I often think about how we survived under the watch of our parents.  There were no infant seats (how did you get anywhere with me in the car?), no seat belts (ok, there were seat belts, but they weren’t safe and no one wore them), people smoked basically everywhere, we gnawed happily on plastic and toys full of lead, climbed on high steel monkeybars, and electrical outlets were always in plain view and ready for a zappin’.

Parenting standards have obviously changed over the years (and most for good reason), but here’s why I say our parents rocked.

They Cooked. Meals. In pans. Sometimes even in the oven. Every day. And if we were hungry, we ate. There were very few drive-thrus, no Toaster Strudel, microwaves, Lunchables, or pizza delivery. We ate meals, you know, with a starch and a vegetable. There was no such thing as a Meal Deal, and items that are passed off as meals today, like the “Pizza and Cookie” combo pack, Hot Pockets, or Jalapeno Poppers, didn’t exist.

They Sent Us Outside to Play. We played outside, often, most times until after dark. They encouraged it. We were only in the house when it was raining, and sometimes not even then. I remember not even knowing what to do with myself in the house, and would keep checking the window to see if the rain stopped so I could go back outside.

They weren’t afraid to discipline us. For the most part. They weren’t afraid of looking like a “bad parent” at the mall. They weren’t afraid of telling us we were out of line and punishing us accordingly. Speaking of which, I was in the grocery store with my son just yesterday, and saw this couple whose daughter was just about the same age as my son (about 18 months), whining and making noise. She wasn’t throwing, kicking, biting, crying, nothing. Just making noise. The dad was embarrassed. He picked the girl up and held her close, as the mother scooted quickly around the store, picking up what they needed. They wanted out of there, lest they be judged. The kid wasn’t even misbehaving, at least not according to my standards. When they walked by me, I heard the Dad whisper to the little girl, “See, he’s being a good boy. Why can’t you just be a good girl?”

They weren’t parenting philosophy zealots. When I was young, if you went, let’s say, to your son’s baseball game, you’d find parents, sitting, cheering, supporting their kids. You wouldn’t be able to determine which one was the attachment parenting family, or the vegan family, or the vaccination-free family, or the sustainable living family, or the gluten-free family, or the green family. There were just families. And they played. Together. No one was on their soapbox trying to assert their will, or looking down on others for not following suit.

We knew the value of money. Probably not that well, but definitely better than now. I was happy when I had enough money to buy myself a cassette. We had some toys, a few favorites, and we played with them until they basically fell apart. We didn’t have Nintendo DS’s with fifteen games, an iPod, a cell phone, a laptop, and DVDs to keep us entertained. What do you suppose that would cost in allowance? Six years’ worth?

They allowed us to make friends. Things weren’t so incestuous when we were young. Our parents let us, for the most part, make our own decisions with regard to our friends. If I didn’t like what another kid was about, I wouldn’t play with him. My parents didn’t go to beenverified.com to conduct a background check on my friends’ parents, or friend the kid’s parent(s) on Facebook to find out what their deal was. Friendships weren’t contrived by way of playdates. We went outside, remember? Just like the other kids. We made friends organically.

They threw us birthday parties. With cake and party hats. I don’t remember ever attending a birthday party of the magnitude that I see today. I remember a wayward pizza or rollerskating party, but a party with ponies? Inflatables? Spa days? What?? We were lucky if our party had ballons (which mine rarely had). Our parents weren’t concerned about impressing the neighborhood. They were concerned about celebrating our birthday, and for us, that meant family, friends, cake, a few bags of chips, soda, and ice cream. If we were lucky, we got a themed paper tablecloth and that crummy Happy Birthday sign with 50 pieces of old tape on it from everyone else’s birthday. And do you remember the pictures? We were smiling. We were happy. We weren’t those little ingrates whose ponies, limos, karaoke, and sponsored gift bags weren’t enough.

Things have come a long way since my childhood. Things are better, safer, less labor-intensive, and more convenient for sure. But with that comes a lot of, well, crap. Though I’m moving into the future with my babies, and am actually looking forward to navigating these winding and socially complicated roads, I still wouldn’t trade, for all the money in the world, the genuine, raw, and meaningful upbringing I experienced. I really didn’t want a pony ride, anyway.



  1. you and I think so much alike it’s scary –I never left my kids have Pokemon or anything with the computer, they didn’t have cell phones either. One’s a lawyer the other an editor for an major network. So there-ha!

  2. I LOVE THIS, and I completely agree! I played outside all the time, and I was constantly *gasp!* covered with scrapes and bruises because of it. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I love your sense of humor. 🙂

  3. Incredibly accurate and insightful! It’s terribly unfortunate that, barring some unsuspecting epiphany, future generations will never be exposed to such a “grounded” way of parenting. Nicely done!

  4. Yeah, the zealot parenting thing. That got me. I have felt so guilty because I haven’t hitched a ride on one of those trains. Good grief. I guess I could be considered the co sleeping mom, but its just cause I am too tired to kick the sprockets out of bed. I hear the tales of some moms and I think, is having sucanat over white sugar really that important? I’m not going to be up all night soaking my grains. Or wearing my baby to the bathroom.

  5. We rode in the back of pick-up trucks, too — and the food that our parents — *gasp!* — cooked was in pans lined in dangerous substances.

    And yet we’re still here…

    Fun post — and yet it also makes me think…


  6. still plenty of young parents doing the right thing nowadays. you could buy a house back in the day for 50k and mommy got to stay at home baking cookies all day. dad could have no college education and make a good living. this doesn’t happen anymore.

    that doesn’t make our parents better parents. they just actually had it easier.

  7. Simple is worth a whole lot more than fancy in my book. I consider myself lucky to have a 20-month-old who loves to play with tupperware. His favorite day is splashing in the garden hose!

  8. Progress is depressing, isn’t it. Remember drinking unfiltered water and carrying your lunch to school in a paper bag with no ice pack? Sigh.

  9. this is so true. I am a younger generation but my parent’s parented me like this, when I got in trouble , my booty got busted-not to where it hurt but it scared me. It didn’t scar me like many others claim happens when a child gets punished.

    What is sad now a days is that if you try to even punish your child in public you are scared that someone will report you to Child Protective Services over nothing.

    I’m a new parent…and lordy lordy how things are difficult these days.

  10. BRILLIANT post!! I agree with every single word you said!

    I’m not that old, but I remember not having to wear a seatbelt when I was a kid; in fact, it took years before I actually broke the habit and starting wearing one! Haha.

    Those certainly were the good ol’ days…let’s get back to them. 🙂

    You DEFINITELY deserved to be Freshly Pressed with this post! Congratulations! 😀

  11. I love this post! I don’t have children, but it sounds like we grew up with similar kinds of parenting. I appreciate these reminders and will pass along your link to my sister who is a mom.
    This is entertaining and so, so true!

  12. I remember our birthday parties, the barbecues in the park with a Frisbee and two or three friends. I loved those parties. Years later my niece would have her own television when she was seven, a hot air balloon trip when she was ten – and like you, I thought, “What??”
    I do worry that the extravagance of modern urban/suburban childhood may lead to lives of disappointment in adulthood…and yet, that niece I mentioned could not be more down to earth, and she does not spoil her three children in the least. So, I do believe there is hope that the trend may reverse itself.

  13. Ha! This was a fun read. My generation is a little in-between. When I was growing up, the standards were just beginning to drift away from what you’re talking about. I played outside, but couldn’t be without an adult. I had birthday parties with cake…at the pool or movie theatre (I never had an inflatable jumping house…though that’d be cool–and never any ponies). I have an iPhone, laptop, desktop, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ NOW–but I’m kind of glad I was raised in a world without them… 🙂

  14. I’m only in my early 20s, but a lot of what you’ve said here applied to my childhood, and I plan to let it apply to my (someday in the future) kids’ childhoods too. There is absolutely no reason for kids to play inside on a gorgeous day. I love that my younger sister has to be told to come in when it gets too dark because she loves being outside with the neighborhood kids.

  15. I agree! How material things are becoming the most important things for annoying people these days. So many things lose meanings, so many things are left. So many good things actually.

    Great post, anyway : )

  16. I love this post!!!! It’s sooo true. In fact i was just talking to a friend who was antagonizing over the fact he had to get a birthday party together for his daughter. I was thinking ummm backyard cake maybe some hot dogs it’s all good.

  17. “If we were lucky, we got a themed paper tablecloth and that crummy Happy Birthday sign with 50 pieces of old tape on it from everyone else’s birthday.”

    Wow! Now, that’s thrifty!

  18. I love this! I’ve had the same discussion with my friends before and we wonder why things have changed so much. When my sister plans her kids’ birthday parties each year it drives me crazy to see how much money she spends. I try to convince her that it’s not necessary, but she says it’s what the kids’ want. Really? Usually the kids are just happy to have their friends over and play outside on the trampoline. You have to make them come back in to play the store bought games and eat the over-priced cake. They usually seem more excited about the ice cream anyway. And I remember playing outside until dark when I was a kid too. In the dirt! My parents didn’t care that I would be filthy by the end of the day, and they certainly didn’t worry about me picking up germs or anything like that.

    Oh, I could go on and on. lol Thanks for the great post!

  19. I’m 34 and my kid brother is much younger. My favorite activity was riding my bike. His was and is playing video games. If he was ever told to go outside, it was like we’d said, “Go to military boot camp now!” as if it were some horrible punishment…

  20. I love this post! I’m only 25, but I was raised primarily by my Grandparents, which I feel directly resulted in the old school type of parenting. Everything was organic, from the food we ate, to the friendship making as you referenced. Snacks were carrot sticks and cream cheese (if I was good!) and playing inside was, as you said, only appropriate if it were raining.

    I loved reading your post, I’m glad I stopped in. Thanks 🙂

  21. Great post. Sums up so much that is missing from today’s parenting.
    Of course, part of the question is, why did we fail to parent in the same way, and our children too when they became parents. Or was it just the influences around us, people with liberal views which were exploited by big business and others with some decidely sinister intentions.

