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'80s Moms Nailed This Parenting Thing: Take Their Tips!

Posted by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM
  • 16 Replies

'80s Moms Nailed This Parenting Thing: Take Their Tips!

by Nicole Fabian-Weber

momA new study has come out that claims that parents today are more aggravated than parents ten years ago. It's somewhat ironic, given that women and men today tend to be more emotionally in-tuned and spiritually-enlightened than they were a decade ago, but moms and dads are reporting feeling frustrated with their kids these days.

Wanna guess why?

If you said the Internet, social media, smart phones, etc., you get a gold star. Parents are feeling more distracted these days, thanks to things like Facebook; and they're feeling more like failures, thanks to things like Pinterest. (Who the hell can make an Easter bunny wreath out of pipe cleaners and a tin can?!) "Parents feel distracted from the job of parenting by the need to constantly be checking on their email, or other electronic devices, as well as monitor their kids’ use of these devices," David Murphey, a senior research scientist at Child Trends and one of the authors of the reports, said.

Other reasons the percentage of parents who are feeling aggravated with their kids has nearly doubled since 1997? Stresses related to busy schedules and work. "The American family has changed in some significant ways in recent years. We have more single parents, we have more dual-income families," Murphey added.

I can't say I'm surprised by these findings, but at the same time, it's a little disheartening. Electronic devices and the Internet not-withstanding (which not every family is addicted to), don't we parents today take our jobs as moms and dads incredibly seriously? More seriously than the parents of the past (hi, our parents)? We read books; we breastfeed longer; we co-sleep; we carry our babies in slings (and sometimes our toddlers); we don't use time-outs; we try not to raise our voices; we listen to our kids; we cook them fresh, organic food; we eschew any and all items containing BPA.

Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves? Is that what's adding to our aggravation? Everybody knows that a happy parent is a happy child. What a shame it would be to put so much effort into raising happy, healthy kids only to have it negated by everyday frustrations.

I was raised in the 80s, and my parents did things much different from how my husband and I do with our daughter. If I was crying? My mom plopped me in a playpen and let Big Bird and Oscar do their magic for hours on end -- and sans the guilt, because that was the way then. Of course, I would never do that with my child, nor would I recommend it, but maybe we modern parents could take a page or two out of parents' books in an effort to make things easier on ourselves.

1. We can ditch the phones/Internet/social media. When my daughter was young, I had a rule about not having my phone out when I was near her, and I'm ashamed to admit, I haven't stuck to it. You know what I've found helps, though? Turning my ringer off or leaving my phone upstairs when I'm downstairs and vice versa. The funny thing is, when my phone is there, there is this low-grade feeling that there's an email I'm missing or a text I need to get back to. But outta sight, outta mind.

2. Let kids be if they're content. Plenty of parents do this right now, but there are also plenty who don't. Maybe it's because so many parents work these days, but seeing a mom or dad disrupt their kid's solo play time so they can get in on the action isn't exactly uncommon. If they're quietly playing it means they're happy. Yay, you have a happy kid!

3. Stop obsessing over every little thing. If your child puts a plastic toy in their mouth, they're not going to get cancer. It's great if you can cut down on plastic as much as possible, but be realistic.

4. Stop being so hard on yourself. Seriously. Do you think your mother would have worried if she let you watch TV for too long, or if the meal she gave you wasn't nutritious enough? I'm not saying she was a bad mom, but she did what she could and she was okay with that. That sounds like a good way to be less aggravated, doesn't it?

Do you think you're more aggravated with your kids than your parents were with you?


by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM
My sons were born in 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1991. I have to agree that things were different when I raised my sons. We had parenting magazines and books but I avoided them because no one can be a perfect parent. It was easy to avoid them, you just didn't buy them or check them out from the library. We knew the parents around us in our social circles and from our children's schools but we didn't every little thing about them. Now you have social media, friends and strangers posting about their lives and their parenting and everything and anything about parenting and how children should be is a web search away. Every behavior has a label , when my sons were young they were just kids being kids and not kids in need if therapy and medication which it seems that so many children need today. There was less pressure. We didn't need 6 jobs to feed them either. Our choices weren't healthy by today's standards but they were certainly less expensive. What my sons ate would make parents today cringe unless they grew up in the same time frame mine did and then they probably ate the same things, lol.
by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I really wouldn't feel that much pressure, I'm pretty easy-going. The pressure is coming from homework. My oldest is in 4th grade and she has so much homework every night that it takes up the whole evening and she has no time to play and be a kid. It frustrates me because I think it's so important for children to have long stretches of dead time where they can do what they want to do. It makes me want to quit everything and go live in a hut, but I know that isn't possible.

by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Be serious about marriage. No one cares anymore to give their kids a mother and father. Both are important roles in kids' lives. Always have been.

Stop being "friends" to your kids and start parenting.

Take a break from electronics. We don't have an ipad in our house. Let kids go outside with other friends who aren't addicted to electronics.
by Platinum Member on Apr. 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Imo a big part of it as well is that in the 80s if kids were driving a parent crazy they'd just kick them outside for the day. A lot of people can't do that now :(
by Cecilia on Apr. 11, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Great article. Things definitely were different in the 80's and I think in a better way.

by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 5:59 PM

 no i am alot calmer than my parents were

by Platinum Member on Apr. 11, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Am I the only one stuck on the fact 10 years ago was not the 80s?  LOL.  I do agree that as tehre is more technology there is more frustration.

by on Apr. 11, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Haha yeah right, I was born in the 80's. Everyone I knew came from broken homes, teen moms and were latch key kids. The 80's is not a generation I care to take advice from.

by Barb on Apr. 12, 2014 at 1:02 PM
1 mom liked this

No, I don't feel that I am more aggravated. Yes aggravated at times, but not more than my mother.

by Amber on Apr. 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

I agree that the electronics are aggravating all on their own.   :((

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