“It’s just so much more complicated now.”
“Parenting had to be easier back then — there was no internet!”
“There were fewer choices back then, and things were easier.”
To hear some people talk, in “the good old days,” parents sent the kids outside to play, and parents were left to do adult things, uninterrupted. There were fewer seatbelts and more diving boards. Fewer rules and more fun. Things weren’t such a big deal 20 or 30 years ago, and the kids were just fine.
I’m skeptical, though — while parents today face a set of predicaments, doesn’t every generation? Aren’t there some advancements that have made parenting easier? Here are five reasons I’m glad to be a parent in 2017, rather than 1987:
Outside fun with less bleeding and burning
Of course, the metal slides and merry-go-rounds from the ’80s were fun — they were on a playground! Nothing was better than an all-metal playground, on asphalt, on a hot summer’s day, right?
Today’s playgrounds are safer, and more accessible to children with different abilities. Kids still love to go to playgrounds, even if they’re wearing SPF 50, and they don’t rip their knees open on the pavement. I’ve never nursed a blistering sunburn or taken my kids in for stitches. I’m counting that as a win.
I don’t dig your cig
I remember getting burned by a cigarette near a barrel of deli pickles as a kid. People smoked everywhere, even in stores. Students smoking before school started was thing.
In contrast, my kids don’t know what it means to be asked “smoking or non” at a restaurant, and will even close their car windows if the person in the next car over lights up. Of course I tell my kids not to smoke, but for the moment anyway, it’s the least appealing bad habit out there.
Organizing all of the things
I have no idea how room moms or Scout leaders did it in 1987. Did they call everyone in the class to organize a bake sale? Did they send home paper forms, collect return forms and then sort them all out to figure out who was bringing what to the class picnic? What prevented 23 packages of Twinkies from coming in, with no Kool-Aid to wash it down? I cannot imagine taking on any kind of group event without some electronic tools to keep it organized.
Please leave a message or, better yet, text
There used to be these things called phone trees. What were those even? Martha called Julie who called Kathy, but Kathy wasn’t home, so Julie had to call Sue to pass on the message that baseball practice was rained out again. Who has time for that? How did you keep your phone numbers straight using a rotary phone? Give me a group text or a text notification service, please and thank you.
The wild, wild online world
Yes, kids today spend a mind-numbing amount of time online watching other people play video games and other asinine things. Yes, teaching online safety is something parents today must do. But the internet is incredibly handy for learning (or getting a refresher on) how to do just about anything — make paper fortune tellers, braid hair or, you know, do math homework. I NEVER learned that much from my set of encyclopedias.
So while there are challenges to bringing up kids in the new millennium, I’m glad to be doing it now.