The Dilemmas Of Modern Parenting

Children New Generation

Essential Baby published a post earlier this week on a dilemma of modern parenting, asking the question “Are parents today getting it all wrong?”

I know that I parent differently from my parents, but I think that within the bounds of normal (whatever that may actually be :) ) my children behave with consideration and respect for themselves and others the majority of the time.

Amity Dry who wrote the post noted that through previous comments to her writing she found:

Certainly there were many readers who felt, as I do, that smacking a child is wrong for the reasons I pointed out. However, just as many felt that the lack of smacking was part of the ‘soft’ approach to parenting that is contributing to a generation of spoilt, badly behaved, disrespectful children.

This post has elicited quite a response, with over 90 comments from parents and non parents around the world. I found myself agreeing with some comments and strongly disagreeing with many others.

But the issue that came out most clearly to me was that I don’t think all of the “problems” of this generation of children can just be blamed on parent’s discipline style. Part of me lamented the structural changes in society that see parents being far more alone in bringing up children; extended family and neighbourhood networks have shrunk and family units themselves are becoming smaller and often fragmented.

Social scientists have labelled today’s tweens and teens “the most brand-oriented and materialistic generation in history.” I monitor and limit TV and computer time in our house, but I can still not hide my children from advertising and branding in the external environment and from their peers at school.

To me it seems that there is a tendency to label the newest generation of children the worst. Instead of labelling children, I think that it would be more helpful to work together to provide a more nurturing, caring and less branded environment for them to live in.

So do you think that we are rearing a generation of spoilt, badly behaved, disrespectful children?


  1. says

    I dunno. In general terms…….. perhaps. But there are so many that aren’t. I think it is more of a case of the technology that we our society has changed so much in such a short time, that parenting has not evolved quite as quickly to cope with it.

    Look at technology. I’m only 35. Hardly old by anyone’s standards, but there are so many things available to my children that weren’t to me. Mobile phones, the internet, gaming systems, email.

    For example just last week I had to shut down my daughters email account as she was getting emails from people we don’t know due to her friends not using email responsibly but so many parents don’t know. How do they parent something they don’t understand? How do you put boundaries on children interacting in a social medium that you have no experience of?

    I think we need to bridge the gaps. I think we need to get in there and know what our children are dealing with so that we can guide them through and set appropriate boundaries.

    Bettinas last blog post..Screw Up Tuesday

  2. PlanningQueen says

    Tiff – I hope so to!

    Bettina – I really appreciated your thoughtful comment. I haven’t quite reached that stage yet, but I can easily see how it gets harder as they get older.