The Trials of the Modern Parent

How does the modern parent survive and even thrive?

So many choices, so little time, so much to contend with, so much to compare to and so much we need to compromise. When it comes to parenting in this ever changing technological society, information overload has led us all to constantly question what it is we are doing and a steady stream of constant media has left us all fearing the worst. When it comes to parenting in the modern era we now have to read the experts, evaluate, give ourselves a performance appraisal, wallow in guilt when we dont get a perfect score, avoid discussing our own test results with friends and colleagues for fear of judgement and constantly come up with newer and more elaborate excuses to justify our childrens “completely out of character” behaviour.  Raising children now is a bit like that milk commercial. Do we feed our children low fat, no fat, soy, goats or organic, too much TV, not enough downtime, not enough structure, too many activities, not enough excercise, too many preservatives, not enough freedom, not part of the decision making process,  too many choices, not enough omega fatty acids, too much salt, not enough boardgames, too much screen time, not enough wooden toys, too much plastic…..and then we wonder why we sometimes feel a little overwhelmed!

Surely our parents didnt have this much to contend with when they brought their newest additions into the fold? They didnt have to limit themselves to allergy free formulas and BPA free bottles. They slathered a dollop of zinc on a red bottom, they sat us unstraped in the back or front seat of the car and a little honey on the dummy was ok wasnt it? I am not suggesting that any of the things we modern parents have to contend with are not valid. For the parent of a severely allergic child, they definately have to be ever vigilant with their childs exposure to certain foods. We certainly have far greater numbers of those suffering from cancers and other newer diseases to make us question the types of  foods and chemicals we are exposing to our children. We have developments in science to tell us of the connections between certain drugs and the unborn foetus. We now have an alarming number of children being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. We have children suiciding over comments posted on the internet and the list goes on. So yes, the modern parent and the modern parents child do have some serious issues to contend with that certainly have an impact on the way we live our lives. What I propose to do with this blog, however, is to help us find a balance.

We still do need information, we still do need support, and we still do need to confidently rely on on our old fashioned gut instinct. Based on tried and true principles of discipline and boundaries, treating others with respect and building resilience ( just to name a few), parents need to take back control, whilst still provide the loving and nurturing environment needed to ensure our children thrive. Through the discussion of various topics, we can hopefully learn to relax, shed some of the guilt, do the best job possible and learn to relish our role as the modern parent.

Please feel free to add any comments on this issue or any other issue you would like discussed.  What do you find are some of the more overwhelming issues facing the modern parent? Look forward to hearing from you…..

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Heather

    Well Martine, You have compelled me to reply despite the fact that I have never been part of a blog or anything much online at all. I, like many others, find parenting a bit of a long term guilt trip at times as I constantly wonder whether I’m doing the right thing. A recent example is the dux magazine-an insert in the local Leader newspaper-where we are bombarded with ads for schools selling themselves from all different angles. What an enormous amount of choice. That’s probably a bit of a consuming one for me at the moment with my eldest in Grade 5. However…’s really all about balance and finding that as a parent. I have certainly regained some of that with part time work I enjoy. What I feel very strongly about is that we should all be supporting each other as parents whatever choices we make. We all face demands but let’s try and look out for each other and not be too quick to make judgements.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Heather, you are right about supporting each other and I think this extends to respecting what is important to different people. In terms of the schooling it is what is important to your family and your child that matters most when choosing a school. I remember when I was studying to be a teacher my lecturer said that when it comes time to choosing a school for your child make sure you take notice of the feeling you get when you are touring that school. In other words our “gut instinct”. It is very easy for schools to put together glossy brochures with wonderful rhetoric. Talk to other students and parents but remember everyones experience can be very different…again this can depend on what is important to the parents. And guilt…well that will always be an ongoing battle and plenty more posts on that later!

  2. Rosie Devereux

    Hi Martine,
    Great to see your energy channelled into technological gossip and banter, all of the important things that need coverage. I just wanted to show my support by replying and telling you that i think this blog is a ripper! I’m at work and will get back to you when I am free.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Rosie..glad you like. Will certainly be grateful for the input from teachers like you…..

  3. Prolatarian


    An excellent and well written blog. Perhaps you could provide us with some thoughts on whether the massive amount that is spent on middle class welfare can be justified?

    Surely when a couple decide to take on the responibility of becoming a parent, the responsibilty is the couples alone?



  4. Annika

    Well done Martine – fantastic material and so great to have my own feelings thoughts and strategies as a parent endorsed and affirmed – looking forward to reading…..

    1. Martine

      Thanks Annika, Glad you are enjoying..

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