How Parenting Has Changed

What's Covered

Parenting is hard. Being a solo parent is much harder. I have to juggle parenting and work every day. I have no complaints for I have an adorable 2-year-old kid to watch and grow. What bothers me most of the time is the question of “Am I being a good parent?  How do I want her to see me as? And “Am I doing the right thing? Most of these questions usually arise every time I hear my parent say “Back when you were kids, or back when I was a kid, we didn’t…” These statements made me question as a parent. But then I realized, things are totally different now. What works before might not work today. And this is a bitter pill that is hard to swallow by most parents these days.

Parenting Now… and Then… Ways on how Parenting has changed

Parenting now has gotten more difficult as compared back then.[1]  Nowadays there is more pressure to get it “right” so you can earn that “Best Mom”, “Best Dad” cup. I believe that no two parents are the same and we have our own style of parenting, but as parents, we share the same goals when it comes to parenting.  Here are some ways on how parenting has changed over time that I am sure new and not so new parents can relate to.

1.      Spanking as a parenting tool

I got spanked a lot when I was a kid but I don’t feel like my parents took it too far. Now, you lay a finger to your kid and cops, child welfare will come swarming to your house interrogating you and all. Talk about balance and pressure right?

Back then, I guess the most common form of punishment is spanking and kids don’t really have a say on that at all. Now, with all the laws governing child care, books about parenting, different rewards and punishment system, there are lots of tools available for parents when it comes to correcting behavior.

I personally will not spank my kid just to correct her behavior. Now if you tell me that “that is why your kids don’t respect you”, then you and I would rather let people like you think that way than let my kid get scared of me.

2.      From Controlling to Connecting

Most parents nowadays would like to be tagged as their kids “best friend” “pal” or the “coolest mom ever”. This is totally different from the parents before who like to control and decide for their kids. [2]

As a 90’s kid and now a parent, I can say that I relate to these two things.  My parents love to control their kids.[3] From what to wear, where to go, who to hang out with, and a lot of things. This created a gap between my parents and me. I don’t want this to happen with my kid. So instead of controlling I am my kids, cheerleader, pal, playmate for her tea parties, and so on.

3.      From Outdoors to Digital Screens

Back then you won’t see any kids at home.  All kids are out playing from sunrise till sun out. Playgrounds are full of kids running, playing, and mothers talking to each other. Kids usually get to meet their neighbors and gain friends through playing outdoors,

Now, with the rise of technology, and outside threats, playgrounds are getting empty over time. Parents are worried and scared to let their kids play outdoors due to news of kids kidnapping and now COVID 19. Also outdoors is not as enticing to kids nowadays. They now have their own indoor playground which is the digital screens.  Kids are most often seen too engrossed watching shows from youtube, Netflix, and playing online games. These also results to different studies and health group recommendations on how long is a healthy screen time for kids.

As a parent, I make it my responsibility to screen the shows that my child is seeing online and tell her how to use her screen time effectively. If you are looking for an app that fits the description, I highly recommend that you check this one mommy!

Kids Games, Educational App for Kids 2-4 and 5-7

I love this app because the shows that my kid usually watches on youtube are already here. Though not all but since I am not really a fan of youtube and I don’t let my kid watch shows on youtube as much as possible so this app is a treat for me.  What I love about this app is the shows are available offline. This is not only good for your kid’s development, as a parent, but you can also let your kid watch the show by herself for you know what shows are already in there

Kids Games, Educational App for 2-4 & 5-7
A perfect app for parents who wants to monitor the shows their kids are watching on the screens

4.      Intensive Parenting

Did I say that parenting now is a lot harder than parenting before? Back then, I don’t think my parents were stressed out in raising me.[4] Since technology is not a huge thing before, most of the time, they rely on their instincts, good judgment, tips from doctors, friends, and family on how to raise me as a kid. But now, I felt like I lost all those instincts when I had a child. A huge percentage of my decision-making process for my kid involves research, going through different parenting sites just to compare brands before buying it. From what diapers are good for babies, to types of cleaning products, requires hours of good research.

5.      From Photo Album to Social Media

Parents bragging about their kid’s milestones, achievements, cute pictures to other parents didn’t change. What changes are the method and the ways we showcase our kids to other parents. Back then, my parents like to take our pictures, using an old camera, they will buy films and batteries and wait for a couple of days to have the pictures be developed. Then they will put it in a photo album. And my mom would always show the photo album whenever she gets the chance.

Talk about change. Now Photo albums are out. Parents these days have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Our phones have built-in cameras that produce photos instantly. We just have to choose which photos are “Instagrammable” or Facebook worthy. Parents can even go to the extent of becoming a vlogger with their kids as their niche. If before parents tell kids to write to Santa about what they want to get for Christmas, Now, parents still ask their kids to write to Santa, but instead of Santa fulfilling their wishes, those letters will go to a gift registry and instead of it going to the North Pole, these wishes will be posted in the social media sites to be fulfilled by parents Santa’s.

