Is there about to be a Gen X versus Gen Y parenting war?

I'm sure Gen Y will help their kids make better fashion choices.

I’m sure Gen Y will help their kids make better fashion choices.

It’s interesting, the topics that get people’s knickers knotted. On the VS Facebook page the other day, it was a massive debate over supermarket etiquette. I posted this…

“Acceptable or unacceptable. Holding up entire line of pre-Easter supermarket shoppers so that your toddler (under 2) could complete the card transaction for you – complete with fumbling, card dropping, and “just wait for it to say remove card, darling” then more fumbling, and finally lifting child over checkout so that she could take the receipt.”

Response was swift and vehement. Many people found it entirely acceptable. Comments like…

” Acceptable. Even with fumbling around it would have taken less than 5 minutes. I think it’s a sad reflection on society that we can’t give a few moments of our time to make a child’s day.”

” Oh come on… Were you in such a rush that you could deny a little one a happy moment? Were you never a child??”

” Acceptable. I would do it with my kids. In fact, if people were getting stroppy over it, I would prolong the whole thing just to annoy those people more. My time is as valuable as anyone else’s; I’m not going to stress my kids or myself just because you can’t wait an extra minute. If you were really in that much of a rush you probably should have picked another time to go shopping. My schedule revolves around my family and my time, no one else’s. Expecting me to deny my child a tiny bit if joy for the sake of sparing you 30seconds is asking a bit much.”

” Man the comments on here make me feel bad for your kids.. My 2 year old and I do this and whether or not others are unhappy about our pace is of no concern to me when I am standing there teacher her how to do a real life situation that she sees mommy do everyday. I have patience with her and understand that everything is a learning experience for her in this big world. She wants to be part of and involved in. People should slow down their lives a moment.. Im sorry some of you are in such a rush you must not be fully enjoying your little ones and more angry all the time.”

” Life’s not a race, if you’re rushing around at the shops today, that’s not the toddlers fault, it’s not the mothers fault, it’s YOUR fault for being disorganised. We should be complimenting good parenting and seeing a child being happy doing something that the rest of take for granted as a mundane task.”

” Is your time really so precious that you won’t let a child learn?”

Then there was team ‘unacceptable’…

“Not cool. It’s about consideration of others and mum should also be teaching her toddler that (certainly a far more important skill than using a damn credit card machine). It’s not ok to assume that unnecessarily holding people up has only a small or no impact on the rest of their day. Being in a hurry is not always about mere impatience. Take all the time in the world to “slow down” when it’s just on your own time.”

” I don’t let my son (9) do card transactions but I certainly encourage him to do cash payments for things he wants with pocket money. Teaching him confidence and manners to say hello, thank you etc.”

” Perfect way to raise self-indulgent & inconsiderate children. Looks like there’s gonna be lots of them!”

And on and on it went. About 230 comments in all – you can read them here.

Along with lots of advice to me, to chill the hell out and factor in a few spare minutes each day, the main argument had dissolved into greater discussion over the way we’re parenting – issues such as selfishness, lack of consideration and indulgence of our children.

I was sorry I hadn’t asked people to prefix their comment with their age, because I’m wondering if we’re now getting some strong parenting divides based on our own generation.

I turned 40 last year, placing me in Generation X. Gen Y are 10-15 years younger and are just having their children now. Are we going to parent differently?

The online world is a brutal place – I cop it often, despite the fact that I’m online trying to be helpful. No one is safe in cyber space, and debates over parenting choices seem to be especially angry and intolerant.

So in the midst of such a volatile setting, is a generational parenting war just starting to erupt?

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17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I don’t see a generational parenting war starting at all. I think even in gen x there’s a massive difference in parenting styles.

    On the topic of the scenario above, I think it’s great to teach kids these things sometimes, but with a bit of consideration to others behind you in the line. So, if there’s no one waiting behind me, I’d let my kid have this experience. If it were a hot, sweaty day with 50 people backed up behind me, then I think that’s really rude and inconsiderate

  2. 3

    Not sure about age, but I swing from different schools of thought depending on my mood and focus.

    I am all for encouraging kids to have experiences but consideration for their impact on others should be part of the ‘lesson’.

