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Old 06-09-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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Hmmm...somehow I think that parenting children during times such as the Great Depression, WWII, the Westward Migration, etc was hardly a cakewalk.

Perhaps the implication is that it was easier in Mid Century America? If so, then what explains the incredible shallowness, materialism, hedonism, and self absorbtion of the Baby Boom generation?

Parenting can indeed be exausting. So is drinking all night, leading a promiscous lifestyle, working insane hours, traveling all the time and many of the other things we gave up or minimized to become parents. The only parents who ever found it easy were not particularly good parents.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
Hmmm...somehow I think that parenting children during times such as the Great Depression, WWII, the Westward Migration, etc was hardly a cakewalk.

Perhaps the implication is that it was easier in Mid Century America?
It was easier in mid century America as well as in ALL previous periods, including the "scary" ones you mentioned. People may have gone through hard economic times, but they were not going through hard PARENTING times.
And this topic is about PARENTING, not about how much stuff people were able to afford at any point in history. So let's stay on topic.

People have never experienced the parental pressures, unreasonable expectations and isolation they experience today - especially in developed anglo-saxon countries starting with the US. Period.

My parents raised children under the worst years of communism. In the 80's they faced times where you had to stay in line at the store, all day and all night, for one piece of meat. They did. They also had extended family help on both sides and while one extended family member stayed in line for the meat for everyone, another was strolling the twins (my siblings), another was cooking, another was working, etc (and no, we did not all live in the same houshold).
My parents had willing grandparents nearby as well as various relatives at their fingertips - galore. Through all the economic hardships, they somehow still managed to have their UNINTERRUPTED visits with their close friends several times a week, vacations on the beach and in the mountains every year - all while we were having fun at grandma's, with cousins, with neighborhood kids, in summer camps, etc. They were also never expected to drop off all of their adult problems and conversations just to keep us perpetually entertained, to take us to play groups, extra curriculars, and the like.

Not once have I heard them saying "parenting is a tough job".
Parenting just happened and it was a normal part of life. Neither exhausting, nor easy - you did what you had to do under whatever economic conditions, with the help of family and local community.

Today is different and yes, harder than it has ever been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
If so, then what explains the incredible shallowness, materialism, hedonism, and self absorbtion of the Baby Boom generation?
I agree with your characterization of the Baby Boom generation but what does this have to do with anything I've said? It is, in fact, proving my point.
Generations of children have become INCREASINGLY SO ever since - exactly because of the increasingly unreasonable parenting expectations imposed on parents since about the 1950's on.

In this game no one really wins: neither the parents, nor the children.

Last edited by syracusa; 06-09-2010 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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Quote:
And this topic is about PARENTING, not about how much stuff people were able to afford at any point in history. So let's stay on topic.
I made no mention of people being able to afford stuff.

Quote:
People have never experienced the parental pressures, unreasonable expectations and isolation they experience today - especially in developed anglo-saxon countries starting with the US. Period.
I disagree. In the not so recent past, for example, were a parent to have a child who turned out to be gay or was handicapped, great shame would be heaped upon them. Until the 60s, there was much more of a conformist culture, so heaven help the parent of a kid who dated someone outside their race. Then there was the issue of diseases such as polio.

Is there a great deal of silliness that comes with parenting? Of course, but no more than there was in the past. Its just different now. And in any case, what exactly is wrong with play groups, extra curriculars and the like? Such things help an individual become well rounded and cultured.

Unreasonable expectations? Like what? Everybody has expectations to some extent- that is how we excel in life. If they are unreasonable, who says you have to conform?

Sorry, no. I must respectfully disagree with you. It sounds like you are comparing today to a romantic time that may never really have existed.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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[quote=syracusa;14536672][quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
To the OP: here is some advice from two somewhat older parents that will severely go against the "popular" grain. I will give you our very sincere perspective as "subjective" as it might sound. now here's the piece of advice:
DON'T HAVE THEM.
Your views are much the opposite of the others, but I did ask for everyones advice and wisdom, not just one side.

