Modern-day parenting (Written way too late at night)

Modern day parenting. that is a phrase I hear a lot. Of course nothing about parenting ever caught my attention till I had children myself. No, correction, till I got pregnant.

my obsession started with the ‘what to expect’ books. I stayed at my mother’s house for 2 weeks after I gave birth to my first-born (as is the custom here) and I remember my mother looking at the book ‘what to expect the first year’ and thinking it was so silly to have what I called “my baby manual”. A few days later I saw her going through the book and saying “this is really useful!”

After that, I read every parenting book I could get my hands on. There were the ones that didn’t suite me, such as the ones that go by the philosophy that babies are happier on a strict schedule (The new contented little baby book by Gina Ford). It just didn’t make sense to me. It made perfect sense to a friend of mine who had twins and would probably have lost her sanity if things were not scheduled and followed to the t.

And there were the books that I really loved that took into account that children were individuals and did not generalize ‘one simple magic rule to make every child an angel’. The ones that talked about how to raise them to become happy, self-confident, self-reliant children (Superpower for parents by Stephen Briers. I know, the title is silly, but if you only buy one book about parenting this is the one it should be).

But what is modern-day parenting? I mean have parents in the earlier generations all been backwards? Is it just now that parenting has evolved? Or has society progressed in such a way that we have more time to dwell on these things? Of course this does not apply to the majority of the world where child labour is still a must and sickness and poverty leave no room for “positive reinforcement” or self-esteem games. Have our little societies left us with so much time that I can sit here and write this blog about parenting almost daily for no other reason than I want to. Could you imagine the look on a mother from Burundi’s face if I tried to explain to her what I was doing!

I love parenting books… I devour them then, in all honestly, forget 90% of what I read and am left with a distorted, vague idea of the 10% that was truly useful. But the amount of sites, blogs, books, seminars, products, services directed at parents or about parenting are insane. Is that modern-day parenting?

I apologize to my kids. When I have a ‘moment’ and freak out not so quietly I apologize to them so they know I was wrong, I am human and I make mistakes. And when I do make mistakes they can call me on it. Not in a disrespectful way, but I never want my children to have a sense of dread or foreboding when they see me. Is that modern-day parenting?

My mother is a modern-day parent. She sent us to study in UK when almost no one around us had sent their daughters. My father is a modern-day parent, he always encouraged us to be independent thinkers and treated us as individuals not just children.

I don’t know what I am… I am mostly just trying really really hard to do right by my children. Because we do not have child labour, poverty or sickness (Alhamdu LiAllah) I can focus on trying really hard to give them a choice in their life. I want them to grow up and feel that they had a chance to experience so many things and make an informed decision about their life. I want them to be able to say that this (what ever this is) is exactly what I want to do.

Sometimes I just want to keep my neuroses and irrationalities far far away from them! And I pray I can sit back and relax and not miss the whole thing because I am so busy trying to make it perfect.

6 comments

  1. I think most people would say they were trying to do their best by their children. I think the problem is when ‘experts’ (including neighbours and friends) haven’t had children of their own, or who’s own children have grown up to be rat-bags. I seldom listen to anyone with children younger than nine or ten now, and then only the ones with calm kids.

  2. If we want change to come about for the human race, we have to examine how we raise our children. We cannot blindly repeat what previous generations have done.

  3. It’s that conscious effort to do things differently that is tricky, as much as most of us want to break the patterns of the past – often we don’t even know what those patterns are until it’s too late. And, when we are stressed we naturally revert to our programming (from our upbringing).

  4. I think parenting is and will be basically the same. Modern parenting is probably reading books about it ;)
    I would be especially interested in those parenting books which a successful mother with cute kids thinks are good!
    I can see from the kids around me, by my friends and relatives, that upbringing does matter a lot!

  5. I have the same books what to expect when your pregnant and what to expect the first and toddler years. My mother in law thought I was crazy saying that I listen to the books to much :p

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