Parenting: Are We Getting a Raw Deal?

12711307_10206480078338131_5829653117437408897_oSummer 1974. I’m 9 years old. By 7:30 am, I’m up and out of the house, or if it’s Saturday I’m up and doing exactly what my father, Big Jerry, has told me to do. Might be raking, mowing, digging holes, or washing cars.

Summer 2016. I’m tiptoeing out of the house, on my way to work, in an effort not to wake my children who will undoubtedly sleep until 11 am. They may complete a couple of the chores I’ve left in a list on the kitchen counter for them, or they may eat stale Cheez-its that were left in their rooms 3 days ago, in order to avoid the kitchen at all costs and “not see” the list.

If you haven’t noticed, we’re getting a raw deal where this parenting gig is concerned. When did adults start caring whether or not their kids were safe, happy, or popular? I can assure you that Ginny and Big Jerry were not wiling away the hours wondering if my brother and I were fulfilled. Big Jerry was stoking the fires of his retirement savings and working, and working some more. Ginny was double bolting the door in order to keep us out of the house, and talking on the phone while she smoked a Kent. Meanwhile, we were three neighborhoods away, playing with some kids we’d never met, and we had crossed 2 major highways on bicycles with semi-flat tires to get there. Odds are, one of us had crashed at some point and was bleeding pretty impressively. No one cared. We were kids and if we weren’t acting as free labor, we were supposed to be out of the house and out of the way.

My personal belief is that the same “woman with too little to do”, that decided it was necessary to give 4- year old guests a gift for coming to a birthday party, is the same loon who decided we were here to serve our kids and not the other way around. Think about it. As a kid, what was your costume for Halloween? If you were really lucky, your mom jabbed a pair of scissors in an old sheet, cut two eye holes, and you were a ghost. If her friend was coming over to frost her hair and showed up early, you got one eye hole cut and spent the next 45 minutes using a sharp stick to jab a second hole that was about two inches lower than its partner. I watched my cousin run directly into a parked car due to this very costume one year. He was still yelling, “Trick or Treat” as he slid down the rear quarter panel of a Buick, mildly concussed. When my son was 3 years old, we had a clown costume made by a seamstress, complete with pointy clown hat, and grease makeup. His grandmother spent more having that costume made than she did on my prom dress.

At some point in the last 25 years, the tide shifted and the parents started getting the marginal cars and the cheap clothes while the kids live like rock stars. We spend enormous amounts of money on private instruction, the best sports gear money can buy, and adhere to psycho competition schedules. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve bought the $300 baseball bats with money that should have been invested in a retirement account, traveled from many an AAU basketball game, or travel baseball game, to a dance competition in the course of one day, and failed to even consider why. Remember Hank Aaron? He didn’t need a $300 bat to be great. Your kid isn’t going pro and neither is mine, but you are going to retire one day and dumpster diving isn’t for the elderly. My brother and I still laugh about how, when he played high school baseball, there was one good bat and the entire team used it.

Remember your clothes in the 70’s? Despite my best efforts to block it out, I can still remember my desperate need to have a pair of authentic Converse shoes. Did I get them? Negative. Oh, was it a punch in the gut when my mother presented me with the Archdale knock-offs she found somewhere between my hometown and Greensboro. Trust me. They weren’t even close. Did I complain? Hell, no. I’m still alive, aren’t I? We’ve got an entire generation of kids spitting up on outfits that cost more than my monthly electric bill. There were no designer baby clothes when we were kids. Why? Because our parents weren’t crazy enough to spend $60 on an outfit for us to have explosive diarrhea in or vomit on. Our parents were focused on saving for their retirement and paying their house off. The real beauty of it is that none of these kids are going to score a job straight out of college that will allow them to pay for the necessities of life, brand new cars, and $150 jeans, so guess who’s going to be getting the phone call when they can’t make rent? Yep, we are.

Think back; way, way back. Who cleaned the house and did the yard work when you were a kid? You did. In fact, that’s why some people had children. We were free labor. My mother served as supervisor for the indoor chores, and the house damn well better be spotless when my father came through the door at 5:35. The battle cry went something like this, “Oh, no! Your father will be home in 15 minutes! Get those toys put away nooooow!” The rest of our evening was spent getting up to turn the television on demand, and only to what Dad wanted to watch.

On weekends Dad was in charge of outdoor work and if you were thirsty you drank out of the hose, because 2 minutes of air conditioning and a glass of water from the faucet might make you soft. Who does the housework and yardwork now? The cleaning lady that comes on Thursday, and the landscaping crew that comes every other Tuesday. Most teenage boys have never touched a mower, and if you asked my daughter to clean a toilet, she would come back with a four page paper on the various kinds of deadly bacteria present on toilet seats. Everyone is too busy doing stuff to take care of the stuff they already have. But don’t get confused, they aren’t working or anything crazy like that. Juggling school assignments, extracurricular activities, and spending our money could become stressful if they had to work.

I don’t recall anyone being worried about my workload being stressful, or my mental health in general. Jerry and Ginny had grownup stuff to worry about. As teenagers, we managed our own social lives and school affairs. If Karen, while executing a hair flip, told me my new Rave perm made me look like shit and there was no way Kevin would ever go out with my scrawny ass, my mother wasn’t even going to know about it; much less call Karen’s mother and arrange a meeting where we could iron out our misunderstanding and take a selfie together. Additionally, no phone calls were ever made to any of my teachers or coaches. Ever. If we sat the bench, we sat the bench. Our dads were at work anyway. They only knew what we told them. I can’t even conceive of my dad leaving work to come watch a ballgame. If I made a 92.999 and got a B, I got a B. No thinly veiled threats were made and no money changed hands to get me that A. Ok, full disclosure, in my case we would be looking at an 84.9999. I was the poster child for underachievement.

Back in our day, high school was a testing ground for life. We were learning to be adults under the semi-vigilant supervision of our parents. We had jobs because we wanted cars, and we wanted to be able to put gas in our cars, and wear Jordache jeans and Candies. Without jobs, we had Archdale sneakers and Wranglers, and borrowed our mother’s Chevrolet Caprice, affectionately known as the “land yacht”, on Friday night. No one, I mean, no one, got a new car. I was considered fairly lucky because my parents bought me a car at all. I use the term “car” loosely. If I tell you it was a red convertible and stop right here, you might think me special. I wasn’t. My car was a red MG Midget, possibly a ’74 and certainly a death trap.

Look at your coffee table. Now imagine it having a steering wheel and driving it. I promise you, it’s bigger than my car was. The starter was bad, so after school I had the pleasure of popping the hood and using two screwdrivers to cross the solenoids or waiting for the football players to come out of the dressing room headed to practice. Those guys pushing my car while I popped the clutch, is a memory no 16-year old girl around here will ever have, and it’s a great one. Had I driven that car in high winds, it’s likely I would have ended up airborne, and there were probably some serious safety infractions committed the night I took 6 people in togas to a convenience store, but I wouldn’t go back and trade it out for a new 280Z, even if I had the chance. I was a challenging teenager, and in retrospect the fact that it was pretty impressive every time I made it home alive, may not have been an accident on the part of my parents. Go to the high school now. These kids are driving cars that grown men working 55 hours a week can’t afford, and they aren’t paying for them with their jobs.

