Do you ever feel like your parents had an easier time raising children decades ago than you do today? You might not be imagining things. There are quite a few concrete reasons why parenting feels harder today than it did for previous generations. It’s not because you were unprepared for the challenges ahead. It’s because the challenges this generation of parents is facing simply weren’t present for previous generations!
Parenting has never been “easy.” Additionally, there’s no denying that older generations went through difficult trials of their own while raising children. But what circumstances have made modern parenting uniquely hard? Let’s explore a few causes.
Increased Cost of Living
There’s no doubt that the high costs of living these days have placed additional pressure on parents. Many parents wish that one partner could stay home with their children for a few years while the other worked and supported the household. But due to the prices of housing, health insurance, higher education, car payments, and even groceries nowadays, this is rarely an option.
Instead, both parents find themselves working long hours and forking over a large portion of their budget for daycare. Lucky parents may have relatives nearby who offer to watch their kids, but lots of families don’t have this kind of support. The steep cost of living can make parenting feel like an endless grind rather than a journey with ups and downs.
Childhood Has Become “Competitive”
When you were a kid, you might not have participated in many extracurriculars or worried too much about your grades. Childhood felt simple, and you spent most of your time playing with your siblings or friends. But now, it seems like all of your own children’s peers are in countless after-school activities.
Plus, with college admissions and scholarships becoming increasingly competitive, you can’t help but worry about your child’s future prospects. You don’t want to put high expectations on your child at a young age. Yet it’s hard not to feel like childhood itself has become “competitive” because of these economic conditions.
Lack of a “Village”
Maybe you had aunts, uncles, grandparents, older cousins, family friends, and neighbors looking out for you when you were a child. But today, there aren’t many people you trust to watch your own kids. You might live far away from your immediate and extended family. Perhaps you don’t know your neighbors well enough to ask them for babysitting help. Unfortunately, many parents are struggling with the lack of a “village” these days. We were never meant to raise children in isolation. Yet this is the reality for countless families nowadays.
Social Media Comparisons
Every day, you probably spend at least a few minutes scrolling through social media. You see images of parents raising seemingly perfect children who never make messes, throw tantrums, or break the rules. Social media isn’t real life. But despite knowing this, you end up comparing your day-to-day reality to the “highlight reels” posted by other parents.
Judgment from Other Parents
Perhaps you have been the victim of shaming from other parents. With exposure to so much conflicting information about the “right” parenting styles, it can seem like parent shaming is an epidemic these days, especially if you are a mom. People can be quite critical of mothers for completely benign reasons, and this unfair criticism can take its toll on your mental health over time.
Do you feel like you can’t keep up with the demands of modern parenting? Therapy can help you focus on your true priorities. Get in touch with us to learn more about our therapy options for parents.