I wonder if being a parent now is tougher than ever or has parenting just evolved? I was talking to a friend only this morning about parenting nowadays compared to when we were youngsters. Back then emotions were generally not spoken about or dealt with and emotional intelligence was more basic. I believe this is because our parents upbringing would have been so different where emotional issues did not factor.
Looking back to our parents, who were alive and evacuated in World War II, they had a tough time. To us now those times are unimaginable and to this younger generation who are even further removed, I expect they would find it hard to understand what it was like for that generation. There was little or no abundance, putting food on the table was a struggle, back then there were no choices over what people ate. Foods like chocolate would have been a real and rare treat. Our parents needed the absolute basics, a roof over their head, a feeling of safety, food, clothes and water. If they had all of that then they were doing pretty well.
Looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs diagram below. You can see that the older generations, eg those born in the 1930s and 1940s, were mostly aiming to fulfil the lower to rows of physiological and safety needs and possibly belonging and relationships. Living day to day, doing very tough manual jobs, no automatic washing machines or dishwashers. It was all very hard work.
So the next generation from pre-WWII and early post war babies born in the extremely tough times. Came along 1960s and 1970 babies. Less poverty was around then, we were having a better life and able to seek fulfilment on the next level being ‘esteem needs’. Today is half marathon day and I fondly remember running my first half marathon at 12 years of age, playing on school and Island teams for hockey. I can recall being a fussy eater and mum cooking different meals for most of us. Pre-packaged food was available and we had more time for us. I think one of the greatest thing about my childhood compared to youngsters now is that we didn’t have social media so filled our time in other ways. I remember playing soldiers with my brother (I was a bit of tomboy), creating scrapbooks from magazines, listening to music on the radio and playing with my Pippa and Pete dolls.
Onto the next generation into 1980s and 1990s and times have changed again. More abundance, more choice, more options in life and opportunities. Also in many cases both parents are working, children seem to have more homework and many are taking part in more after school activities. Due to these reasons are spending less time together. Technology is beginning to step up for this generation who generally experience technology as part of life. More emotional issues have also been introduced with this generation too as perhaps they focus more on ‘achievements’ and possibly ‘self actualisation’ at the top of the pyramid but often feeling that they are failing at both of these or finding the pressure too much to deal with.
Now into the 2000’s and onwards and we can probably treble the impact of emotional issues due to so many things. Firstly the lower levels of the Hierarchy of Human Needs, for most, is already addressed and so looking to the next few rows on the diagram. Due to the addition of social media, school and peer pressure, many youngsters are feeling inadequate.
The higher levels of the Hierarchy of Human Needs incorporates more emotions than the lower. I believe because the lower levels require us to shut down that part of our brain to a degree to enable us to achieve those needs. At the higher levels, we need to ‘feel’ and experience more of those emotions and ask ourselves more questions about how we are feeling and what we truly want in life. We need to ‘reflect’ on ourselves and life at these levels. Also, look how humans have evolved over the centuries, this modern emotional intelligence is another level of evolution.
As a result of exploring these higher levels of esteem and self-actualization, anxiety and depression are experienced more. For those who find these incredibly hard to deal with, they may result in self-harming, O.C.D., addictions, eating disorders and other issues.
The causes of these issues are far and wide but, in my experience of working with youngsters from as young as 4 into teen years, I would say the following:
- Too much screen time – including apps and games.
- Social media
- On-line bullying
- Reality TV (shows such as Love Island)
- A schooling system that can never be suited to all youngsters but seems more pressurised for teachers and students than ever
- Everyone is so incredibly busy therefore have insufficient quality time as a family
- Our brains do not shut off from the outside world
- People are addicted to their phones
- To feel adequate, people are feeling the need to achieve greater and greater things
- Some are needing materialistic items to experience a fake self-worth or just to feel good
- We are more obsessed as a society about how we look. Women and teenage girls now want big lips, boobs and bums. Guys want 6 or 8 packs of the muscular variety.
I will talk about some of the above separately in another blog post as they are a subject in themselves.
The impact of these includes:
- Too much comparison, therefore believing they are not good enough, pretty enough, butch enough, clever enough etc.
- Lack of self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Feeling of pressure to perform
- Living too much in the future and less in the present
- Total feeling of inadequacy
Of course, many of these issues have been around for decades but the reason we are seeing an increase not just in numbers of youngsters struggling but in the severity is partly for these reasons.
In summary, I do believe parenting has evolved greatly and now the challenge for parents is to be more mindful of spending that quality time with their children, help them see that not all they see on TV or social media is real, help them to believe in themselves, accept failure as feedback rather than who they are, ensure you talk with them and discuss emotions and feelings. Bring reality into their lives by being with nature and animals and having ‘no screen’ time. Your time and face to face communication are probably the greatest gifts you can to your children nowadays.
If you would like to know how I can help your child please get in touch with me.
ANN BOWDITCH is a member and trainer registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register and General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and has run her own private practice in Guernsey for over 8 years.
Author of The Energy of Anxiety, a self-help book offering new perspectives and modern techniques.
Ann is also a practitioner of a number of therapies including EFT, Energy in Motion, META Health, NES Health, Matrix Reimprinting, Colour Mirrors. She is also a RMTi Consultant – the only one in the Channel Islands. Ann uses her skills to help people overcome many issues including depression, health, stress, weight loss, performance, cravings, addictions, anxiety, insomnia, bullying and confidence issues. She works in a unique way often by combining therapies tailoring sessions specifically for the individual.
“The Energy of Anxiety”
If you wish to find out how Ann can help you please contact her here.
Ann Bowditch GQHP, GHR Reg., META-P
Dip (Hyp) Hypnotherapy
EFT (AAMET Certified) & Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner
Meta-Health & Colour Mirrors Practitioner
RMTi Consultant, NES Health Practitioner
Mindfulness Based Inner Repatterning Practitioner
PSTEC Level 1-A (Advanced PSTEC)
Tel: 07781 111186
Ann Bowditch is a Member & Trainer registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register