A millennial mom faces different parenting obstacles than those faced by moms in the past. There are always new advancements in technology, new studies and new ideas that change how parenting looks from one day to the next. Here are five mistakes you may be making with your kids, that weren't around as your parents were raising you.
1. Social media overkill
With all the social media out there, it is easy to film every milestone, write every cute or disgusting experience and post every picture of our kids online. We think they are the most precious and amazing little people that have ever walked the planet and we want to share that with the world. And social media has given every parent the access to do just that. It is instant and goes out to every person we know, and even ones we don't. But how is that affecting our kids? Years from now, are they going to be grateful that every embarrassing moment or naked baby photo of them is posted online somewhere for anyone — even strangers — to access? As millennial moms, we have to be responsible for our social media use. We need to be conscious of the fact that photos of our children are easily accessible to people we may not be aware of, and that posting so often may come back to haunt our children in the future.
With technology advancement in our time, we are constantly hearing stories of child abductions, sex trafficking, school shootings and countless other horror stories that happen around the world. These things are terrible, and are really happening and need to be taken seriously, but we should not let them stop us from letting our children experience the world. We cannot keep our children locked behind closed doors and only let them out under strict parental supervision. Children need to explore and not be afraid of the world. A millennial mom needs to be aware of what is going on; we need to be smart, and we need to teach our children about strangers and possible dangers. We need to teach them that most people are kind and caring, but we also need to teach them how to be discerning; how to communicate with us about where they are and what they are doing. It is important to be safe; it's OK to not let your children walk to school by themselves, and important to make sure you meet the people they are spending time with; just don't go to the extent of never letting them out of the house.
This one can be a bit controversial. Most people feel it is better to over-sanitize than under-sanitize, but some germs actually can be good for you. They build antibodies, help develop a healthy immune system, and can even prevent allergies. It is a topic that millennial moms need to be aware of. There is a tendency to sanitize everything a child touches and everyone that touches your child. It is smart to do that during cold and flu season, but to do it all the time causes your child to miss out on some important immune-building properties. It is best to consult your doctor about what is the right amount of sanitation your child needs.
4. Branding our kids
It is popular now to brand our kids; meaning we have websites, blogs and hashtags that are set up specifically for them. Our children are trending before they are even saying their first words. While technology is really cool and we feel we are setting our kids up for the future, we need to remember they are kids, not merchandise. We should be encouraging them to play, be silly and learn manners; not to be performing for their newest YouTube video, or posing as if in fashion magazines. If your kids enjoy doing that, great; but make sure it is something they like and want to do, not something they have to do. Instead try and cherish those moments; not everything has to turn into an Internet sensation.
We are constantly being told what is best for our kids — how much screen time they should get, what foods they should and shouldn't be eating, what age they should be reciting the state capitals and painting their first masterpiece. It is easy to get caught up in all the recommendations and forget that they are just that — recommendations. They are not rules; they are guidelines. That means you can apply them as best as you can to your life. You obviously should be trying to promote a healthy lifestyle for your kids; but if they watch an extra hour of TV one week, don't get down on yourself. What works for your best friend's family may not work for your family, and that's OK.
Parents face different challenges in today's world than those faced even just 10 years ago. And 10 years from now there will probably be even more changes. It is important to be aware and to be knowledgeable about what is happening in the world, and hopefully that will keep us from preventing some parenting mistakes.