“You remember childhood, don’t you?” That’s how the article Generation X’s Parenting Problem by Anjali Enjeti starts out. It goes on to describe a childhood that is pretty much nonexistent today. One example she provides is how kids used to cross “busy intersections during rush hour to purchase bubble gum cigarettes with change from empty soda cans.” Cross a busy intersection? To buy bubble gum *cigarettes*? Few parents today would allow that, even if bubble gum cigarettes were still avilable. I understand exactly what Enjeti says – with one exception.
If the Gen X’ers are in their 40’s, then they grew up in the 1970’s/80’s. I grew up in the 1950’s and had a childhood much like the one described in the article. Our parents, however, weren’t too busy reading the newspaper, watching soaps, or drinking beer to give us a ride somewhere. They were busy working -and most families had only one car anyway, the car that dad usually took to work. Mom didn’t have all the labor saving devices we have today – or moms had in the 1970’s. Forget frozen dinners, too. They didn’t exist.
And that’s probably why we didn’t see a lot of helicopter parents back when I was growing up. Parents didn’t have time to be helicopters. They were busy working – at the office, at the factory, at the shop, or at home. The parents of the Gen X’ers had enough labor saving devices to provide them with more free time than my parents had. But they remembered their childhoods and raised their children in a similar way – giving the kids some degree of freedom and free reign.
I can remember walking nearly a mile by myself to grade school because we didn’t live far enough for the school bus to pick me up. Today kids who live much closer to school than I did are picked up and dropped off in front of their house. We played on swing sets, monkey bars, and merry-go-rounds, all on dirt and nice clean small rocks. You can’t find monkey bars anymore, most merry-go-rounds are gone, and some schools (and town parks) are talking about getting rid of swings, if they haven’t already.
We competed in school. Some kids won and some lost. We learned from it. We learned to try harder or we learned to find our talent and ability elsewhere. My son, some 17 years ago played soccer one summer and got a participation award, just like all the other kids who played. Kids get participation awards these days for almost everything.
So I get it. But then I got to this part of the article:
None of us was gifted.
All of our children are.
Was it really necessary to bring giftedness into it? Giftedness didn’t just appear because parents had more time to be helicopters. Gifted kids were around then and they are around now. When I was in third grade, a student was moved from second grade into our third grade classroom. His mom wasn’t a helicopter. Long before that, my dad was double promoted. His mother (my grandmother) most definitely wasn’t a helicopter. She was too busy with her 12 kids.
I really am tired of thishttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/parenting-then-and-now-its-not-about-whos-gifted/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Snyder_children_Argentina.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Snyder_children_Argentina-150x150.jpgFor ParentsRants and ResponsesParenting