Parenting styles have changed over time and several factors can be attributed to the change we see from our time as kids and now that we are parents. Among these factors is that in the past parents mainly relied on their older relatives to get proper guidance on raising their children.
These days there are more avenues of getting parenting tips and they range from the media, support groups, to tips from relatives as in the past. Other factors include lack of time, being more open-minded and so on.
- Children are to be seen and not heard
I have found myself relying on my daughter’s opinion to make some decisions and that can be a heavy burden for a five-year-old. She does make sense at times but in other instances, she will just be a typical five-year-old. My daughter does not realize that this is such a privilege. In the past, we were not accorded such because we were only to be seen not heard.
These days, parents will talk with their children about the school they would like to attend, what is the best meal for dinner today, their friends and so on. This has really helped to enhance the relationships between the two parties. The only problem is that some parents allow the children to override their decisions and this can only mean trouble. As you ask for their opinion remember that you are the parent and have more knowledge and experience.
- It takes a village to raise a child
In the past, whenever you saw any parent you know that you could not engage in engaged in mischievous activities in their presence because they could beat you. It was allowed and after the beating, she would take you to your parent for another round of the cane.
These days you will not dare lay a finger on anyone’s child unless you want to cool your heels at the nearest police station. These days we just turn the other way as children do wrong things and say a silent prayer for them. If you go report you will have to explain why you hate a particular child and you will be asked why it is so difficult for you to mind your own business.
If there is an area of parenting that has seen a big change then it is discipline. Unlike in the past when a child would be thoroughly caned for being undisciplined, these days many parents are starting to move away from the cane. They prefer punishing the child using other means such as ‘time out’ withdrawing privileges such as TV, the internet or play time, allowances and so on.
Parents no longer use words such as naughty but instead use words such as challenging or unacceptable. Some parents mix the two schools of thoughts on punishment where they can and use other forms of punishment according to what the child has done. These days parents take their time and explain to their young ones why the punishment was necessary as well.
As regarding freedom the jury is still divided on how things have changed. On one hand, some people say that children today are too free because their parents are not there to guide them. According to others, they say that parents allow children to rule them and have their say regarding important matters such as schools, going out and so on. It seems parents are under constant pressure to allow their children to do what they want to avoid guilt feelings or having to deal with the tantrums of their kids in public.
On the other hand, some people say that kids today are not free to go out and play they are just kept in the house. This could be for fear that they might get influenced by ill-mannered children or roughed up by neighborhood bullies. Some parents do not allow their children freedom to make choices as they believe that they should be hands-on and so end up being overbearing and living vicariously through their children.
- Friends of their children
When growing up, some topics were just taboo and you could simply not bring them up. According to folklore, such topics were handled by aunties and grandmothers during the time our parents were growing up.
These days, parents are more open to issues like menstruation, sex, relationships, abortion and so on. These days more parents are becoming friends with their children. You should, however, be careful not to forget that you are the parent and be engrossed in being their friend.
- Emphasis on keeping culture
Every tribe in Kenya has its own culture. In the past, parents and the older generation were responsible for passing some of these gems to the younger generation. These days, however, children are not taught much about their culture.
Granted, there are some retrogressive cultures such as female genital mutilation, wife inheritance, marrying off youngsters and so on. These should not be encouraged at all. There are aspects of our culture such as the old folklore, our languages, what our forefathers stood for, teachings on circumcision and initiation that could be very helpful to the younger generation.
While there are both subtle and glaring differences in how parenting was done then and now, parenting still remains a very lonely journey if you are taking it alone. Try to get as much help as possible and do not be afraid to try out new tips or refer to how things were done in the past.