Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook

Find out more

Not to offend anyone but why is it that older generation seem to be more prone to harsher parenting?

(37 Posts)
crunchymummy Wed 06-Apr-16 18:05:37

Really don't mean to offend anyone but recently have noticed that DM (45) and DMIL (65+) are much more happy to let 11 week DS cry and seem to think that BF and co-sleep is "spoiling him" - especially DMIL, she also thinks that BLW is a load of rubbish and babies have to be in a strict routine ect you get the idea... is it the older generation that seem to have this approach or is it just my narrow minded personal experience that leads me to think this?

LineyReborn Wed 06-Apr-16 18:08:17

45 is the older generation?? Ok...

I'm 50something and was/am a bit of a hippy parent tbh.

crunchymummy Wed 06-Apr-16 18:10:19

Liney sorry I didn't mean it to sound like that, I was more referring to MIL in my post who is 65+, my own mother is a bit more moderate and I wouldn't consider her in "older generation" group at all smile

T0R1 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:11:14

I don't think it's necessarily a generational thing. I think that there's always different camps of thought on child rearing and it's a bit cyclical. You'll notice the people, who disagree more than the people who agree. That's human nature. Just do what you think is right and try not to get upset. If you're creating a well rounded child no one can be unhappy with you for that.

Amberlight123 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:15:23

I've definitely noticed the older generation are very partial to a 'good smack', but I think they take it too far. Stories I've heard from my mil About what she used to do are awful and it hasn't made her kids any better people really, but it's clearly scarred her daughter who would bring up the stories at family bbqs when she was drunk hmm

The thing is kids today are definitely naughtier which I believe a lot of that is down to all these 'human rights' people have. I.e banning the cane and smacking in schools. My mum told me you wouldn't dare play up in school as you would get caned. Do I think that is right? No. But kids back then weren't little shits. Well not all of them anyway grin. I just think the olden way lead people to become more strict at home as well.

With co sleeping that's not spoiling your baby, what do they think will happen? Baby will become a brat? They are just set in their ways.

My mum is totally against blw and I am quite with her on some points. When I was a kid, 28 years ago, my mum fed me sloppy almost puréed food until about 8 months and then she started to mash it until I at least had a few teeth. She said by the time I was 14 months I just started to eat carrots and pieces of fruit. I haven't grown up being unable to chew, nor am I a fussy eater. I eat literally everything, not fussy at all!

Arfarfanarf Wed 06-Apr-16 18:18:24

There have always been people who do routine and people who don't. Going back not just to your mum and mother in law but for ever!

But really, when looking at what people who have adult offspring say, you have to consider that many people remember what was the advice they got when their children were young.

When your children have children of their own, you will find that you remember how you did things and will probably feel that the way you did things had merit. Perhaps 'blw' will have been replaced with some other form of weaning, yet maybe you will talk about how you did things and how great you found it. Maybe studies will have shown something amazing about a 4 hourly routine but you will say to your child, well, doing it on demand never did you any harm.

It's not always that easy to take everything you did raising your own children, take everything the midwives and health visitors told you was right, and chuck it all in the bin because now everyone's changed their minds and decided you should do everything differently. Maybe you feel it's actually saying that you were a bit shit and perhaps you feel challenged and criticised.

In an ideal world everyone would keep totally up to date with each and every change in recommendations and keep chucking out the old book and keep buying the new one, but reality is that often people feel like what they did when theirs were babies worked and was the right thing for them and when they advise it is because they are trying to help.

Perhaps instead of getting cross about it just say well, current research suggests this and that and that's what we're going with - because at the end of the day, they do have to respect the fact that it is up to the parent how they do things.

doubleclaptrap Wed 06-Apr-16 18:20:41

This may be related to whoever was the childrearing guru of their day. For my DM it was Dr Spock - who said that you should leave children to cry, for instance.

fusionconfusion Wed 06-Apr-16 19:24:41

I have heard it's related to trauma. Most of that generation would have had parents who were within a generation of the war and the horrors of that. That really activates the threat/anger system and for a whole variety of reasons reduces availability for affiliation and soothing of the (fairly incessant) demands of very young children.

Routine is one thing but when people are being incredibly harsh - smacking, belittling, shaming, aggression - this is more indicative of chronic stress/poverty/trauma than a "lifestyle choice". I think most of us forget just how horrific conditions were across a lot of societies in Europe when people of that generation and certainly their parents, were young (see "Call the Midwife" etc)

fusionconfusion Wed 06-Apr-16 19:26:47

(Obviously probably applies to dads, too - but mothers are more researched).

Rosa Wed 06-Apr-16 19:29:54

Thanks for that - older generation ? I am 48 and I diddn't see the war . I did controlled crying when needed and diddn't believe in co sleeping as I was terrified of squashing them. I had a movement monitor in the cot and I diddn't do BLW as my dc got on well with purees and lumpy bits and eating what we had.

My youngest is 7 so not university age yet ( and MN existed when they were born)

fusionconfusion Wed 06-Apr-16 19:42:52

Rosa I wouldn't consider 48 older generation as I am 38 and have three children under 6 - I would think we are talking about women in their 60's + here, and it won't be true of all of any generation, but not all of any generation will have experienced chronic stress/poverty/trauma to be recovering from, either. The epigenetic effects of that sort of thing are supposed to last about three generations though, so many of us who did have parents/grandparents who were very traumatised will feel the fall-out even if we lived in affluence and peace-time.

I also wouldn't term your parenting practices as harsh, Rosa? In the literature, harsh parenting is really about being quite harsh e.g. very aggressively shaming, belittling, smacking etc.

