Thursday, September 12, 2019

Parents! Please bring back...

The following is an interesting article by Becky Squire published on the TODAY Parenting Team Community site. I came across the article on Facebook and thought it would be interesting to share.

I am not a parent. I witness parenting every single day as a teacher of middle school children, so I do believe I have some insight on what I think is good, positive parenting. Many times parents do not always help their children out by doing everything for them.

Parenting is vastly different than it was 30 plus years ago. We have come a long way in parenting philosophies, including health and safety. Raising children is a completely different game than it was back then. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take some of our parent’s expertise and put it into practice. Vintage parenting might be just what this generation needs. Here are 10 things our parents did that parents today should bring back.

Put Each Other First.
Back when our parents were young, it wasn’t uncommon for marriage to be the most important relationship in the family. But somewhere over the last 30 plus years, parents have started to treat their children as the center of the universe.
Keeping your spouse a priority can be hard, but it’s essential to have a healthy and happy family. When my children interrupt me while I’m talking to my husband, I tell them they will have to wait (unless it’s an emergency). Children need to learn that everything does not revolve around them.
Made Kids Play Outside.
Most of my childhood memories are playing outside, using my imagination. My friends and I would be outside as soon as we got home from school. We would come in for dinner and then go back out until dark. I enjoyed watching TV here and there, but we always preferred to be outside.
According to the CDC, kids ages 8-18 spend an average of 7.5 hours every day in front of a screen for entertainment. That does not include homework or educational purposes. On the flip side, children spend a whopping 4-7 minutes a day engaged in unstructured outdoor play on average. Kids don’t need a sports court or a swimming pool to be entertained outside. All they need is their imagination.
Trusted Their Children.
I’m sure most of us (especially if you are old like me) can remember spending most of our free time riding bikes with our friends miles away from home, building snow forts for hours, staying out until dark, all without our parents knowing exactly where we were. You may call this “free-range parenting” or even think it’s dangerous. The truth is, children are twice as likely to die in a plane crash than get kidnapped by a stranger.
Didn't Push Academics.
Before 1980, the main focus of the early elementary years was creativity and social skills. Children did not know how to read upon entering kindergarten and many didn’t even know their alphabet. They were taught to be respectful, to share, and to make friends. Culturally, our children are obligated to compete academically at these early ages which magnifies, if not causes, anxiety and stress in our children.
Taught Manners.
Speaking of learning social skills, I am always amazed at the lack of manners I see in many children and teens today. My husband and I spent a week cooking for 300 teens a few years ago. We would spend the entire day cooking, doing dishes, and literally serving food onto their empty plates for them. Were were shocked at the amount of “thank-you’s” we received: 2 out of 300. That’s a simple example. I could make lists of others who demand snacks or toys when they play at my house, or that take without asking, etc. It is refreshing when I come across those who have been taught well.
Ate Dinner As a Family.
I could write an entire article about this subject…oh wait, I did. That’s because it is so important and so easily overlooked. Parents today tend to sacrifice family dinners for extra-curricular activities and it is damaging. Children who participate in regular family meals are less likely to have anxiety and depression. They have less delinquency, greater academic achievement, and improved psychological well-being. Don’t schedule meals around your activities, schedule your activities around meal-time.
Made Their Kids Do Chores.
When I was growing up, every Saturday was reserved for doing chores. We couldn’t play with friends or any other activities until we had cleaned our bedrooms and done a few other of our assigned chores. I cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed, dusted, mopped, and more. Today children are asked to take on only the most trivial of responsibilities. You might be surprised at how much your kids are capable of.
Disciplined Each Other's Kids.
What would you do if your child’s friend threw a tantrum or even hit your child? Ask them nicely if they would like to stop? Would we even dare bring it up to their parent? With our parents, there was an unspoken rule that if another child acted out, they would discipline them the same way as their own kids.
Held Birthday Parties at Home.
The birthday parties our parents would throw included cake, ice cream, and pin the tail on the donkey. They didn’t give every guest a basket filled with personalized party favors. They didn’t rent out the local trampoline park or hire a professional photographer or caterer. Yet we still had fun! 
Kept Things Simple.
The best part of the “good ol’ days” was how simple it was. As kids we weren’t rushed from soccer to piano to dance. Our parents didn’t take us to Disneyland every summer or buy each child their own tablets. We got bored. We used our imaginations. And we thrived in the simple life.
Our children will end up fine–even better than we did. They don’t need to be handed everything on a silver platter. They don’t need to be the best at everything, or even at one thing. It’s okay if they fall and get hurt or get their heart broken. It’s how they learn and grow. And it will teach them compassion and kindness and love

Let kids be kids, y'all!


  1. Totally agree Ron! This is a great article. Parents today are not allowing their children the freedom to think for themselves and function as an individual. The result is adults who feel entitled, superior, and spoiled with no respect for authority or boundaries. When did our culture become so out of kilter? Get back to the basics. The academics will come as it should. The primary goal needs to be raising self-sufficient adults who can function well in a society that will not cater to their every whim.

  2. Good morning, Ron! I LOVE this article. I am a "baby boomer," like Nana, grew up in 60's and 70's, and had the kind of childhood she described. It was a much simpler time, and that is how I raised my two children. I had to call them in for supper because they were out playing with their friends and didn't want to come in. Most nights, we ate together as a family--it was a rare one when we didn't. I didn't coddle my kids when they experienced disappointment or defeat. They learned to accept as a part of life. They have grown up to be successful and responsible adults, and I am proud of whom they have become. Have a great weekend! xoxo

  3. Yes! Especially dinner together! That’s the time to talk. And NO SCREENS at dinner! No TV, no phone!!

  4. Ron,

    I am an elementary teacher of twenty-eight years, and my husband and I do not have children. However, I agree with you when it comes to me thinking that I also have some insight on positive parenting. As a teacher, I regularly witness parenting with the children at school. Some of the things that many of us see or hear not only at school, but also in our society is truly heartbreaking. I wonder what happened to some of the tried and true parenting skills that many of us experienced as children. Although there have been many advances in many areas in our world, I don't think that just because we as a society has made so many advances do we have to rid ourselves of things that have been beneficial for us as well. Why does society at times "feel" that everything that is "new" is good while viewing things that are "old" as not being as good? Why can't there be a happy medium of the two? The article that you shared is wonderful, and reminded me of the many things that many of us were blessed to experience as children. I also totally agree with what Baby Boomer Nana wrote in her comment. Ron, thank you for sharing this article. Have a good weekend, and a wonderful School Year.


  5. This is a great article Ron. I agree. It seem with each generation we get further and further from the family unit and the importance of spending time together as a family and teaching respect and manners. I remember playing outside right after school too with friends and we would know it was time to come in after dinner play when the porch light went on. Such great memories. Thanks for sharing this. Happy Thursday.


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