If you’re from the old school, the days when car seats were literally just the back seat of your sedan and when babies were laid on their tummies to sleep, you know that quite a few things have changed since then. But not all new-school parenting methods are superior to the old ones. In fact, we wish some of those old-school parenting methods would come back!
We’re glad that corporal punishments like “the belt” are gone, along with long, dry lectures where you weren’t allowed input. But how about some of these great parenting methods that could really benefit today’s families?
6 Old School Parenting Methods We Should Bring Back
1. Home-cooked Family Meals
Back in the 1950s, meal time meant you all sat down together around the table to a hearty home-cooked meal. There were no smart devices to distract and families had actual conversations together. Meals were religious—served at the same time every single night. Mom made one dinner and everyone ate it, no questions asked.
Although the more progressive concept of who makes the meal has thankfully changed (dad and kids can cook too!), the idea of regular home-cooked family meals is something we should try to make happen. Even though life is busy, taking 20 minutes to connect together at the end of a day over a healthy dinner is more important than we think.
2. Old School Manners
Back in the day, manners were not only considered a courtesy, they were expected. From proper ways to conduct oneself at the dinner table to acting in public, etiquette was taught at a young age and required to live by.
Now, we tend to be a little more lenient on manners. We live in an age where burping in public is funny and calling adults by their first names instead of Ms. So-and-So is the norm. It’s not a bad idea to bring back some of the more reformed manners of the past. Asking permission before doing a task, responding to adults with “Yes, Sir” and “Yes Ma’am” is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes rude world.
3. Your self-worth wasn’t reliant on social media.
Today so much of our lives are tied up in social media. We post a picture and then immediately wait for the “likes” to roll in. We live with phones glued to our hands and often overlook the people closest to us because we’re wrapped up in a game or a newsfeed.
Although this smart revolution is astounding with endless possibilities, sometimes I yearn for the days before Facebook and Instagram where you hung out and had everyone’s undivided attention. Where you weren’t worried about the thumbs ups, the hearts, the mean faces, and your self-worth could stand on its own.
4. Kids were expected to entertain themselves.
Mom and dad weren’t there to make sure I was entertained every second of the day when I grew up, . They were busy working and providing for our family. Of course we did fun stuff together—we had weekly “family fun nights” and we’d gather in the back yard for a game of Annie Annie Over. (Has anyone else played that game? It’s pretty awesome.)
There weren’t iPads to entertain us and our television set only got three channels so that was out of the question unless Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was on. In the “old days,” there was an unspoken expectation that kids could entertain themselves. My vote is to bring back the days where kids played pick-up games at the park and built things with their own hands.
5. Dad took mom on a date every Saturday night.
In decades past, husbands would take their wives out on the town every Saturday night – they’d get dressed up, hop into the truck next to each other and go out for prime rib and a drive. I remember my grandparents doing this. Grandpa would substitute his plaid work shirt for his nice button-up. Grandma would tease her hair and apply lipstick. Even in their 80s, Saturday night was always their date night.
Today, we love the fact that both husband and wife can plan a date. But so often, life’s business becomes an excuse not to go out. If I could bring back one parenting custom of the past, it would be to get a babysitter and go on a date every Saturday night.
6. Kids respected adults.
Kids were expected to be seen and not heard, in the past. Although that thankfully is not the case anymore and we love kids expressing their personalities, sometimes their respect for adults is a little lacking.
We can teach kids to be themselves and still respect adult figures by saying please and thank-you, and by listening and obeying in appropriate circumstances.
With a quickly evolving world, today’s parenting involves more complicated issues than in the past, but don’t be so quick to brush of the old-school train of thought. After all, the classic book is almost always better than the movie.