Seriously! Stop Comparing Parenting Today To The ‘Good Old Days’ 

Ugh, I can’t take it anymore. I’m telling you if I see one more blog shared on my newsfeed that insists on calling me stupid for loving my kids and not spanking them enough, I am gonna lose it. 
I mean seriously, I like lookin’ back at the good ol’ days as much as the next guy but believe it or not parents back then didn’t have it all figured out. Spanking does not solve all of life’s problems and despite what a lot of people think, it’s not the end all solution to ensuring kids behave properly.

Yes. When I was a kid I played outside for hours on end, often not in my own fenced in backyard and just as often without my parents knowing where I was. 

No. I didn’t have an iPad, iPhone, iMac, Pokemon Go and selfie sticks. Facebook didn’t exist and if you’d have told me that in twenty years I’d be tweeting and retweeting I would have put my thumb and finger in the shape of an L on my forehead and called you a loser. 

But, here’s a newsflash for ya, times change, people change and the world changes. And guess what, we’ve all changed with it. We brought experiences and emotions with us from our childhoods, we learned that some things just don’t work, some things do and just because one thing worked for some parents it doesn’t mean it’ll work for all. 

I know that as parents it’s hard not to look at the shape of the world and think that it was better off when we were kids. This is probably the one constant though, I mean our parents thought that too, remember? As much as we despised the lectures about what they had to do as kids and how easy we had it, we now do the exact same thing to our kids. What is it about the old when I was a kid I had to walk ten miles to school, uphill both ways, barefoot in the winter that is so appealing to the lecturing parent? Hyperbole aside, doesn’t that just proove that giving our kids shoes and buses are good things. 

Sure, adversity brings out some good qualities in people. Having a rough childhood can teach about character and contentment. Hard times often bring out the desire in people to share what they have, help thy neighbor and pray for one another. Those are good things! However, having a rough childhood can also bring out the bad in people too. Greed, selfishness, and envy to name a few. Just because some took those trials and used them as encouragement to do good things and to learn, doesn’t mean that others won’t take those same trials and use them as an excuse to bust in their neighbors front door and steal their food. 

One of the potential side effects of adversity is that those who go through it often use it as the driving force behind their desire to do better, become something…Someone. It’s for that reason that you see such a drastic difference between the parenting techniques of yesteryear versus today. But I refuse to use that adversity as the reason things were better back when, things were not better, it just feels like it to us now because we’re adults now and adults can see where the world went wrong and the direction it’s heading and we don’t like it. Pssst, here’s a secret for ya, our parents thought this too, and their parents before them, and theirs before them. Kids don’t pay attention to politics and world events, kids just wanna be kids. Maybe that’s the reason that every generation looks back at their childhood and sees it as the best time of their life. 

When I read these blogs about the good ol’ days and nostalgic childhood years I often find myself relating to them. Just as often though I find that some of those writers are trying to justify why they parent the same way their parents did, they make the mistake in assuming that the world’s problems should be laid at the feet of the parents of today. 

I’m not saying we are perfect, we are only human after all. But our parents weren’t perfect and neither were theirs. I am aware that parenting today has taken on a much softer approach than parents of kids from the 80’s and 90’s. I’m also aware that generation X’ers had to endure disciplines that were often harsh, too harsh if you ask me. I am the exception here, I can’t recall being spanked much, if at all. But I know that others got spanked… a lot! I know that those who endured spankings use it today as justification for spanking their own kids and hey, I’m not against it but there is a line and a limit that is way to often crossed over in the name of discipline. Discipline and of course the verse that all Christian parents refer to when saying that spanking is biblical, Proverbs 13:24. 

This is how it’s often quoted:

“Spare the rod, spoil the child”

This is what it actually says:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

The ‘rod’ there is the operative word. What if the rod wasn’t something you hit your kids with? What if it’s a metaphor or symbolic of guidance, direction, re-direction, correction and leadership? That’s what some pastors think anyway and it should definitely be studied before quoting Proverbs while spanking your kids. 

The other theory is that the rod is something like a shepherds staff, used to guide sheep back into the herd and also a visual for sheep so they know who their master is. The rod could be used to discipline the one who strays. Likewise when a child misbehaves and veers off the path set out for him by his father, the rod is used to steer him back on to that path. 

David in Psalm 23:4 talks about how the Lord’s rod is a comfort to him in times of trouble. Jesus says in Luke 17:2 that it’d be better for a person to have a millstone tied around their necks and thrown into the sea than to cause a little one to stumble. Ephesians 6:4 tells fathers not to provoke their children to anger, King James says it this way “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Quoting Proverbs as justification for spanking is a pet peeve of mine because most don’t even know what it actually says, and others spank because they were spanked with Proverbs 13:24 as the reason why. 

Now listen, this is not an anti-spanking blog, I get why sometimes it’s needed. I have been in grocery stores and seen a child misbehaving and thought to myself that all he needs is a good spanking. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from being a parent in the year 2017 it’s that the one-size-fits-all method of discipline is total crap. 

I am bothered by the blogs I read that sound more like nostalgia than parenting advice and yet perceived to be coming from those who’ve won the ‘parent of the year’ award every year since becoming parents. 

My parents were great, but let’s face it if we were to ask them if they made mistakes I’m sure they would confess that they did. There were times when I bet they looked at us kids and thought that we were spoiled. And I can remember the speeches about what they went through as kids. It’s normal to look back at years gone by and it’s good to look at those memories fondly, but to say that this is how my parents were raised, this is how I was raised and that’s how you’re going to be raised is foolish if you ask me. And, since we’re quoting the Bible, do a search of how many times we’re told to be gentle, loving and supportive and then come back to me with why spanking is the only good option for parents of any time. 

So yes, my kids get to play on iPads, they have both a Nintendo Wii and a PlayStation. We do family outings to the movies, they have a lot of toys and lack very little. When I was a kid I didn’t have those things, I had parents who loved me and so do my boys. 

There is no parenting book out there that can answer all of life’s questions because every parent in every generation faces unique scenarios and the variables are endless. We all try our best and we all make mistakes but for goodness sake, please stop posting blogs about how it was better back then. Don’t you want your kids to look back and think they had a great childhood? Or are they gonna say “all mom and dad ever talked about was how we were spoiled and their childhood was better”?

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