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Here's What Grandparents Really Think About Today's Parenting Trends

The practices and norms around raising kids shift over time, with each generation of parents redefining an age-old role. Sometimes these shifts are based on new research, technologies or cultural trends; other times they’re a response to how the previous generation did things.

Millennials and younger Gen Xers with kids today are generally parenting in a more conscious way than their own parents did. For better or worse, they have a lot more information, advice and opinions at their fingertips than the parents who came before them.

Because each generation has their own perspective on the tough job of raising kids, we asked today’s grandparents in our Facebook community to share their thoughts on current parenting practices. Here’s what they had to say.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

I love the more gentle parenting philosophy that’s popular today. 

“My kids are so invested in their children it’s beautiful! They use gentle parenting techniques, even with challenging personalities; provide them with healthy outlets and nurture their friends as well. They’re 100% better than I was — but I had to do it alone with five children. I’d choose my kid’s parenting over mine, every time!” — Anne W. 

Grandparents share their perspective on current parenting practices.
Grandparents share their perspective on current parenting practices. Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez via Getty Images

However, I worry some parents today are too permissive with their kids.

“People who want to do gentle parenting should really educate themselves on how it works if they are trying to achieve the goals of gentle parenting. Frequently people confuse it with permissive parenting.” — Marny H. 

It’s great to see dads stepping up more at home. 

“Likes: My daughter is a hard working, gentle and wonderful mother, and my son-in-law is an amazing hands-on dad that successfully carries half the load. Our collective grandkids would be fortunate if they ALL have this kind of parenting.

Dislikes: Sad Beige Parenting.” — Angela A. 

I’m envious of the conveniences of modern parenting.

“Just wish Amazon was a thing back then. Delivery of diapers alone would have made me continually grateful.” — Susan S.

It’s surprising to me how many kids can’t behave in a restaurant. 

“Really liking most of the trends and hope I live long enough to see how these littles fare in adulthood. I do notice the majority of today’s children aren’t emotionally regulated enough to use passable manners in restaurants, and I don’t understand what that’s about.” — Ream J. 

I think parents should just let their kids be kids. 

“The race to nowhere has made kids anxious. I think in general, we need to lay off the elite athletics, private coaches, tutors, college prep classes etc. in adolescence. Let kids go back to enjoying being young and stop focusing on their ‘future’ from the moment they come out the womb.” — Dawn J. 

Excessive screen time concerns me. 

“Too much time spent on the friggin’ phone!” — Susan F. 

I believe some parents could benefit from taking on a more authoritative role. 

“Too many of today’s parents are their children’s ‘friends,’ so no one is in control!” — Marilyn C.

I feel like parents could do more to encourage basic manners. 

“Respect and manners are a big deal for me. Saying thank you is almost non-existent. It’s also very impolite to not return messages. Another pet peeve is being habitually late. Remember, children learn what they live.

Quality time spent with children is also extremely important. Spending time outside rather than inside playing video games is great quality time.” — Karen C.

I’m disheartened by declining vaccination rates among kids.

“Kids need minimum vaccinations unless there is a valid medical reason. Unvaccinated kids are a public health nuisance and a person lacking medical training shouldn’t be making decisions that affect the global population.” — Dawn J.

A number of grandparents remarked on how impressed they are by their adult children's parenting.
A number of grandparents remarked on how impressed they are by their adult children's parenting. Ippei Naoi via Getty Images

I love that my grandkids are encouraged to play outside and read. 

“My kids are doing great, their children play as children should. They are outside, playing in dirt, riding a bike, learning. Inside they play with toys, puzzles games and read, and no technology and little TV.” — Maria L. 

I think more could be done to foster empathy, patience and common sense.

“In a world soon to be dominated by artificial intelligence, where wants are met instantly, we need to step back to be able to teach patience and understanding that survival isn’t just about getting everything you want when you want it. That taking care of your needs and the needs of others is as important. There was a comical post that asked if you were concerned about the increase in artificial intelligence? The reply was I am more concerned in the decrease of real intelligence! We can’t lose creativity, empathy, basic life skills as parents and teachers. There will come time when a child is forced into a situation where common sense is required and you don’t have an app or device.” — Eric R. 

My kids are doing a better job than I did as a parent. 

“My kids are much better parents than I was. They are doing an amazing job.” — Alan A. 

“My daughter and son-in-law have two teenagers. They’ve parented an A+.” — Rose A.

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