How do you think parenting has changed over the last 10 years? Whether you’ve been a mom for that amount of time or not, things have shifted a lot (obvs).
I’ve been a mom for 10 years, and for me the biggest change has been our online activity, and how much we’re putting our kids out there, on multiple channels. Life is accelerating too, and so too is parenting – there’s way more info, and more to do, and more to juggle, and less exhale time.
Mom.com compiled a list of the top ways parenting has shifted in the last decade. I think most of these are relevant to South Africa too, and if I were to add a way parenting has changed in our country, I’d say we are protective over our kids, and way more scared for them.
Here’s their list
In granting instant access to unlimited information and perspectives, the digital revolution has allowed parents to easily research every conceivable parenting style and product, empowering and overwhelming them all at once.
As a result, many parents find it hard to make simple choices, from when to potty train to what household products to buy.
Parents now habitually turn to their online communities to share the latest about their children (photos, videos, milestones, etc.) – with both positive and negative results. Some parents have loved the instant feedback.
Others have felt shamed by choices they’ve made, as conveyed in their posts, and are becoming wary of these forums for parental guidance and support.
The #MeToo movement has fundamentally altered how children learn autonomy over their bodies, even as early as nursery school.
From saying no to unwanted hugs to paediatricians using appointments to explain where others aren’t allowed to touch, today’s kids are growing up with far greater awareness and understanding of bodily consent.
Increased focus on mental health
With school shootings terrifying communities and youth suicide rates climbing, our society has become more focused than ever on all-things mental health.
In turn, parents have become increasingly attuned to issues like anxiety and depression, and some schools have begun excusing absences for mental health days.
Separating children from their screens has become increasingly challenging, spurring anxiety about digital dependency.
To complicate matters, most parents recognise that it’s appropriate for children of a certain age to be permitted regular use of devices, even if it furthers device addiction.
From marriage equality to drag queen story hours, children today are growing up in an age of historic acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals, with greater numbers of parents teaching their children to challenge gender and sexuality stereotypes, and to have more diverse views.
Society’s emphasis on achieving gender equality has skyrocketed, with parents more focused than ever on raising their daughters to be confident, strong and brave. From tackling self-esteem issues to promoting interest in STEAM subjects, parents of both boys and girls are prioritising girl empowerment.
Push for co-parenting
Parenting has become increasingly understood as a genuine partnership between individuals who are equally responsible for the everyday tasks of caring for children.
This thinking holds true more than ever, both for married couples and parents who have divorced but remain determined to raise healthy, happy kids.
Zero tolerance for bullying
While once regarded as one of many unfortunate but unescapable aspects of childhood, bullying/cyberbullying is now a matter of grave concern.
Schools today profess zero tolerance, with parents agonising about helping children targeted by bullies, disciplining children for bullying behaviour, and even addressing bullying among parents.