Stop Blaming the Mothers

Stop Blaming the Mothers

May 15, 2024

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I’m a little fired up on this one, so get ready! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read a few different headlines that have gotten me really mad, because these articles want to blame parents for pretty much every societal problem. 

As someone who works with moms (and parents in general), I see how much time and energy you are investing, how hard you are working at parenting your kids. 

As a mom, you’re making a lot of decisions about your child’s health and education, making appointments, looking at different schools and figuring out enrichment activities. 

You probably internalize that it is your job to have “good” kids, and it’s easy to view your child and their behavior as a result of the work you are putting in. 

I want to let you know that you don't have to pay attention to these kinds of headlines and articles that want to blame parents. You can just ignore them and move on. 

There are much larger issues at play here than individual parents and families. 

 

The Articles

One of the articles I read on ScaryMommy.com titled A Teacher Says The Problem With Kids Today Is A Parenting Problem shares a statistic that 23% of teachers left their school in 2023. 

In the article, a teacher of 24 years is interviewed and says, “We have raised children to think that they are absolutely the most important person in any room. They are so special that whatever they want to do, or whatever they think, or whatever they say is the most important thing in that moment.”

Throughout the interview, she seems to be holding parents responsible for classroom behavior, but she also goes on to say, “Let’s reevaluate our family cultures, our community cultures, and our larger society cultures.”

Another article from the LA Times, Millennials gave birth to ‘Generation Alpha.’ Are these kids already doomed?, says that this next generation (born between roughly 2010-2024) are already widely being called “feral”, “illiterate”, and “doomed”. The article goes on to blame bad parenting by millennials, tech companies or both.

These kinds of headlines are so discouraging to parents who are doing the best they can, often under really challenging circumstances.

There are so many things outside of our control. For example, tech companies and the decisions that they make or curriculum and use of technology in schools.  

We also had no control over the pandemic. Of course there is going to be an effect and a delay in social and academic skills when much of society was shut down for 18 months during the early years of these kids’ lives. 

Sometimes, no one is truly at fault. It’s just a crappy situation that we’re trying to work through and figure out. And it’s not fair to put that blame on the parents.

 

Screens in Our Society

The LA Times article also references, “the iPad kid is a child who cannot sit through a restaurant meal or a brief ride on the bus or whatever without mainlining YouTube from a tablet in a plastic case,” and wants to blame parents for overusing technology and screens. 

Moms often ask me how much time their kid should have on screens. And while I have so ideas about what I think are healthy rhythms for screens, I can’t make that decision for you. I can’t tell you not to give your kids screen time when you’re busy, overworked and just trying to get dinner on the table. 

It comes down to your capacity. Because when you set limits, you have to also be able to follow through on them. You have to be ready to handle the big feelings that come when it’s time to turn off the device or when you say “no” to more screen time. 

Maybe you need better screen time limits, and it’s also true that there is a ton of programming designed for children, it’s easy to access, parents are overworked and overstressed and screens are used more and more in the classroom, too. 

Ultimately, we cannot take a societal issue and turn it into a personal one, putting the blame on individual parents. 

If we want to change the way our kids use screens and interact with social media, we have to start making pledges as a society to wait to give kids access to these things. 

We don't let kids drive cars until they're 16. We don't let kids drink alcohol till they're 21. We have decided, as a society, that certain things are okay for grown ups and not okay for kids. We have figured out some of these problems in the past. 

Screens are something we’re still figuring out, and some of these choices need to be made at a community or societal level in order to work. 

 

Stop Blaming the Mothers

The issues that we see with kids in school, public settings, etc. are, in my opinion, not really about parenting. They’re more about our society and the situations that we are experiencing as a culture. 

It’s possible that some of these issues come from permissive parenting or an overindulgence in emotional coaching without limits and consequences. 

But I think most of it has to do with the almost existential stress and burnout culture we have in our society. We're saying that the kids aren't okay; the kids are a mess. Well, adults and parents are also a mess. 

We're living in a society that's very overwhelming and puts a lot of pressure on parents to make money and have a nice house and have well-behaved kids and give them all the opportunities so that they can get ahead. We’re worrying about our kids getting into good colleges before they even start preschool.

And this type of parenting we’re doing - emotional coaching our kids while allowing for big feelings and still holding them accountable for their behavior - is challenging. 

We’re in an experimental stage of figuring out how to raise emotionally healthy, responsible kids without fear and shame. It requires a lot more bandwidth than more traditional parenting models. It requires you to be calm, which is hard when you’re overwhelmed and stressed.

In the end, being told it’s your fault is not helpful. 

When you see articles like this and headlines that blame parents, check in with yourself. Ask, “Is this valid? Is this an actual parenting issue? Or is this more of a societal issue that someone is trying to find a scapegoat for?” You do not have to be society's scapegoat.

 

I want to leave you with this: People have been saying this stuff about kids for generations. Every generation is worried about the generation that's coming up, and somehow every generation figures it out, finds their way and becomes responsible. 

Every generation has something to offer and every generation struggles with something. It's not parents' faults. It's the way that society works and moves forward. We can trust the big picture that it will work out. 

Do your best, Mama. That’s all any of us can do. Give yourself lots of compassion and grace and love as you work toward your parenting goals. 

 

You’ll Learn:

  • Why so many of the issues being blamed on parents are really not your fault
  • The difference between individual and societal issues when it comes to raising our kids
  • How to filter which information is helpful or true and when someone is just looking for a scapegoat
  • Why I believe we’re all going to be just fine

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