favorite excuse.