6.      Gender Reveal Madness

I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But parenting and technology have taken up a notch with gender reveal. Back then ultrasound is used to see if the baby is okay, check for any deformities, and mostly for medical purposes.

Parenting these days gives another meaning and importance to ultrasound. They use the ultrasound for their grand gender reveal on social media sites. Gender reveal can be the parent who wants to share their joy of having to know their child’s gender with family and friends. Or it can be the other way around.

Either way, if you are also one of the parents who find joys in gender reveal and would like to get some fresh ideas on how to do it, below are some of the recommended ideas to choose from:

Gender Reveal Confetti Cannons Package

The package comes with 2 blue and 2 pink confetti poppers which is a great way to hide the gender identity and not to blow out the party (in case someone else signs the package). What’s good about the product is that it is safe, easy to use just twist it and the cannon will pop. I also love the video reviews that they have so I sure know that my money will be well spent if I will throw a gender reveal party.

Gender Reveal Surpirse
A fun and great way to do gender reveal

Juvale Gender Reveal Board with Stand and Voting Stickers, Chalkboard Design

Gender reveal parties are all about celebration and having fun. If you want to add spice to your gender reveal, then you can include this little game with your guests. What is good about this game is that it is not just limited to the party itself. You can have this game a few days before the party and gather as many votes from your loved ones. Perfect for creating conversations!

Baby Gender Reveal Board
A perfect game to increase the fun and laughter in your gender reveal party

7.      From Physical Stores to Online Stores

Since 21st-century parenting is geared towards technology usage and applications, hence we include this in the list. Raising kids in today’s world is a struggle; parents need to adapt and to find ways on how to manage their time efficiently. This includes doing groceries online.

You may seldom find a “digital parent” inside a grocery store with their kid doing groceries. Most parents now are so used to doing everything online. With grocery stores offering online service for groceries and shopping, down to ordering your food online, it is seldom to find a parent getting embarrassed because their kid is on the floor throwing a fit, or a teary-eyed parent leaving a cart full of grocery to attend to her kid’s emergency potty emergency.

8.      From Stay at home mom to Working Moms

My parents raised 6 children without my mom having to go outside and work. All she needs to do is to keep the home clean, look after us and make sure that there is food on the table. This is the same with my friends, and classmates. Father makes a living and the mother stays at home.[5]

Now, it is common for both parents to have jobs. Most homes need 2 incomes or more to survive in today’s economy. Even so, the notion of a “house husband’ is being accepted in today’s world. If the mother is earning more than the husband, then you will see a setup where the mother is working for the family while the father keeps the house clean, look for the kids, and cooks for the family.

9.      From traditional parenting to Co-Parenting

I choose the word “traditional” for lack of a better term. When we say nuclear family, it is composed of a married couple raising their kids. This is the culture and the era that I grew up with. Back in the day, the mindset is just simple. Start a family, get married, have kids then later on retire. And it is not common or taboo to raise a kid out of wedlock or break the sanctity of marriage especially when you already have kids.

Now, things have changed. There is divorce for married couples; we have solo parents who are doing an excellent job in parenting. These divorcees and solo parents are co-parenting their kids with their then partners. Personally speaking, I find this more mature way of parenting because both parties knew their responsibility to their kid and that regardless of the outcome of the relationship, this should not impact the relationship they have with their kids.

10. And another diversity in Parenting

Apart from co-parenting, parallel parenting, society nowadays is more open to same-sex parenting. Though there are still doubts, questions, and protests around same-sex parenting, there is no doubt that parenting is not exclusive to fathers and mothers. Parenting can be diverse. It should go beyond gender and race.

I have friends in the LGBTQ sector who are successful in parenting and raising their kids. I have read numerous news and articles on mixed races that proved that parenting does not see color and race. Their parenting success is equally comparable to the “normal “parents that I know. It is just saddening that society, religion, and ideology restrict this kind of parenting.

If we are too quick to adapt to the latest technology, then we should also check our perspective on how we see these ways of parenting. It is great news that we are these are being accepted in some parts of the world but it would be nice if other countries would also open their mind on diversity.

11. Mental Health Awareness

I know nothing about mental health when I was a kid. Most parents before are not fully educated on what mental health is and its effect on parents and child. So everything falls down to “you just want attention” scheme.

