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Changing Times: 1970s Kids vs 2000s Kids Part 2


Continuing from Part 1, things have certainly changed on the aspect of parenting & how kids behave once we have passed the new millennium. In the age of information, the conventional method of parenting had altered to a large extent. Infographic source:

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Thanks for my parents who pushed us very hard on education, all of us completed university degree and despite of a rough start on our careers, things were indeed better for our kids compared. One thing for start, financially we are better off so there is some of luxury that we could afford to our kids compared to the time when we were kids.

When I was a small kid, the whole family shared 1 room but things have changed – now my son has a room for himself. This leads to some sense of independence as the responsibility to arrange his personal items, the cleanliness of the room and managing his personal space falls on him. So he has to take extra effort to keep his room clean and well arranged – a task that sometimes we as parents have to keep one eyes closed because we all know how well a bachelor’s room would be. It takes several hundred reminders before the reminder is acknowledged.

The problem of kids having their own personal room is when we need them to come down. They often lock / close the door, put on their headphones and focus on their computer. This leaves the parents who are downstairs to keep shouting to call to come down. It takes probably 5-6 calls before we get a response from our kids or if none, forcing us to go up to their rooms and call them almost face to face.

The worse is their response – after you had shouted their names 5-6 times, getting no response, walking up angrily to their room, opening the door to find them on their headphone & on their computer and called them rather loudly – they turn around rather casually and ask “you called?”

Another problem of kids having their own personal room is that we will not know what time they actually go to bed. We do check on them before we go to bed ourselves – their room lights will be off and they will be soundly asleep in their beds. But after 1-2 hours, you sneak out and check on them, the room lights will be on and they would be busy on the phone or computer. This leads to them feely sleepy & tired in the morning when it comes to waking up to go to school.

When it comes to discipline, we have moved “south” when it comes to the idea of using the cane or other physical punishment. When my son was still small, he was a handful and often drives my wife up the wall. He was not naughty but simply bursting with energy that we were unable to handle (we learned to manage later). And one day I lost my temper and beat him to get him to sit still – immediately I regretted my action and promised myself not to raise my hands on my children.

Instead of hands or the cane, thereafter I only raise my voice when the kids misbehaved or not following our instructions – my kids called it “Appa’s Voice” or “Dad’s Voice” – and it has been rather effective over the years although there are times when my kids would try to argue / negotiate / explain on their behaviour. On rare occasions, when I really to beat the kids, I would swing my hand fast & firm but upon reaching their body, touch them like feather.

Maybe because of this, my kids tend to get away with anything! Of course, if they escape my punishments, they will caught by my wife who still practices old school of disciplining children.

Unlike my childhood days, I lost control of the television the day my son celebrated his 1st year birthday – he controls the remote (except on the rare occasions when my elderly relatives visits us), the spot that I used to sit to watch my favourite programs and of course the channels to watch (which mostly kiddies shows – still remember Tiny Planets?). Nowadays, this has been taken over by his sister but I try to regain my control of television whenever possible. Let me tell you upfront – it is a losing war.

Let’s move on to the games that kids play these days – long gone when we can allow our kids in the open unsupervised. The sheer incident of kids going missing is very worrying and we do not want our kids to end up as the next one missing. Considering the safety of the neighbourhood these days and most of us working till late evening, it is much better to keep our kids in-door.

This means they have to resort to find something indoor to keep themselves occupied and this leaves little choice at home. So they turn to the one that very engaging, entertaining and keep their attention high – computer games or smartphone based games. The second attraction would be watching the television. So understandably kids these days puts on more weight, sweat less (except in schools) and less “active”.

In the new millennium, given information is readily available at the press of the button, gone the days when you can bull-shit your children. No longer can you cook up some fictitious story to justify your decision or instruction to your kids. They often double check using Google Search.

This is why when my kids were growing up and they start asking why this, why that, we did not just shut them down with some grandmother stories or just tell them to keep quiet. I instead open up my computer, start searching on the topic and start explaining the details and the reasons behind it. Sometimes we use Youtube for the explanation visually – for example to show how things were made.

This is one reason why we allow our kids to sit in whenever we adults have serious discussion on issues. It helps them to keep things in perspective and be more open minded as they are opened to different views.

And finally when it comes to food, the new age kids are more exposed to outside food compared home cooked food and for a simple reasons – both parents are too busy with work and less time to focus on cooking something at home (unless it is the weekends). Further with delivery services like Food Panda, it is a matter of adding another RM3-RM5 to get hot cooked food delivered to your door steps.

Further the cost of living has gone up so much that the prices of vegetables & meat had sky-rocketed that sometimes it is cheaper to buy cooked food from outside (cheaper because of their scale of purchase) than cook the same at home. Of course getting issue of quality and health of the outside food is another consideration.

Fast food is almost a norm including exotic ones like sushi where my kids took eating raw fish like pros from Day 1. When we are lost on what to eat for dinner, the easiest choice would be to order pizza from their smartphone app and 10-15 minutes later, drive to the nearby restaurant to pick them up (it is cheaper to pick up compared to getting it delivered) – just double check the content before leaving the restaurant, to avoid mishaps like this instance when we got the beef pizza!

Things have certainly changed and we parents have to adapt the changes as well

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