Is Parenting More Difficult Today?

Let’s step back in time. It’s Sunday evening, September 9th, 1956. 60 million viewers representing 82.6% of the television viewing audience, the largest in history is tuned into watch the very young, very handsome, Elvis Presley gyrate across the small screen.

I would imagine that the topic of discussion over the back fences of America that next day were largely centered around a great concern that the nation’s teenagers were headed down the road of moral decay. What were these parents going to do? What I wouldn’t give to have that as my biggest problem today!

Every generation of parents believes that they have a more difficult time that the generation of parents that went before them. If perception is reality, than this is true. But to be fair, I’d like to share a quote.

“Children today love luxury too much. They have terrible manners, flaunt authority, and have no respect for their elders. They no longer rise when their parents or teachers enter the room. What kind of awful creatures will they become when they grow up?” – – Socrates 400 BC

Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same, such as our readiness to become parents. You have to think about what qualifies us for this job? Think about parenting in comparison to other jobs. There is a tremendous amount of time, effort and money spent on putting the right person in a job, training them and continuing to evaluate their progress. But here we are as parents, with the most important job in the world – to shape the minds and hearts of our children and none of that training exists. There is no manual, strategy or playbook you can rely on, and there is no license, but most important events require one, like driving, fishing, hunting, boating, and marriage, even selling liquor and buying software. And the responsibilities associated to parenting changes all the time.

But we could summarize our job to one title. When we become parents, we also become bus drivers, and we take our children on a journey from infancy to adulthood. Just like a bus, there will be stops along the way in the form of outside influences such as family, friends, teachers, coaches, the media, our children’s friends, the list is endless. There is a lot of noise out there, a lot of influences, which actually makes our job harder. But if you see yourself as a bus driver, you know the bus will go where the bus driver steers it. Be the parent that thinks for yourself and not put your ‘bus’ in cruise control.

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