Boomer-parenting and millennial-parenting: How much has changed?

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This is a user submission to IRL. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent the opinions of IRL or its affiliates. 

In many areas of our lives, times have changed.

You name an aspect of life; I can guarantee you many areas of it have changed since our parents’ era. That includes the art of parenting.

But the fact remains that generally the boomers tend to judge the newer ones for ‘lack of skills’ as they put it, and the millennials tend to think the older generation’s tips as obsolete.

But how much has changed in parenting from 30 years ago? Let’s find out.

1.Parenting on-the-go

[Image by Ali Yahya]
This one is perhaps the most jarring difference in parenting between generations.

Technology was relatively underdeveloped during the times of the boomers, limiting their dependence to it.

Back in the days of my parents, their interactions with us the kids were limited to face-to-face communication.

For example, growing up I spent more time with my mother as she was a housewife and was mostly at home.

But I had less time with my father because there were not many means to communicate with him when he was at work.

But this has changed profoundly. Nowadays, it is easy to interact and keep up with your kids in real time using the various social media apps and software available.

Need an update to your child’s after-school classes? Just text via Whatsapp.

Your kid’s away for a camp? Just Skype her.

Need to know your child’s whereabouts? Simply give them a call to their mobile phone.

2. Parenting with technology

Apart from that, the children nowadays are more informed on technology and how it works.

We can easily spot kids with their own phones or iPad, and often seen keeping to themselves with their gadgets.

Boomer parents had to crack their heads trying to keep their kids in good behavior in public, whereas millennial parents often get their children a gadget for cartoons or games to ensure order.

Parents nowadays also tend to seek the internet for parenting advice instead of going to the experienced elderlies, just like the boomers used to do.

This isn’t necessarily because the millennials assume the boomers’ parenting skills are dated, but simply because the internet is faster.

3.Less outside-time

At one point of our lives or other, we have experienced the joy of cycling in the neighborhood for hours at end.

Or have played with soil and dirt with our friends. Or fished in the drains behind our houses. Most of these times, our parents didn’t look for us until it was time for dinner.

This wasn’t because they didn’t care. Instead it was because times were easier and safer back then.

But flash forward to now, there are campaigns and announcements on keeping our kids under constant supervision and taking care of them at all times due to the crime rates now.

Pair that with the alarming rate of pollution as well as diseases and allergies caused by viruses and bacteria, we seldom see children allowed to play outside nowadays.

Hence, the cartoon and digital games in electronic devices.

4.Physical punishment is a big no-no

I remember when I was growing up, the ‘rotan’ was a big part of my household. In fact, it was a common item found in many Asian families.

We never got bashed badly or anything, but the ‘rotan’ was a constant reminder that we have to always be on our best behavior.

But now, that method is generally frowned upon. More so, hitting your child is considered abuse and a crime.

Parents nowadays opt to other alternatives to discipline their offspring.

Among the methods include grounding the child for a period of time, taking away their prized possession or denying to grant permission for a trip or the like.

There is no way of saying which parenting style is better. To each his/her own.

But it is important to understand that parenting is evolving. You may not be keen on your parents’ idea of parenting.

In years to come, what you see as great parenting skills may not be your child’s cup of tea when he/she grows up.

Till then, sit back and enjoy the relationships you have with your children, and your parents; because that’s what makes a happy family!

For more stories like this, read: The Awkward Ways Malaysian Parents Talk to Us About the Birds and the Bees and My Parents Deleted My Social Life and It Ruined Me.

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