To compare the previous generation with the present generation is unfair. While there may be some truth to the assertions that the moral foundations that have been instilled in the previous generation are degrading, the antecedent facts and circumstances surrounding the two generations are certainly much different. Yesterday’s children are now today’s parents and to assert that the method of parenting has eroded in the span of a single generation is to belittle the heralded parenting that the previous generation has given.
To sustain an argument in this line of thinking would be to suggest that the next generation will have even less of a moral foundation than today’s generation. This is hardly the case and nobody would like to see that it will happen. The reason that it may seem this way is because of perception and the significant changes that have occurred in society in such a short period of time. Any generation has a tendency to perceive themselves differently from other generations. The line of Stanley reflects this sentiment, “The world is not the way it used to be when I was growing up.”
This thinking may come from the inherent need of people of always compare themselves with others to find out their true identity or it may also be because of the generational identity that forces others to see those not belonging to a certain generation to be different. Whatever the reason is, the fact is that comparisons will always be made between the previous generation and the present generation. This comparison is not only with regard to the moral foundations or upbringing but will extend to other aspects such as successes and failures.
There may not really be such a huge difference between the previous generation and the present generation but this is highlighted more by the fact that inter-generational communication has a tendency to create a bigger gap between the two. The problem that this creates is that what the present generation perceives as the norm and what they perceive as morally acceptable is different from what the previous generation perceives. What was once considered taboo, such as sex, is now discussed openly and even taught to elementary children.
To argue which side of the issue is moral is an impossible task. The line of Natasha shows this when she argues against corporal punishment. “Who is to say all that corporal punishment back then was the right way to raise kids though? ” It is clear that both sides could sooner come to an agreement if there was a better way of communicating with each other. The other reason why it may seem that the children of yesterday received better parenting than today’s generation is because of the rapidly changing world.
“But they are not being raised the same way,” Andy insisted, “because society won’t allow it. ” The point of Andy is well taken and the circumstances are very different now than they were before. When the parents of the previous generation had time enough to spend with their children, today’s generation does not have the same benefit. The difference in the way social interactions occur is also a factor because the present technology allows people to communicate without even seeing each other.
This matter accounts for a lot when it comes to parenting because the access that today’s communication technology provides means that children are more open to outside sources or influences than they previously were. Despite all of what is happening, the method of parenting has not changed so radically so as
To apply the mathematical theory of transitivity, if today’s parenting is bad and the parents today were taught by the previous generation, therefore the previous generation also used bad parenting. As Natasha put it, “My sister and I used to get whippings all the time. I ended up in college and she ended up in jail. Why did that happen? We should have turned out the same. I never beat my kids when they were growing up, and today they are both straight –A high school students. That’s why that old saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child never made any sense to me. ”
It is clear therefore that such is not the case. Every generation not only seeks to raise their children the way that they themselves were raised but they also strive to become better parents than their parents ever were to them. The real issue therefore may not really be that yesterday’s generation received better parenting than the present generation but that there is a reluctance to accept the influence of the societal changes that have taken place as well as the manner by which technology has radically changed every facet of our lives, even the way parenting is done.
The question is not so much whether or not a child should be given a beating or whatever positive reinforcement or method exists but whether or not the problems of the current generation are being addressed. Changing times call for changing methods. Issues once considered taboo may be considered as acceptable under today’s norms and may be even the parenting that was considered as the standard may be considered out of touch with reality for the next generation.