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
we could not help getting increasingly frustrated at the large number of slogans, cliches, platitudes, PC lines and downright non-truths that people write in regards with having kids (now at relatively advanced ages too, which makes things even worse!) - just because those are the popular and socially acceptable things to say.

But keep in mind that there is a world of "dark secrets" when it comes to having kids in today's day and age that most people will never be willing to admit to, not even to themselves, let alone to others, in writing.
I do not know, I would think if kids are that horrible or terrible, and that if parents didnt find out how bad it was until after they had a child of their own, parents would stop at one. I see a lot of folks and read on this forum of many parents with multiple kids, and even some who start second families after their first set are teenagers or gone.


Quote:
children playing with other children. In the past this was done naturally, in front of the house, among neighborhood kids, while parents were able to breathe for a moment or just go about their household chores without being asked for attention or being interrupted every 20 seconds. The mental stress can be enormous.
I somewhat agree there, as a child in the 70's and 80's My mother let us run and play with the neighborhood kids while she could have some peace and watch us from the kitchen window as she got some work done. Playdates and kids being enrolled in numberouse sports and extracurricular activities and run everywhere didnt seem to be the Norm then.

My friends teenage daughter got run to karate, cheerleading practice, piano lessons, soccer, nature center (she was a youth volunteer)plus the playdates when she was younger. It seemed many of the parents got them started in all these activities to get them to fill their time and keep them out of trouble, Plus help burn off all that young energy. But yes the price is parents packing stuff up in the car and finding the time to haul them everywhere and watch their events.
Maybe If I were a parent today I would better understand.

Quote:
we had our first and five years later we are both looking so much older it is not even funny - yes, mainly because of exhaustion, stress, sleep deprivation, worries, etc.
Yes I beleive the harsh stress does play a role in that, but genetics does as well. My brothers boy is 4 and so far my brother does not look like he has aged, I do admit he is tired all the time.

Quote:
Often times, parents will stay up late just to squeeze in those uninterrupted adult conversations or you name it - and the sleep deprivation will soon become unbearable.
Yes, I have seen that, my brother just stopped doing that. He was working in about an extra hour of "me time" everynight after wife and child went to bed. He would always be so tired. At family functions while other family members would entertain the kids he would socialize for about 30 min. then sit back in a chair and nap. He finally quit doing that.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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I think it's a highly personal issue and you two should consult close friends & family members & even your spiritual advisor for honest opinions on whether you have the stamina & patience for raising kids at this stage in your life. My only suggestion is that you consider adoption since a college buddy who's now a fertility specialist says that new parents over 35 have a greater risk for passing along autism & bipolar disorder, and maybe ADHD.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raggy491 View Post
I somewhat agree there, as a child in the 70's and 80's My mother let us run and play with the neighborhood kids while she could have some peace and watch us from the kitchen window as she got some work done. Playdates and kids being enrolled in numberouse sports and extracurricular activities and run everywhere didnt seem to be the Norm then.

My friends teenage daughter got run to karate, cheerleading practice, piano lessons, soccer, nature center (she was a youth volunteer)plus the playdates when she was younger. It seemed many of the parents got them started in all these activities to get them to fill their time and keep them out of trouble, Plus help burn off all that young energy. But yes the price is parents packing stuff up in the car and finding the time to haul them everywhere and watch their events.
My spouse and I rather enjoy many kid-centric activities, like soccer, swim team, and Scouts. We consider them family events and have always volunteered as coaches or leaders of one sort or another. It's fun!
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by raggy491 View Post
Forgive me for this long message but I am looking for wisdom from new parents (prefere dads view) who are over 40.
I am 40 years old, and until now, I always thought I would enjoy life just the wife and I, no kids, have extra money and time, travel, and just come and go as I please. Over the years I occasionally thought of children but was never real serious and my wife liked being a career woman.