And those new cars don’t do a thing for telling a good story. I tell my kids all the time, the very best stories from my teen and college years involve Ann’s yellow Plymouth Duster with the “swirling dust” graphic, Randy’s Valiant with the broken gas gauge, and Carla’s burgundy Nissan that may or may not have had a complete floorboard. A story that starts, “Remember that time we were heading to the beach in Carla’s Nissan and your wallet fell through the floorboard onto the highway?” is so much more interesting than, “Remember that time we were going to the beach in your brand new SUV, filled up with gas that your parents paid for, and the…well, no, never mind. Nothing happened. We just drove down there.” To top it all off, most of them head off to college without a clue what it’s like to look for a job, apply for it, interview, and show up on time, as scheduled. If they have a job, it’s because someone owed their dad a favor…and then they work when it “fits their schedule”.

We all love our kids, and we want to see them happy and fulfilled, but I fear we’re robbing them of the experiences that make life memorable and make them capable, responsible, confident adults. For the majority of us, the very nice things we had as teenagers, we purchased with money we earned after saving for some ungodly amount of time. Our children are given most everything, and sometimes I wonder whether it’s for them or to make us feel like good parents. The bottom line is that you never value something you were given, as much as something you worked for. There were lessons in our experiences, even though we didn’t know it at the time. All those high school cat fights, and battles with teachers we clashed with, were an opportunity for us to learn how to negotiate and how to compromise. It also taught us that the world isn’t fair. Sometimes people just don’t like you, and sometimes you’ll work your ass off and still get screwed. We left high school, problem solvers. I’m afraid our kids are leaving high school with mommy and daddy on speed dial.

We just don’t have the cojones our parents had. We aren’t prepared to tell our kids that they won’t have it if they don’t work for it, because we can’t bear to see them go without and we can’t bear to see them fail. We’ve given them a whole lot of stuff; stuff that will break down, wear out, get lost, go out of style, and lose value. As parents, I suppose some of us feel pretty proud about how we’ve contributed in a material way to our kid’s popularity and paved an easy street for them. I don’t, and I know there are many of you that are just as frustrated by it as I am. I worry about what we’ve robbed them of, which I’ve listed below, in the process of giving them everything.

  • Delayed gratification is a really good thing. It teaches you perseverance and how to determine the true value of something. Our kids don’t know a damn thing about delayed gratification. To them, delayed gratification is waiting for their phone to charge.
  • Problem-solving skills and the ability to manage emotion are crucial life skills. Kids now have every problem solved for them. Good luck calling their college professor to argue about how they should have another shot at that final because they had two other finals to study for and were stressed. Don’t laugh, parents have tried it.
  • Independence allows you to discover who you really are, instead of being what someone else expects you to be. It was something I craved. These kids have traded independence for new cars and Citizen jeans. They will live under someone’s thumb forever, if it means cool stuff. I would have lived in borderline condemned housing, and survived off of crackers and popsicles to maintain my independence. Oh wait, I actually did that. It pisses me off. You’re supposed to WANT to grow up and forge your way in the world; not live on someone else’s dime, under someone else’s rule, and too often these days, under someone else’s roof.
  • Common sense is that little something extra that allows you to figure out which direction is north, how to put air in your tires, or the best route to take at a certain time of day to avoid traffic. You develop common sense by making mistakes and learning from them. It’s a skill best acquired in a setting where it’s safe to fail, and is only mastered by actually doing things for yourself. By micromanaging our kids all the time, we’re setting them up for a lifetime of cluelessness and ineptitude. At a certain age, that cluelessness becomes dangerous. I’ve seen women marry to avoid thinking for themselves, and for some it was the wisest course of action.
  • Mental toughness is what allows a person to keep going despite everything going wrong. People with mental toughness are the ones who come out on top. They battle through job losses, difficult relationships, illness, and failure. It is a quality born from adversity. Adversity is a GOOD thing. It teaches you what you’re made of. It puts into practice the old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. It’s life’s teacher. Our bubble-wrapped kids are so sheltered from adversity, I wonder how the mental health professionals will handle them all after the world chews them up and spits them out a few times.

I know you are calling me names right now, and mentally listing all the reasons this doesn’t apply to you and your kid, but remember I’m including myself in this. My kids aren’t as bad as some, because I’m too poor and too lazy to indulge them beyond a certain point. And I’m certainly not saying that our parents did everything right. God knows all that second hand smoke I was exposed to, and those Sunday afternoon drives where Dad was drinking a Schlitz and I was standing on the front seat like a human projectile, were less than ideal; but I do think parents in the 70’s defined their roles in a way we never have.I worry that our kids are leaving home with more intellectual ability than we did, but without the life skills that will give them the success and independence that we’ve enjoyed.

Then again, maybe it’s not parents that are getting the raw end of this deal after all.

Advertisements

1,512 thoughts on “Parenting: Are We Getting a Raw Deal?

  1. Rhonda, this is probably one of the best pieces I have read in a very long time. You don’t need any stats or data to back it up – we, the collective baby boomer parents who are responsible for the indulging, protecting and helicoptering of an entire generation – if being honest with ourselves, can attest that every word is true. No studies needed. Thanks again – you really have a gift. Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Fantastic piece! I’ve never been blessed with children, but I grew up in a household of six children…who push-mowed, hand-washed, and scrubbed with elbow grease damn near everything in and around our house every Saturday. Thanks for the memories:)

        Like

    1. Really this article is an insult to modern parenting. It is an article written under the pretense that everyone spoils their kids these days. It certainly is false, and is a narrative clearly constructed by the far left. Please don’t accept this as truth. It is clearly a hit piece designed to further divide the people. We need unity, folks, not this trash.

      Like

      1. Just for the record, the intent was a bit of humor and a generalized examination of what I see happening around me. It certainly isn’t a calculated plot to divide society. I’m not that calculating, nor that ingenious. I’m also conservative. Thank you for reading though, I’m encouraged to learn that you live in an area where this overindulgence doesn’t occur. That’s wonderful!

        Liked by 6 people

      2. I don’t know who these parents are, but no one at my house would consider asking for a $300 bat, let alone get one. I have 5 kids, much of their clothes come from the local thrift shop. They all can cook, run a load of laundry, and clean a toilet. They have chores every day that they get no money for (there are extra chores available for anyone who wants money in their pocket). Your children do and have the things you get them, and that’s where any blame belongs, squarely at your feet.

        Like

      3. You have lost your mind! You are evidently part of the problem, not part of the solution. Hint: if the article doesn’t APPLY to you then the article should INSULT you. But it clearly does insult you, so refer to sentence 2. Grow up!!

        Like

      4. Wow, you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. You talk about unity and call this trash! That’s a way to cultivate unity! Insult your neighbor. I don’t see how this one truthful but funny blog is going to destroy the unity of mankind. Get a grip!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I don’t agree with you.We brought up 5 children who were not spoiled nor given everything.They all found jobs while still at school.They lived at home and went to University.They were not handed everything on a plate.They are well adjusted and useful professional people.

