As parents, we get to see first hand the ways society changes over time in regards to kids. Of course the obvious things like technology and music are ever evolving, but when you have kids, you get to see up close the differences in your childhood compared to the way kids are growing up today. This is to be expected, though, as each generation will change, evolve, and become unique in its own right.
And that whole changing society thing plays a huge role in how you raise your children, regardless of the way you were brought up yourself. While once before, there was just parenting in a right way or a wrong way, now things are just a bit more complicated. You've got your helicopter parents who are all about keeping a super close eye on their kids. Then, there are the gentle parenting types who'd rather talk it out than raise their voices.
As parents, most of us have figured out that there's no one right method of bringing up kids, which is just one contributing factor to the difference in your childhood vs. your kids' today. Because yes, it goes far beyond the Discman vs. the iPod, or hair crimpers vs. flat irons. But those things do still matter in the scheme of things, don't get us wrong. They're the things that date us as parents, so how could we ever forget, right?
Let's take a (somewhat depressing) trip down memory lane and look at the differences in your childhood and those of kids today.
15 Getting A Hold Of Friends
Then: When you were a kid and wanted to contact your friends or ask them to "come out and play," you probably either walked or rode your bike over to their house to talk to them in person. That's right, in person. As in, real live conversations.
Now: These days, though, when kids want to talk to their friends about anything really, their phones are their saviors. And it doesn't stop at simple texting anymore. Instead, they'll take to Snapchat to get a hold of their friends.
14 Watching TV
Then: If you weren't able to watch your Saturday morning cartoons or Friday night programs, then you were pretty much out of luck. Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to have some blank VHS tapes and a VCR so your parents could record them for you.
Now: If you think kids are spoiled with the advent of the glorious DVR or the many streaming services, then you're probably right. Then again, who isn't these days, right? But instead of sitting in front of the TV on a Friday night for some good ole TGIF, kids today are binging on Netflix shows and downloading the ones they miss out on.
Then: Whether or not you agree with it now or had to endure it as a kid, spanking was very much a discipline staple when you were a kid.
Now: Of course it's hard to say what is best for you and your kids, but these days, punishments are definitely more on the verbal side, promoting talking out issues rather than resorting to slaps on the wrists.
Then: Your parents had absolutely no problem relying on the square pizzas and dry soft pretzels of school lunches, and hey, that's not necessarily the worst thing. Was it the healthiest thing? Probably not.
Now: Everyone has become collectively more health-conscious. And if you as a parent aren't jumping on that bandwagon yet, your foodie-in-the-making kid probably is.
11 Time With Family
Then: When you were a kid, it was all about TGIF on Friday nights. Sitting down to enjoy brand new episodes of your favorite TV shows was a regular occurrence in your home.
Now: Family time these days consists more of everyone's faces in their phones rather than enjoying a Friday night TV show or movie. Is this the best thing for family time? Probably not, but at least you're doing it together, right?
Then: When you were a kid, your curfew was probably something along the lines of being aware of when the street lights came on. Or, at the very least, an hour past sun down would find you riding your Huffy home.
Now: You'd probably rather your kid wasn't out anywhere once night falls, let alone outside, but there's probably little to do about that once your kid hits a certain age. Their curfew also involves being in regular contact with you via text messages in order to stay abreast of what they're doing and summon them home as soon as you need to.
9 Christmas And Other Holidays
Then: Christmas morning brought lots of presents, sure, but not the mounds of gifts that parents of today are insistent on supplying their kids with. Instead, you were gifted with one or two large, special gifts, and a few smaller ones.
Now: Parents of today have a strange shared desire to outdo and outshine each other with social media photos of their completed Christmas tree surrounded by piles of presents.
Then: When we were kids, the worries about leaving us home alone from around the age of 10 were pretty scarce. So it wasn't unusual at all to find yourself home alone after school, able to look after yourself for a couple of short hours.
Now: Sadly, there are far too many worries these days to risk leaving non-teens home alone. We aren't saying that you should cottle any of your pre-pubescent kids, but we're well aware of the very real scares that lead you to want to keep your little ones close and well supervised.
7 Playing Outside
Then: Back in "the day", playing outside meant partaking in a rousing game of night time tag in the summer, or street hockey any other time. It also meant actually enjoying the outdoors because there were a lot less handheld electronics to distract you.
Now: It wouldn't be the most surprising thing to hear that you have to bribe your kids to get them to go outside. And even then, they may insist on keeping their faces close to a phone or tablet screen. Sad, we know.
6 Seeing Extended Family
Then: When you were a kid, you probably had/got to see your grandparents every week for an obligatory dinner. Not that you dreaded those meals, since your grandparents also probably made meals of several courses that your parents never could compared to.
Now: Living in a much busier world now, you probably can't get to a set weekly dinner with your parents, so your kids are enjoying them a couple of times per month and during the holidays.
5 Getting The News
Then: On any given Sunday, we could be found puling the comics section from the newspaper and devouring every strip. Because, comedy, right? And getting in some of that weekly reading that your teacher always insisted on.
Now: Your kids (and even you) likely find your news these days in your Facebook feed or on sites like Reddit or Buzzfeed. Basically, anywhere but the actual news.
4 Video Games
Then: The most exciting games when you were a kid were probably The Oregon Trail or Super Mario Bros. And your console of choice? Your Super Nintendo - not that you had many choices to begin with.
Now: You name it, you can get your hands on it. Kids today get to play video games on their electronic devices, on the Nintendo Wii, or online via PlayStation or Xbox.
3 Slang Terms
Then: You might be really dating yourself if you admit to using words like "wack," "boss," or "tight" as a kid, but different slang pops up in each generation, and unfortunately, for most of us, these were words we adopted into our daily vocabularies.
Now: Kids are now running around spouting about "YOLO" or things being "on fleek," and you're absolutely right to wrinkle your brows and scrunch up your nose at these new slang terms. Then again, our parents probably did the same when we were kids. It's a never ending circle.
Then: We were allowed to get play dirty, get dirty, and go 20 minutes without applying hand sanitizer. Of course being clean is in correlation with your health, but when you're a kid, keeping neat and squeaky clean can become a daunting chore.
Now: Parents today are all about keeping their supply of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes and soap heavily stocked. As parents, we know that such behavior is to keep their kids clean and, therefore, healthy, but at some point it just becomes overkill.
1 Traditional Families
Then: 20 or so years ago there were certainly blended families, as well as same sex couples trying hard to be able to raise families of their own. But the most common "traditional" family either included a mother and a father or just one of those in a single parent household. This was not the age of June and Ward Cleaver, but it also wasn't the most open minded and sensitive time either.
Now: As your kids grow up, they are seeing the reality of all different sorts of families that are all traditional in their own right. No longer is it necessary to almost force yourself to adhere to the "perfect" family image of two parents, 2.5 kids, and a house in the suburbs. Instead, it's (finally) all about being who you really are and doing what is best for the happiness of you and your kids. Of course LGBT couples have a long road ahead of them, as just 115,000 of the 594,000 households in the U.S. have children, and like many of us, they wish for that number to rise.