Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Parenting: it's different these days

I was born at the tail end of the 1970s, so I grew up throughout the 1980s, in all their neon, side-ponytailed glory. While a lot of the toys and fashions are coming back (in a ploy to get the 80s-raised moms to buy for their kids), parenting seems awfully different these days.

Five ways my parenting differs from my childhood:

(1) Stranger Danger
Sure, there were bad guys in the 1980s. But it seemed so much safer back then. My sister and I would play outside alone without my mom having to hover over our heads. I could jump on my bike, kick up the kickstand, and fly down the road bouncing on the big banana seat, as much as three streets over to my friend's house. Today, even in my small cul-de-sac neighborhood of only a few homes, I will not let Amelia play without an adult at least outdoors, listening and making sure no strange cars pass through. It is a different world - and I live in big city suburbs now too, not the quiet of a small city in Tennessee.

(2) Electronics
I wanted to spend most every free moment playing outdoors (throughout the elementary school years, at least). We had an Intellivision video game system... really, we did. No Atari for us! We played Snafu and Burgertime often, but it didn't have the lure that the electronics have these days. Now we need to limit iPad time and convince our child to go outside and be a kid.

(3) Cleanliness
I don't know if it was selective child memory or what, but Our Bowie was always neat and tidy. Maybe not my room or playroom, but at least all the main living spaces were for the most part, clutter-free. Seriously, no clue how my mother made this happen. I just hope Amelia remembers the few moneys of neat and tidy at our house... instead of the usual cluttered chaos.

(4) Vehicle Safety
The days of five-point harnesses and strict car seat rules did not apply to the kids of the 1980s. I remember long road trips up interstate 81, pillows pressed against the door, legs up on the seat. Or when my sister and I wanted to really stretch out (without touching each other), I made myself a bed on the floor of the backseat. It wasn't a huge taboo back then. Remember the pop-up backseat of station wagons? My cousins had one; it was exciting to ride in the back, unbelted, staring at the faces of trucks a few feet behind. Yeah... super safe. I am glad my children are safer than I was, and I am equally glad that I survived to bring them into the world.

(5) Water Guns
Back in the day, water guns were little plastic things with a water hole that required a lot of patience as the water drop, drip, dropped inside as it filled. Then the fight was on; with a little squirt, squirt, eeeeeek! Run! (Yawn.) Have you seen the water gun monstrosities these days?! You can go from dry to drenched in about 2.5 seconds via a rainbow-colored, double-tank mega soaker. Today's kids have all the fun, don't they?

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Linked up to Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop
Prompt inspiration: 5 ways your parenting differs from your parents 
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