  22. I also saw something the other day where a 5-year old girl said her favorite song was “Born This Way.” I was thinking, can’t she just be a kid? Why isn’t her favorite song “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?”

  23. I couldn’t agree more. We are trying our best to be the parents you just described. Even in India, things are changing. I pitty those people who are always ready to buy fast foods for their wards. It is actually depriving them of the nutrition and more importantly the love their mothers can exhibit when they serve them the home cooked food.

  24. Values have changed a lot. And by values, I meant not only market values, but also people’s values. Oh well.

    I remember as a kid I was punished for my tantrums whenever & wherever we were. But now for my younger brother, they wait ’til they get home. Sometimes, not at all. And even more, my parents are the ones who apologize to the my younger brother. I’m like, “What the hell just happened?”

  25. Just yesterday I was talking to my husband about how my sister and I used to walk home from school everyday since we were like 8 or 7, and a lot of kids did that too, it was kind of a long way from school to home but we did it everyday! Now I think it is pretty much imposible to a parent to let their kids walk home.
    A lot of things have change for good, but it was really cool to walk with friends and talk and play outside.
    It never rains in my little town, only when there are hurricanes and tropical storms, I remember the Hurricane Nora of 1997 my sister and I were playing outside while it was raining! we fell in the mud several times and everything was just fine!

  26. Could not have said it better. My peers/friends and I have had this discussion so many times it’s scary. And what’s with parents and grown ups being scared of kids these days? When did kids get all the power? Something is wrong with that picture. Again, thanks for posting this.

  27. I am pretty domineering as a parent relative to a lot of people these days, but nothing compared to my father, and in turn nothing compared to the way he was raised.

    I would argue that we have become over-analytical as a society. Instead of being a society of action, we analyze what that action means to us. We can’t just parent, we have to analyze whether we are the doing it the right way. The truth is, most of us aren’t doing it at all.

    Most of our children, mine included, spend more time under the authority of babysitters, teachers, daycare providers, after-school counselors, sports coaches, dance instructors, music teachers, etc. than they do under our own.

    As a martial artist, it is entirely common to see parents drop off their child at class, then leave and not come back till class is over. There is no involvement.

    All these things have removed us. Not cooking has led to a lack of family time eating together. Nintendo and Ipod have allowed us to be strangers in the same room, always jacked in to some electronic device. Even the big birthdays are a way of taking the responsibility away from us, and putting it on someone else.

    A lot of us aren’t parents anymore. We’re scheduling assistants.

  28. I LOVE this!!!! Now I only had two birthday gatherings and one was my first birthday, so my kids are lucky if they get a cake. Once in a blue moon people stop by – but thats about it. As for the cooking – I agree with you 100% – the key is to get them involved early (as if I can get my own kids in the kitchen) – its not too late. I will admit I am one of those parents who won’t let my kids wander outside – which is not contrary to the way my parents raised me – but I really wish I felt more comfortable doing so. We’ve become a pretty fear driven and paranoid society – living in suburbian neighbourhoods where nobody lets their kids venture across the street.

  29. Way back in the fifties, we not only didn’t have seat belts….we stood up in the car. And we rode bicycles without wearing helmets. We loved talking to strangers. We drank water straight from the hose. And we survived it.

  30. You dont have to have ballons for birthday partys
    Children use to use their own imagination with out those lists of electrical goods they can play with those when there old enough
    playing out teaches you your outside environment skills you meet many interesting characters when your reins are let loose
    playing in the park in the dark in the rain

  31. I must have been at the end of this kind of childhood era, currently being 25 – or maybe you could say my parents were old fashioned. I can’t imagine a better birthday party than the ones my mum threw me – all the school friends, a cake and other party foods, and usually games like egg and spoon races, pass the parcel with silly things to do in every layer, or swimming in the pool, and always a lolly-bag hunt [lollies=candy] at the end, with just one bag for everyone, hidden somewhere in the garden. I wouldn’t swap that for manicures or clowns or pony rides or anything. I hope that one day, if I have kids, I can try and give them the same – and that I have a backyard so they can grow up playing outside like I did.

  32. I recently went camping with a young couple whose 1 yr old sat on a blanket w/ us around the fire pit and played with sticks. They watched him, they removed splintered ends, but I didn’t even see one diaper bag full of plastic, sanitized toy for every camping occasion. It was refreshing. The kid had a blast.

  33. In the summertime I would go to my friend’s to play and my parents’ only demand was, be home before dark. it was an idyllic childhood where we were given loads of freedom. Sure we had toys, but mostly we created our own games and fantasies, without adults worrying about us or constantly looking over our shoulders. When I think of 10-year-olds carrying around cellphones it makes me sick. My 10-year-old self would have balked.

  34. Are you sure these are all used tos? I’m in your kids’ generation, but I spent my childhood roaming the streets with a pack of kids, working for what I wanted, and my birthday parties generally included just a few friends and a cake. Maybe things haven’t changed as much as you think they have…

  35. Sadly, I think the embarrassment you mentioned at the grocery store may, in part, be influenced by the growing trend in child-free zones. Our parents didn’t have to worry that society would judge them for havning kids and taking them out in public. I hate to admit it, but I have often resorted to handing my cell phone over to my toddler to keep her from getting raised eyebrows in such a venue.

    Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

  36. Me too. There’s a great app I use called Toddler Lock. They can draw shapes and it makes noises, but locks the other functions on your phone. My son loves it.

  37. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! I find I’m able to relate in some sort, as I’m only 19. When I was younger I used to play outside non-stop. Now, as I’ve grown up and had the means to purchase such items as you’ve said, and I’ve discovered how to use these in order to help myself succeed further both in my education and career.. Why not? But I do play victim to the, ‘not going outside and meeting friends’, that I regret. My teenage years have watched my ‘organic’ friendships merge into computer screens and keyboards. Perhaps I am an example of such materialist times? But I agree, being able to just go outside and play is so much easier, and fun!

  38. Very well written post! I just love your common sense and the fact that you share it so straight-forward.

    It’s very hard raising kids these days, especially if you are concerned about keeping them balanced with your values, in a society that seems to be losing its values on a daily basis.

    I feel like an old soul in a middle-aged body, but I, personally, think that if we went backwards in time ( a little bit) we’d come out ahead.

    The sad fact is that our children don’t know what they are missing.

    Congrats on being FP; love the idea of your post and adore your writing style!!

  39. I love this post. I disagree with your positioning of not having to wear seatbelts, etc, as being a happier, simpler time however – given the sheer number of cars on our roads today, I think such safety laws are absolutely essential – and I can’t understand why there are so many people opining on here that the lack of such safety laws was what made the good old days so good.

    That aside, you (and many of the commentators) make some absolutely spot-on points. While the need for increased vigilance is a must, there is absolutely no excuse for video games and fast food in place of playing outside and eating a home-cooked meal around the table with the family. That’s certainly what I hope to be raising my son with.

  40. I’m from a time a wee bit before yours (and then some) when not just your parents watched over you – most trustworthy adults did even if it was just with a raised eyebrow or a reassuring look – and we were warned about the untrustworthy not to frighten us but just to keep us safe). Watching out for each other was real within the groupings your family moved and, just like in the v old movies, if you were causing aggravation on the street, there’d be a Copper around at some road junction who would tell you not to cheek your parent. This is for real.

  41. Yes things have come a long way some for the better and some for the worse. Most parents these days are working long hours in order to keep with the Joneses instead of trying to live within their means. Kids today are not taught respect for others or fair competitions win or lose. I blame a lot on what they are taught in school these days, if they don’t know their history they are bound to repeat it. Good luck with your babies and thanks for your thoughts.

  42. Interesting post! I’ve never heard of beenverified.com, but then again, I don’t have kids. I hope that when I do decide to have children, they can have the best of both worlds. I loved going outside and making friends, playing neighborhood games, etc. With all the updates in safety, regulations, etc. there also seems to be a higher degree of fear, sometimes rightly so, but kids should be allowed to explore the world on their own terms. Look forward to reading more of your posts about how you choose to navigate the parenthood waters. 🙂

  43. All so true. Even reflecting on my own ascent through the 90’s to adulthood so much has changed. My friends don’t think about it much (as I don’t believe many people do) but we never had cellphones and I can still remember my tape player and my cd player. I lived outside. I think that the 2000s have changed the world so quickly.

  44. My dad smoked in he house and car. I hated it. I constantly had a cold and coughed all the time. We had to go outside because Mom didn’t want us in the house. I was not even allowed to have a friend come in the house. My mother hit me or pulled my hair everyday. I hated it. I never hit my son. There were fast food places but my Mom never took us to them. When we traveled she made us eat Spam sandwiches. I hate Spam. I don’t think the past was all that great. I love computers and I wish we had computer games when I was little.

  45. Aha! A woman after my own heart! I refuse to succumb to most of the “crap” that is expected of me from my kids. They say I’m old fashioned…history repeats itself. I remember telling my parents the same thing, only to be answered with, ” if Sally jumped off a bridge, would you?”. I turned out just fine, as I’m sure our kids will too. It’s still nice to know I’m not the only parent who thinks all the excess is ridiculous. Cheers to you, Mamma be thy name, Cheers!

  46. This is a great article. I feel that the current generation is being carefully groomed to be weak and whiny. Kids these days are so dependent on convenience and technology. Laziness is a way of life. It’s no wonder the IQ’s have decreased and the waistlines have grown. We are quickly growing into a complacent society, and when the bottom drops out, a lot of people are going to have no idea how to take care of themselves. Great post.