        Like

      6. Please do not politicize this article unless you are pointing out the nepotism that exists in our current administration. This is about how our society has changed. I am a mother of four and this is spot on. I see kids being raised like this all around me. In fact, my brother was raised this way and at 30 has never held a job and still lives under my parents roof all because he was told how wonderful and smart he was and was never allowed to weather a hardship. I am trying hard not to raise my kids this way because I see what it did to my brother. Rhonda this article was amazing and well written and brought back hilarious memories of my first “car”. It had no radio so my friends and I would just sing all of our favorite songs. I also had to start it with a screwdriver on many occasions after working my late night restaurant shift. Oh and just FYI my jobless brother received a new Acura on his 16th birthday.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. My eldest son just turned 14 yesterday. He is getting his working papers today! My children, clean the house, their rooms, make their dinner plates and clean up the kitchen, mow the grass and pick up the dog poop, bring in fire wood, etc……Do I get static, YUP!!! Do they get to eat every night, play Xbox, rife their bikes, go fishing, sleep in their beds, etc…? ONLY IF THE WORK IS DONE! Lastly, could you smoke in a bar or in an airplane in the 70’s/80’s? Yup! Doesn’t make it right, its called awareness and I will agree the politics and awareness has made the general population soft, but don’t ever stop demanding respect from your children, you can be friends with them when they are 21 if they are still around and if they are still around, they will love and respect you and others that much more! And if they are not still around, they will be just fine protesting somewhere on some topic with a lot of their new friends!

        Like

      8. Oh Maria, we are so fortunate to have someone as bright and enlightened as you to set us straight. Yes those of you amongst the far right are bright shining lights who can point to your true God Trump and those wonderful children he has fathered via his many wives as the type of family we should aspire to. I’m sure God considers Trump as second only to Jesus in his accomplishments. We are so lucky to have your unsolicited advice.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. You’re just pissed because you’re probably one of these asshats sending bratting kids out in the world for upstanding people to have to work with. And take a chill pill, no one is trying to make this political.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. You’re just pissed because you’re probably one of these asshats sending bratty kids out in the world for upstanding people to have to work with. And take a chill pill, no one is trying to make this political.

        Like

      11. I don’t agree. I have been teaching in a high school for 18 years, and I see a lot of what she has stated in this article in the students I teach. There is way too much catering to children and they need to learn some really good life lessons. We aren’t doing them any favors by giving them everything they want and coming to their rescue for every little thing.

        I do agree that this is not the case for everyone. There are many good parents out there who make their kids work for the things that they want, but there has been a big shift where this is not the norm.

        Liked by 2 people

      12. You must be in full denial or living in a different country…or in the country where conservatives dwell, hand milking their cows and inbreeding. If you were truly concerned with unity, you would not bring in “far left”. This is clearly not a political post and you are somehow making it one. Every bit of what she brings is up is true.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Rhonda is speaking generally. God knows there are enough parents that are really raising kids like this. But not everyone, thankfully!

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Absolutely NOT a far left thought process alone. I am conservative and I agree with EVERY WORD in this article. It is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH INMOST YOUNG PEOPLE I meet nowadays. NOT ALL. And she didn’t say that. But this is an article that clearly defines what is wrong with the millenials and GenXers. I know some moms who still make their kids work for what they have, or get. But the majority have to have what everyone else has, just because it’s the trend, and no matter the cost. A prime example is Ipads and cell phones in the hands of irresponsible toddlers.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Maria, respectfully I disagree with you. I work in an elementary school office and I’ve noticed most kids (not all but most) feeling entitled, mine included. I’ve made a big mistake that won’t easily be changed but I’ll do my best. I didn’t give my kids many chores around the house like I should have. But back to elementary school kids I see daily, they can’t be disciplined…and these kids parents are just as bad, their kids never do wrong. They always want to know what we did to make their child act that way.

        Her blog post brings back so many memories of my upbringing back in the ’70’s. Sadly these days with social media and 24/7 news channels people are overloaded with too much news of bad and scary things and parents are afraid to let kids be kids the way they should be, me included! I could shoot myself for being too over protective and not make my kids play outside more, take them hiking more, drink from a garden hose, etc.

        Like

      16. This is a very true story. I’ve lived in those days myself. I feel sorry for the kids these days. All the technology is distorting their minds. They get what ever they want. And there is absolutely no respect. That’s sad..

        Like

      17. I’m a conservative and enjoyed this IMMENSELY! She hilariously described my 70’s upbringing and what I see in young people today. Nothing “left” or “right” about it. It’s just straight down the center for a perfect strike! A sense of humor goes a long way for coping. You should try it!

        Liked by 1 person

      18. why is the article ‘clearly constructed by the far left’?! that’s a stretch! or is whatever you don’t agree with constructed by ‘them’? it’s a point of view, and i do think many of us (whether we’re ‘left’ or ‘right’) do indulge our children more than we should, coddle them and don’t encourage independence enough. but all generations of parents do things differently than the one before them, thinking they’re doing it better. the most important thing is that we try to be good parents and to learn from our own parents’ mistakes. and we all get nostalgic for the past and the ‘old way’ of doing things, maybe idealizing it just a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. This article is dead on point blank the truth…!! How do I know, it could have been written about my life and any other baby boomer that survived the 60s and 70s and we are better humans for it.!!! So get off your soap box and look at a few teenagers walking around or let me rephrase that driving around.!!

        Like

      20. You Maria are the type of person that perpetuates many of the issues described in this amazingly spot on piece. YOU ARE the far left in mindset and obviously in denial going through life with blinders on about what is going on in society today. Most young adults and kids today know nothing about sucking it up, moving on, and solving the problem, or working through the issue. The “have nots” don’t dig in and work harder for whatever modest living they can make. They do less or even nothing, so they can qualify to be taken care of by the government or someone else while what’s left of the the older generation in article is raising your kids while you are out demonstrating about atrocities committed against people that were doing things they should NOT have been doing and whining about how everything isn’t fair and equal for everyone. Life is NOT fair. It’s harsh sometimes for a reason. When you go against the grain or operate outside of set boundaries there is a thing called a consequence. Look up the definition if you need to. When you cross a moral or legal line bad things happen to you, and they SHOULD, so you don’t do it again. People need to take responsibility for their actions and be willing to accept the punishment/penalty or shame for what they chose to do. That’s reality. Everything in life is not roses 🌹 and lollipops 🍭.

        Like

      21. Maria this is not trash. This is the reality. Ask teachers what they see and my guess is they are going to agree with a good chunk of this article. Btw I am teacher for over 13 years and I can say I see this on a regular!!!

        Like

      22. Not sure what article you read? There was no pretense that everyone spoils their children? The writer was merely explaining and comparing. I don’t think she was projecting to all parenting skills, at least that certainly is not what I took from the article. It was well written and insightful.

