• Titi Tade

RAISING CHILDREN: THEN VS NOW

Raising kids, or parenting is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. [1]


Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the intricacies of raising a child and not exclusively for a biological relationship.


The most common caretaker in parenting is the father and mother, or in some cases only one.


However, a relative may have the responsibility of taking care of the child. This may be an older sibling, a step-parent, a grandparent, a legal guardian, aunt, uncle, other family members, or a family friend.


Parenting skills vary, and a parent or surrogate with good parenting skills may be referred to as a good parent. [2]


Parenting styles vary depending on a lot of factors, one of which is historical time.

Every parent wants to raise children who are happy and successful, but they also have to do it in the context of societal times-including but not limited to neighborhoods, the law, schools, media, best scientific and medical practices, and other ideas.


Times have changed and that means parenting has changed, too. Though the universal rules of child-rearing still apply, today's parents are dealing with an entirely new playing field when it comes to their children [3]. Even compared to just 20 years ago, things like technological advances and increasingly more expensive lifestyles have made being a parent a very different experience, both for better and for worse.


Below are some of the ways raising children differs today from in the past.


1. TECHNOLOGY


Parents are potentially the most influential individuals in children's lives [4]. The 21st Century parent has to compete, however, with multiple sources of information, both human and non-human,(e.g. children's peers, non-familial adults, TV, technology gadgets, Internet) in shaping the minds, values, and beliefs of children.



Research shows that the average 8- to 10-year-old spends almost 8 hours a day with a variety of media, and older children and teenagers spend around 11 hours per day with media [5]. That time adds up, and children now are spending more time with technology than they do in school. When asked if their kids spent way too much time with technology, 71% of parents in a survey answered affirmatively [6].


This is different from the past, where children had more interactions with actual human beings than technological gadgets. Parenting then involved a lot more physical activities than now.


Addiction to technology isn't limited to kids, a majority of parents also admit to spending way too much time on their phones which can get in the way of spending quality time with their children [6].


2. THE NORMALIZATION OF SINGLE PARENTING



Over the last decades, a great deal of change has taken place in the family structure leading to an increase in single-parent families. Studies demonstrate that almost 3 out of 10 children are being raised in single-parent households [7].


This is a far cry from parenting in the past. Single parents were frowned upon socially, and children raised by single parents, especially mothers, were reported to have affected cognitive ability, an outcome which is strongly related to a range of later life outcomes, include school-leaving qualifications, earnings, occupational attainment, crime, substance abuse, and mental health issues [8]. These days, the indirect effect of single motherhood on child outcomes has narrowed as women’s employment and earnings have grown [9]. At the same time, increased acceptance of alternative family forms may have affected parental inputs; for example, reduced stigma and greater economic independence may have reduced the negative association between single motherhood and mental health[10].



3. THE SHIFT TOWARDS MORE EQUAL AND PRESENT PARENTING


Twenty years ago, stay-at-home fathers were rare. Now, we frequently see dads picking up kids from school or involved in school activities.

Equal shared parenting is an extension of co-parenting, but it divides time and responsibilities equally between both parents.


Careers, such as those in the IT field, now allow parents to work from home allowing them to care for their kids instead of relying on daycare or after-school programs.

In the past, the bulk of parenting was left to women, as child-raising was considered a woman's role.


Changes have taken place in the expected roles of fathers across many societies. Today’s fathers are increasingly expected to share parenting responsibilities more equally with mothers [11].

It has taken several decades of research to establish empirically that men can be competent caretakers of newborns [12]. Greater father involvement is also associated with a variety of positive outcomes for children [13].


4. MORE AWARENESS OF MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES


In the past decade, there’s been increased willingness to recognize mental health as an essential part of one’s well-being.


In an interview with Mike Thompson, past president of National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), he said, "The conversations we have now we would never have had 10 years ago. We’re more open and interested in talking about mental health and about respecting it.”[14]


The world today is paying more attention to the words we use and how we use them ( The nonbinary pronoun “they” was Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2019), just as we’re opening our minds to the reality of “gaslighting” and other toxic behaviors. We’re increasingly sensitive about how to talk to and empathize with others who may be suffering, which serves as a subtle but significant win for the advancement of our mental health as a society. Parents these days are worried about their children being depressed, experiencing anxiety and being delusional [15].


