One of the most burning questions of our time is why has parenting become so hard lately? Has it always been this way or is it a new trend that has become more demanding and tasking? Parenting has indeed become a daunting task, truly our current reality is that the standards of parenting have drastically changed with the turn of the century.
Parenting is a responsibility that goes beyond basically providing shelter, food, clothing, education, and gadgets for our children and has metamorphosed into an absolutely serious obligation that requires our commitment. The most crucial global challenge of parenting which cuts across race, culture, color, religion, or region is to accept that we are facing a world that is very different from the one we grew up in. we as 21centruy parents are burdened with the duty of preparing our children for a world and a future that we know little or nothing about and which is absolutely different from ours in more ways than one.
Parenting they say is personal however, there are several challenges of parenting that have cut across generations and have been there from time immemorial. Examples are parents having high expectations of their children without considering their unique capabilities and God-given talents, Parents refusing to accept their mistakes in front of children or using an authoritative mode of parenting, ever-increasing communication gap between parents and their children, comparison of siblings, etc.
In recent times, the global challenges of parenting are bordered by the intricacies that come with the birth of a new world. The most glaring global challenge is Technology. It is said that the ’90s generation of children was the last generation to play out on the streets. These days children are completely glued to screens, in this current world of a million apps to choose from. This itself puts more pressure by increasing the demands of the 21st-century lifestyle which plays a major role in the strategies employed by parents to keep up with parenting. In this technical age, it’s easy to begin to feel less present and more disconnected as a parent from the people most important to us, our children. Most parents have trouble balancing work and family life and sometimes our time spent on electronics is out of our hands with high demanding jobs that require their use. The same goes for our children. In as much as technology empowers them, it also threatens their morality, it increases distraction and creates a false sense of satisfaction and unhealthy self-esteem which has proven to be the gateway to social vices and devastating habits in the life of young people in this present age and time.
Smartphones and other technologically enhanced devices have posed a huge challenge for parents all over the world especially when measures are not put in place and parents are unable to track the activities of their children.. Keeping children off gadgets is another ripple effect of the aforementioned which also leads to limited outdoor activities. It requires intentional parenting to consciously enforce rules that encompass a healthy lifestyle for your children to go out to play rather than play games on their devices almost all the time. Moreover, the physical and motor skills development suffers when children don’t get ample movement while playing outside.
In recent times, more children are increasingly becoming overweight and this may be part of the reason. frequent screen exposure has also been said to be the main cause of the rising rate of eyesight issues in children. If the screen exposure is not cut down or monitored, It will not only have a very bad impact on the physical, as well as mental development of children, a child’s development, may be endangered by putting him or her in harm’s way.
Exposure to inappropriate content through media and technology is making parenting more and more difficult globally as it eats up the moral fiber of our children and causes the deterioration of ethical values due to indecent exposure.
Another salient challenge that technology has posed to too many parents is the widening of the communication gap in homes. As children use screens most of the time, they will have limited experience of proper interaction and communication not only with family members but also with other humans when they grow up, which can lead to a loss of confidence.
There are a lot of changes seen in the way societies have evolved today, and so has parenting evolved to match these times and the seasons. As parents, the ball is in our court to keep inspiring, supporting, and teaching them regardless of the demands of thir present world. The benefits of good technology are quite easy to interpret, but we as parents must work with the realization that we are yet to be well equipped to completely curb the negatives attached to this technology.
There are no superpowers or quick-fix energy drinks to fix our 21st-century parenting skills. According to John Van Epp, Author, President, and Founder of Love Thinks “We must begin balancing technology and real-time with loved ones, we can’t let technology define us. Advances in technology can never replace gains in family interactions.”
Parenting can actually be studied but is not just a course of study, it is a skill you can improve upon however it is not a skill-training program; it involves the art of commitment but it is not just an art, and it is the business of nurturing from birth to adulthood of our young yet it is not a business. For us to be able to overcome this magnanimous global challenge of parenting, we must be intentional and attentive to the psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of our children. We must gift them with character and personality first then gadgets, cars, currency, and properties may follow. In as much as we are already managing so much in a time-pressed schedule, we should also find time to teach our children the fundamental moral values to survive as adults in an ever-changing world. We must prioritize family moments and bridge the communication gap. We must pay the price especially when they are young so that as they grow older, we will become happier parents because it is only happy parents that can promise the world a happy generation in time to come.
Dr. Lynn Ujiagbe
Founder- The Learnzone Foundation, Nigeria