There comes a time in every parent's life, when he or she realizes they start sounding like an old person. It's a sobering moment. One when you hear yourself talking about "back in my day" or "when I was your age" and you begin the long and arduous path of beating a dead horse with tidbits of what made your generation better than your children's.
No, your parental intelligence did not take a hit. You are simply seeing the world from the perspective of memory. Things are probably just as scary and confusing today as they were for your parents. Younger parents today are likely the tail end of Generation X or the early wave of Millennials. As a kid, you probably grew up with Where in the World is Carmen San Diego on the one shared computer in your classroom. Your early age experience with technology was probably watching your dad attempt to set up the VCR or using floppy disks to save term papers.
As technology improves, your child's exposure to the outside world becomes greater. The level of exposure you knew, which was probably cable TV and the beginnings of the internet, has now been supplanted by smart phones, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Which means that your son or daughter's peer group has gone global, whereas yours was probably just the kids in your school.
That is a lot of information for a parent, much less a child, to wrap their mind around, especially when it comes to cyberbullying, sexting and the threat of online predators. In many ways, you have become more diligent, more defensive against what your kids are exposed to. The ease of accessing information that they might not have the maturity to deal with mentally or emotionally is as simple as one tap on their iPhone screen.
The old saying of "work smarter, not harder" applies to parenting too. Just as your parents struggled with keeping up with the trends, and interfering in your life, you might feel a little anachronistic, clinging onto what you remember from your childhood. Times are different, which means that as a parent, you need to evolve and adapt to the world your kids are experiencing. These "get off my lawn" moments are just when the information that you have gathered clashes with how things have changed. It's perfectly natural, but it doesn't have to be limiting.
There were a lot of good things about your past and growing up, but your memory is not the gold standard, anymore than it was for your parents' childhood. Keeping yourself informed and tolerant of how things have changed is key. In many ways, kids today are more responsible, and more savvy when it comes to relating with people outside of their immediate vicinity. They are perhaps one of the more worldly generations, due to their exposure to social media. Your children are far from ignorant. In many ways, they are probably overloaded with information, and it is up to you to help them make better decisions with this in mind. Use that to your advantage. Communicate with them. Right now, it's probably one of the things they excel at doing more than any other generation to come before them.
If you are different now than you were as a kid, how can you expect the world to be the same place it was back then? It changes, and with it, every generation faces different challenges. Problems that were solved by those who came before, and new ones that are the product of invention. Just remember, as capable, intelligent, and compassionate parents, we have the tools to meet any challenge head on.
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