“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”
A poem by William Ross Wallace, this line still rings true in our fast-paced digital world.
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world and there are people who have voiced out that stay-at-home parents should receive a paycheck in recognition of their 24/7 job that includes an endless list of tasks like cleaning, cooking, laundry and teaching. Without a doubt, raising a child is definitely no easy feat but it is also interesting to note how technology and progress have changed the ways parents bring up their kids.
Nevertheless, there is always wisdom to learn from both times.
With that in mind, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and check out the vast changes in parenting between the past and the present.
How Parenting Has Changed Over The Years
1. Parents were totally not distracted by phones or electronic gadgets
Most parents back in the good old days were very engaged with their kids – without a need to check emails, Facebook, Instagram or other digital news. Spending time together and enjoying each other’s company was a norm, and this inevitably led to better parent-child interactions and communication as compared to now.
As such, it is easy to understand why some children complain about their parents not responding to their questions or turning a deaf ear to their requests when screen time totally absorbs their attention.
2. Watching television programmes was a privilege back then
Every family used to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
Children watched cartoons or television programmes through analogue channels provided by SBC (now known as Mediacorp) with the family at home. It was great bonding back then when parents and kids giggled, laughed and discussed interesting topics together.
These days, children spend most of their time glued to Youtube channels and online games for pure entertainment.
3. Old-school games and activities that were once popular
It is easy to forget the traditional old-school games during our childhood days that had provided us with tons of fun.
Parents used to have no qualms about letting their kids out to play marbles, Hopscotch, Zero Point, Chapteh and catching in the neighbourhood. Parents were equally relaxed when the boys wandered out to catch grasshoppers and fighting spiders to entertain themselves.
It seems there was more freedom in the past as compared to the present when parents are setting more restrictions on their kids’ study and playtime.
4. Parents could only read books or ask relatives and friends for parenting tips
Help and advice on parenting were more limited in the past as parents could only buy second-hand books from shops or borrow materials from the library for guidance. Nowadays, there is a plethora of online parenting websites and blogs for parents to get as much useful information as they need. The Internet has indeed made life easier and more convenient in this aspect.
5. Online shopping has become a way of life
It was a common sight to see parents taking their kids to shopping malls to shop for gifts, clothes or groceries in the past although it seemed to be a hassle for some parents, especially when their kids were the restless and fidgety types who would run around the space available. Nowadays, most parents opt to shop online not only for convenience but also due to a myriad of online shopping sites that offer attractive discounts.
6. Most parents buy mobile phones for their children
In the past, parents and their children communicated solely through face to face talk at home and once they were in school or involved in outdoor activities, they were deemed to be uncontactable. These days, most kids carry mobile phones and some parents will text their kids anything and everything – be it interesting articles, important notices or reminders to do their homework.
In short, parents will make sure their children are easily contactable when the need arises.
7. Social media has a greater influence on kids than parents
In the past, children were solely influenced by parents’ teachings or their circle of friends during their growing up days. However, in the current digital world, it has become an undeniable fact that social media stars or influencers have a huge impact on children and greatly influence the way they perceive things.
They no longer hold similar dreams of becoming a doctor, lawyer or architect. Just the other day I asked my boys what they want to be when they grow up and they both blurted out in unison, “A famous Youtuber with millions of followers…earn a lot of money…” I was stupefied but responded calmly that not all Youtubers could make it big and it depends on a multitude of factors too.
They gave me an unconvincing look, but their answer speaks volumes.