What’s Old is New Again

Sometimes the idea that what’s old is new again can be positive. But when I listened to the podcast and heard how the alcohol and pot of the 60s and 70s are now favored by teens – well, it wasn’t a good thing. We’re talking about the era I grew up in and yes, teens were doing plenty of experimenting and rebelling. However, it seemed to pass quickly for most and the consequences were not too significant.

Fast forward to today and I can tell you I worry about my grandkids and the choices they may make. The use (and abuse) of alcohol and drugs has been normalized and the behavior often glorified. There does not seem to be any rules to this game, but the consequences are severe.

So where do parents start? This sounds so simple – spend time together as a family. The podcast mentioned the alarming small amount of time dads and moms spend with their children. Time together is how you build affection and trust. This is the basis for communication.

Talk about yourself and the pressures and choices that came at each age. Be honest in sharing your own experiences.  That doesn’t mean I have to tell every little detail about what I did, or didn’t do. But I can share my mistakes and the consequences of my choices.  I can share my values and beliefs.

Allow for some experimentation. What I mean is it is natural for kids to experiment. That is how they learn. As a parent you can allow experimentation in areas where there is little or no long term danger. Let your child experiment with various school activities, part-time jobs, types of hair style and clothing. A wise parent learns when to close her eyes or bite her tongue. I choose to look past the trendy clothes and purple hair. The clothes change and the hair grows out. Instead i focus my energies on open conversations about choices that affect my grandkids’ futures. We may not always agree but they know they can speak freely with me.

Children are growing up in the same world as we adults live in but their experiences are very different.  The one thing I, and you as a parent, can do is be present. Do not turn over all influence to peers and media. Children and teens need and want, support, guidance, and caring from their parents. If that is what’s old is new again, I think it is a very good thing.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

More Posts

Positive Parenting

Researchers have identified several different parenting styles, based on the way parents interact with their children.  Although parents exhibit characteristics from each of these parenting styles, they tend to favor one style over all the rest.

Study after study has found that the style of parenting known as authoritative parenting leads to the most positive outcomes for their child. Children of authoritative parents tend to do better socially and academically, while they also have fewer behavior problems. Below are some key characteristics of authoritative parenting that you can implement with your children.

  • Give appropriate choices. Authoritative parents allow independence by giving choices, but also maintain control by limiting these choices to only appropriate options.
  • Warm but firm. Authoritative parents set limits for their children out of love. They do not set rules “just because.” Instead, they set rules that will keep their children safe.
  • Explanations. Authoritative parents are willing to explain why they have rules. This helps children learn the importance of these rules, and use this information to make good decisions in the future.
  • Listen. Authoritative parents listen to and consider the opinions of their children. They engage in discussions with children. This lets children know they are valued, and also helps them think critically about situations. Ultimately, the responsibility always resides with the parent.

In what ways have you implemented these parenting practices?   How have you been successful?  We encourage you to share your stories with us.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

More Posts