Parenting is never straightforward, and there is not one right way to go about it. Parents have always been under some degree of public scrutiny when it comes to how they handle their relationship with their children, but never more so than in modern society. Nowadays, parents are sold all these different beliefs of what it takes to be a good parent and are pressured into buying all of the available resources which are meant to teach them the best way to look after their children. In fact, from baby books to parenting classes, a whole industry has been built up around telling people how to raise their children. However, with there being one thousand and one different views on the matter, how are people meant to know who is right and who is wrong?
No matter what style of parenting you might have, from a liberal and free-range approach, to what might be considered a more traditional parenting style, all parents are now facing challenges that weren’t a concern a few decades ago, and it is causing many parents to feel at a loss of how best to tackle these issues. Here are just a few examples of the new and unprecedented challenges which parents have to face in the current day and age.
Increasingly high expenses
Over the last decade or so, the cost of raising the family has grown exponentially. Not only are all of the basic essentials becoming more and more expensive to buy, such as clothes and food, but there is also an unspoken pressure on parents to spend more in order to be the best. For example, whereas twenty years or so ago a lot of information regarding having a baby was conveyed through word of mouth, now new mothers are expected to shell out for pre-natal classes, one hundred and one books on different things, and a team of experts to talk them through all of the best birthing positions.
Then, as children get older, the types of toys they want to play with, and clothes they want to wear are also frequently going up in price, and parents often feel compelled to keep up with the latest trends of what other people are buying their children. Especially in this digital age, where technology is at the heart of modern society. When it comes to things such as the holidays and birthdays, children often expect to be given all of these expensive pieces of technology, always craving the newest models and latest designs.
All of this starts to put a strain on parents whose earnings don’t quite keep up with the rise in costs. It is this downward spiral that often leads people into getting themselves into debt, or missing payments. As a result, people struggle to find companies who will agree to give them the loans or financial support they need, although there are some companies, such as Bonsai Finance, which will still offer loans to people who are on the ASNEF lists.
Societal pressure and fear of judgment
Raising children used to be a very private affair, and the personal business of individual people was not really commented on by anyone who was not inside the family or a close friend. Nowadays, parents face a lot of scrutiny from other people, as so much personal information is available publically. Of course, in a lot of ways, this is a good thing, as it means that issues which can occasionally arise within families, such as mistreatment of children or domestic issues, are made known and can, therefore, be dealt with through the appropriate channels.
However, in another sense, this open nature of modern society also puts an immense amount of pressure on parents to be ‘the best.’ There are so many different conflicting messages that parents receive on what they are supposed to do with their children: Is vaccination good, or does it cause harmful side effects? Are children better off in public schools where they learn to socialize with a broader demographic, or are the better off in private education? If private education is better, where do you get the funding from? What’s the best way to discipline a child now? There are so many different options, with people ready to criticize you no matter which one you choose, that it can be difficult for people to feel as though they are good enough parents for their children.
Protecting children against new threats
Once, the only thing parents had to worry about guarding their children against was not talking to strangers. Now, many children face a new threat which many parents are struggling to protect their children from: the dangers of social media. With an ability to connect with almost anyone online, children are now being faced with influences across the world who could potentially pose a danger to their wellbeing.
Social media was initially created as a way for people to connect with friends and family with whom they may have lost touch, but now it has become a way of life for many. Whereas children used to have idols who were more in the public eye, they now idolize men and women who make money promoting products for money on their social influencer channels. Through this, more and more children are sucked into the world of wanting the current fashions and ‘must have’ items, because that’s what their role models are telling them.
Not only that, but as children set up these social media sites, they are also posting pictures of themselves across the internet. This has the potential to make them vulnerable, both from online predators and also from online bullying. This is an issue which is truly difficult for parents to resolve, as they face a choice of whether to allow their children on the internet and risk this form of cyber attack or to not allow them the same privileges as other children and have them be cut off from their peers.
These are just a few examples of the challenges which modern parents are facing. There is no set manual on the best way to deal with these issues, and many parents are having to navigate their way through these problems by putting aside their anxieties, making the best decisions they can within the moment, and hoping that they don’t face too much judgment from their peers on the choices that they make.