LineyReborn Wed 06-Apr-16 19:47:00

My father and his sister were born within two years of each other in the late 1920s / early 1930s. Their father was wounded in WW1.

They had completely different parenting styles.

DrRanjsRightEyebrow Wed 06-Apr-16 19:54:01

Id say those born in the 30's-50's did have a stricter method of parenting as that was the advice back then before the research that has been carried out more recently which has shaped different, more gentle methods of parenting. And no-one likes to be told the way they raised their children is 'wrong' so they will stick to their guns on it now.

fusionconfusion Wed 06-Apr-16 19:55:01

They may have had very different parenting, too. Having the same parents doesn't really guarantee you will be parented similarly to one another and of course there are lots of other factors that impact on parenting in the context of someone's overall learning history and choices - but I don't think anyone actually chooses to be harsh, shaming, smacking etc because it feels good. It happens when people find life itself harsh, for one reason or another. And this would have been more prevalent in the post-war years for many.

LineyReborn Wed 06-Apr-16 21:26:24

Yes, fair point, and my mother and father parented me and my (many) siblings differently.

corythatwas Thu 07-Apr-16 10:14:55

Can't see why BLW has to be a sign of gentle parenting, though; isn't it just the fashion of the moment? My mother was a wonderfully tender parent, have beautiful photos of her spoon-feeding us; we were clearly having lots of fun. I did a bit of both, found spon-feeding a great situation to bond and be playful (that and nappy changing).

Co-sleeping is great if it works for you; doesn't with all babies, But for a long time was associated with fears of SIDs.

What I did find was that I had more time to not be in a routine with my first child; I don't suppose she was ever left to cry for 5 minutes. With a second child, you have to make split-second decisions as to who needs you most, and that is usually going to be the older child who has the potential to get into more serious trouble,

What you remember afterwards is the kind of parent you were at the end of your parenting career, not at the beginning.

NickyEds Thu 07-Apr-16 18:22:01

It's also worth remembering that running a home was more time consuming. My MIL has been on at me about potty training ds because all three of hers were trained at 2. However she had to hand wash and stove top boil all of their nappies then line dry them or have them round the fire so I can see that her motivation was more than mine. She sounds much more strict than my parents, four hours between feeds, weaning at 8 weeks etc . My parent were hippies and my dad says that me and my sister were never left to cry so it probably varied from parent to parent then as now.

bluespiral Thu 07-Apr-16 18:24:36

DM is in her mid 60s and her bible was Penelope Leach with us, very baby centric.

BertrandRussell Thu 07-Apr-16 18:30:31

Yes, those permissive 60s and 70s parents with their Dr Spocks and their Penelope Leaches and their Attachment Parenting..........Real spare the rod and spoil the child types......hmm

Remind me when Controlled Crying become a thing?

Sparklycat Thu 07-Apr-16 18:33:04

Im not sure if it's a generation thing at all, more of a who you are thing. I really like stricter parenting and think if more people used it then the behaviour of the younger generation might be better. I'm 30s and just as strict as my mum (60s) was on me, it's working very well for us and nursery/strangers etc comment on DDs politeness and good behaviour a lot.

AnnieOnnieMouse Thu 07-Apr-16 18:33:47

It's how the parents of the day were told to bring up their children. Back then, there weren't the chat forums, etc to discuss different ways of doing things. Mums weren't second guessing themselves so much. As NickyEds says, the demands were different - laundry more difficult, and in many ways, life more harsh - caning in schools and brutality in the army were expected parts of life.
Also, it may be relevant that babies, although, of course mainly much loved, were a consequence of getting married, rather than a choice, which is more likely these days. I think it was Princess Anne who said that pregnancy was an occupational hazard of being married. As with everything, parenting evolves.

TheSolitaryWanderer Thu 07-Apr-16 18:45:37

I agree that it does depend largely on what the parenting gurus of the moment were, how your parents parented you and how much you fussed and flapped and bothered what others thought of you as a parent.
Or if you just pottered along with what suited you and your baby; my gurus were Leach and Kitzinger and my mother was very much of the opinion that you and the baby should be as happy and comfortable as possible. She didn't interfere or offer negative opinions, she never has. And for my dad, babies are women's business and he didn't think he was qualified to question.
I'm in my late 50s, so yes, I'd say it's your 'narrow minded personal experience'

DrWhy Thu 07-Apr-16 18:45:54

My mum is 66 and had me and my sister over 30 years ago. I am now pregnant and after reading too much MN was really worried she was going to keep telling me her way was better, all this new advice is nonsense and so on.
In reality she has said that I should just enjoy my baby, cuddle them and carry them if I want to and that a co-sleeping crib sounds like a brilliant idea! She said she was constantly told that she had to put the baby down, put it in its own room straight away and it was awful - I was a fussy baby that cried a lot and didn't sleep well and having to keep putting me down to cry nearly broke her - that said, I seem to have come through unscathed.
So, not all the 'older generation' this the newer ideas are daft, some are clearly relived things have changed!
That said, when we get to the toddler stage I suspect she will be pretty strict!

SecretWitch Thu 07-Apr-16 18:50:31

My parents both born in 1942 were affectionate, compassionate and warm parents. They never raised a hand or voice to their children. I am much stricter than they ever were. My mother often comments on the level discipline and the expectations we have of our children.

BertrandRussell Thu 07-Apr-16 18:53:35

Ah yes. I had forgotten Kitzinger. That Guru of discipline!

Not forgetting Ina May Gaskin............

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now