As a result, children now are raised with a level of social consciousness not found in previous times.



5. ABUNDANT RESOURCES AND COMMUNITIES TO LEARN FROM


Parenting today plays out very much in the public domain.


The internet is full of parents sharing what works for them to help raise their children. From conception to pregnancy, to childbirth and raising, there are materials for parents to learn from. More parents today look towards online discussion groups for tips and advice from other parents or experts. Technology has given parents easier access to information via health websites, online child development charts, Facebook, ok forums, and parenting blogs. Parents now get reassurance that what their child is experiencing is normal before seeking help.


Online forums have become a space where mothers can openly describe their own negative emotions towards parenting and ask questions or gain reassurance to resolve mixed messages about how one should rear infants and toddlers [16].


Whether it's 1918 or 2022, parenting styles and attitudes influence a child and are a predictor of how the child may turn out later in life.


Even though parenting has been made easier in some ways, children still require basic and important things from parents such as unconditional love, protection and support.



REFERENCES


  1. [cited 2021 Apr 10]. Available from: http://(https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nine-steps.html).

  2. Humanenrich. 6 steps foR parents so your child is successful [Internet]. Humanenrich.com. 2014 [cited 2021 Apr 10]. Available from: https://humanenrich.com/six-steps-parents-child-success/

  3. Social-contextual determinants of parenting Jay Belsky http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.456.9175&rep=rep1&type=pdf#page=6

  4. Parenting in the 21st Century: A Return to Community Bogan, Yolanda K H.Negro Educational Review; https://search.proquest.com/openview/6ba403d474708ad1720c3054811eb6f4/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=46710

  5. Children, Adolescents, and the Media COUNCIL ON COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA to Pediatrics November 2013, 132 (5) 958-961; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2013-2656

  6. Parenting Children in the Age of Screens https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/parenting-children-in-the-age-of-screens/

  7. Single-Parenting in the 21st Century Thomas K Babalis, Yota Xanthacou, Maria Kaila Academia. Edu https://www.vgls.vic.gov.au/client/en_AU/vgls/search/detailnonmodal/ent

  8. Show me the child at seven: The consequences of conduct problems in childhood for psychosocial functioning in adulthood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00387.x

  9. The Rise in Single‐Mother Families and Children’s Cognitive Development https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13342

  10. Sigle‐Rushton, W., Hobcraft, J., & Kiernan, K. (2005). Parental divorce and subsequent disadvantage: A cross‐cohort comparison. Demography, 42, 427–446. https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.2005.0026

  11. The role of the father in child development Michael E Lamb, Joseph H Pleck, James Levin https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4613-9820-2_7

  12. Carolyn Pape Cowan, Philip A Cowan Men's transitions to parenthood longitudinal studies of early family experience, 145-174, 1987 https://books.google.com.ng/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zpHpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA145&dq=info:OQj1_SvClXkJ:scholar.google.com/&

  13. Tamis-LeMonda CS, Cabrera N, editors. Handbook of father involvement. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum; 2002. pp. 141–166. https://books.google.com.ng/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Xx-abFyPtg8C&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=info:6P74atZA-KMJ:scholar.google.com

  14. Michael Thompson on Influence of Mental Health, COVID-19 at National Alliance’s 2020 Annual Forum https://www.ajmc.com/view/michael-thompson-on-influence-of-mental-health-covid-19-at-national-alliance-s-2020-annual-forum

  15. Mental Health is Parent's Greatest Concern https://www.bbc.com/news/education-30701591 Mothers’ online message board questions about parenting infants and toddlers Noriko Porter Jean M. Ispa https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10 .1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06030.x

If you or anyone you know is going through depression or has suicidal thoughts, you can call the SURPIN Hotlines on 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909, 07013811143 or send a message to our social media handles- @surpinng (Twitter and Instagram) to receive confidential support.




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