        Like

      23. Maria Teresa, really? Please step away from the TV and FOX News. Obviously, you have been indoctrinated.

        #1: you see a far left conspiracy in a well-written humorous article (with a lot of truth in it!)
        #2: you proclaim something you don’t agree with as false–“fake news”
        #3: you are channeling 45: “It is clearly a hit piece designed to further divide the people.” If you’re going to make intelligent, fact-based statements like that, you really need to be on Twitter.

        Like

      24. I respectfully but vehemently disagree, Maria, maybe because I’m a generation or 2 older than the author. First, I take issue with ‘hit piece designed to further divide…’ Calling someone’s essay ‘trash & a hit piece, false & makes assumptions’ isn’t going to do much toward winning friends, influencing people & encouraging them to create the ‘unity we need’. It’s not a pretense that kids are spoiled. They are. The ‘spoiling’ is done with the best of intentions-parents want to grant kid’s wishes. Parents want kids to be happy & have ‘more than I had when I was your age. Giving to our kids gives us joy. When I was your age, we didn’t have the electronics you have, want & in some cases, need’. We were in a hurry to grow up. Growing up, to us, meant college and/or jobs, getting wheels. Freedom! My generation thought ‘we knew it all, too . We pretended to listen, follow instructions ,made mistakes, BIG ones.. Our attitudes weren’t ‘better’, they were different. We didn’t think our parents OWED us.. We graduated high school, entered the work force, lived at home.. We didn’t buy toys-quad runners, kayaks, dirt bikes, get take out, buy drinks in bottles, pay $150 for a concert ticket. Those things weren’t available & neither were credit/debit cards. Kids have jobs & pay for their toys. Most don’t pay room, board, utilities. When I think of kids being ‘spoiled’ I think of life skills not inculcated. Budgeting money & time are critical. Minimum payment on credit cards is $20.00. That’s easy-until 1 owes $5000 on 2 or 3 different cards. We saved until we could pay for what we wanted. You’re responsible for getting yourself up & out. Mom isn’t your alarm clock, social secretary, bulletin board on which to pin assignments. Sundays, churches were full, stores weren’t open or were empty.. Sex wasn’t a recreational sport & babies weren’t born until a year after the wedding. Of 231 kids in my graduating class, ONE couple got pregnant. Currently something like 1 of every 5 or 6 babies born today are to single Mothers. Couples who haven’t the life skills to delay gratification, prevent pregnancy or to care for the baby once it’s born. Kids can buy groceries but don’t know how to SHOP. Boys & girls can’t mend a split seam, tack up a hem, replace a zipper, patch a hole or sew on a button. They can’t change oil, a tire or wiper blade.They don’t have scissors, needles, thread, flashlight, screwdrivers, wrenches, hammer, nails, nuts, bolts, duct & electrical tape, can’t change door locks, hang a picture, clear a drain, unstop a commode & don’t know about shut-off valves, breaker boxes & where they ‘re located. Kids know to get vehicle insurance but not renter’s or life insurance because they can’t afford it, don’t think or know it’s necessary until the unthinkable happens. We & our parents weren’t better, we were different. Our expectations were different. Failure wasn’t in our vocabulary, nor was it an option. My parents & those of friends spoiled us by teaching us how to live. Now parents spoil kids by teaching what to live. Children are ‘spoiled’ not only by what parents do but by what they don’t do.

        Like

    2. I will be printing this and sharing with the parents of my kindergarten class at open house! Thanks for a great article, lesson and trip down memory lane!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We had one bicycle and had to share. There were 5 of us and our Mother raised us with God’s help and no others! She had $365 monthly to buy groceries and pay bills. We lived back in the woods so it was a good long drive to even GET to the grocery store! I worked in a dairy barn for MILK! ( I loved riding the horse, though, to round up those cars for milking). My Mother would buy powdered milk to make 1 gallon into 2! The 2 big kids had a car they had to share. It was dead by the time I was old enough to drive and no more cars forthcoming! We had to raise our food, shoot the meat or ring a chickens neck. Assembly lines to fill a freezer with meat for the winter, with the kids chasing the chickens around the yard til they stopped twitching to bring them to the grownups to scald their feathers off! Arguing over who could catch the most?! I have actually plowed a garden with a mule. We would secretly sneak away and swim in the fast flowing flooded icy creek in January! Took baths even in the winter in that creek when the pump went out or the well went dry! Got chased by a Black Runner snake while hunting for squirrels! We got caught tearing up the neatly stacked hay in the barn and got switched on the run through the little door with our granddaddy’s razor strap!! Laughed out loud to each other when we got out of hearing with tears streaming down our faces! Hada sneak back in to find our lost boots and shoes!! We could only go back in the house in daylight if we had to go to the bathroom! Hung clothes out on the line even in winter! My mother told us once when we asked her about getting a dishwasher, “I have 5 already!” I had SUCH a fulfilling childhood! I wish my grandkids could have such a life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds a lot like how I was raised. And to me, those truly were the good ole days. My Daddy and Mama were hard working simple people who raised us to love the Lord and to make our own way. By the time I was ten or so, I was driving the tractor while my Daddy and brothers hauled hay. In the summer, my sisters and I cooked lunch for the family while our mother worked in a factory. Her Friday payday was eagerly anticipated every week; that was the only day we got soft drinks and store bought cookies. As I read this article and look back on those years, all I can say is “Thank You, Lord” and thank you Mama and Daddy. Y’all were the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant! Just Brilliant! So well said…it encapsulates everything my husband and I struggle with on a daily basis and the conversations we have regularly. Thank you for your insight and humor! Loved it!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ma’am, there is a significant and possibly singular reason why your folks bought you an MG: It is physically impossible to get yourself “in trouble” in an MG, without the knowledge of origami. In terms of driving, it was indeed a death trap. But in terms of finishing high school, and getting a diploma, my dad loved my car. I bought mine for $1000 that I earned while working with my dad at a posting at a north Florida gas station during the summer of the Mariel Boat lift (1980). The Marines jogged by every morning, and my dad and I swam in the Holiday Inn pool every night. It was a good summer. Mine was a 1970 model, blue metal flake with a red racing stripe, and wire wheels. I adored that car, and I can still see my 6’2″ daddy squealing around the corners with his head sticking well above the windscreen. I hope you get to drive one again some day. It’s good for the soul.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We used to push start my friend’s Mg during morning break in high school (in the mid 70’s) so the four of us could pile in (two sitting on the trunk with our feet in the car) and go get fresh bagels. Not sure how we survived, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Loved our MG Midget – we bought a used one in ’74, British Green convertible. our eldest daughter would sit in the area behind the 2 front seats, since there was no back seat. The other cars and trucks behind use would give us plenty of space between us, since the car was known to backfire flames. The fun thing about this car and being in the Chicago area – in winter when you drove in the snow – the car would stop suddenly because snow would get built up in the engine fan. You would have to open the bonnet and clear the snow out of the fan belt area and then the car would run fine. The fan was built of plastic and could not cut through a heavy build up. It was such a fun car. In the winter of ’78 our area had record snowfall and accumulated over 5′ of snow in areas, my husband put a bicycle flag on the bumper so it could be seen over the snow banks. Finally had to by a junker wagon to drive for the rest of the season because the Midget became too dangerous to drive since no one could see it even the the flag.

