Parents Discipline Their Kids Way Less Today Than They Did In The 1970s

Jen Hatmaker is a 45 year-old mother of five who is a contributor to the Today Community, and she thinks parents indulge their children way more now than they did when she was growing up in the 1970s. In a new article, Jen discusses how her mother would raise her and her siblings with an iron fist.

“This very morning, a mom posted how on her son’s birthday, she assembles a comprehensive ‘time capsule’ including items, photos, and products related to that particular year, stores it in a set of antique trunks, and plans to present them all to him on his 18th birthday as a tribute to his entire life,” she wrote.

Jen found this to be a shocking move because her own mother never would have done anything like that. She thinks that modern parents have a different notion of what their children’s lives are than they did in the past. Jen said that modern parents see their kids’ lives as “a beautifully documented fairytale in which they reside as the center of the universe, their success is manufactured (or guaranteed), and we over-attend to every detail of their lives until we send them off to college after writing their entrance essays.”

While it’s good for parents to want the best for their kids, this can end up being harmful if parents give them too much and overindulge them.

Jen went on to say that her “trick for keeping the joy and losing the stress” is to ask herself what her own mom would do.

“I was born in 1974, good readers,” she wrote. “It no more occurred to my mom to coddle us Precious Snowflakes than it did to quit drinking a case of Tab a day. If you told my mom to craft a yearly time capsule for each child to store until graduation, she would have cried tears of laughter all the way to Jazzercise.”

As a working mother, Jen sometimes stresses about making sure her children are being productive instead of just sitting around playing video games. Then, she remembers that her own mother did not raise her to have this kind of unnecessary stress.

“It never crossed my mom’s mind to ‘entertain us’ or ‘fund expensive summer endeavors’ or ‘create stimulating activities for our brain development,” Jen wrote. “She said ‘get the hell outside’, and we did. We made up games and rode our bikes and choreographed dance routines and drank out of the hose when we got thirsty. I swear, my mom did not know where we actually were half the time.”

Jen also said she believes that modern parents have forgotten how important it is for their kids to fail sometimes.

“Have we forgotten the benefit of letting our kids fail? Figure it out? Work hard for it? Entertain themselves?” she asked. “We put so much undue pressure on ourselves to curate Magical Childhoods, when in fact, kids are quite capable of being happy kids without constant adult administration. I would argue that making them the center of the universe is actually terribly detrimental.”

In the end, Jen thinks that parents are making their kids way too dependent on them, and this is not healthy.

“You have everything your little ones need: kisses, Shel Silverstein books, silly songs, kitchen dance parties, a backyard, family dinner around the table, and a cozy lap,” she wrote. “They’ll fill in the rest of the gaps and be better for it. Your kids don’t need to be entertained and they don’t need to be bubble-wrapped; they just need to be loved.”

What are your thoughts on Jen’s assessment of modern day parenting? Let us know in the comments section.


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