  47. One other thought about the grocery store discipline. I remember when my oldest was two and a trip to Kmart for household cleaning gear. She screamed bloody murder all through the store fir a barbie doll that I was not going to buy her! We finally reached the check out counter and an elderly man stood in line behind us, observing my child’s misbehavior. I was utterly embarrassed and trying to ignore it. So I paid my bill and exited the store. The elderly man came out and was parked directly next to us. I put her in her car seat and walked around to enter my car. The elderly man told me in no minced words, that my daughter needed a good old fashioned spanking! Funny, as this is what I wanted to do all the way through the store, but didn’t in fear of being judged by others. I nodded at the man and told him that in today’s society someone would turn me in for that. So I drove on home and did exactly what I wanted to in that store. She got two little taps on her behind. She never repeated her Kmart episodes again, not once! I’m sure I’ll be scolded for this by today’s readers but that old man was right.

  48. I love this. With four kids (two of which are twins), I have an EXTREME desire to go back to the basics. Play in the yard, look for bugs, jump in water puddles…. we keep our birthday parties with our kids VERY simple since we have four. We go to a park, get lots of food and beer (parents), and ask families to bring things that the kids would like to play with outside. Kites, wagons, ring-toss. We need to simplify. And I have always gone against the crowd anyway — I don’t think my kids will suffer.

  49. I ditto everyone else’s “I love this post!” It is soooo true. It is amazing any of us are still alive today to parent. A couple of years ago I read Generations by Strauss and Howe which explained why different generations parent differently. Xers (aka the latch key kids) are becoming helicopter parents because they want their kids to have better parenting than they had. Yet, as an Xer, I am rather proud of my low on safety upbringing!

  50. Very true!! I grew in the 90s and still I don’t rem such extravagance. Ina way, the children have become a measuring tape for parents to measure their success.I am glad I grew up before the play-stations started their reigns

  51. We climbed up sand & rock piles, got chased by dogs, hopped 18-wheeler truck beds.We also covered our school books with brown paper bags. Now my kid takes a laptop to school. Last summer I took my 11 and 9 yr old kids to a trail that I knew had a 12-foot chain link fence at its entrance just so I could teach them how to CLIMB a fence which they never had before!! They were scared until they saw me do it!! Loved your post. It reminded me of my childhood in so many good ways. Thanks.

  52. I have thought about this a lot. For reference, I am 20. We lived on a dead end street that was off of another dead end street. We played out side all day long until our cue to some home: the street lamps turning on. I never ever went on a “playdate”. At first, I was confused as to what a playdate was when one of the children I babysit for was scheduled for one.

    I also babysit for a family, whose youngest child is 5 and a half and they still lock up the chemicals under the sink! My parent would have never done that… they taught their 5 year old common sense to what was a cleaner and what was food.

  53. I love this post! Now that my Precious Only Male Child is soon to become a father himself it seems funny to remember that there was a time when people smoked in the grocery store, kids did things like climb trees, skate with those horrible clamp on metal-wheeled skates (without helmets or knee pads!) and any adult could beat you senseless (and would tell your parents so they could finish the beating when you got home) if you dared to misbehave in public.

    At one time the POMC thought he was “being abused” because he only had a 19″ TV in his room and not the big screen he wanted. Apparently the PlayStation has better resolution on the larger screen or something.

    I wonder how he is going to cope with little Boo-Boo’s demands when he/she arrives? I’m going to sit back (from my older and wiser little old “Oma” perspective) and watch the show!

  54. Everything is over the top in today’s world including parenting. I’m much older than you and I survived playing outside all day in the dirt — gasp! – and so did my now adult children. Hopefully, there are more parents of young ones out there just like you to balance things out. Great post!

  55. There was also less (in my experience) stigma attached to being a latchkey kid. Yes, my mom worked. No, I wasn’t bereft and abandoned. I got home from school, made a sandwich, and did my homework or read until my parents got home. Jesus. Nowdays, my mom would be guilted to death for it.

    I wish I’d known that I could have become a bank robber or something and blamed it all on being a latchkey kid. The opportunities for consequence-free antisocial behavior that I missed!

  56. Great post, and though provoking. My 13 year old jokes that she will call ChildLine if I tell her she is grounded or try and take away her Ipod and such like. The high school that she attends gives the students the number for it!

    Bring back the good old days!

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  57. Love your post! It’s so, so true and I wish more parents brought up their kids like the good ol’ days: genuine and unpretentious! Nowadays you get a lot of ‘helicopter parents’…those who hover over their kids, making every single decision for them even after they’ve reached adulthood!

    No wonder society is at the state it is!

  58. Congratulations on FP and thank you for writing this. I have a few things I need to think about.

    I played a lot of video games when I was young- my brother and I earned allowances and taught us how to save them for our own TVs, stereos, and toys. You asked how long it would take a child to save for the kinds of tech toys they are often surrounded by, but I know the answer from personal experience: for the bigger stuff, about six months. And for everything else the wait is negligible if you are patient and don’t mind owning something after its fad has passed slightly.

    My parents started to give me allowance during a period of time video game history nerds call the Great Video Game Crash of the early 80s, so I knew where to find Atari carts for $2 or less, and at the time I had no idea it was because the market had weakened! I think we had about 60 games before the thing burned out. I sold the lot to my friend when I was 13 years old I think.

    Now, my parents bought my piano, my grandmother bought my first synthesizer, and friends of our family gave me the first computer I used to program that synthesizer, and I am very thankful for that. (Those really would have taken my entire childhood to save for…)

  59. Great post! I remember turning 9, just because that was the year, and only year, we were allowed to have an actual birthday party with friends invited! Every other birthday was just a little family party with cake and ice-cream, but we still looked forward to all of our birthdays! There is just a general lack of contentment in the world today. Everyone seems to want bigger, better, more…when there is so much more satisfaction in just having enough and recognizing that it IS enough. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it!

  60. I don’t think the introduction of so many media-centric devices into our lives has changed childhood *that* much. I’m 28, for the record. After my Granny passed, I bought her house. My mom grew up here. My aunt and cousins grew up here. Heck, I grew up here, too. I lived one block down the street and saw my grandparents nearly every day. Along with the other neighborhood kids, I roamed the streets on my bike, walked to school and to the public pool, and generally had a wonderful time.

    Now, as an adult, do you know what I see when I sit out on my front porch? I see my friends’ children playing baseball in the street or in the court just like I used to do and just like my mom did before me. My dad even got all misty-eyes and nostalgic about it once. He said the kids playing in the court reminded him of when I was little.

    From my unique vantage point here on the stoop that has seen my family grow up for generations, I see kids riding their bikes. I see them racing to chase down the Ice Cream Man. I see families biking, walking the pets, and playing in the sprinkler on hot days. I see lemonade stands. I hear the roar of the crowd from the nearby park, where parents cheer for their kids’ little league teams. Are iPods that different from our Walkman tape decks? Are computers that different from our Atari game systems? I don’t have kids, but neither do I see a lot of evidence that the childhood tradition of playing outside with roaming groups of kids has been lost just because cell phones have been added.

  61. Nice post. I remember my Fiance & I having a similar discussion when my cousin in India wanted me to get a PSP for his 10 year old. And now another cousin wants to buy her 6 year old a WII. I feel its the parents who are spoiling their kids now a days.

  62. Thanks for an awesome post. Brought back recollections of my mom whaling the S$%t outta my young butt right in the middle of JC Penney. Then I wasn’t allowed to play with my rock and stick collection…

  63. Very funny post…and so true! I especially loved the part about the birthday parties. Things were much simpler awhile ago. I hope I remember this when I go to plan my daughter’s first birthday. Thanks for the laughs!

  64. You’re probably getting tired of hearing this by now…but well done. 🙂 Parenting has gotten a bitty bit out of hand…Oh for the days were things were out of hand and nobody put a safety plug in them.

  65. We also rode in the back of pick up trucks, had many CHORES, and drank from the garden hose or from a dipper (shared by all). We didn’t dare say the word “bored” or someone certainly found us something to do.

    Your post was great, brought back a lot of memories. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  66. I totally agree! My eleven year old was just lamenting being the only one without a cell phone. I told him that when he has a job, he’s free to get one. Until then, if I don’t have one, neither does he. They are allowed one hour a day of video games in the summer. During school, only on the weekends. You wouldn’t believe the grief I get from other parents because they say we’re too restrictive. Kids today have no imagination because they are used to being passively entertained.

  67. Wonderful post!! I especially like the section about parenting philosophy zealots – has everyone gone crazy? Whatever happened to good old common sense as a parenting plan? Ah, how I pine for the simpler “good ole days”.

  68. I love everything you wrote. Sigh. Those were the days. I’m trying to advocate some “old school” parenting methods. I don’t have a tv in the house so the kids have to use their imaginations (those still exist right?) and I cook at home quite often. We also spend crazy hours in the library checking out those great things called books. I also refuse to get an iPhone, iPad, video games, etc. and carry many long conversations with the kiddos or let them go have amazing adventures outside or dare I say even in the cul-da-sac with the nice kids from across the streets. I haven’t even met their parents yet…hahaha should I?

  69. Congrats on being FPed and I actually, especially about the birthday parties. All I really cared about was having a stomach full of cake and ice cream.

    When I was little, I hated being inside and I LOVED getting dirty. My mom, however, didn’t let me go outside often. She was always too scared of me hurting myself and getting dirty. Now, yes, I did hurt myself quite a bit, especially since my favorite activity was climbing trees, but I got back up. Unfortunately, now as a teen, it’s the inverse. I hate going outside and my mom is trying to make me. *sigh*

  70. Wow!! Love your post. It spoke such truth. I myself still raise my kids with the same old values as we grew up with. Even though they do have some extra toys, outside play and chores come first. Have a wonderful post day!

  71. Thiis is GREAT! I have always home schooled my kids ( they’ve never been to refular school) and been told that my family resembles something out of the ’50’s :). My kids love playing out side, I have 3 teens and one almost there and the only thing that’s kept them indoors this summer is the triple digits..once the sun sets they are out side. We own a computer but their time on there is limited; also I hear some of their friends say they wished they could be half as creative as they see my kids are. Reading this was so encouraging.. THANKS!!

