What Are Parents Biggest Issues in 2018?
It is easy to say that everything about 2018 is an issue but perhaps, we need to narrow our focus just a little to the big issues parents face?
There are the obvious parent issues that we all face today- the national mood; money, and anxiety around the future.
However, in speaking with groups of people regarding parent issues, FIVE challenges emerge as specific to our particular time and society.
These FIVE parent issues are outlined below, in no order of importance.
Issue 1: TIME!
Let’s do a little exercise together; I’ll start.
I have 24 hours in my day. How many hours do you have in yours? And your neighbor? And your co-worker-I am making a wild guess that they have 24 hours, too.
And yet, a huge parent issue is a lack of time.
Time is as scarce and as valuable today as any precious metal.
When discussing parent issues in 2018, I am torn on this issue.
On the one hand, the expectations of the workplace for many people mean that they are working long hours to keep the family together.
Many parents do not have a choice regarding placing their child in activities while they work. All they can hope for is to be able to find decent opportunities for their child.
However, for too many that mention this as a parent issue, the absence of time can be a self-inflicted wound.
Just how many activities does your child need to be involved in to be successful? Judo, soccer, baseball, piano, summer camp, fencing, drama, etc.,etc., etc.
Some children spend their lives in structured or organized activities-school, sports, church, the arts, and rarely get to have any downtime.
A child’s involvement in some activities is important to build her motor, artistic, and social skills. However, parents will discover that Time becomes less of an issue if the child is not overscheduled.
Moreover, other parent issues connected to overscheduling, such as eating fast food in bleachers, children that do not get enough sleep, poor nutrition, unrealistic expectations of the child’s performance, and so on, can be improved by the child having more downtime with the family at home.
Of course, for those that see over-scheduling as a parent issue, there’s no particular number of activities for a child; it depends on the child.
For those who see this as a parent issue, the ultimate goal should be to have a mix of activity and unscheduled downtime- it’s important to let kids be a little bored and see what comes out of that boredom.
For those that see time as a parent issue, by cutting back just a little on the commitment to extracurriculars, you will “buy” time and joy for both you and your child that is priceless.
As a general rule, there is a line between a highly enriched, interesting, growth-promoting childhood and an overscheduled childhood where the child is unhappy in his activities.
However, for those that see Time as an important parent issue for them, the unhelpful answer is that nobody knows where that line is–each family needs to decide for itself.
Issue 2: TECHNOLOGY!
The 2nd of the six parent issues for 2018 is technology in all its forms.
It is still not that long ago that we did not have the internet nor cell phones.
However, this is a parent issue because of the speed and the depth of technological change today, with the promise for continued change as we move forward.
Today, most children have computers and cell phones. For parents that are working long hours, the immediacy of contact through voice, text messages and video chat is highly reassuring.
Parents welcome the ease that technology can bring to parent-child communication.
However, the parent issue with technology is that a child’s use of technology may potentially leave them vulnerable to its darker side: cyberbullying; identification fraud, sexting, cheating in school, too much time spent on video games, and so on.
Social media has become a cesspit of bullying and antisocial behavior where adults and children alike become ensnared in its tentacles.
The parent issue for many is that technology usage raises issues that are both a matter of respect and privacy/safety.
If you do not share this view of technology as a parent issue, try typing in the word SEX on your child’s phone and see what comes up!
At Confident Parenting, we can work with those that regard this as a parent issue by helping them create a family plan for technology safety.
Issue 3: CULTURE!
The 3rd major parent issue of 2018 is concern about our culture.
At some stage, generally, once school begins, parents begin to realize that they are in competition with their child’s peers for their character, values, and actions.
This becomes a bigger parent issue as the children grow older, and the tug of the child to create his own identity grows stronger.
If parents are determined, they can blunt, but not destroy the influence of peers. The smart parent learns to co-op the peers, and to make them allies.
The fear for many that makes this a major parent issue is the fact that, despite their best efforts, even “good” kids may fall prey to the negative culture clique that is dominated by bullying and poor choices.
At Confident Parenting we believe that little has changed in our bullying culture, other than greater awareness of it as a major parent issue.
The backdrop to this parent issue is, of course, the increasingly negative culture that children confront each day in print, on TV, and especially over the web.
This is an exhausting, never-ending battle that parents are likely to ultimately lose. The best that parents can hope for is to delay their child’s exposure for as long as possible, and to provide counter-cultural role models and experiences, such as the scouts, art classes, theater, etc.
At Confident Parenting, we believe that parents cannot leave their child’s healthy growth to chance, and that developing a plan to best ensure their child’s safety is vitally important.
Issue 4: EDUCATION!
The 4th parent issue of 2018 is that of education.
As a parent issue, education continues to rank at the top.
The quality of education continues to be one of the great divides in our society. Affluent, educated parents understand how to work the system to ensure that their children get the resources and schools they need, are on the track for success, and have experiences that promote success.
Parents with lesser know-how, have greater challenges working the system.
All parents deserve to be able to provide their children with an educational experience of excellence; unfortunately, for too many, it is simply not the case.
Finding quality schools and childcare is a huge parent issue.
Children can have a wonderful educational experience in public and private schools, but it demands that parents do not let their guard down. Developing the partnership with your child’s school is vital; however, parents must be prepared to
Be their child’s advocate and to go to battle with the schools, as needed.
The final parent issue in 2018 is our changing world, especially as it relates to their child’s future.
The last 20 years have seen our society begin a transition to a new world that is both thrilling and scary in its potential to change our children’s lives in the future in ways that we are finding hard to imagine.
A new economy; new technologies; new geopolitical alliances and challenges; societal evolution with the rise mega cities; mega-corporations, and mega-churches; new political configurations; national health care collapse, a million new platforms for knowledge that may make colleges irrelevant; the decline of religion; no automatic respect for old institutions; the end to the monopoly of TV, and its replacement with a thousand individual viewing experiences; the crisis among boys; the opiod crisis; a crisis in our national identity………. The list goes on.
For all of us, this constant change is a challenge. As a parent issue, change as a constant in their lives and that of their child has increased anxiety to the point that many of them no longer trust anyone outside of their immediate family to ensure their child’s success.
At Confident Parenting, we understand the challenges and fears that face families and the four big parent issues with which they are dealing in 2018.
What do these parent issues have in common?
They are very hard for parents to control to protect their children.
The changes that are happening in our world are often beyond our control; we may be able to make a small change in our own local piece of it, but we have little power over global and national trends.
We may be able to prioritize our time better, but it will require giving up some of the things we believe are important to our child in exchange for a healthier family life.
It is very hard to protect our children from our culture, but it does not mean that you should stop trying because the alternative may not be great in our Kim Kardashian world.
Technology is our future, but parents must help their child to understand the ethics surrounding its use as it comes to dominate all parts of our lives.
Finally, your child (and yourself) must become a lifelong learner to deal with future change effectively. Until your child learns how to advocate for herself, you must be her advocate.
If you do not advocate for her, who will?
I am optimistic about the future of our children; however, success will only favor those families that create a plan for success ahead of time.
At Confident Parenting, we work to build a parenting plan with you to allow you to deal with parent issues, be it in 2018 or 2028.