    • 4

      wendyblume said,

      nicely put kelly!

      • 5

        Jane said,

        I totally agree here. We need to give our kids time and experiences. We also need to teach our children about their impact on others (when it is for better or worse). It will help them become functional members of society later, giving them the opportunity to build positive relationships with others.

  3. 6

    I’m not sure there is a huge difference in ages in parenting style. I think its just personal. I know parents who are older like me (49) who have young children, who parent completely different to me. I’m all for old fashioned values and having a life like I did. I just think people are too much in a hurry and want everything instantly. I was getting fuel the other day and the card machine wouldn’t scan my card. The lady serving me was fiddling around with plastic to fit over my card to swipe it and the guy behind me was sighing and shuffling around, like it was my fault. What does it matter? Same as the way idiots drive on the road these days. I have cruise control in my car and people just scream past me. What’s the damn hurry? Its nearly like no one likes driving behind anyone these days. You can only go as fast as the person in front of you and if that’s the speed limit than damn well stick to it.

    • 7

      wendyblume said,

      yes, as I said, heaps of people commented just telling me to relax. I think people who know me, know that I’m actually pretty patient!

      • 8

        jane said,

        Its not about needing to relax, its about consideration of and for others, when you’re at the supermarket you share the space with others and that means behaving in a considerate way, being in a rush is not just about being impatient, we do have places to be at certain times. A wee bit of thought is all that’s needed, time and place.

    • 9

      Scott said,

      Consideration for others works both ways. Those in the relax and have some patience group should realize that just because your in no rush doesn’t mean others are not. Taking your time when others are waiting is rude. As is sitting in the overtaking lane thinking its your job to enforce the law. Same goes the other way though, being rude to people ahead of you is uncalled for as is tailgating. Info find the form group to be the most self righteous though.

  4. 10

    Karen said,

    I love the can of worms discussions that you start on Facebook, please don’t stop being honest & opening up debate. I think sometimes it’s great to throw a rock on the pond & step back to see what happens.

    People get so stressed about stuff online & I do enjoy reading their steamy little rants! It’s a voyeristic guilty pleasure, a bit like watching Dr Phil now and again ;o)

  5. 12

    Shannon said,

    I’m 31 & there is no way in the world id hold up a queue just so ‘junior’ can have an ‘experience’.
    Way to school your child in the art of sel-indulgence!
    The commenter who pretty much said the world revolved around her & her children needs to retract her head from her bottom!

    I maybe go over the top with keeping my kids quiet,respectful etc but I know it’s what I like to see in other children and sadly it’s not often I do.
    It’s no wonder there are so many rude self centred prigs around when so many are being brought up to think they are most important & what they want comes first at the expense of others.

  6. 13

    Tinkbell said,

    I read this debate as it was happening and it kind of made me sad. I am a person with a serious medical condition and I sometimes, through no fault of my own hold the line of shoppers up at the supermarket. I don’t choose when my disease is going to cause me issues and sometimes it strikes when there are heaps of people in the line. I am embarrassed that is has happened and would like the think that people would be a little understanding, after reading these comments I really have my doubts. I can’t choose when I do my shopping so as to not inconvenience others.

    • 14

      wendyblume said,

      Never for a second we were being critical about being held up for a good reason. I live in an area with heaps of elderly people, and it’s just a given that they’ll need a hand to operate the coin chain on the trolley or to get something off the shelf. I’m always more than happy to help them. Same goes for people with diseases or disabilities. It was more than the mum in this case, was noticing the line of people, but not being bothered about holding them all up. You do your shopping without fear! We’re on your side. x

  7. 15

    Nix said,

    I just don’t think it’s necessary, I learnt to use a debit card at 15 years of age and I’ve never struggled with it! I have no need to teach them how to use a card at shop, I would prefer to spend the littlest amount of time at shop and more time at the park.
    I’m gen Y btw

  8. 16

    Elly said,

    Sounds like a rough day. If you are happy with how you are parenting I would not take on board any comments as they are views of others not self and I do not get into the FB thing as it’s asking for …. like it or not. I thank you for all your hard work!! Blessings (age 42 with a 6.6 boy and 2.11 girl) gave up nursing because of all the political crap.


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