When it comes to parenting styles, it seems like everyone has an opinion. With that being said, I asked older parents of the BuzzFeed Community some things about "modern parenting" that they think people will later regret. Here are some interesting things they had to say:
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
1."Technology is a wonderful thing, but I do wonder what negative effects it will continue to have across generations. Little kids are pacified with phones in restaurants. Older kids don't care about learning how to spell 'because autocorrect will fix it' (it won't all the time). People can't go to concerts or sporting events without holding their phones up to document them. Even as someone who grew up before technology really took off, I find myself overly reliant on technology. What will it look like 20-30 years from now?"
2."I’m a teacher of middle school students, and their parents can often set them up for failure with their helicopter, steamroller parenting mixed with shocking permissiveness. I’ve seen 13-year-old kids who aren’t allowed to use a toaster and parents who step in at the first sign of their kid feeling the vaguest discomfort. The kids are anxious and afraid because they have been given the message that they can’t cope with difficulties and that they need their parents to do it for them. Yes, keep your kids safe, of course, but don’t actively stop them from being challenged and developing the skills they’ll need as adults."
3."Honestly, sports parents. Specifically, sports parents who want their kids to be the number one perfect person doing whatever sport their kid is interested in, rather than paying attention to whether or not the kid likes it."
4."I think there is a potential issue if you always get a kid a new meal when they don't want to eat what you made. I understand and agree with the importance of creating a healthy relationship with food and not wanting to force kids to eat something they don't want. Still, another thing to teach them is what they should eat to be healthy and that sometimes it's important to eat what you are given out of politeness, necessity, or appreciation of another person's effort."
"There are also times where if you let kids eat what they want, they'll eat nothing but pasta and goldfish and won't try anything new. Obviously, balance is key as kids should get a voice in what they eat, and forcing a child to eat when they are full, or something they really really really don't like or going 'you eat this or nothing' is way too far. But if you always make them something else when they could eat what they have in front of them just fine, you might end up with a kid who tells someone 'Oh, you spent all day laboriously making me my favorite food? Well, I'm feeling like mac and cheese tonight, so I'll catch ya' later' when they are older."
5."You are not their friend. You are their parent. Be someone they trust, but don’t try to hang out with them and their buddies, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Doing this leads to unrealistic expectations from you as a parent. That baby bird has to leave the nest, and if you’ve been treating them like a husband, wife, or therapist, you’re going to be so disappointed when they never want to come around. Your little princess and sweet baby boy are going to have sex. They are going to experiment. They are going to do something illegal, even if it’s small. It’s not always someone else’s fault. Someone else isn’t always the bad influence. The bad influence might be them."
6."Using 'divergent' or 'disorder' instead of 'different'. Does your child genuinely have something objectively wrong with them, or do they just not fit easily into narrowed social norms?"
7."As a teacher, I can say that parents will regret not teaching basic manners to their children and spoiling them. Every day I deal with violent outbursts of 7-8 year-olds and parents saying, 'Oh, they are just like that,' and not doing anything about it."
8."Gentle parenting. It's infuriating when you see these videos from parenting 'experts' when they say things like, 'When your child is throwing a tantrum, come down and speak calmly and say things like 'I know it must be hard for you not to have chocolate right now but dinner is in an hour.' Like dude, no kid is ever going to calm down from that. If I said no to my kids, I gave them a reason why (because I said so is bullshit), but I was not about to pander to a tantrum."
9."I see two huge differences with the children my two younger cousins are raising. The first cousin's kid, who I will call Albert, is raised in a very involved parenting style where he is constantly pushed and encouraged to excel at school and extracurricular activities. He has already skipped a grade and is the top student in the entire school, not just grade level. The second set of cousins has a kid who I will call Larry. The parents fall to the idea of technology to help babysit Larry due to convenience. Because of that, Larry is constantly on his laptop playing games or watching YouTube videos. Keep in mind that these two kids are 10 years old, less than three months apart in age. While Albert is years ahead of Larry in terms of knowledge, vocabulary, and even maturity, he lacks social skills because he's too occupied with schoolwork or various lessons and practices to build a strong circle of friends to bond with."
10."The Momfluencer trend. I get that people are excited to share their kids and that doing influencer stuff can be a way to make a buck. But the audience that it's shared with is huge and that's not counting the people who will stumble across it in the future. There have also been way too many of these people who turn out to have been exploiting the kids on their channels because the draw of more views and more money outweighs the health and well-being of the kids. The camera becomes how they interact with their kids, which seems wrong. There are also a lot of them who seem reluctant to let go when their kids get old enough to object to being filmed all the time."
11."The overscheduling of YOUNG, young kids. Not only that, the cost of extracurriculars now is EXORBITANT. Even school extracurricular activities. I don't want to say I 'regret' the money we spent on cheer, but jeez, it was A LOT. My middle daughter did competition cheer at two different gyms, varsity football, and competition at school. Just the school cheer was close to $5k per year. In her junior and senior years, she paid for EVERY penny herself, but the time and money is so much."
12."I do sometimes wonder about the impact of putting your child all over social media when they’re too young to have a say in it. I don’t mean sharing some pics on Facebook or Instagram occasionally, I mean setting up YouTube accounts to monetise them or setting them up to do the latest TikTok trends."
13."I think it's particularly counter-productive when parents refuse to raise their voice or punish their child no matter what. I feel it's important that when a child misbehaves badly, they are aware of the gravity of their actions. It's something that they will have to deal with when they get older, so not being exposed to a cross word or any consequences for poor behavior is unrealistic and, in my opinion, detrimental to the child's development."
Is there anything you would add to this conversation? If so, share it with me in the comments below.