  72. Well said and amen sister! I’m totally dumbfounded by all of the competition I see between parents. Totally crazy. Someday when those parents want to retire and can’t, they’ll be wishing they hadn’t blown big bucks on little Jimmie’s over-the-top birthday parties.

  73. I’m only 15 years old so I can’t really relate as much as others but I agree on some thing for sure. Our world has become way to materialistic. And parents do need to cook homemade food for their families! Fast Food is unhealthy and disgusting! great post!

  74. I liked this post because it encourages me to let my kids outside even though I get scared. I try to cook as often as possible, but I don’t like to stress out about always cooking. I hate microwaves! I don’t remember the days of no seat belts, but i hate getting a seat belt ticket seems like an infringement on my American rights.

  75. 100% accurate on every single point!!!! ‘Kids’ these days are generally spoiled, over-protected, and fearful (all thanks to their parents). We (and I’m probably at least a half-generation older than you are) grew up in a time when we could play outdoors, wander off to the store on our own, choose our own friends, and experience life without someone hovering over us and worrying that some ‘stranger’ was going to abduct us (or worse). Life was better, easier, more liveable – and we turned out just fine! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  76. Agree with much of what was said, but as an old guy (late 50’s), a few observations. Some of the behaviour you describe was there in the 60’s when I was a child. Back then the electronic devices were the radio, television, & electric guitar – parents & teachers were concerned that kids were the inside too much. Some parents used activities to schedule children’s time. No seat belts in cars that were made of steel instead of plastic and paper thin metal and could not go as fast as today’s vehicles. People did not live and move from community to community as much as to day – neighbourhoods were not full of strangers. My dad gave me a quarter and I could buy 4 comic-books and have a penny for gum – today comics cost over three dollars and are more easily available as a digital downloads..

  77. im new to wordpress~ just learning…i’ve been looking at blogs that catch my eye–yours caught my eye. this entry is FABULOUS and SO TRUE!!! parenting this day and age is def not the way it used to be…i say bring back the good ole days!!!

  78. Reading this post brought back memories of my childhood…everything you said is true…my mom cooked, when me and my brother talked back, she’ll gives us a whoppin’. We loved to play outside…you name it. Now a days you have these sorry parents! I don’t have children yet…but when I do, I will raise them the way my mom raised me and my brother!

  79. I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m a new parent and I’ve done a lot of contemplation on the way I was raised and on the way kids are being raised today, and I must say that I want to do much more emulating of the past instead of the future.

  80. I’m not 30 yet and it scares me to see the kind of childhood kids have now compared to mine. I think one of the highlights has to be the nightly sandlot baseball games all the neighbourhood kids would get together to play (even the troublemakers we normally didn’t hang out with). Nothing was better than playing outside with our friends and our dog (the perpetual outfielder who we spent more time chasing than at bat) then swarming the house with the best treats for a post-game dessert of Oreos.

    I completely agree with you- a lot has been lost in parenting methods over the years. We’re so lucky to have had the childhood experiences we had.

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  81. Your ending gave me the chills, very good insight, and although I was raised seemingly the way it is now, my values inside myself are just as you describe. thank you for sharing.

  82. This is kinda touching.

    I’m a young lady who, I think, is in between your substantial childhood and the flimsy, meaningless things you compare it to– like ponies and shy parents.

    How interesting it will be to see what my generation will be like as parents!

  83. Gosh, this post brings me back! My granny didn’t allow a microwave in the house when I was growing up. I think she finally allowed us to put in a window unit air conditioner right before I went in to junior high school. She was an old school, depression-era baby, a huge minimalist, and when I was growing up, I was jealous of my friends who had microwaves, and a/c lol. These days I’d give anything to go back.

  84. Great post; seems to be pretty parallel to my time of upbringing here in the land downunder. Such a contrast in what kids have now versus then in terms of material positions and social steps in growing up. Not all progress is palatable though and new stuff comes with problems. I wonder how this era will be viewed in another 2 or 3 generations?

  85. I actually do cook for my family, and I stay at home instead of working outside. I feel so isolated and almost freakish as a result. But… it’s worth it. Loved your post.

  86. Parenting has become the center of one’s life, but it is a fairly new development. I know for sure my parents did not plan their schedules around my activities. We were never allowed to be at the same table where adults were chatting.In fact, most of the time we, kids, were running outside with the bunch of our friends…gasp…without supervision!

  87. I am not yet a parent, but have often felt and thought these same things and those discussions are coming up. The industry and business of having babies and children have gotten so out of control and it seems it’s the kids that rule the parents and not the other way around! Thanks for your post.

  88. I scratch my head and wonder if we are raising a generation of whiners. Even the music I hear today is whiny. The obesity epidemic is only a result of this kind of problem; kids staying inside playing computer games instead of outside playing. Sorry, climbing trees is not allowed any more.

  89. You make me want to write a mile-long thank-you note to my parents. I used to be jealous of the neighbor kids whose parents left them to watch anything they wanted on TV while they gossiped outside. My parents gave us books, and sat down with us to read their own stuff. They “ignored” us during those times, but they did so in such a way that enriched us even more.

  90. I am from India, but I could totally relate to this piece. Especially with the playing outdoors till it grew dark and the times in the rain. Now parents have “kidnap” (by people and ideas they don’t approve of) on their minds too often, I think!

  91. I really hope the original author of this peice reads this even though I am merely writing of a cast of thousands that strangely agree with this post and yet lives a hopelessly bourgeois life.

    I wrote about this this issue this morning on this service in my own post, Markpattersonlaw The Secret Knowledge of Lawyers.

    More than a coincidence. I can feel a change coming. No more helicopter parents.

  92. You are completely on point here. Today I had a client phone in and declare she had run out of food stamps. Crisis. She is not a parent. She is instead a product of a really bad choice of parenting styles. I didnt return the call. I have real legal issues to deal with that the limited resource we all have- time.

  93. As a former tomboy, I’ve gotta like this post. Hooray for playing outside:3

    ..although I advise against a sugar coated nostalgia-fest. I know you mentioned the whole, things are more convenient now-a-days etc, but two Generations ago I wouldn’t have been allowed to be a tomboy or wear anything other than a dress as a little girl. Good changes have happened aside from the whole double edged sword convenience factor ^^

  94. Thank you. My son had a 30 guest birthday party July 2, 2011 at the local beach (a lake/ resevoire) and it sounds a lot like it went off like the parties that you described here. He had 2 cakes and lemonade and his dag grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. We had some disposable table clothes covering picnic tables and a pinatia and then afterwards every one went swimming for the most part, but when I got home I realized that I had left his balloon bouquet in our storage closet over night for safe keeping and forgot about it. So all that I had at the party I think was one black (of all colors) balloon that I had blown up and taped in a corner. The pinata was a pirate ship so people must have either thought that I was trying to be tongue in cheek or some kind of cool sheek, neither. How embarassing. Still it was a nice party. Even my parents were there.

  95. Right On! I think our society is too touchy, too careful, too boring – yet filled with near useless choices, freezing our youth into A.D.H.D. (and other ridiculous, societally created manias) by the mere rules, safeties, disconnections, etc.!

  96. I know you will have way too many comments to reply to because this is an essay we all just KNOW- if you are past a certain age.. and I laughed out loud.. even though i am tired, my milk cow is not pregnant and my only camera lens has a hideous scratch on it.. and I am not even american though i love living here, I laughed with complete understanding at your post.. thank you for that..

  97. I am from India.. I think most of the parents in India are like the ones you mention.. except the fact we have gadgets of course.. they still cook for family.. They let us play, make friends and discipline us when needed.. may be thats the one advantage of being a developing country even now..

    Here’s a related post by me: http://wp.me/p1aDjX-2S [Ten Complaints I Had as a Child]

  98. Amen, I would hope or plan to hope that I can raise my own children in such a way that their not dependant on technology and keeping up with the Jones’. Things have changed a lot since I was younger myself (which sadly wasn’t that long ago) and I still look back wondering how it changed so quickly.

  99. Of course, many of the points you make in this post are totally dead on as everyone keeps commenting. However, in a sea of comments that totally 100% agree with you, I would like to drop that many things our parents did screwed us up royally and were totally unhealthy.

    So while we need to get back to common sense, and help create a more healthy and less ‘safe’ environment for our children, let’s not be ignorant and naive,
    We’re living in a world where without guru like proficiency with computers and computing devices, you will be useless.
    And, MANY things our parents did were very damaging psychologically.

    I know for many my age, parents’ ‘anything goes’ mentality has made it so that doing even the most simple things is nearly impossible due to the royal mistakes created by ‘the good ole days’ of parenting!

  100. I actually have to order my kids to go outside and play! Actually, my boys do like to be outside, playing around with their Nerf guns and playing “war.” The girls? Well, they will sit around all day and watch movies on Netflix.

  101. I am a blogger too though I write in Spanish (please let me tell you the name o my blog: “sacredmaucat” (It is a bout Zen).
    I congratulate you on your post. You have said what everybody knows but does not know how to couch in words.Sometimes I wonder why today’s modern parents have so easily forgotten much of the things they were taught…Hedonism?.I think the problem is that most parents do not accept their age: they are 45 but behave as if they were 22…(This has been reflected on TV adds,for instance, where products for children are now advertised for grown-ups…)You know what I mean. Thank you very much for your post.

  102. I grew up in a small town and used to play outside all the time, unsupervised, and roaming the neighborhood with my little pals. It was golden. Now I live in a small city, and even though it’s a decent neighborhood, I can see online all the sex offenders living within a mile radius. There’s no way I’ll allow my daughter to have the same freedom I had to roam at will. It’s too bad, because I think kids need that space to be kids.
    Also, my mom was there to fix all our meals, every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was great, and I feel blessed. Thankfully she didn’t have to work, and could devote her time to raising kids.

