It seems to me that our generation are noticing a change in the family system. It’s as if we are collectively looking for an opportunity to improve. This sentiment strikes a chord across my networks.
If we think back to a couple of generations ago, say our grandparents generation, and what their lives were like, it's clear that they were significantly different. They were raising children on one income budgets with limited access to community health services and communication was largely letter based. Household appliances were rudimentary and expensive. It was a very manual-labour based household that was run. These days it goes without saying that we have quite different lives.
Perhaps the most marked difference of all is the access to information that our generation is lucky enough to have. It seems to me that our generation, who are now parenting and working, building and growing their own lives and families, are interested in making their contribution to the world by raising their children differently. The words I attribute to this change center around respectfulness, wanting to understanding the root cause of behavioural difficulties, seeking help when we don't know the way and wanting bench-marking data that explains to us what is happening and how we can help. These things are not necessarily overly different to the way in which our family of origins interacted with each other, although for many I know they are, but we are applying this information at a different level. Mainly, I think, because of our own childhoods and the opportunities we swore we would address when we were the parents, but also the access to information and specialist support our generation has.
It seems to me that we are in a unique position in time to have access to information, and the time and space to consider more thoughtfully the type of life we wish for ourselves and for our children. In many ways, it’s as though we have the opportunity to do better. It’s not to disregard our parents and the efforts of care and love they went to, more to say ‘here’s how we are going to leave our mark’. Like every parenting generation before us, we will get some things right, and some things wrong. But never has a generation been more intentional in their parenting styles and attitudes.
I, for one, believe this is one of the greatest gifts our generation has to offer our children.
How are you intentional in your parenting practices? Does it differ to your own childhood?