Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Raising Kids Today...


There is so much media attention about the difficulties of raising children. (Just type in 'raising children' in Google and see what you get) How to do it, what not to do, what causes the problems we're seeing, whose fault it is, and so on. There are challenges unique to our generation when it comes to raising kids.
While researching and writing Generation NeXt Parenting, I collected comments and surveys from parents on a wide variety of topics related to parenting. We deal with worries that our parents' never had to consider, such as:

> media’s effect on young children

> how much Nintendo is too much

> how to fulfill our life’s calling while also raising kids

And those are just some of the minor issues—let’s not forget the more serious downward spiral of morality in America. If you’re like me, sometimes you may wonder just what type of world you’ve birthed your child into.

But it helps to remember that none of these changes in society are a surprise to God. He’s not surprised by Hollywood or Supreme Court decisions. He doesn’t shrug His shoulders in bewilderment over MTV or the ACLU. In fact, God not only knew what the world would look like in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s; He knew our place in it.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit
the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact
places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far
from each one of us. (Acts 17:26–27)

After all, being a generation
of parents in a high-speed and
morally confused world doesn’t allow for anything less.


Here are some comments from GenX parents about the difficulties of raising children in today's society:

Tiffany, Born 1976, 4 children: I really think one of the toughest things for me is everyone wants to try to convince me I am my child's best friend rather than a parent who is supposed to guide them in right and wrong. These days anything except being a total pushover to your children is viewed as almost abuse. But when your kids turn out like brats because they always get their way then you are a bad parent. Let's have expectations for our kids and consequences when they don't do what is expected.

Tanya: The easy access to sex and drugs. These things used to not be spoken of and were a big deal to get a hold of. Now everyone talks about it. Allthe kids in school are one time or another offered it. Maybe I was in the right crowd but I was never offered drugs until I was in high school and now it seems like kids are doing it in Junior High. The style ofclothing that is "in" now if also VERY uncomforting to me. Girls are practically wearing lingerie and to me asking for the sexual comments they get. Which is not want the parents want. I think a lot of parents now a days seem to give their children way more freedom then when I was growing up. Teens out until midnight and not even 16?
Rene, Born 1972, 2 children: For me, it's teaching the kids to be morally sound and genuinely nice in a world that is in moral decay and mean as ever. There are very few role models for kids outside their families.

Michelle, Born 1971, 4 children: The biggest challenge in raising children in today's society is media-not only does media challenge and oppose most of my moral values and beliefs, but because of media, the entire process of the brain is distorted from its original intent. Media interferes with learning and thought processes. It inhibits a child's ability to learn to entertain themselves, to problem solve, and to challenge oneself. It sends a message that entertainment is necessary, that boredom is taboo and that idleness is a way of life. Media is the biggest cause of today’s problems, not just with making immorality move from tolerated to accepted and then to expected, but also because it can lead to behavioral issues and hyperactivity.

Children are learning from media that backtalk is acceptable (and funny). They are learning that violence is fun. They are learning that sex is cool. But more important than what they are learning is what they aren't learning. They aren't learning self control, self discipline, or the reasoning skills it takes to make good decisions in life. The mind is not being challenged and as a result, kids are being labeled ADHD and put on medications. And children learn a NEED for constant entertainment and it has to get bigger and better than before or it will just plain boring. (You would think I am totally anti-TV, but I actually fall into the same trap as other parents, resorting to tv for a little "break" when I need the kids to quiet for a few minutes. I see the problem but have of yet to do much about it)

Another big challenge in parenting in today's society is busyness. We live in an ultra modern world. We have fast food, fast church, fast cooking (thank God for microwaves), and fast cars. We have cell phones, frozen precooked foods, and Wal-Mart on every corner. You would think that life would be easier. But there seems to be a catch 22. In order to have all of these conveniences to keep up with a normal "standards of living" we must work our butts off to be able to keep up with the bills. And in order to work our butts off, we need to have all the conveniences just to get it all done. Women, who used to only work in the home (and work hard, I might add) are now responsible for half of the family income. They are getting involved in church, school pta, etc...They have too much to do, and no time to do it. And men are working just as hard. They are putting in more and more hours to gain the edge. They are tired, overcommitted, and still struggling to make ends meet each month. Busy seems to be the best way to describe this culture.


So what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with these parents? What are some of the issues you deal with in your home?



Side note: What's all the flap about Generation X? Well, those of us born between 1960's & 1980's are currently raising the bulk of the children today. In order to understand the children being raised, it's crucial to know a few things about whose doing the raising.

The authors of Mind the Gap! offer the following information:
GI: Born 1900s to 1920s
Silent: Born 1920s to 1940s
Boomer: Born 1940s to 1960s
Xer: Born 1960s to 1980s
Millennial (also known as Generation Y): Born 1980s to 2000s

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