I’ll be honest, in a time where Kylie Jenner’s lips garner as much more public interest as a global disaster, where drones have become commonplace, and human interactions are dwindling with every sent emoji, the idea of bringing kids into the world is a little scary.
Ok, it’s terrifying.
Yet, still, some of our young professional (YP) counterparts are starting to take the plunge. Through discussions with them, and in thinking about our future, it’s evident that certain aspects of parenting are going to look a lot different from the way we were raised.
Here are just 9 reasons why:
1. You’re going to have to schedule outdoor time
When you think back to your own childhood, we’re going to bet you’re with us in the thought that some of your favourite times were spent at the beach, in a canoe at the cottage, or in the park – not in front of your original Nintendo system. But these days, playing outside is more of a novelty/borderline inconvenience to kids when there’s so much to distract in terms of electronics. Meaning, a little fresh air will require an effort.
2. You won’t be able to rely too heavily on devices to distract (aka babysit) them
Thanks to the ubiquitousness of phones, tablets, laptops, and video games, it’s easier than ever to distract your child – even from the time they’re a baby. We’ve all seen babies on iPads at the table over. But it’s a little too easy. Unless this video doesn’t give you anxiety at all, you may want to consider keeping things like board games, sports equipment, and actual books within your child’s scope of reality.
3. You’ll have to account for a dozen different types of allergies and dietary restrictions at birthday parties
Gone are the days when you can serve hot dogs and hamburgers at a kid’s birthday party and make every kid – and his or her parents – happy. The nut allergy awareness has, of course, been a thing for years. But by the time we have kids, more than a few of their classmates will have an allergy to dairy or gluten – or only eat organic. Basically, your kid’s daycare lunch will probably look a lot better than yours.
4. You’ll have to set social media parameters
Social media involves a whole new aspect of parenting that was absent when we were growing up. Between online bullying, online predators, and the pressures to live up to a social media persona, it’s a scary place out there. That’s why we need to take all the social media mistakes we’ve made, along with all the seasoned social media knowledge we’ve accumulated since the day we signed up for Facebook, and share it all with our kids.
5. You’ll have to teach them about old-fashioned romance and dating
The sad reality is that good, old-fashioned courtship (if that’s even still a word), love, and romance is a completely dying art – especially for those under the age of 25, whose “dating life” typically begins via a dating app or social media. If you want your kids to actually believe that the type of love that exists in The Notebook is still possible, you’re going to have to expose them to it.
6. “The Talk” will be a little more intricate
The awkward “birds and bees” talk is going to sound a little different for your kids than it was for you (but will still probably be as awkward). You probably won’t have to tell them about same-sex relationships by this point though – at least a handful of kids in their class will have same-sex parents anyway. They’ll be well aware of their options by that point, thank you. A far cry from the basic birds and bees, however, your chat will likely involve terms like sperm donor, surrogate, and in vitro.
7. You may have to rename your transgender child – or let him/her do it
We don’t have to tell you that 2015 is the year of transgender awareness. From the “coming out” of Caitlin Jenner, to the removal of gender-specific labels in children’s toys at stores like Target, and gender-neutral bathrooms in a growing number of our elementary school bathrooms across Canada – there’s more support than ever for individuals who identify as trans gender. And that person could be your future child, who will likely feel comfortable behaving just the way he or she chooses thanks to the open invitation on behalf of society to do so.
8. The drug talk will need to be had sooner
Whether your parents had the “drug talk” with you or not – and no matter how watered down it may have been – you’re probably going to want to be brutally honest about the growing dangers of chemical drug use and abuse. Whereas recreational drugs of choice when we were in high school were of the greener, more natural variety, it seems the whole “Molly” craze has hit young people like a must-have pair of kicks. And if there are already an enormous number of music festivals to chose from today, there are going to be even more once our kids hit high school.
9. You’ll have to remind them of life’s simple pleasures
When life is quicker, more connected, and over-stimulated than ever before, it’s easier than ever to dismiss life’s simple pleasures, like a stunning sunset, a lakeside fire, hot chocolate on a winter’s day, or human embrace. If you don’t show them how, though, your kids will never learn to live in the moment and take a step back from the interconnected chaos.
Even though having kids may be a far way off for many of us – these are all things worth thinking about. Of course, doing all of these things (including party your face off) will help you be coolest parent ever someday.