Nowadays kids and parents have become increasingly anxious. Cyber Bullying, school bullying, school shootings, peer pressure, and increasing in suicide rates are major factors affecting our kid’s mental health. With these, parenting has also shifted to understanding what depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are, how it affects their children and what can parents do to help[6]

12. The “Woke” Parenting

Most of us who were born during the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s are taught to stay silent and not to be involved in adult topics. Back then, kids don’t really have a voice in the family. Parents back then are not open to the idea of letting their kids out to join protest or marches that concerns political issues.

Now, we have what we call “Woke” kids. Naturally, these “woke” kids came from “woke” parents. Parents are making their kids aware of the real problems of the generations. This results in parents encouraging their kids to be the voice of the generation, showing them that they can make a difference.

Hence, most kids these days are using social media platforms to air their protests and disagreements on pressing issues like bullying, racism, sexual abuse, women’s right, political monopoly, and others. Today’s parents and their kids are most likely to be seen participating in marches, demonstration trips, protests. Celebrating gender equality, fighting racial and color discrimination, and empowering voices of all ages.

13. The age of digital parenting

Parents these days can’t get enough of technology. We also incorporate it as a parenting tool. Before, parents used to pack lunches for their kids and give them money allowance. Now parents give debit cards to their kids for lunch money. 5 years ago I used to see kids with child harness at the malls. This child harness ensures that parents will not lose sight of their child. But now, forget about child harness, kids have smartphones with tracking and monitoring capability. Parents can actually trace their kid’s location easily.

Parent’s gears these days are way cooler than what it was before. From wearable breast pumps, technology-driven car seats, hi-tech strollers, home installed cameras that can be synced to your phone, and other cool parenting tools that digital parents are using as a tool in raising their kids.

Now, if you are new to digital parenting, you may want to check these cool gears.

Elvie Pump Double Silent Wearable Breast Pump with App –Electric Hands-Free Portable Breast that can be Worn in-Bra

Talk about smart parenting. This wearable breast pump is perfect for mother who is always on the go. There is no need for you to go hide in the cupboards or go someplace just to do your mommy duties. With this machine, you can work, go out, and do work and breast pumping simultaneously. It is hassle-free and the coolest thing about this is it can be connected to your smartphone. So you can track and monitor your milk volume in real-time.

Wearable Breast Pump with App
A perfect gadget for lactating mothers who are always on the go

Waterproof Crib 6 in 1 Diaper Bag Backpack, Waterproof Travel Bassinet Foldable Baby Bed with Changing Station for Travel Bed Diaper Pad Stroller Organizer

Again, this is one excellent gadget for parents who wants to bring the house when traveling. This is not just a regular mommy bag. It is a diaper backpack with changing bed. It can also be used as a travel bed for it comes with a mosquito net and shade cloth. Forget about worrying as to where is the nearest changing pad or if the changing pad available is safe and clean, you can have your own changing pad with this.  And did I tell you that it is a backpack? This backpack comes with 16 pockets so you can fit diapers, pumps, laptops, clothes, and most of all it is waterproof. Talk about multi-functionality.

Final Thoughts

Today’s world is changing rapidly. The parenting ways that we know now might not work tomorrow. Parenting is already hard. We have to expect that it will get a lot harder in the coming years. But I believe that is the beauty of being a parent. How open we are in adapting to new technology, ways, and lifestyle and how we use these resources as tools to help us raise our kids is will always be a never-ending journey.

Now that I am a parent, I understand parenting is not something that can be passed down from one parent to another. It is not about how many times you succeed or the number of times you think you fail. It is about you discovering yourself as to how you would like to be a parent to your kid. and involving your kid in the wonderful world of parenting.

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – L.R. Knost

[1] Lam, Ching-Man, Wai-Man Kwong, and Siu-Ming To. “Has parenting changed over the past decade? A qualitative study of generational shifts in parenting.” International Journal of Social Science and Humanity 9.2 (2019).

[2] Trifan, Tatiana Alina, Håkan Stattin, and Lauree Tilton‐Weaver. “Have authoritarian parenting practices and roles changed in the last 50 years?.” Journal of Marriage and Family 76.4 (2014): 744-761.

[3] Trifan, Tatiana Alina, Håkan Stattin, and Lauree Tilton‐Weaver. “Have authoritarian parenting practices and roles changed in the last 50 years?.” Journal of Marriage and Family 76.4 (2014): 744-761.

[4] Why Parenting has Gotten more  Difficult-  Anna Sutherland – Institute for Family Studies

[5] Parenting is Different now than it was in the Past – matters – Jessical Hills

[6] Long, Nicholas. “The changing nature of parenting in America.” Pediatric Dentistry 26.2 (2004): 121-124.

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Vivian Perry

Vivian Perry

Mother of 3 kids. Enjoy reading parenting books and studied child care degree. Vivian loves to learn and write about parenting tips and help her kids to grow positively with grit mindset.