Parenting in the 21st Century Is Harder than Last Century

It’s technology. Pew Research finds 66% of parents say it is harder to raise a kid today than it was 20 years ago.

“I think that families are more disconnected than ever,” says Randi Rubenstein, a Houston parenting expert and founder of Mastermind Parenting, which guides anxious moms and dads with strong-willed kids. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, every form of technology is omnipresent in today’s kids’ lives. “It’s a challenge. It’s a struggle for parents to monitor and navigate this.”

And those little rugrats don’t come with instruction manuals. They never did, but you can’t ask your mom how she handled digital addiction in a son whose face she rarely saw look up from a screen. No one has ever dealt with the challenges parents face today.

“Connect before you correct,” says Rubenstein. It’s not like telling them to pick clothes up off the floor. Rubenstein has advice. “Going over, sitting next to them, doing some loving touch. Just being there with them. Looking at what’s on their screen. Asking them questions about it. Engaging with them.”

Parents are anxious about the amount of time their children are spending engaged with screens. 71% with a child under 12 are worried and 31% are very worried, with good cause. 50% of teenagers say they feel they are addicted to technology.

39% of parents tell Pew they are very confident and 45% somewhat confident they know the appropriate amount of time their child should spend with a devise but where do you turn for guidance? 55% ask their doctor, 55% ask other parents and 45% ask teachers. Technology is everywhere, especially in a Covid crisis when school is now online. 80% of parents with a child under 11 says their kid engages with screen time and expect those numbers will likely only increase after the pandemic. Parents try to teach their children lessons about consequences but the consequences of exposure to too much technology are only now being fully understood.

We’re all learning together.

photo: getty images

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