  103. You got it right, sister. We could swim in mudholes as kids without worrying about getting sick. We swat hornets nets. We play outdoors. We didn’t worry a bout gluten, about allergens, about fat. We enjoyed life. Are we a product of advancement in science? Or have we really lost it somewhere along the way? Though I never wanted a pony, playing cops and robbers was what it was all about.

  104. Love this post! Completely agree! Parents are just so willing to give their kids what ever they want regardless of the fact that they might not need it. They are being offered so many things to do and have, 600 hobbies as opposed to one, designer labels, computer games, dvds, phones, different shapes, sizes, costs, is it any wonder kids have the concentration spans of gnats these days! Whatever happened to ‘I want I want, doesn’t get!!!’

  105. A great post. I like your points about parenting, especially playing outside and cooking. Yeah, we had TV and an Atari — but I remember spending tons and tons of outside playing. And having tons of fun doing it!

  106. Great post! Thanks.
    We left Singapore and settled in Poland so that we can give our son some of the “yesteryear” living – e.g. playing outside till dark (but he’s attached to a cellphone); taking his own lunch box to school; taking the public transport home (when he became 10). But things are also changing here – can’t beat all the computer games.

  107. Wonderful post and I am a 1983 baby who grew up in both the 80s and 90s where I was lucky to have parents who were not afraid to put their foot down when I misbehaved and I could still remember having a simple birthday with just my parents, grandparents and a cake as a kid (not some limo or fancy schmancy stuff those super sweet 16 ingrates have)

  108. my daughter is 11 months old and all the moms i know are asking me “where I will be holding her birthday party” and “if i’m going to rent out a place”. oh man… I was thinking about holding it in my living room, maybe the park if it is nice outside (it is across the street) and I’m definitely not hiring a guitarist or a puppeteer like some of the other mom’s are doing for their kid’s first birthdays.

    i mean seriously? my favorite birthday parties were where my dad put on the water sprinklers outside and we ran around in the water in our bathingsuits.

  109. Boy, I couldn’t agree more on so many levels. Your post made me laugh when I remembered *running* full force to get home because the street lights had come on and I was late. My kids are outside nearly all day every day. When they are in the house, they are usually reading, drawing, or playing a board game–with each other. They are just kids. Kids that don’t give out goodie bags on their birthdays, or have a cell phone. In fact, when my oldest insisted he’d be the only kid in middle school without a cell phone, our response was simple: Yep. He never brought it up again.

  110. I *get* your drift…however, I love the techno part of kids…

    Especially when you can text your teen outside skateboarding to come in for dinner because your voice is horse from yelling his name all over the “hood” looking for him….

    spread the humor:charlywalker.wordpress.com

  111. We grew up on a farm, we played in corn fields and creeks. We had respect for the equipment and knew it could hurt us. We drove the farm truck to the neighbors to pick up dad when we were 13 and 14 and we knew if he cam in the door and said we needed to help with something its wasnt a request, we just did it. My son was raised this way to, as best as I could and now that he is 20, he is do much more mature and responsible thank his friends.

  112. This was a great article. I remember doing everthing you said. My daughter is of today’s society. We want her to go bike riding around the neiborhood and she says there is no one to go with her so she doesn’t go.

  113. An awesome article. I remember those days when a spanking or two were issued for bad behavior when it was needed.

    Wish those days were still around with the advances we have made of course.

    I still practice some of those ways with my son.

    Thanks for posting.

  114. How utterly true.

    Heh, the pic above reminds me of something I did as a young teen… just to see what would happen. I “knew” what would happen, but I wanted to see for myself… so I found a rarely used outlet (I thought about the “experiment” beforehand) and using some pliers (with rubber handles) placed an uncoiled paper clip into BOTH portions of the outlet. Needless to say, there was a ‘pop’, the paperclip went flying out – with the ends slightly melted – the breaker flipped (which I turned back on) and the outlet was toast. I even wiped off the soot.

    Some time later – a year or more – my stepfather went to use the outlet only to find it non-working. He asked how it could be so, but I never could say… but I think he knew… I was an only child… so if anything went wrong, it was probably me (not always though).

    As parents of four children ages five and under, your posting is a primary reason why we watch little to no regular tv, intend on homeschooling and do not do facebook and such. Among so many other things.

    Lastly, about seatbelts, my grandfather tells a story about how he was run over by his parent’s car when he was a baby. It was an old Model T and the roads were very bumpy. Someone was holding him, a bump was hit, he fell out and the car rolled over him. He was unharmed, but we joke that it explains why Pop is why he is.

  115. Your post was a good reminder of how I want to raise my children. I grew up with parents who let us learn on our own. Who sent us outside to play, who taught us to deal with what life brought us and that, as much as I hated hearing it, ‘life isn’t always fair.’ Thanks for the reminder that we now live in an unnecessarily overprotective world and I want my parenting to be based on good ol’ fashion parenting.


  116. It’s amazing how stark the difference is between childhood we grew up with, versus the kids of today. Even though I’m still pretty darn young, the way kids live and play today seems so foreign and, well, odd. Your blog makes me nostalgic for the childhood I knew. Where parents basically threw you outside and said, “go play until dinner”. And you DID. You had a ball, and dinner was often just an inconvenient interruption to the imaginative games you’d find yourself wrapped up in.

    If I ever choose to have kids, I’d love to give them the chance to know a childhood like mine. One that encouraged kids to create their own fun, to enjoy the world around them, instead of leaning on technology to entertain them.

  117. Terrific post – thanks! I took my daughter to the doctor when she was 2 for strep throat and the doctor quizzed me about her skinned knees to see if she was being abused. When he asked “how did she get those”, I replied calmly, “I don’t know, she’s two and curious and falls?”

  118. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! You said this truth better than I could ever say it. I hate to say “It was so much better when I was a kid” because it rings so hollow, but it is the truth. You found a fun way to describe something deep seated and problematic in our culture that needs addressing. Perhaps this can start the dialogue that brings us all back from the brink of cultural insanity. Congrats for the FP on an amazing post!

  119. We used to play Kick The Ball, Kick The Can, build Lean To’s in the woods, paths in the snow, paths through the hay field, with the lawn mower maybe even. We had a hammok, a bad mitten net, etc.

  120. Scanning the first couple dozen comments, I see mine will likely be the first comment to disagree with some of this post. I agree with some of it, mind you, and I know nostalgia can create a general sense of “things were better back in the good old days.” But it sounds like this post and its supporters are “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” Okay so playing outside, getting sunshine and exercise, was good. But does that mean drinking cleaner water is bad? Seriously? Or that putting up a baby gate so your toddler doesn’t fall down the stairs is bad? I think those ARE improvements. If families want to be green, GOOD, about time they started teaching children how to care for the only Earth we have. You sound far more judgmental than any green family I’ve met.

    As for discipline, I’m with you in that the father described in your story was mistaken, a lot of parents don’t understand the difference between misbehaving and being a normal child. A lot of times I think the parent is acting more obnoxious than the kid. As long as you’re not advocating hitting the kids – I don’t care if you call it spanking or not, beating kids is one “good old times” thing I’m GLAD to get rid of.

    Playing outside might be good, but there should be supervision, know why? Because NOW we’re aware of all the sickos out there. Back in your “good old days,” it didn’t happen any less, it just was kept hush-hush. And that’s sure as hell not healthy. Trust me.

    Point is: when reminiscing, keep it real, don’t let your lens get too rosy. There were pros but there were a LOT of cons too.

  121. Oh man, did you NAIL it! It has not been said any better than this! You make me feel sorry for how my kids are growing up these days. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  122. Ahhh! This is great. I’m in my 20’s and don’t have any children yet, but often think about how they’d be raised. I think about the way (I imagine) my parents were raised, the way my brother and I were raised, and the way I see my younger cousins being raised. My brother and I were in-between the two extremes, and I think that’s great.

    It’s important to strike a balance. Children don’t need their parents to spend barrels full of money on them to be happy. The simplest household items become toys, the clouds become slowly moving pictures/movies, Kool-Aid frozen in a plastic cup is the best treat ever on a hot day, and birthdays mean cake and ice cream. It’s the parents that define these things – not the children themselves. Feeling pressured to match or beat the neighbour’s daughter’s birthday party, and being in the rat-race mentality all the time is what has made things so complicated.

    *sighs* You’re making me laugh and think at once. The best kind of post. Thanks! 🙂

  123. These changes are products of greed engineered by capitalism in our present day world. Like everything else, nothing last forever, there is hope we will be back to the future sooner rather than later.

  124. LOL – oh gosh… you were not looking for a “pony ride”. That very comment made me want to shake your hand. Great topic and some really good strong points. Keep on writing!

  125. This is sooo true (and beautifully/humorously written!)!!! I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for raising me like this, even for the spankings. I hope if I ever have kids, that I’ll be able to ignore these “modern” parenting trends and be half the parents they were for me!

  126. I agree. With ALL of this. I was born in the times you weren’t, with the drive-thrus and such. My dad was born in the 50s and when he talks about how he raised turkeys and showed calves and such it makes me wish that I was born in times like those, like the ones you described, simpler times.

  127. I love it! I think my parents were the same. As a kid I either spent a lot of time outside, or reading. I probably spent a lot of time sitting at the top of the stairs with a book, if I’m honest. I didn’t really make kids just in the street, but I did soooooo many clubs at school and at church and various places that, well, I didn’t need to! And I’ve always had to save up for things – two and a half years I saved to get my laptop, and it’s nothing but trouble now 🙂

    And there I am, a kid from 1996. Well, some parents manage it. When I read about other folks’ parents, I realise how lucky I am!

  128. Succinctly and beautifully stated. Non judgemental, eloquent, emotive, grammatical (you might want to amend ballons), all in all a lovely piece that (thankfully) fell short of reminiscing about halcyon days but that reminded us all that days without gadgets
    were not necessarily days without happiness.

