“You kids have it so much easier.” Growing up, I frequently heard people older than me say that. I believe it might be true in some cases. I do not think it is true of parenthood though. Parenting today vs. the past is so much more difficult. Why is parenting harder nowadays?
I would say there are five outstanding reasons why. I will list them below.
5 Ways that parenting in today’s society is harder than ever
- Little parental leave
Parental leave is technically different from paternity and maternity leave. It tends to come after maternity and paternity leave. In this section though, I will be referring to maternity leave and paternity leave as parental leave as well.
One of the reasons why parenting today vs. the past is more difficult is because of how little time parents get to spend with their newborn babies. Both paternal and maternal leave allowances are far too short in the majority of countries around the world. While parents are working longer hours than ever, the number of hours of leave available to them has remained the same. Paid leave is also not guaranteed over the entire length of a mother’s leave period in some counties.
In the United States, for example, you are not automatically entitled to pay during your maternity leave. It is the same in Mexico, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The pay rates during maternity leave are also quite low in some countries.
It is also important to note that, on average, the paid leave available to dads is always less than that available to moms. Japan and Korea currently provide the best length of father-specific paid leave – around 12 weeks.
- Low food quality
Food produce is of lower quality now than it used to be. That can be attributed to soil depletion. For example, a study conducted found that between 1975 and 1997, the amount of calcium in 12 vegetables had fallen by 27%. There are fewer nutrients in the food we are eating today and it is only getting worse.
Parents are also spending less time at home. This means that kids are not getting as much access to good, home cooked meals as before. Parents are forced to provide their children with meals made from scratch at home less often because they are simply too busy. Children are eating more fast food and ready meals than ever before. The knock on effect of this is health concerns like diabetes and high cholesterol as well as effects on children’s mental health.
Children now are eating far more processed foods than their parents did growing up. Parenting today vs. the past is far harder because they have to make a real effort to provide healthy foods for their children with very little time and sometimes, very little money too.
- Childcare is expensive
Why is parenting harder nowadays? There is no more village. They say it takes a village to raise a child.
Well, now that village is too busy to help with raising children. Everyone is too busy trying to make a living and survive to have quality time for their own kids, much less other people’s children.
It is now very difficult for parents to get the kind of cheap or free help with their children that they used to. Family relatives are farther away or too busy to help. Parents are forced to send their children to childcare centres or hire professional help in-home to watch their children while going off to work.
This childcare is expensive. Even more so in cities. Parents find that they are spending a large portion of their income on childcare. This all makes parenting today vs. the past a lot more difficult.
- Rising pollution
A lot of people blame capitalism for this. The demand for goods and services has led to high levels of pollution from factories which have to keep up with the high demand.
Population levels continue to increase globally and this puts pressure on the environment as pollution levels also rise.
The effect of riding pollution levels is of course that the environment that our children is inheriting is a lot less clean than ours. Another worrying effect is the health problems that come with pollution.
Asthma and other respiratory diseases are developing more frequently and for younger children than ever.
- Social media
Parenting in today’s society means having to have knowledge of various technological advancements. Social media platforms have given children too much access to the wrong things. There are of course benefits to it. However, there are also many drawbacks. Children are exposed to content that is unsuitable for their age and with many platforms, parents have to be concerned about their kids connecting with people they should not be communicating with.
I put the difficulty of parenting today down to the presence of social media platforms, lack of access to affordable childcare, high pollution levels, falling quality of food stuffs, and also little leave from work available to parents.
The relentlessness of modern parenting definitely puts pressure on parents that they would not have had even as early as ten years ago.