Parenting evolution – are we there yet?
We are living in a society that has reached its peak in evolving and developing. We are at a point where we are carrying in our pockets all the knowledge there is in this world. Any kind of information we need to know is just a click away. So, without doubt I can say that technology and science are going forward in a very fast, almost running pace.
On the other side, there are changes in our personal lives, too. The family – as the principal cell of the society, has also evolved and grown to some new adapted version of itself. Instead of growing together, we (as families) are growing apart.
The time spent together within our family nowadays consists of one to two hours before going to bed. With another one to two hours in the morning for breakfast or coffee, before going to work, school etc…
Some families still have the whole weekend for themselves. Usually weekends are spent cleaning the house or just on spending some alone time, since we all need that, too. There are also many families that don`t have the weekends together since one of the spouses is working.
Being constantly in lack of free time is making us more selfish. Selfishness is a higher form of self-love. Therefore, it is not a bad thing. Almost everyone has some kind of practice, hobby we are devoting time on, in order to heal our tired body and soul. But still, this is not a time spent with our family.
The modern-day family is a nucleus consisted of three, four or more persons, sleeping and occasionally eating under the same roof but living and evolving on their own.
Our parenting techniques have evolved, too. There was just parenting once, now we have gentle parenting, respectful parenting, old-fashioned parenting, attachment parenting, free range parenting, no spanking parenting and so on, and so on. In order to be a “good parent” today, you need to devote yourself completely on that matter.
You can even say that we have made it into a science discipline – let’s name it a “parentology”. We have so many theories, rules, facts approved by the modern medicine, psychology, and all kinds of specialists.
I believe that we got lost in this parenting evolution. Parenting is supposed to be the most natural ability for every man/woman. Instead, it has become a multilevel contest in proving ourselves that we are raising tiny super humans that have all the best qualities and will top all their peers’ achievements.
Modern living absurdity
And here comes the real nonsense. We have created new techniques, we have the will to use them, but we don’t really have enough time to implement them all.
If we are providing enough outdoor time, we simply don’t have the time needed to prepare a healthy balanced meal. Our little monsters get hungry quite often, so it means that most probably they will be getting a fast food snack at least once a day.
When we are trying to organize their time, inventing creative plays for them, we are usually forgetting to let them be bored, since boredom is the first step to creativity development.
We have prolonged our days in order to be able to finish everything, and that reflects on our kids’ activities too. They are staying awake much longer, compared to our childhood bed times. And they do need the sleep. Less sleep leads to more anxiety and anxiety causes tantrums and crying outbursts.
Trying to get all our chores done we are resorting to our modern babysitters, or so called ipads. And there goes our “parenting evolution”…
What about the emotional evolution?
All summed up, we have lost the time and the presence needed to teach our children empathy or any other social and emotional ability and they won’t grow up in emotionally and mentally healthy adults.
And we already have proofs coming from the professional therapists’ statistics stating that:
- 1 in 5 children has some kind of a mental health problem;
- 37% increase in teen depression;
- 43% increase in ADHD;
- 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old.
I found this information quite disturbing. Have we forgotten the most important aspect of our children’s health and well being? Are we just running in circles in order to offer more possibilities for entertainment and education, all the while forgetting what is really important? Is this parenting evolution going in the wrong direction? Are we evolving or devolving as parents?
We have to go back to the basis.
Changes are possible and can be made every day. Children adapt quickly. It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. We need to teach our children how to grow up in happy and fulfilled individuals. Our first and most important role is to be a parent to our child, not a friend. They will have many friends to offer them what they want, but only their parents to provide the guidance they really need.
We need to provide a well-balanced lifestyle, and teach them the difference between what they want and what they need. In the mean time, we have to say no to our children every once in a while. They need to know that they can’t have everything, they need to know that they should work hard in order to obtain something, that they too should make an effort. Our prime goal is teaching them that they are responsible for the consequences of their own actions. The most valuable thing we can provide for our boys and girls is teaching them how to be independent and self-reliant.
Our best intentions, work against us as parents. We over-protect them from small failures, when in fact they need us to train them to overcome life’s challenges.
Happy parents=happy children
While improving our parenting abilities, we need to remind ourselves that all of this is valid for our own lifestyles as well. We all need to slow down a bit, to find and create more space for us, for our partner, for our family. If we want our happiness to grow and multiply, we need to provide some more time and space for it.
The parenting evolution should enable us to create more healthy and more confident generations, by allowing us to become more healthy and confident adults.
What can we do?
The most important thing is to concentrate on teaching our kids that healthy nutrition is important and that it is not a difficult and time consuming task. Fruits and vegetables don’t have to be cooked or prepared in any way. Just wash and rinse them well, and put them in your backpack. A carrot, nuts, a banana or an apple are quite a delicious snack when playing outdoors. And make sure that you implement a consistent sleep routine, so that your child gets enough sleep. This way they will learn that taking care of our bodies means taking care of our own well-being.
Try avoiding or at least limit the time you spent using your smart phone or computer, while spending time with your kids. This way, we are teaching them that it is not okay to use our phones during meals, in cars, restaurants or as a cure for boredom. And they do learn best by examples.
We should be our child’s emotional coaches. They are learning how to recognize their emotions, and how to deal with them, by watching us. Parents need to teach kids greeting, sharing, turn taking, table manners, empathy, problem solving, taking care of the environment.
We can still make the change we want to see in this world.
We learn through our mistakes.
Humans are not perfect. We all make mistakes.
Even though we devote ourselves to being the best parent, it is still the most difficult task.
We are bound to make many mistakes in the process. And it’s not a bad thing.
When we are aware of our mistakes and we explain how sorry we are for them, our kids learn from that. And they will hopefully not repeat our own mistakes as parents. They will probably make some other mistakes that won’t be repeated by our grandchildren. That is how improvement happens. With acknowledging every mistake and transforming it into progress, every next generation will produce better parents.
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