10 Modern Parenting Methods That Leave Grandmas Baffled and Bewildered

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Have any of my fellow grandmas noticed that there are some strange and offbeat ways of parenting in this day and age? While I see little things with my own adult children (don’t worry – I keep my mouth shut!), I read about downright baffling methods our generation would never dream about thinking or trying! 

Am I saying that all of these newer methods are bad? Not necessarily, but – well, you can decide for yourself via these 10 modern parenting methods that may leave you shaking your head:

1. Not letting the kids drink water out of the hose

Child drinking out of the hose

Drinking water from the hose is a rite of passage for children, as it signifies summertime and all the fun that goes along with it! C’mon now: A little hose water never hurt anyone! (However, I do not recommend letting children swim in a murky pond with cattle like my friends and I used to.) 

2. Theybies?

I never want to get political on here, but I will say that the concept of “theybies” (where the sex of the baby is never disclosed to anyone so that the child can supposedly choose what they are down the road) has my generation scratching their heads and saying a few select words that I will not repeat on Devoted Grandma. 

3. Vegan and organic parenting

Oof, do not even get me started on this one, as my famous mac ‘n’ cheese would never fly in a modern vegan and organic household. Select parents today are all about serving plant-based, pesticide-free meals, leaving grandma feeling like she’s in a gourmet rabbit hole.

I get it: there is a lot of junk in today’s overly processed-world. But when consumed in moderation, I find that most kids will survive eating a few Happy Meals and fruit snacks here and there.

4. Overly-attached parenting

Baby wearing
Flickr/Abi Porter

Grandmas might think their adult children have turned into marsupials, as this method involves parents carrying their babies in slings and co-sleeping with them. Bye-bye, crib! It’s all about keeping the little one close enough to cuddle and breastfeed on demand, even if it means wearing them like a trendy accessory.

Babies need touch, love, and attention, so I see the positives. However, I would have never thought to do this with my own kids, and neither would my mother!

5. Free-range parenting

Forget about hovering like a helicopter, as free-range parents believe in letting kids roam like happy chickens! We may cringe at the thought of our precious grandkids biking around the neighborhood unsupervised or climbing trees without a safety net, but hey, at least they’ll develop street smarts and strong limbs.

This is how we were raised, so I think this is somewhat fine. That said, the world is a much different place than it was when I was little, so it is essential that parents have somewhat of an idea of where their kids are and keep tabs on their whereabouts.

6. Screen-free parenting

In hindsight, my kids may have watched too many Disney VHS tapes and played too many games on the Nintendo, but they turned out fine! (In my humble, unbiased opinion :P) But no screens?

In moderation, they are fine, as long as the child isn’t looking at their tablet or phone for hours on end. While some screen time is okay in my book, monitoring what is being consumed is essential, as there are many inappropriate children’s shows on TV, streaming services, and Youtube.

7. Mindfulness and meditation

Downward doggie stretch with the kid

Instead of sending the little ones outside to burn off energy, some modern parents are all about teaching their kids to find inner peace through mindfulness and meditation. If this is a parent you know, you might be baffled to watch your grandkids sit silently with eyes closed, breathing deeply.

Can I please get a little of that zen?

8. Unschooling

I have no problems with homeschooling, but unschooling has me scratching my head. Defined as “an educational philosophy that relies on a child’s innate curiosity and desire to learn,” unschooling is all about letting kids learn through life experiences and following their interests.

While we may reminisce about the good old days of multiplication tables and spelling bees, these modern kids are busy exploring the world and learning in their own unique way. Who needs school when you’ve got YouTube tutorials?

9. Positive discipline

I know what you’re thinking: Positive discipline? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not into today’s world of gentle parenting! Instead of time outs and spanking, positive discipline consists of parents using praise, encouragement, and natural consequences versus traditional punishment.

With positive discipline, you can expect to hear phrases like “I love how you shared your toys!” instead of “You’re grounded!” Welcome to the era of warm fuzzies and gentle guidance.

10. Parent-led weaning

Baby led weaning

Remember when babies were introduced to solids with spoonfuls of rice cereal? Not anymore! Parent-led weaning encourages kiddos to explore and self-feed with age-appropriate finger foods.

Don’t be too horrified when you see your grandbabies gagging on chunks of avocado, as this messy method promotes independence and a love of healthy foods. Just make sure to stock up on bibs and patience!

Before I go, I want to stress that I share all of this with lightheartedness, as I know no two parents or children are alike, and no two methods work the same. If your family uses any of these more modern ways of parenting and it works well for them, that is wonderful! (Maybe some of these methods would have worked well for us and past generations?)

As always, keep doing what you’re doing (you do it so well), and let’s talk again soon!

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