      Like

  5. I was born in 1977, a child of the 80’s. I remember getting up early in the morning, 7 or 8 a.m, eating my cereal and running outside to play with my neighobor’s kids. I could go knocking door to door all over the neighborhood and ask if my friends could come out and play. I was allowed to go around my block and just about any block around it. Think of a 9×9 grid. That was my “limiit” until I was about 11 or so. At that age I was allowed to ride my bike all over my neighborhood and a little further … with my walkman headphones in! When I was 12, I did dishes and laundry and was supposed to clean my room. (Good luck with that. I still don’t)

    Today though, I get so scared for my kids. Maybe I’m paranoid, but the news and the stupid crime stories I watch have taught me that even if your kid is playing in the yard next door, some criminal can snatch him or her up, throw them in their car and you will never see them again. (sigh) We have a small wooded area out behind our back fence. I’d love to let them run and play back there but then I worry about bee stings because there’s a real possibility that they have a bee allergy because my husband does. I don’t even let my son walk our dog without taking one of our walkie talkies. I guess I’m soft.

    Nowadays too, if you let your child out of your sight and they get hurt, doctors and police will think you’re being neglectful and/or abusive. I’ve read cases, in Reader’s Digest no less, where a woman left her baby in the car to run in and grab a gallon of milk and within that time frame, somone called the police on her and she was arrested for “child endangerment.” She’s till fighting to get that off her record. My mom would take me and my brother to the grocery store, ask if we wanted to come in or stay in the car and half the time we’d stay in the car for like, 30 minutes! Nothing happened. Of course the windows were rolled down and we could step out if we got too hot but you just can’t do that sort of thing anymore. Well, not unless you want the police called on you. It’s sad. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Dianna. Society has changed drastically in that respect. I think part of our fear comes from technology making it possible for us to know about every single bad thing that happens. In the 70’s, we were limited to local news and blissfully unaware of the terrible things that were happening in other cities and states. Life was so much simpler. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Amen to that. When my kids were younger i had keyless entry on my car and would leave the car running to run into the gasstation because dragging 2 kids under tge lage of 2 into the store for 1 small item wasnt worth it. No one could get into my car and my car was running so the a.c. was on as well and I still had to deal with an off duty officer bitching at me. I told him flat out if someone was trying to break my car window to get into it. I would have seen him and I drove off. Sorry not sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. This is my constant dilemma…how to give free range and still be compliant to the laws. Everyone wants to police you and judge. My son is very independent and we are trying to nurture that quality bug that is no easy task.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Erica! I have a good friend who joins me in believing that kids need to fail some in order to learn how to succeed. We joke that we are the “bad moms” because we don’t stalk ours like everyone else does. I think there’s a balance to protecting them from making mistakes that do them irreparable harm, and allowing them the freedom to learn. You’ll find that balance and it will be great for both you! Thanks for reading!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this! It’s hilarious! It’s so true and we may even have had the same parents. I don’t have children, but I do have a car I adore that is slightly younger than myself. And I was born in the ’60s. Thanks for the laughs!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Why quit your day job, a couple of hours in the evening (even every other day), and I’m sure you would have a great novel in no time. Please think about it. Your writing in wonderful.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! This was my 1950’s/ 60’s childhood! to a tee. I’m 67 year old grandmother now and see so clearly a lot of the mistakes that are being made and it makes me want to scream out in desperation.. NO, STOP. DONT DO THIS! Your children WILL survive. thanks for a great article

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also grew up in the ’50’s. At 12 years old I was delivering the morning paper at 5 am. 7 days per week. Had huge baskets attached to my bicycle. Can you see a kid today doing this?

      Like

  8. This article is genius, funny, and completely true all rolled into one. Makes so much sense. The part about the kids managing their own social lives and school affairs. On too many occasions have known of my 12 year old and her 6th grade two’s a company three’s a cloud drama has somehow managed to make its way past my cell phone number to a fellow parent calling me at work trying to discuss adolescents drama non-sense involving our daughters with me. Lady, Ain’t nobody got no time for that. They are 12.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this article. I was raised in the same era. We have successfully raised our son (21 years old). It started when we gave him my old car (2000 Toyota Corolla), made him a get a job, because we were not paying for gas and the car could sit in our driveway. We had a list of chores that he did not get paid for -that is just being part of the family. It seems to have worked. He takes care of this stuff, but other times, I find myself attempting to make things easier for him and I stop. Best thing he ever said to me, while home from college (b/c we are not paying his rent during the summer -he can do that if he does not want to live at home) “I cannot wait until I am home again” (referring to his apartment). We should raise our kids to not want to be at home, to want to be on their own and make their own way. Thank you for this article. I really enjoyed it

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! such a fantastic article, and all of it is 100% true! Im certainly guilty of doing way too much for my three sons. I was the baby of six, left the house in the morning and came home by dark. I had such a great childhood because we weren’t babied, My parents didn’t have time for that shit! Love this so much, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve been an optometrist for 20 years and for the first time EVER, a month ago, I had a 14 year old boy (who was not mentally ill or special needs) throw a temper tantrum and start crying over my inserting eye drops for his dilation. I mean, a REAL tantrum! Whining and crying and “is it gonna hurt?” The whole act. The spectacle lasted for about 3 minutes. His mother was in the room with him and she was embarrassed. I would have none of it. I told him that it’s time to buck up and do it. I told him a 6 year old did it earlier in the morning and survived it. Frankly, I was embarrassed for the little snowflake. What’s gonna happen the first time he gets a parking ticket?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If he did not have autism or special needs, he’s likely been coddled far too much by his parents. Getting eyes dilated is no big deal. I had it done with I was a kid.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Dennis. It was a labor of love. My favorite part has been all of the responses from parents who say, “Wow, I’m totally guilty of this and want to do better.” Love the sharing of ideas and willingness to be accountable. In the end, I think we all just want to do right by our kids. Very much appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

      Like

  12. Yes, people want to live like rock stars these days. That’s often why they have so much debt. I live in an upper middle class community, but parents here have never heard of a 529 plan. They’re too busy spending $200 on Nike Air Jordans and $300 to rent limos for the prom. Then they wonder why their kid has no college money.

    Like

  13. I was totally guilty of nearly everything you mentioned – with the exception of school. Kids knew we nearly always sided with the teacher. My kids are grown now, so pretty much too late. Major regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very good article. I live through those times and was a better person for it. You had respect for your parents and you learned to work. My kids were brought up the same way, you learned to work for what you wanted if it was expensive and your folks could not afford it.I wish we could go back 50yrs. We didnt have to worry about them playing in the neighborhood they were safe. Cant say that today.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I read this with amusement and much reflection. Our kids grew up in the 80-early 90s.

    Yesterday we buried our 42 year old son. He died of melanoma. His funeral was amazing. I had always thought that I was a lousy parent but when his classmates and friends sent messages and came from many states away I was amazed. Listening to their memories was comforting and I realized how much of a foundation we had given our kids. They had to work, buy their own cars and pay for the insurance. Many of their friends didn’t as they had families with far more money and could afford more than one pair of Guess jeans and Jordan tennis shoes.

