Wednesday, May 18, 2016

6 Not So Great Things My Kids Have That I Did Not...

I was thinking the other day about how much childhood has changed since I was growing up.  I find myself more and more saying it just isn't as good as it used to be.  Perhaps I sound like a grandmother, maybe it just comes with age but here are 6 not so great things that my kids have that I did not:

1.  School Bus Transportation - In our area, even if you can see the school out your front window you are still entitled to a school bus ride.  My kids don't even have to walk to a stop - you get picked up right at the end of my driveway.

In comparison, I walked one mile to school, home and back for lunch, and home again at the end of the day for all of elementary school.  I did take a bus to high school (it was about 3 miles away) but did have to walk to a bus stop.  We had so much fun walking to and from school - a few of us would always land up meeting along the way.

2.  Chain Restaurants - There are so many restaurants to choose from today.  Everyone has a kids menu of some sort.

No matter what you tell me, when I eat out I eat more (mostly because there is waitress service so I get to sit down for an entire meal!) And, we wonder why we have an obesity problem in the USA.  Obviously, there was McDonald's, Burger King and a few more when I was a kid but not nearly as many as today.  Plus, it was a huge treat to go out to eat.  People just ate at home for the most part.

3.  Organized Sports - My children get to participate in organized sports from the age of 4 years old and up.  There is a sports team for each season and if you so chose you can play 2 sports during one season or play on 2 teams during one season.  The kids parents are there at every game cheering the participants on - hit or strike out...Good job!

I, too, had organized sports but didn't start until 4th grade, rode my bike to games and no parents came to cheer us on.  We had LOADS of fun - lots of chatting and laughs.  I can't even remember what positions I played in elementary school.  I do remember it was fun and never a chore to attend.  Oh yeah, and the seasons where only about 8 weeks long and you never played 2 sports at once or on two teams unless you were training for the Olympics. 

4.  Cell Phones - Isn't it great today - kids can get in touch with anyone at anytime and parents can check on their kids.  How wonderful!

When I was a kid, you needed to carry a dime with you in case you needed to make a phone call.  You were "out of touch" from your parents or friends hours or even days at times.  There is something to be said for quiet time.  There are certainly times now I wish I could be "out of touch" even for a few hours.

5.  Constant Safety Net - As parents, we protect our children the best we can starting in infancy.  Put them in car seats, try and eat healthy foods, wear helmets, etc.  Of course we can not think of everything but we have thought of we are on top of it.  Get a bad grade in school, don't worry kids Mom and Dad will call the school and see where the teacher went wrong.

When I was a kid, we did not have car seats (in fact one time my sister and I rode in lawn chairs.  My brother actually had a car that had milk crates for seats).  Not saying we should not use car seats just sharing a funny story.

But, we were able to play outdoors without helmets on every two seconds.  Sometimes I see my children actually playing tag with helmets on if they were just riding their bikes.  Again, I am not saying kids should not wear helmets.

Regarding school, If I did poorly, the teacher was always right and I should have done better.

6.  Internet and Cable Television - At the click of a button kids can find any information or get homework help.  Want to watch a children's television show?  Turn on your tv at anytime and you can find kids shows.

As a child, we pretty much only watched tv Saturday mornings because that was the only time kids tv was on (maybe David and Goliath on Sunday morning if you were desperate).  After school and weekends you played.  You went outside and found friends to hang out with.  If  you needed information, you went to the library and looked it up.  

Listen, don't get me wrong there are lots of conveniences that we have now as parents.  But overall, I do wish my kids sometimes were being raised during a different time.  Here is how I try to make that time:
  • limit television and video game use
  • only play sports during that season
  • eat out about 2x month 
  • let the teacher be right 99% of the time (can't seem to give up that 1%)
  • invite kids over the house for free play time
  • they do ride in car seats and wear helmets (but I do remind them to take them off when playing tag)
  • give them some independence where parents are not present
  • play outdoors 
What do you wish your kids had from when you were younger? 


  1. I love this and completely agree! I think there is always a ripple effect and the more we try to 'fix problems' the more secondary effects there are. I remember growing up and playing Jail Break with friends all evening long until we had to be inside. I had a curfew and knew my boundaries. We also got to work it out amongst ourselves if there were issues. No one wanted to go to our parents if we were having a challenge because they would make it into too big of a deal. I also rode my bike everywhere (without a helmet). It was interesting recently when I was in Paris with my best friend and her kids, she loved going to the playground there because the parents just let the kids play. She didn't have to hover just in case another parent was judging how she was parenting. She actually got to enjoy watching her kids explore! Sorry, I may have switched tangents but I loved this post!

  2. Thanks for the comment Stacy. For some reason it did not post in the comments so I just included it in the post. I just read a few weeks ago an article in the WSJ about french parenting. Interesting read - Why French Parenting is Superior. It makes a good case for letting go of the tight leash on American children, letting kids work it out and setting firm boundaries.

  3. I appreciate your list here...good things to think about.

    The "safety net" is a concern to me and I'm glad you bring it up. Are we creating a generation that is not getting practice on figuring how to keep themselves safe? So many safety solutions are mandated for us now that our kids are getting fewer opportunities to think safety through on their own.

    Current car seat regulations drive me nuts. I personally think the crash hazard from harried mothers trying to ignore screaming, scrunched rear-facing two-year-olds is greater than the benefit of letting them sit facing forward by that age, but that's just me. And I wonder what kind of vascular diseases of the legs are going to be traceable back to the dangling legs of 12-year-olds (many approaching the size of adult drivers, mind you) in booster seats. In fifty years, we may look back and realize this mandated practice wasn't necessarily as good as we thought.

    While I'm not saying we should let kids play "log roll" in the back of the station wagon like my brother and I did as kids (though it sure was fun! Wheeeee!), there is also some room for common sense.

    One more thing I see our kids facing that we didn't was the rush to have it ALL--NOW. We didn't have limosines to the 8th grade dance, fly across the country for a field trip to Washington DC, or expect to purchase a 3000 sq ft house upon college graduation. With the shift in economic times, I think this trend is reversing...and that is a blessing our kids don't yet realize.

  4. LOL about the log rolling in the back of the car! Did the station wagon have wood on the sides? Those were jazzy.

    I agree about the car seats - I am thinking hip problems from the frog legged position. I am not sure people realize how much times some children spend driving.

    Number 7 should be your comment about instant gratification. I agree 100%. Cell phones for elementary school children, Wii, XBox, etc. I think it is healthy for my children to want something therefore they do not have cell phones (yet...) Have to admit it would be never but I may make them pay the monthly bill so their "having it all" comes with a price. I certainly don't have all the answers.