By Lee Scott
Once I thought I was a good parent. I fed my babies fortified infant formula, started them on Gerber food and put them in the playpen with animal mobiles circling overhead. I showered them with talcum powder after a bath and placed them in their bumper padded cribs so they wouldn’t bang their heads. I tucked them in with teddy bears to cuddle in the night. And during the cold winter months, I would cover them with a blanket.
As for safety, I strapped them into a Peterson car seat, with the red horn, which was placed securely in the front passenger seat next to me. When we would go on family trips, the back seat would be folded down and we would spread out sleeping bags and lots of pillows so they could sleep. I made peanut butter cookies for the school parties and a Chex Mix treat with pretzels and nuts that all the students loved. Based on the times, I think I did pretty well as a parent. However, based on today’s standards, I was a horrible parent!
There are so many differences in the way I raised my children and the way my grandchildren are being raised. The warning labels are everywhere! Products and practices common when I had children are considered unsafe. But when I look at how my grandchildren are being raised compared to how I was raised, my parents should have been arrested.
We were sent out to play in the morning and told to come home at lunch time. We devoured endless pounds of candy at Halloween that was never pre-inspected. We always had red Kool-aid in the refrigerator during the summer and the playground consisted of a cement paved area with a tall slide and hanging bars. We would leap off the high dive board at the pool and ride our bicycles all over the neighborhood. As one of eight children we were crammed into the family station wagon on seats that were incredibly hot in the summer! Entertainment on a long trip was singing “A hundred bottles of beer on the wall” or naming state license plates.
Each generation has their own way of raising children based on the information on hand. I am grateful that despite my parents’ neglect, I survived and I am glad my children survived my parenting. But watching my grandchildren, I realize how much I would have loved to be born now. Air conditioning in the car; padded car seats that look incredibly comfortable; little cup holders for Sippy cups; and strollers that look like my leather recliner. And the ultimate luxury — a DVD player with little headphones so they can watch their Disney movies.
But despite all the new changes in child rearing, I am sure my parents did the best they could for me, and my husband and I did the best we could for our children. So maybe I was a good parent after all.