    However, those that came to the funeral and grew up with my son, came from families where the two parents worked hard and gave them values and a sense of purpose. We didn’t tell our kids they were always right when another authority figure announced their ruling. The laughter and tears of those precious memories I heard made me realize we gave our kids the best we could at the time. It was a time of reflection for us all as we looked back on my son’s life and saw that it probably was one of the best times to grow up and the end of a real age of innocence for the American family.

    I see this new crop of youngsters going out into the world and struggling to make the simplest decisions because it was always done for them. Working with them presented even more of a challenge as they would say, “Could you just do it?”

    The worst was when my son was dying in the hospital and I had to show one young RN how to perform a simple nursing task. (I am a retired nurse) She told me she was tired because she had been to a concert the night before and only had three hours of sleep but when she called in to take the day off they said she had to report for work. I was speechless. This is what the new work force has become? She told me her mother had always called in for her before but now she had moved to this city to be near her boyfriend so her mother couldn’t do it for her anymore. My son was lying there dying and she was telling me her biggest problem; her mother couldn’t call in for her anymore.

    I believe there is a very big disservice being done to these children and there will soon be other countries passing us by in leaps and bounds because we have allowed a generation of children rule the roost and when it is all over and done with, America will be taken over without a shot ever being fired.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually read your comment last night, but felt so heartbroken for you over the loss of your son that I needed to wait before responding. From one mother to another, I send you love and prayers. I can only imagine how instrumental the presence of others who loved him was in helping you celebrate his life. Thank you so much for reading, considering, and commenting. The majority of readers are like you. They appreciate the humor, recognize the shortcomings, and worry about the future ramifications. Others, it infuriates. I think they fail to see the humor, forget that generalizations are a requirement (as you can’t possibly touch on every variety of parenting), and some it just offends. I agree completely that without some changes, we will find their lack of proper preparation for accountability and adulthood will affect us globally. I’m hopeful, as I’ve had so many parents acknowledge they see themselves in this and are taking steps to change.

      Like

  16. My goodness this is fabulous! I have 5 ranging in 18 years to 14 months….guilty as charged on many accounts, trying my best on others. It’s a struggle for sure! My eldest has bought his own vehicles, the other two saving. I refuse to buy their cars, as mine was a $500 jalopy with YES that hole in the floor and a death trap of a manual sunroof for entertaining. Best of memories in that thing!!! The struggle is real, and I so fear for our kids. This writing is what I needed to stay focused lol, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. In my family I have 5 brothers, 4 sisters. When people asked my mother how she got along with no dishwasher, she told them she had 10 dishwashers. She never had a drivers license, the newest driver would be mom’s ride. I was a “summer girl” (live in baby sitter) for a family in Chicago at 15 years old, my dad told me that now I was earning my own money, I could buy my own clothes. From there on, I took care of my own needs. I always had a job, between school, tennis, basketball, cheerleading. I sometimes wonder now how I did it all as a teenager, but wouldn’t change a thing. My parents taught me how to take care of myself! My husband grew up learning how to take care of himself, in a smaller family, he has one brother. We have tried to pass some of our life lessons along to our two children and I am happy to say, they understand the concept of working for what you need. As parents, we are guilty of trying to give our children a better life than we had, but looking back, our life growing up, was pretty darn good!
    I really enjoyed your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Rhonda, this is such a well-written article. I love it. My wife and I are helicopter parents. Although, I try to let my kids make more mistakes then my wife will allow them to have. One thing though, they have chores, and are not allowed to sleep past 9 AM. Period. My oldest in college does not own a car yet, and luckily is working on campus full time during the summer. My wife would rather have her home, I on the other hand, think it is good for her. Love the piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! My oldest is headed off to college next month. I hope he will stay next summer and really get a taste of living as an adult. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment!

      Like

  19. I just wrote a similar entry on my blog more focused on my parents shitty cars, and wondering what I am going to rob my son of later if he gets my nice car…. reading this is a problem solved.

    ruralrouteone.tumblr.com/
    -jeneva

    Like

  20. Spot on!!!
    A bit of a long read but on point.
    My oldest just turned 20 and I’ve had him working since 13.
    I completely agree with your perspective and have to admit my guilt along the way ….
    Thank you for the parenting reminders as we can easily be blinded by society’s protocol.
    👏👏👏

    Like

  21. Great article. So thankful for the times I grew up in. After my father passed away, my mother instilled in me the idea of never depending on anyone for my happiness or independence. She taught me life can be so uncertain and it is best to learn how to do things on your own. I always worked part time while I was young. Went to college and worked in education. My three kids learned to take responsibility for their chores and if they wanted something, they had to work for it. But now I see them with their own kids, and they are doing way too much for them. Sigh…

    Like

  22. This is the best think I’ve read this morning. This is exactly how I was raised. Drinking from a water hose and the human remote control. My car was a Chevy Impala with one continual front seat. If the person driving was short and you were tall, your knees were in a dashboard. Fun times!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is great! Just last week when I offered to drive my just graduated high schooler to work in the morning, her response was, “How lame that I am a graduated student and my mom is dropping me off?” My response, “No, how lame that you were told years ago that if you wanted a car you would have to save your money and buy one….thus far you have chosen not too. Let me know if you would like a ride in the morning.”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I remember thinking that I didn’t want my kids to leave home like I did at 16 years old. And that I didn’t want them to have a latchkey kid upbringing. That didn’t work out so well for me as a parent. On the other hand, while I was lucky enough to live in a world where I could buy a car for $100, and find a job by the end of the day walking in and out of stores on a major boulevard and asking, that world is long gone. Yes, us older baby boomers were the workforce of yesterday, and robots and artificial intelligence are the workforce of tomorrow. But for our children, there isn’t much available without specialized instruction, or falling behind any American Dream you and I could chase through hard work. I understand that the fault isn’t in the stars, but I’m not totally convinced that it is in us, either. But I am impressed that you maintain a successful blog and I’m envious 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Larry, I agree with you. It’s much more complicated than I’ve indicated here. And I do think most parents are working hard to find that ever elusive balance. Thank you for saying my blog is successful 😊