Well since my younger brother had a child and a good close friend had 3 children the idea started to grow on me more and more over the years.
After turning 40 I started to reflect more on my life, how the years went by, what the future holds, and whether I should become a mid life dad.
What really set things in motion was my wife who is just now 39 brought up the fact that she had these thoughts as well. And the timing is perfect because I am in a more stable career, I am getting ready to graduate with a bachelors degree, her job may be coming to an end making her available as a stay at home mom with some part time work at home options, and our home is perfect for a family so we donít have to make changes there. We both feel really positive now about the whole thing. We donít want to regret not having children in the future.

But here is what scares the hec out of me and where I need wisdom.
It is scary thinking about being a mid life older dad when so many my age have teenage kids, should that bother me?

Birth defect risks are higher for parents over 35, it scares me to think I would have a child with a serious birth defect like downes syndrome, are these risks over exaggerated?

And the big one is the loss of wifes income, we became very spoiled over the years and after I sat down and looked at the budget with just my income I about fell over. Even after making serious changes to the budget money was still tight. How did you parents, especially over 40 adjust to the lower income and tight budget that affects things like savings and retirement?

* I do think the risk of Downs is exaggerated-the far majority of babies born to women over 35 do NOT have Downs. A few will, true. I also know 2 women who had babies with Downs when they were early 20's. There is always a chance.

*Are you and your wife planning for her to stay home until the child is school age? Truthfully, those years go by fast, and the loss of income is temporary. It's so wonderful to have the chance to be home with the kid/s , even if just for a season. And you mentioned part-time work options for her, that could help also.

* Although dh and I are the ages of you and your wife, our kids are 17-6. However, I always see much older parents, especially dads, at our kids' events. You would not be unusual, at least where I live.

I think you should go for it Sounds like you and wife are in a really good position to be parents!!!
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Moth View Post

I disagree. In the not so recent past, for example, were a parent to have a child who turned out to be gay or was handicapped, great shame would be heaped upon them. Until the 60s, there was much more of a conformist culture, so heaven help the parent of a kid who dated someone outside their race. comparing today to a romantic time that may never really have existed.
Also respectfully, the comparison is logically flawed. You are comparing the very rare cases of a parent tormented by the harsh social stigmas of the time (I have a gay child, I have a spinster in my house, etc) with the isolation, extremely fast-pace daily grind and burdens of almost ALL parents today.

As a wannabe parent, I'd be careful with dismissing the typical and daily hardships of today's parenting with the idea that "well, it's always been difficult to raise children". It hasn't. Not AS difficult.
It is becoming increasingly so.
Even more, with the ever larger number of people having to be accommodated in a clearly finite space (this Earth and nowhere else) and with people's increasingly larger consumption demands per capita - trust me, the next generations are facing realities of life much less palatable than you could begin to imagine.

While I completely agree with your characterization of Baby Boomers, I am not quite sure what this have to do with contradicting my point. In fact, it is proving it once again.

Since about the 1950's on, a culture of "intense parenting" and "child-led family life" has been cultivated with the result of highly self-centered and demanding young generations and overall exhausted and overwhelmed parents. It started low and has been going up ever since.

Last edited by syracusa; 06-10-2010 at 10:39 AM..
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Since about the 1950's on, a culture of "intense parenting" and "child-led family life" has been cultivated with the result of highly self-centered and demanding young generations and overall exhausted and overwhelmed parents. It started low and has been going up ever since.
Do you consider parents who coach soccer or lead a pack of Cub Scouts to be fostering a child-led family life that will ultimately lead to a self-centered adulthood?

I don't think that this type of life ultimately leads to overwhelmed, exhausted parents. Personally, I feel rejuvenated by these types of activities, and our involvement in carefully selected groups has helped create a more peaceful, enjoyable lifestyle for our entire family. At this point, I actually find it more stressful when everybody is going their separate directions with little overlap, because it's a detriment to the continual personal interaction and pursuit of common goals that keeps our relationships healthy and strong.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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My family enjoys doing activities together, as well. Sometimes, dh and I participate, sometimes we are spectators. We enjoy the time spent with our kids. It goes by soooo fast-our oldest is about to graduate from high school! We appreciate every family minute we have together.
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