Parenting styles have changed and evolved over the years. It all comes down to what works for you and your child. Life has changed remarkably over the years – yes, even since you were a child – and so have parenting styles. There is no right way or wrong way to parenting; the right way is what works for your family.
Earlier, families were close-knit, probably joint, and family members pitched in to offer their wisdom and help to bring up children. This has changed over the years, especially with nuclear families and small family units in different cities. Kids, too, have more of a say and more control over their lives, and working parents must handle childcare differently. Yet, some things never change down generations – our intention to give our children the best possible start in life, to educate them, to help them learn their boundaries and establish their own, to bolster their self confidence and skills, and to always assure them of our love and support. The objective of every parenting style has been to raise a happy, well-adjusted and better human being.
Here’s a look at different parenting styles in the last century...
The Silent Generation Parents
The Silent Generation (1927–1946) believed in hard work. These were young parents who were forced to put the quest for economic stability in their lives ahead of the enjoyment of their role as parents. Their way of showing their children they loved them was by working hard to support the family. They might not have had enough time to spend with their kids, but the parents of this generation instilled grit and determination in the generations that followed.
The Baby Boomer Parents
The next generation (1947–1964), the Baby Boomer parents, were micro-managers. Although it stemmed from their need to be protective, their helicopter-style parenting was perhaps not great for their kids. Their chosen form of parenting was to control their kids at home, in school, on the playground and in public places; they also decided what their child should eat and wear. “The environment at home was naturally programmed around our kids, and they were also solely dependent on the parent,” agrees Kuppabai S. “It was not our intention to monitor our children’s lives, but we were naturally inclined towards the betterment of our kids.” She is currently looking after her twin grandchildren with the same amount
of micro-management, she says.
Parents Raising Individuals
The Baby Boomers were followed by Generation X (1965–1980) who witnessed more downs than ups. From stock market crashes to spiking divorce rates, this generation faced a great number of setbacks in their time. “I grew up in a conservative, restricted environment where education and safety were given top priority,” says Dr Saranya T JaiKumar, Chennai-based consultant educational psychologist. “Entertainment was up to us kids, and we found our own ways to play and be happy. More than two toys was considered a luxury. Most kids in the ’90s were very content with what they had and were never over pampered.” Gen X parents worked to instill selflessness and social awareness in their children.
The advancements of the day reflect in the nurturing style of Millennial parents (1981–1996), who are generally more driven by technology than emotions. “In today’s world, most millennial parents over pamper their kids with unnecessary luxury even during their toddler phase,” avers Dr JaiKumar. “Later, they find it difficult to discipline or control the child’s aggressive behaviour. Bullying and mental health are among the top concerns for parents, but some parental worries differ sharply by income.
As they grow up in an environment with many social and economic changes, today’s children are accustomed to the changes and challenges society throws at them. Kids these days are encouraged to be open-minded, independent and have a fighting spirit, which has given rise to a competitive world.
And, when it comes down to it, this is what matters. Each generation might have adopted a different style of parenting that worked for them, and each style might have differed from every individual and child, because teaching our kids the most crucial survival skills in today’s world is what matters most.
Command and authority over children were acceptable as part of parenting styles in the past, but, over time, things have evolved with Generation X becoming parents. They do not want their children to face the same challenges they had with their parents. Thus, in contrast, they choose to become a pal more than a parent.
The relationship between children and parents, today, is more open and includes healthy communication, an open decision-making process, better understanding of children’s aspirations, and respect for each other’s views. The pursuit of control has shifted towards the pursuit of connection that has resulted in millennials remaining close to their parents well into their adult years. From a joint family set-up that rendered maximum support to the nuclear family, over the years, the family dynamic has also changed. In recent times, couples have had to strike a balance between nurturing their child and managing their household chores and professions. Also, in dual-income families, we see fathers picking children up from school or being involved in school-related activities. Furthermore, the rate at which children and teenagers are diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders has led parents to bridge the gap between them and their children. They are more aware of the warning signs and more willing to seek professional help and act. With technology being an integral part of our lives, parents’ perspectives have widened. They believe in the holistic development of children rather than just being worried about academic ranks and marks. Parents no longer want to restrict their children solely to academics but motivate them to pursue their passions and think beyond the curriculum. They believe that to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.
The parent-child relationship is more intimate and egalitarian than ever. Parents continue to remain supportive even after their children have attained adulthood and become much more mature. By adapting to
the modern environment, the changes in parenting are going to create a generation with different ideas and goals than in the past.
– Kanchan Rai, Mental and emotional wellbeing coach, and founder – Let Us Talk, New Delhi
Also Read: 5 Important Life Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids Early On