      Like

  25. The best thing I have read in a very long time. I too grew up in the 70’s and have fond fun memories about the cars breaking down and having to push them across the street. Good times. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Enjoyed this article. Very similar experience growing up. Born in 1960 and was in H.S. in the mid 70’s. Never had a car until I got married. Lived in a small town. I walked to school from kindergarten on. Not with my parents but with other kids from the neighborhood. In H.S.I only had jobs in the summer but I rode my bike too and from and when not working we would leave the house at about 10 a.m. (after our chores were done) to go swimming at the lake until the 6 p.m. when the church bells rang and it was time to go home for dinner. Mom knew it only took 20 minutes to ride home from the lake on our bikes and we better be at the table by 6:30. No one checked on us from 10 a.m. to 6. If we got hurt our friends knew who are parents were and where we lived and if you were somewhere were you shouldn’t be or got in trouble the grown ups also knew who your parents were and where you lived and had no problem hauling your butt back to your house and enlightening your parents about what you had been up to. There were 3 of us pretty close in age and mom split up chores so that all three of us could “participate”. Raking leaves, one would rake, one would put them in bags and one would haul them to the trash; doing dishes, one would wash, one would dry, one would put away. We survived and we have stories both good and bad to share and a lot that our parents only found out about after we were grown and on our own. I remember playing baseball and touch football at the empty lot on the corner with whoever was available to play, boys, girls, elementary age up to high school. Equipment was shared and no protective gear was worn and there were busted lips, broken glasses, even a few broken bones every once in a while but no one got sued, no one hated each other (for very long anyway) and bragging rights were our only reward. What fun!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Bravo!! Well said, well written and right on point! I was born mid 50’s, and graduated from high school in the early 70’s. I was on a basketball team that I don’t believe my Dad ever saw a game. I had practice on Friday nights and walked home, a half hour walk. Never thought anything of it…. Was on a track team, he never came, he was too busy. But, I don’t think I missed more than one event each of my children were in, only because of the timing or illness… We did make certain our kids had it all, this is such an excellent article, well done! Cathi

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I realized while reading this article that you are only 5 years younger than my parents, and I am a 34 year old with 3 children of my own, so I did some quick math and figured if your eldest is just now leaving for college, you must’ve become a first time mom somewhere in your mid-30s… definitely on the later side, and you also mentioned that you work.

    When I see children like how you describe yours and others in this article, they often have older, dual-income earning, educated parents. There seems to be a disproportionate amount of this spoiling behavior with that parental demographic. As a psychotherapist, former teacher, and generally a student of human curiosities, I have many theories as to why this occurs. I’d be interested to know if you also notice this correlation.

    I had my children in my 20s and currently stay home with them and thus we are a one income family. We are mostly close with other families with the same situation. I do not see this happening with my parenting demographic nearly as much as yours. So, perhaps it’s socioeconomically based and there’s simply more money to go around, or maybe SAHmoms don’t feel the need to spoil children whom they’re constantly around, or maybe there’s not that guilt factor working moms have for sending the kids to daycare and trying to make up for it, so on. It’s certainly interesting to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Erin! Until I remarried this April, I was a single mom. Divorced when my children were 6 and 3, so they were not overindulged too much because there was no money to do it. They graciously allowed me to misrepresent them a little for the piece. I think you are correct though when you say there are other factors at play. Definitely, the increase in dual income homes and more perceived disposable income is part of it. I say perceived because a lot more people live beyond their means than they did in the 70’s. Credit isn’t only for necessities anymore. Guilt could certainly be a factor as well. Technology also plays a role, as we are a society who knows about every bad event the moment it occurs. In the 70’s, you only really knew about local tragedies so the world seemed safer. There is a lot of satire and hyperbole at work here. It was a really fun piece for me, but I do genuinely worry about my kid’s generation not being practically prepared for life. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who is open-minded, contemplative, and an excellent communicator. Thank you for reading and for the well-thought comments!

      Like

  29. What a wonderful article Rhonda. You are very observant of parents and kids today. If you look at the various generations from the 30s to today it would appear that as our wealth has increased the more our kids get spoiled and less skills for the everyday world and work world. You didn’t mention how so many younger people are having such a hard time adapting to the work world due to their upbringing. Can you imagine kids today working in the fields like many of us did years ago? Have you seen kids today mesmerized before the tv like in a trance? Or connected to their computer or iPhone? What ever happened to spanking? It sure worked on me and my wife because it set limits and set us on the right course. A couple of spankings works wonders. You have written a handbook for parents and prospective parents. I just love it.

    Like

  30. Absolutely the most relevant, well-put, FUNNIEST ‘our-generation-vs-that-of-our-kids’ pieces I’ve read yet! Kinda scares the shit out of me, and I’m about as much of a ‘free-range parent’ you’ll find these days. Make your kids earn their stories, their money, and their way in life. They’ll be better for it. So right on. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. “When did adults start caring whether or not their kids were safe, happy, or popular?”

    I believe they always cared if we were safe, but there is an awareness now that did not exist yet back then. We’ve all heard the stories of Etan Patz, Johnny Gosch, Jaycee Duggard…. the list goes on and on. While the chances of this happening are small, they are still there. These kids and more paved the way for that awareness. And your damned right I am going to care that my kids are safe, especially with an awareness like that.

    Like

  32. Great article. (Please change “wiling” to “whiling.”) I think we are the same age and I will back you up as my childhood household was definitely parent-centered. My dad pointed out an interesting thing. He grew up in a child-centered 40-50’s household (think June Cleaver). As such, he and my mom stayed the focus of the home. My sibs and I grew up not having the spotlight and so feel very comfortable not being the important ones in the home. We also feel a little neglected (especially since our mom worked at career without a blueprint on how to be mom and career-holder). Because of that experience, we don’t want our kids to feel neglected. My husband and I did our best to buck the trend but the pull to be “awesome” parents is real. It will be interesting to see how our kids respond to this when they are parents. It very well could be that we freak out over how much our kids “neglect” their kids. They will most likely create the parent-centered household we grew up in…if they ever move out!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. So true, so true! I have an older friend who has indulged her son his entire 52 years, and that mindset is spreading to the next generation. I’ve indulged my daughters to the point I’m seeing their entitled attitudes emerging and am putting them through the “pain” of correcting undesirable behaviors in them and myself. My girls do chores, and for money, they do hard work – working outside in 100-degree heat. They sit in shade and drink from hoses when they get hot. Last year, my teen was able to earn enough to pay for dance lessons up front in cash. Not only did she value those lessons with every fiber of her being, but she earned a good reputation around the studio and town because of her ambition and work ethic.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Rhonda,

    This is the most accurate, accounting and picture of what today’s generation looks like, I have ever read! Being a child who grew up in the 70’s, I can can recall my childhood being depicted exactly as you detailed in this article.
    Nothing was handed to us, we had to work for it, and anything that was given to us was appreciated and far and few in between.

    Sadly, in this day and age, we tend to pamper, cushion, iver-do, and embellish our children with every luxury in life one could ever imagine, yet we refuse to do equip them with life survival skills necessary to be truly successful in life such as developing common sense, critical skills in thinking, developing and instilling good work ethic habits, learning the importance and of an earnings and a savings account, etc. We are living in a the mindset of being self serving only. My belief is we will continue to see a downward spiral in the generations to come unless we start instilling values, faith, and morals again.

