Parenting 2017 and Beyond

I suppose I can blame the ignorance of youth. When deciding when and if to have children, it was always based on my age, and where I would be in life. I didn’t really factor in world events. As anyone who has children knows, your world view completely changes. I think about just how much change has happened in world in terms of social views, technology and I can’t help but think just how much is going to happen between now and when James is 20, in 2037.

It hurts to write that, makes me feel old. More than anything, I want my child to be a happy, but I want him to be a good person. I think any parent really struggles with how to navigate being there for their children but without stifling them. So that they are free to make their own mistakes. I think it’s going to be exceedingly difficult. I have a nurturing nature and stepping back and letting my child make mistakes, possibly fail and hopefully learn…well I get choked up thinking about it now. However it is so important that I let him do it on his own. I just have yet to reconcile how to do this, in a way that lets my child know, I’m there for them but I’m not their get out of jail free card. (I really hope that situation never come to fruition.)

Factor in, social media, cellphones, (Yes, I still call them cellphones!). It becomes more exceedingly difficult to allow them freedom of expression but ensuring that they are in fact doing the right things. Technology nowadays is developing so quickly, that at times, even I feel left behind. For example, my sister is 13 years younger and at times, the differences between us feel more than generational, it feels like several generations. My husband and I have talked about this, and the one thing I plan to do my best to instil in my child is that if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t put it on social media.

There is of course, the peer pressure. While privileged to grow up in Canada, we are a consumerist society and kids judge each other on the haves and have nots. This is another area, where I feel I will struggle. I grew up dirt poor. I’ve worked hard and gotten to a comfortable place and I feel blessed and grateful each and every day. But this instilled a deep need to provide my children with everything I did not have. However, not everything is necessary to provide for a child. (I’m talking about technology again.) I will have to stand firm and limit my child, for the greater good and that will be very hard for me to do, but very necessary.

Our world today is so polarized, in some respects, I think we’re further apart then we’ve ever been. I’m sure every generation goes through this when they have children, trying to navigate a changing world from the one they knew. My world has changed from what I knew and now I must figure out how to shape and guide a human being to be his best possible self in a world going through so much change and upheaval. I picked an interesting time to have a kid, good luck to us both.

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