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Huckleberries Online

The good old days

Sometimes, the so-called “good old days” really were better. For example, if the data is correct, then the state of parenting in America has been in slow but steady decline since the 1960s. Child mental health and school achievement were much better back then, when the go-to parenting experts were grandparents.

In my public presentations, I sometimes begin sentences with “I’m a member of the last generation” and go on to describe some benefit we boomers enjoyed that today’s kids, by and large, do not enjoy. Some of these sentences include:

• “I’m a member of the last generation of American children who did not receive much adult attention.”

As long as we were doing nothing wrong, our parents largely left us alone. They let us have the freedom to entertain ourselves, learn from our mistakes and fight our own battles.

• “I’m a member of the last generation of American children who were not allowed to have high self-esteem.”

Back then, to express a high opinion of oneself was known as “acting too big for your britches.” Today, high self-esteem is supposedly the key to everything good in life.

Problem is, it hasn’t worked out that way. Researchers have found that high self-esteem is associated with lots of bad stuff, like fear of failure and bullying. Full story.

Do you think the state of American parenting is in a slow, steady decline?


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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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