  129. Wonderful post. So true. About couple of weeks ago, I was discussing similar with one of my colleauge when she said she was arranging for her 6 year old’s birthday party.

    For us birthday meant simply fun time with family and friends.May be invite uncle/aunt/cousins and 2 or 3 friends. No cake cutting or ballons or any crap. Just nice food, some choclates and may be ice-cream. Coincidently, the song right now just starting playing in my playlist, which has this lyrics “Someone please give me back my those good old days.”

  130. The truth is that society in many ways has been hampered by digital things — true it has good sides but also bad sides. My parents had the great outdoors but we have a subtle to non-existent “great indoors” which is getting in the way nt to mention loads of pollution.

    Also the written word’s transformation to a ‘digital’ thing annoys me at times.

  131. Wow, what a great post. Me too, me too! Y’know, I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job with our two now 20-something kids, but a lot of the things you describe in this post were, sadly, common only in our parents’ generation. I lived near a creek, spent summers on a lake, had scads of ruffian friends, never drowned and grew up fine. Thank you.

  132. I am not sure what time frame this relates to, but it sounds like my childhood. I was born in 42′. There was +’s and -‘s to how my parents raised me. The negatives, my Father thought that being a policeman or fireman, were the two best professions in the world. Never, but never did my parents give me a pat on the back, even when I was an honor student in school. My Father came to this country from Northern Italy when he was 16 to the U.S. on what he called a “Banana Boat.” I quit school at 17 and joined the Air Force as an honor student with a scholarship to Pratt in the bag because they were so hard to live with. It is my belief, most parents do not realize how important they are to shaping the lives of their children. Congrads on making FP. Your insight to my youthful generation was most revealing.

  133. Some idiot up there said our parents had it easier – what rubbish! They just did what they had to do to the best of their abilities and weren’t trying to compete with everyone else. I wonder how the overprotected little children are going to grow up. No doubt they will be fine, people do seem to sort themselves out. I wouldn’t trade my childhood with a current one for all the tea in China.

  134. You make a lot of good points, and said very well, but I am getting a little concerned about equating not wearing a seatbelt and being around significant secondhand smoke with the benefits of sending the kids outside to play and being less materialistic.

    Maybe you survived not wearing a seatbelt but most of the kids I know who didn’t survive into adulthood died in car crashes, and seatbelts could have saved at least some of them (probably most). Asthma is a big disabler and killer of kids, and smoking a big killer of their parents — many cancer rates are down since smoking is down.

    Just as you are cutting your parents slack because you came out okay, how about cutting other parents slack for the choices they make, in good faith? No one is perfect. The world is getting way more complicated. And we thankfully have a standard today that all children should make it into adulthood, and live life abundantly. A hundred years ago, that was not the norm (understatement), even in our parents’ generation, things had changed but that was still not the norm.

    But very good points about the materialism…

  135. I agree 100%! My mom and I work in the mornings, from 8:30 to 5:00pm and we take turns each morning where one of us cooks lunch (usually my mom always cooks the breakfast) and then we put it in a container and we take our lunch to work. We spend money only if we didn’t have time to go to the supermarket or we were running extremely late (which rarely happens). This is something that I always fight with my boyfriend about. Everything his family eats is bought somewhere else, and the only time they cook is dinner (and that’s an if).
    I’m 21 and my parents still scold me every once in a while. And they still expect me home at a certain time that doesn’t go past 2 or 3am and that’s in special cases. But I understand. It’s showing you responsibility.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed, great post!

  136. I’m 14, obviously with no parenting experiances, but everything you’ve mentioned in this post well, I’d easily have your childhood over mine. Yes, I have a laptop, phone, ipod etc but before my mum passed when I was five, she did her best to bring up me and my brother how you described, and though I don’t remember much from that time, it was great. When I’m older and have children, I want them to get the best out of life, and while I wouldn’t deprive them of todays ‘needs’ such as a phone, feeding them real meals and getting them outside is something that would be important to me. Thanks for a meaningful post:)

  137. we all want to be what we consider “better” parents than our parents were (or were able to be), we want to give our kids more than what we have and protect them from everything bad more than we were protected. our own insecurities cause us to judge others harshly, and it gets to the point where everyone feels like they have to be a super-parent and their kids have to be super-kids. too bad.

  138. As a grandparent I am sad that my grand-children do not have the freedom their parents had to just simply play out side!

  139. I went down memory lane reading this… it’s true, things weren’t perfect but it was a time when life was living and a kid was a real playing outside, making friends and enemies kid 🙂

  140. LOVE this post! I just joined a group on Facebook of people that grew up in my hometown during the 70’s and 80’s. The group exploded to almost 3000 in one week…..sharing memories of school, toys, friends…..You can tell from the posts that people really LOVED their childhood….I try and raise my son the way I was raised..I think I turned out just fine.

    Thank you for your post….very well written and a GREAT topic!!!

  141. Great post. For my son’s first birthday party this year, we made it small and simple. Just family. And it was great. Nobody got mad because I didn’t have party favors and I wasn’t stressed to have to pick them out. The only reason we even had balloons was because my in-laws went to the mall and picked them up. I figured why set the bar high when he’s so little he won’t even remember. I’ll save the bigger birthday parties for about five years from now, when he actually has little friends.

  142. True. I went as far as Elmo paper plates with my son Matthew because he liked Elmo. They’re WAY too young to remember.

  143. Very efficiently written story. It will be beneficial to anybody who employess it, as well as yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.

  144. Haha,
    Although i am not a parent, I am subject to the embarrassing moments from parents 😛

    They come by my work to tell me something personal in front of my coworkers or in front of my friends.

    Great read!

    Arjun Kay


  145. I’m a nanny to a six-year-old and a three-year-old…I parent them the exact same way as you described in your post. I’m not afraid to discipline them in public if they have an attitude or are being generally bratty; I don’t think they deserve a toy every time we go to Target; they eat what I give them for dinner without argument because I am Miss Laura and I am in charge, period.

    I wish more parents nowadays behaved like the parents of yesterday.

  146. Brilliant post. I soo agree with so many points you have mentioned on this post. I really do believe that people have forgotten about living a simple and humble life, instead consumed so engrossedly by materialistic possessions, competition with all and sundry and an attainment of life so far from their own reality that unfortunately, these ethos/values/morals are being portrayed as normal to the children growing up in such an environment, which, in the end, leaves them growing up with an extremely warped sense of reality.

  147. Great post and timely. Just wen to my 30th reunion last wkend (and was FP’ed while there! I hear you, keeps you BUSY!) and we did a ton of talking about our childhoods, and high school years. So much has changed and I often wonder, myself, how much of it is for the good. It falls heavy on women I think. We seem to be writing about similar things, and obviously it hits a chord. Congrats on the FP. Very exciting!

  148. Yes, I remember it well. It was the 50’s and women generally didn’t work, they took care of the kids. At 6PM my mother would emerge and track me down. I was free (in NY) to go into the woods, build a campfire and roast potatoes.After Xmas we’d colledt the xmas trees and put them in the jungle gym and fire them up. I remember being bullied and learning the ways of life

  149. Born in ’44 in NY. Now there is little privacy and my cell phone tracks my location. As a kid I could climb the mulberry tree and speculate on how high was up while eating mulberries.

  150. Well said. Yet there are parents who make the efforts, parties with supervised GAMES, birthday cake, and the whole food thing (all without the preservatives and additives that make for hell among kids)

    most of my friends cook (cooked) for their kids, takeaways are for weekends on the run, but the next meal is proper one at home

  151. Like many others have said here, I love this piece. It is very true, is well written, and says volumes as to what is wrong with parents and society today. We were a tougher, more inventive group due to the way our parents raised us. I often get a sour face from nieces and nephews when I tell them to turn off the electronics and go outside to play. Often they complain about me constantly being connected to a device but as my parents would say when I was young – “I am the adult, you are the child.”

    Playing outside, people being parents and not living on divisive soap boxes, and discipline have been completely and sadly destroyed by people’s need to categorize and sub-categorize themselves and defend them with a politically safe ferocity that frankly makes things more divisive and difficult than we need it to be.

    I hope to see more pieces like this. Bravo!

  152. It’s a really nice post..
    and after reading it I thank God that my country is still way back from the ‘zealous parenting philosophy’.. 🙂
    A great post !

  153. Truer words were never spoken. I’ve often wondered how we ever got the adulthood. We had to actually take responsibility for ourselves when we crossed the road. There was proper playground games for us to enjoy. We had fun and here we are to tell the tale. Now you can’t take a photos at a kids sports day, you can’t drive at a decent speed through a city street, you can’t smoke, in fact you can’t do much of anything. And we asked for it!

  154. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed. Your post is so true. I can’t imagine what the next generation will be like and expect from life.

  155. Yes but it’s not the kids fault- the previous generations are the ones that created the products and the NEED/CRAVING – US!! It’s our generation who need to take the responsibility

  156. Thanks. Actually, I’ve been blogging for 6 years, for a private audience. But I graciously accept the compliment!!

  157. Refreshing to read and a great trip down memory lane! My husband and I are older parents to two little girls, and we have often talked about how we want to raise our girls in this day and age. I just recently quit my job to stay home with our girls. Some might think that is crazy to give up a career in this economy, but family and how our children our raised is more important than money. So reality says that we will not be able to buy them everything, and their birthday parties will be simple!

    We want to raise our daughters like we were raised, not the way society tells us we need to raise them today. And we definitely don’t want them to have the “princess mentality”. We recognize that there will be a lot of pressure from those around us to have our girls involved in everything, to buy them the latest and greatest, etc… Instead, we hope to strike a balance between being “old fashioned” and/or “the coolest” parents.

    At times I fear for my daughters for the world they are growing up in, but I pray that we can raise them to appreciate life — finding joy in the little things, working hard and striving to do their best, not expecting things to be handed to them on a silver platter, and using their imagination to explore, create, and learn (among other things).

