Throwback Parenting: What to Keep and What to Stop from Your Own Childhood

Raising children has never been easy, but as a parent today, it sure seems like things were less complicated and more relaxed when we were kids. Dr. Google, mom-shaming blogs, and constantly changing recommendations on when your child should read, be left home alone, or have a smartphone can be so overwhelming. You may be tempted to try the parenting ways of olde, a throwback parenting style. But simpler isn't always easier — or better.

Image via Flickr/ David Zellaby

Was It Really Better Back in the Day?

Just about every generation thinks their childhood was the best. So if you're thinking about adopting a throwback parenting style, you'll want to take an honest look at the pros and cons of yours. Sometimes it just seems like things were better and simpler back then. Probably because you didn't have the responsibilities and worries that come with adulthood. It seems like a fun, carefree time because it was … For you. Your parents may think differently. The truth is parenting is never easy, and there may be some challenges you just can't avoid entirely.

Recreating the Best Parts of Your Childhood

Think about what your favorite memories and experiences were from your childhood. Maybe you really loved Saturday morning cartoons or still remember playing in the summer rain. These types of things are great to bring to your own parenting style and are easy to incorporate into today's culture. You could listen to favorite oldies tunes every morning before taking the kids to school. Or plan an all-day pajama day every other Saturday. Sometimes the best things are the smallest. And one day your children can keep these traditions alive with their own kids.

If it's the overall more relaxed vibe of decades past that you want to bring to your parenting, that works too. Limiting extracurricular activities in favor of more unstructured play time or giving your kids a little extra freedom to roam can give you what you're looking for. 

{ MORE: Living in an Era of Disrespect: Are We Raising Our Kids the Right Way? }

Parenting Now Vs. Then

Time marches on, and our society and culture continue to evolve and change. It's just not realistic to think that you'll be able to recreate your childhood exactly. Unless you're going off-grid or living in a commune — which some people do choose to do — you're going to have to figure out a way to mesh the throwback parenting style with modern society. As a parent, it's important to be familiar with things like technology's influence on children's lives and the differences that come from growing up with more global awareness. You may be able to say no cell phones till 16. But what are you going to do when your 10-year-old brings home an iPad from school for a project?

As with anything else in life, the best method is probably a middle-of-the-road approach. Try to bring all the fun and nostalgia from your childhood into parenting strategies that work for today's world.

How do you feel about a throwback parenting style?

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Throwback Parenting: What to Keep and What to Stop from Your Own Childhood

Katelynne has been trying to get the hang of this raising kids thing since 2007 but spends most of her time wondering who stole her copy of Parenting 101. When she’s not playing referee for her two children or writing all the words, she fantasizes about a full night’s sleep, uninterrupted showers, and triple venti caramel macchiatos with coconut milk. ... More

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