    Like

  35. Thank you for a wonderful article, we spend our summers in an alternate state/community so our children can learn independence by ‘gasp’ riding their bikes or the bus to town unsupervised without social services being called, in a community where such independence is valued, and I think often of how I want this to change on a broader scale. I am surprised at the level of debate your piece has generated but I suppose that simply validates our current state of affairs. And as a pop icon of this generation would say rather fittingly, ‘the haters gonna hate hate hate hate’…

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Very good read. Born in 64 and yes life was largely as you described. I think about my parents SINGLE income and how they successfully saved and how even with our DOUBLE incomes, we have trouble saving what we need to. Feeling guilty too that my kids don’t possess basic life skills. My husband is the guy that can fix anything, and they have been exposed to this and maybe a little of it has rubbed off but not nearly to the same extent. Yes everything is different. The kids are inside so much. Is it weird to be so happy because your teenager planned a day this summer that included some outside soccer with his friends? I was ecstatic, because it meant he was going to get some Vitamin D and exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Yup, that was it. 14 acres of our land, the partially falling down outbuildings filled with dangerous old tools, plus all sorts of other adjoining farm-ish properties to roam on, AND the railroad tracks thru the village, and the little-watched State land on the other side of those tracks, AND all the gas-company routes thru farms & fields, AND the streams for splashing in and damming up, yes, that was the life. And Dad had enough lungpower to call you back for 3/8s of a mile. My first car wasn’t until partway thru college, but it was a Datsun pickup truck, that quickly needed new brake lines and U-joints. My job to keep it running. My GF’s was a Plymouth Fury III that could haul 4 other people back from school, with all their luggage in the trunk. But it leaked oil until the engine warmed up; you could follow it all the way across town.

    But my kids did know they were lucky to have a 15 Y.O. white 4 cylinder minivan to drive to HS. Kids need a car that they have to invest their own time & money & sweat in in order to keep it running their butts around town. Their personal education really started when the older one, at about 4 years, told her Mom “I’m not gonna be your friend anymore!!!” Mom replied “That’s fine, in fact that’s great. You will never be my friend. You’re my daughter, I’m your mother, always. Friendship ain’t nothing to do with the two of us. The sooner you learn that the happier you will be.”

    Like

  38. I confess to massive confusion on how this happened. All of us raised just like this should have raised our kids the same way, right? I was raised just like this, one of five kids. Two of my sisters had children (I didn’t) — one in the early 80s, and the other, 20 years later (adopted.) My older sister raised her kids much more in the style of our parents – and the kids turned out fabulously. The other sister has struggled tremendously with simply saying no, and meaning it. There are no firm orders — everything turns into a negotiated request. It has been gobsmacking for us to watch and the source of great tension in the family, but as everyone knows, childrearing advice is never appreciated by even cherished uncles — especially the childless ones.
    I was just telling my partner about the Saturday my father made me change a tire — just so I would know how. I resented him, but I did it, and then I knew how. I like to think I would have done the same with my son — but who knows? Perhaps I would have just given him a AAA card.
    I find some of the hostile comments frankly ridiculous — (and Identify, as a blog I recently wrote about White Privilege got a slew of similarly defensive reactions.) Rhonda grounds this piece in her own experience and what she has observed around her. It is extraordinary how personally some people are taking it. If you have avoided the pitfalls of the modern parenting style — bravo for you. If you have succumbed to the zeitgeist, well Rhonda understands. She takes full responsibility for finding herself doing many of the things that she laments. This is called a paradox — we live them all the time. (We have a buffoon helming the country with 3 million less votes than the most qualified person ever to run for President. A helluva lot doesn’t make sense).
    I offer the experience of my sisters because I think something shifted in the 90s — which is, uncoincidentally, in my view, when the internet was born. No one had a cellphone or a computer in 1990, by 2000 everybody did. I think there was a collective loss of innocence with the information age. What parent these days doesn’t think twice about giving their kids the freedom to wander that we had? What contemporary parent hasn’t imagined being on Eyewitness News collapsing over news of the child’s disappearance? These dangers really didn’t cross our parents’ mind.
    They raised us with much less fear — both of the harm that could come to us and of making mistakes as parents. They weren’t riven by a fear of reproach. They didn’t second guess themselves. They were in many ways, naive. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything, but there were prices to be paid. (A Scoutmaster, for example, who never should have been trusted, and would doubtfully be today.)
    All in all, I think we have lost more than we’ve gained. We’ll never get it all back, but we can get some of it back. My niece and nephew, for example, seem to be finding an excellent balance between old and new parenting style with their own kids. It gives me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Love this! In parents’ defense, our whole culture is changing and evolving…I have been very aware of the fact that I have been spoiling my kids…yet I’m not quite sure how I could have contended with it better. I have battled doting grandparents, ridiculous school supply lists, and yes, other parents whom my kids compare…all great people who care about their kids. But the “norm” bar has absolutely been raised large-scale. Media, and studies, and pediatrician recommendations, and pressure by raised school standards…we’ve all had to step up whether we’ve wanted to or not…or, running short of the people brave enough to choose homeschooling and off-grid living, some of us simply have had no experience with alternative options in life to make them anything less than completely overwhelming. My hats off to those who have, and my hats off to those spinning their wheels in what society is for most of us today…high paced, over stimulating, and pressured to “accept” everything and everyone, not judge, and self-censor yourself to whomevers rule book happens to be in play at the moment (which requires some divination at times;). I absolutely agree with the sentiment of this article…and I think it is a sign of the very issues (lack of social skills or emotional hardiness) brought up in it that some cannot understand the generalization implied nor take comfort in knowing that there are always people who don’t fit into such a generalization. The fact that the comments went political just highlights how fundamentally real these issues are, left, right, black, white, rich, poor…politics has consumed even our parenting to a level never before seen. Articles like this are such a great opportunity to self reflect and check in with where you think you are at in relation to others. For me…yea, I relate to this…my kids are teens now and every day is a battle of trying to do what’s right, without doing too much for or expecting too much from my kids who are growing up on a completely different planet than I did. I for one am going to try and focus a little more on letting go of trying to “make” my kids turn out ok, and let them try to navigate this world…while using my increased access to awareness to help me keep them alive and functioning.

    Like

  40. Best written article I have seen in a long time. I just got done telling someone the other day that when I was a kid I wanted a pair of Starsky tennis shoes so bad. I got a knock off pair. Now kids buy their babies and toddlers Nike and Air-Jordan tennis shoes. They can’t afford diapers or baby food though. Same thing with phones and video games these days. People have the most expensive phones and phone plans but have no place to live. People will buy an x-box and then wonder how to feed their family. I could go on and on about this. Yes, my dad also said “Go put that on channel 13”. He didn’t say “Please” or “Thank you”, or “Could you”, and you can bet, we got our butts up and changed the channel. Not only that but when my Dad said, “Let me sit there”, we did. I didn’t become an adult and think my parents should buy my car, pay for my wedding, or pay my water bill when it got shut off, or pay for my college. I didn’t have the attitude that it was their job. Their job was done, I was a grown up. That was my attitude.

    Like

  41. Rhonda, this is So True! I love all your writing but this is spot on. I grew up in the 50’s/60’s in a small South Carolina town, and I loved growing up in those times. You have such wonderful insight on how to raise responsible children, and I appreciate your sharing this in a humorous way. We had two daughters and made some mistakes in hindsight. But now that they have families of their own, I can thank God for guiding me as they are now both wonderful mothers and wives. Thank you for reminding us of those good old days.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s