    Thank you for your thought provoking post. It was great to see so many people who agreed with you. Makes me realize I’m not alone in wishing for simpler times. Of course, as one person pointed out, there are good things about changes that have been made and important reasons why we do things differently today. However, I really wish we could go back to living in a time when common sense reigned and family values were the most important thing in life.

  158. wow! i guess i too will have to experience all this 10 years down the lane. & i guess it’s no different in Urban India. i loved the blog cos it is straight from the heart.

  159. I think we’ve forgotten that kids need to be kids. We put them in adult situations (like restaurants) and pray that they’ll behaving. But behaving, means acting like a grown up!

  160. Amen. Things nowadays are so over-the-top, it’s ridiculous! I’ve heard about parents installing $30,000 tree houses souped-up with all the latest gizmos & gadgets for their kids… and during an economic crisis to boot! Really? I could think of plenty else to do with 30K than further inspire my child to not play in the dirt with nature, and instead remain indoors with all the latest video game crap & computer whozie-whatzies to dull his brain. We need to revert to simpler times for the sake of our children, the environment, and our sanity.

  161. I love your article! I agree that kids today need a more simple existence. We have really added a lot of nonsense to their lives that they don’t need and doesn’t make them happier or more successful adults. You said it in a brilliant and thoughtful way!

  162. Dear Author

    You will be pleased to know that such kind of parenting still exist….in millions of homes…in south asia!

    i am seriously amazed at how similar your parents were to Indian parents.


  163. A lot of what is wrong with life in the U.S. is that we’re now such a consumerist culture. I see it in myself, got to have the 4G phone, the grill, the new computer, etc.

    Well that last part, I’m still using a computer I bought six years ago. I keep it running. But sometime this year I’ll probably get a new one.

    And another thing, the consumerism has enforced a pseudo individualist streak in the collective psyche of this country. To the point where we can never be just families again.

  164. While things weren’t perfect back in the day, you make a lot of valid points. In particular, it’s disheartening to see kids so satiated with all the stuff we never had and still not satisfied or not wanting to play outside because they’re addicted to computer games. I remember being a kid, sliding down a grassy hill on a piece of cardboard found at the nearby store. Nothing was more fun.

  165. That is so true! When I was a kid, I enjoyed my life, I mean, “real life,” way much more than kids I see now. Materialize, I must say, and sadly, it tears us apart, puts us into smaller boxes…

  166. Heck yeah! One upside to having been moved to a small rural town 4 years ago with a 5 and 2 year old, was that we left a suburban community where a lot of that crap (especially the birthday party kind) was going on. Don’t get me wrong, though, I miss living in that place because I’m a city gal, but I will own up to appreciating that things are a little bit less pretentious and entitled here. And yeah, I yell at my kids in public when they really get out of hand. I figure, if they don’t learn how to go to the grocery store they may never leave my house, so I’d better train ’em how to make a list and say no to junk food and other crap we don’t need and can’t afford to buy. Thanks for your post and getting Freshly Pressed!

  167. I agree! Too many generations of parents not wanting to be like their parents has had some good effects as well as bad ones. The safety is much better but sometimes I think it goes overboard…monkey bars aren’t all that bad. Thanks for this, hope I can make my mommy blog as good as your, just started here.

  168. Yup! My sisters and I were constantly covered in mud, playing in the woods…tv was there but were were always outside! I’m thankful my parents gave us the freedom to let us be explorers in our woods and just be kids.

  169. Wow. Can you believe how your press has taken off? It took me like 2 full minutes just to scroll to the bottom of this thread. That is longer than I like to say on hold. Lol. Anyway, my son has recess like 3 times a day at his school. It is right around lunch and it is great. Parents can even pay in the cafeteria and eat with their child’s class. He is in the Montpelier, Vermont public school system.

  170. What do you win for being the 500th per to comment on your awesome blog? It’s gotta feel great that so many people are resonating with you. *pat on the back*

  171. Exactly, I recently posted “Do you remember when?” essentially talking about the same kind of thing. Well said and congrats on being “Freshly Pressed”!

  172. Awesome. I’m publishing a review tomorrow of a book about parenting – specifically about encouraging children to write – and here in this post you articulate a lot of the things I was thinking as I was reading the book! I will send you a link when it’s up. This is a great post – thank you.

  173. Awesome I TOTALLY couldn’t agree more ,Its so true and ironic that our children cant grow the way we grew up, I dislike spoiled children I of this generation technology today has made them and us indeed so lazy…..

  174. Totally agree with you!! At the same time, it places a horrible pressure on us as parents, and it’s easy to slip up and end up exactly where you don’t want to be. Congrats on being FP!

  175. Watching my niece and nephew grow up, I’m constantly comparing my own – and even my parent’s up bringing. Life moves at such a different pace now, roles have changed, and what’s valuable is often what’s tangible. nice post!

  176. I love posts like this; strawman after strawman presented then quickly shot down. Overly generalize much? Not all the world is a barren consumerist culture nor is it one where parents have oodles of money at their disposal. To act like this isn’t the case (as you basically have in this post) is to show that you live in as secluded a world as those that yo claim you’re ‘different’ then.

    As the Housemartin’s once beautifully sang, we’re not going back, and thank god as the world is a worse place socially with each year you brazenly step back in time for.

  177. It’s sad to know that these things we took for granted from our parents are becoming an issue. We live in a culture of perpetual fear and paranoia.

  178. I appreciate this a lot, actually. Granted, it seems like life now is just more complicated than it was then, but maybe that was because we just didn’t worry and whine as much. We did what we had to and accepted it as life.

  179. Wow. Me and my sibling have a decade age gap between us. I grew up in the 1990’s and my sibling (is growing up) now in the 2000s. I see the difference in parenting by the same parents with kids of a different decade! If I began talking about the differences, it will have to be an entire blog on it than just a comment. Lol. Awesome post and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  180. Your post has been for a while on freshly pressed and so today I came to check it out. At first I took the words literally but on reading your post I understood that it was absolutely the opp of what I had assumed.
    What you spoke was the absolute truth and I think things are a bit more in america than in India but the telly is a big bad influence and I think we are also getting there in leaps and bounds. Its a pretty sad state of affairs but life is always in cycles and what goes up must come down and so as more and more people become aware of the rot that has set in .. they will try
    to bring about a change. As young parents you guys can start implementing it in your lives.

  181. What is totally sad about this is that, while I agreed, I noticed you mentioned been verified.com and for a second I was like “Ooo gotta make a note of that so I can check it out later”

    Society is different nowadays but we can keep some of the old school parenting that worked well back then. We can give our little ones chores and make them play in the backyard (that is secure from pedophiles). We just have to adapt a little. Well, a lot. Luckily my husband is a forest ranger and he has our kids out in the woods all the time getting to experience a bit of what he had as a child. We just have to be more purposeful is all.

  182. Decent post but you really should read up on Gluten Intolerance (Celiac disease) before making fun of the largest food allergy in the USA.

  183. I think you’re totally right. Kid’s and teenager’s hardship are nothing compared to what our parents went through nor did our parents have the luxuries that we have today. I’m forever indebt to my parents for everything that they have done for me. Parents are true heroes!

  184. Wow! You had a busy day yesterday! Couldn’t agree with your post more. So well written and to the point, you deserve an award. As a virgin blogger myself, you are an inspiration and as a parent, you are wise. I had to share you on Facebook I was so moved. Timely too considering the recent riots here in the UK – evidence that someone somewhere forgot to care about how their kids were brought up to behave!

  185. Growing up in the nineties, I had to grow up in this sort of situation, but my parents weren’t afraid to discipline me when they thought need be. And they still aren’t, to some extent.

    They encouraged me and my sister to play outdoors, work in the veggie patch and just lying in the sunshine. If schoolwork wasn’t so tough this year, I would definitely still be doing it more often, I still try to get outside, even if it is just to read outdoors, as much as possible.

    I just think that parents are treating kids as if they’re some sort of fine china nowadays, but in reality, they’re probably more like rubber balls. They probably also see kids who ended up hating their parents and want to prevent that from happening, so they spoil them. Doing so, the children don’t know how to appreciate what is truely beautiful in this world, and I find that quite unfortunate.

    Great post, by the way, and congratulations on the FP!

  186. When I was a kid there were no fast food restaurants… the only one’s were the bushes where u picked berries. If u got out of line in the car which u didn’t dare do u were quickly back handed and heaven forbid u were hauled out of the car then u were really in for it. We got meals cooked on a wood burning stove.
    We didn’t have much to play with. We found things to play with, like sticks, etc. We always had things to do because if you didn’t they would find things for you to do and that was chores. You didn’t want that.
    We had our own skating rink when ever our mom polished the hard wood floors with the paste wax. She would get us some wool socks & we’d have a hay day sliding across the floor. We watched black & white T.V. We watched Howdie Doodie as a kid. That was one of the first kid’s show that came on T.v.
    Our paper bag lunchs. Well our sandwichs were wrapped in wax paper.

  187. I am gonna comment on what kid’s want comment. That’s what kid’s want. Hmmm. The more u gave them the more they want.d I proved that theory. One I am a former childcare worker (they don’t pay u enough for that job).Two I had a pretty strong willed child, very smart and dominaring. Kid’s need boundaries. They need to be taught what’s acceptable & what is not. What they can & cannot have. My kid’s would say “well so & so has it” or “they can stay up late” or “they’re going here or getn this>” My comment always was. “Do they live here?” They would say “no” Then I would say “well.” They also got bored easy because they were smart (intellectually) & I had to keep their brain stimulated. A challenge but can be fun. I also worked with kid’s that were ADHD. They all need rules and boundaries. Hey, give them what they want & see where it gets u. Mine grew up great. I taught my daughter, just cause her best friend went with the cool kid’s doesn’t make it right. U be who u are. She appreciated that alot & learned lots from it.

  188. Yes b4 I forget. Great post & a great reminder of what was. My daughter in law has 2 sweet young girls… 3 & 4… the younger one follows the older. The older one … oh my… what she gets into when mom isn’t lookn. Well their mom has no control. I told her they would listen to me. She said I could take them. Well maybe I will tell her next summer when I have off I will take them for a bit. See how quick they listen. Not gonna be mean. Just put down rules, be consistant & have consequences for their actions. Consistency…. really important & following through. If you say your gonna do it then do it & not give in because it’s just not convenient or a bad time. Follow through. So important.

  189. It’s true about the cigarettes and the home cooked meals and the playing outside, etc.

    But my dad died early because of those cigarettes. When his lungs started to fail, the doctor told him that he stopped smoking too late. He started when he was fourteen and quit cigarettes (but not the pipe with that sweet apple scented tobacco) when he was in his fifties.

    When his lungs started to go due to emphysema, his mind went too. He had to wear diapers and the last few months he didn’t recognize anyone because not enough oxygen was getting to his brain.

    My parents also did not believe in borrowing money and when they did (to buy a house), they paid extra whenever possible and paid the mortgage off fifteen years early. They never bought a new car and always paid cash for the used ones. My dad also did the oil changes and replaced the brake pads when needed in our driveway or inside the uncluttered garage.

    Since they didn’t buy a lot of junk, the garage always had room for two cars.

    Oh, and they saved for that “rainy” day and were always had cash to pay for emergency repairs. My dad even painted the house himself taking months to finish the job. He’d come home from work and get the ladder out, the sandpaper and wire brushes so he did the job right.

    The meat we ate when I was a child was also healthier since my mother raised chickens and rabbits and I remember watching her kill them then butcher them with her own hands to get them ready for the frying pan or pot. I was a teenager when the first McDonalds opened up followed by Taco Bell and then the flood of fast food followed. The result is that today about 76% of Americans are overweight (fat) and 25% are obese. I don’t remember seeing many fat people while I was growing up and my parents stayed fit and not fat their entire lives.

  190. GREAT article. I grew up on a farm. Nearest neighbor was 4 miles. Played outside all day long and well after the sun set. Never wore shoes in the summer and the nearest paved road was 45 miles to the west. Stepped in tons of nails, cow pies, drew blood 3 times a week, rode bareback, milked cows as part of my chores, weeded the garden, chopped wood for the winter, and OMG! I am still alive and HEALTHY. I don’t need to be entertained because I learned how to entertain myself without TV and the host of technology that seems to be NECESSARY for children to be entertained today. Ok I will stop here, but I can cite a long list of things for which to be grateful growing up on a large farm. One thing is for sure, critical thinking and creative problem solving went hand in hand in rural life. Difficult to find either that is encouraged in our schools or corporate environment.

  191. I’ve been brought up in this new technological world, but I’ve never been one of those extremists who own an iPhone, an iPad, an iPod and an xbox 360. Infact, I’ve never owned any of those things! I think it’s sad how materialistic items have taken over people’s childhoods.

    Great post, and a really valid point! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed

  192. Enjoyed you blog and can relate to everything you wrote but one thing I remember most vividly, that you seem to have implied, was when we really misbehaved we were really punished. There were many spankings, sometimes with a switch from the hedge, but so were almost all kids, and it didn’t matter whether we were at home, the grocery store or anywhere else. I have always felt that I had a wonderful childhood and somehow we all grew up quite normal and I would not change it even if I could.

  193. Your point is well made. There are some good benefits today and seems some are retrograde. However, one huge benefit today, is the fact that parents tend to allow their children to voice themselves and as well, are apt to communication. Many decades ago, the word of the parents was written in stone and argument/communication was almost non existent.
    The important factor to keep in mind and articulate nowadays, is keep the connectivity in the family fresh, active and evolving. Lack of it leads to all those negative things that we see today, “justified” on the lack of time of the parents. Isn’t part of the family concept to bring kids to this physical realm to be seriously involved with them in every step of their growth? I am a living witness of this positive possibility and my grown kids not only are quite in touch and grounded, but are better parents than we were. There is no manual, but there is a school and that one only happens when we are directly connected every step of the way.

  194. I grew up in Ukraine and had a working mother who did 12-hour shifts at the port as a docks manager. My grandmother basically brought me up from four until I was 12. She herself having grown up during the war didn’t exactly agree with modern parenting and a scolding was a SCOLDING when I was a kid. I didn’t have many toys and I played outside- still have the scars to prove it even though it’s been years and YEARS since I’ve climbed a tree.
    When I came to England in 2004 and discovered that kids would scream at their parents “touch me and I’ll sue you” something flipped. I wanted to go home again hahaha. I don’t really care what the child agency thinks- if I’m ever crazy enough to have a child and it misbehaves it’s going to get all the smacks upside the head it needs to turn into a decent person instead of the rioting, looting scum that my generation had become.

  195. Me too Hannah! What a great post! It is amazing, scary and bewildering that in just 30 years we went from being able to stay home alone and out until dark and punshied when we needed and building healthy bones b/c of playing in the SUNSHINE! to a day and age kids can’t be left alone either at home or outside for fear some disillusioned person harming them in some way. We are the last of the lucky generation that got to learn what being responsible for yourself meant the hard way…but falling down, getting hurt, having a close call, being late to dinner. Funny now how we will have tales to tell in our older years of things that no longer exist or work the same way. And just as our parents and grandparents, the old way seems to be and feel better! 🙂 Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  196. My parents were nothing like this, actually. They gave us lots of toys and then put us in the corner of a large room designated as the “play room” and then told us not to make any noise. And we ate plenty of fast food.

    Now, as a new parent, I cook every night. We have next to no processed food in our house. And we’re saving up some ching for a ridiculously extravagant playground. Rest assured, our son will be spending most of his time outdoors… he already likes it better outside, anyway.

    You make some excellent points. I especially love the part about all types of families playing together. Now everyone is too busy criticizing each other to realize that it’s more important for the kids to just have fun.

    Great post!


  197. Great post! I tweeted this. Things sure have gotten complicated in the world of parenting. Ideas of safe vs healthy have become a bit muddled. I’m trying to figure out my own balance too, especially as both a mom and a pediatrician. Sometimes the medical knowledge helps me be extremely laid back. Sometimes it creates excessive worry. There’s a good balance somewhere in there…

  198. I guess I agree with about 99% of this. I do not always remember the good old days so fondly, like smelling like an ash tray even though I did not smoke, losing my only parent to lung cancer at 16 because of such habit and watching a friend fall off their bike without a helmet and get seriously injured. Also back off on the gluten free people because my kids are gluten free and it is not by choice, they have celiac disease and have to eat this way. If your kid had asthma you would give them the necessary medications to keep them healthy, i feed my kids what is necessary to keep them healthy. i send them to parties with their own food because if they have gluten it causes all kinds of serious health problems but always serve food in my house to others with gluten, I am not in your face about it but do think schools should respect how serious this issue is

  199. I love this post. I can’t stop thinking about it. You have so perfectly summed up so much of what I am trying to say that I would love to repost it, with your permission, on my blog. I would love for this post to be the first ‘guest Blogger’ on my site and would, of course share, share, share.

    I’m sending this note from my Droid, which is not behaving, so please forgive any typos or pseudo-spastic typing.

    All the best,

  200. I love the post. Similar feelings have made me try this blogging thing myself, but I attacked it another way.

    When I become a parent I want to be just like my parents. Who were just like your blog. Thanks for proving I’m not the last one.

  201. do you think the difference has much to do with the recent business of fear. That there is money to be made off the boogey man (night lights) and we drive faster (seat belts/airbags) theres bacteria in dirt (who knew?/antiseptics and cleaning things) etc etc.

    Like when i got chicken pox my mum forced not only my siblings but the neighbours siblings as well to hang out so that they would get the disease as well.

    how times change.

  202. So SO TRUE! I certainly don’t think our fore fathers were perfect, but there was DEFINITELY more focus on substance than flash. The supermarket thing hit home the most. My wife had a lady tell her that our kids were “bad” one time in a store because they were playing around. (not crazy screaming or running, just making motor sounds in the “car” shopping cart). Why can’t we just let kids be kids? Great Job! Thanks for telling it like it is!

  203. You have done a great job capturing my childhood perfectly….I survived, although I do miss the old Dairy Queen’s where you had to stand outside and order your ice cream cone and pray it didn’t melt within 5 minutes in the hot summer heat…nothing like today where you can order 40 different menu items or even surf the internet while you eat.

  204. this whole article is the generation now though that is kidnapping kids and molesting children before they hit puberty. Its this generation that stayed out untill dark without a care int he world, that has left this new generation in fear of doing so. Sure those ways may have provided a more genuine reality for childhoods, I grew up in one quite similair however we can not oversee the problems that came from these lifestyles

  205. I often think about how any of us survived our “dangerous” childhoods, and I wish I could be the kind of mom mine was who allowed us to live that “dangerous” life.

    I tend to be a nervous Nellie and over think every move my kids make.


  206. Great post. You make a valid point and we have to adjust with the times when it comes to parenting, definitely. But less and less are there people that had a decent upbringing and those qualities are lost on the next generation of children. As I compare the parenting skills of our different friends, I know some of them are in for a world of hurt.

  207. I could not agree more! I used to play outside all of the time as a kid. I had toys, but knew to treat them well. If we broke it being rough, it wasn’t going to be readily replaced. We learned value. Birthdays were rarely big. And if we had a big party, it was doubly appreciated. I’m so sick of how spoiled kids are today! (Does this make me sound old at almost 24? haha)

    Also, the meal thing is huge…People today just don’t cook like they used to. Why is American so overweight? Because nobody cooks. They eat over processed chemically packed fast and microwaveable food. I love McDonald’s as much as the next person, and frozen pizza is quite the convenience, but it should be balanced out with actual, real fresh food.

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