Our childhood and today’s challenges of raising a child…

I just finished writing a post for World Moms Blog, and at the end it occurred to me – it’s too long.

It’s my first time I’m writing for them. As a first post I had to answer to a few questions. I won’t talk about them right now. The post will appear at their website next week. Today I want to write only one part I couldn’t squeez in it.

The question was:

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

Right after I saw this question I thought about one link my friend sent me the other day.

“Dzieci tamtych rodziców- czyli nasze dzieciństwo… “ (czytaj po polsku).

I was trying to translate is without the cultural references that American person wouldn’t get. I hope I did a good job in that. If not, MY DEAR POLISH-ENGLISH SPEAKING friends feel free to correct me.

We were raised in a way that psychologists are having nightmares about. Luckily our parents didn’t know they were pathological parents and we didn’t know we were pathological kids. We had spent our entire childhood in this blissful ignorance.
Oh! that nostalgic reminiscence of 80’s.

We all belonged to the “subdivision gang;” We could go and play on the new construction areas. When we stepped onto a nail our mother would pull it out and disinfected it with “denaturat” (ethanol). The next day we were out, playing at the same construction area again. Mother didn’t tremble scared that we might get killed over there. She knew that dad’s belt is the best teacher of the rules of Occupational Heath and Safety on the Playground. 

Bruises, and scratches were something normal. Because of that the school psychologist didn’t send us to a family therapist. 

We would be jumping from the balconies just to compare who will jump further.

We would walk a mile to school. Our dad would say it’s not that far, he had to walk 5 times that distance.

We felt sorry for our friend who had to go to a piano lesson after school. He was just 5. Our parents would say it’s an abuse. As did we. 

We didn’t go to a private preschools or day cares. Our parents weren’t afraid we were going to be retarded.

To fight the flu our parents would use garlic, honey, spirytus (pure grain alcohol), and duvet.

We would go to the forest when we wanted to. We would eat blueberries that earlier deer and fox peed on.  Our mothers didn’t worry that the big bad wolf will eat us, or that we will get rabies. They thought if we got there (to the forest) we can find our way back. Of course we couldn’t be late. If we were our father’s belt was the price for that.

During winter nobody would run after us with a hat and a scarf checking if we aren’t too sweaty.  When our neighbor caught us stealing his apples he would punish us. At the same time he wasn’t offended by our act neither our father was angry at our neighbor for replacing him in those parenting obligations. At the end of the same day our dad and the neighbor would go for a beer together.  Nobody gave us the police number in case if we want to snitch on our parents!

That time father’s belt was a learning aid, and the police were for resolving grown-up issues.  Issues between us were straightened up just between us.  Our parents wouldn’t interfere. Nobody went to juvenile hall for that.

Our dogs would be always with us, without the leash and the muzzle. They popped anywhere they wanted to and nobody would say anything to us about that. Once we tied our dog to a cord and went for a walk with him. When our father saw us, he tied us to a cord and took us for a walk. After that we let our dog run free all the time.

Our parent let us touch different animals. Nobody knew what animals disease were.  
We would pee outside. During winter we had to pee with our back to the blowing wind. Everyone knew that!

Our grandfather let us inhale his cigarette, after that he laughed out loud watching us twisting our faces in disgust. After all we didn’t want to have anything in common with his cigarettes.

Everybody knew to walk on the left side of the road to not to be hit by a car otherwise dad’s belt was waiting… 

We cooked soups from rain water, sand, grass, and deer poop. Sometimes we tried to eat it. We would eat our grandmother’s cake till we got sick, nobody would count calories for us. We ate unwashed fruits straight from trees, and drink water from a creek.  Nobody died. Nobody told us that we are beautiful angles. Grown-ups knew it’s a shame for us to be called that way.

We didn’t play with grandmother, nanny, or mom. We had had each other to play with.

We had only a few rules to remember. They were the same for everybody. Apart from that we had ownership for freedom. We were raised by our neighbors, casual met people, kids from older grades. We all survived, nobody ended up in jail. Not everybody graduated college, but we all learned some trade. A few of us have been raising kids according to psychologist’s recommendations. They don’t have the guts to become pathological parents.
We want to say “thank you” to our parents for not knowing how to raise kids in “a good way”. Thanks to them we spent our childhood without ADHD, bacteria, psychologists, closed playgrounds, and ballet lessons.  And we thought that we are forbidden to do so many things!!! 

So, Deep Breath and don’t be so worry about your kid.

I know I know, today’s world is not that friendly as it used to be.

I know I know, you might think that in Poland people are different, culture is different, there aren’t so many sexual predators… and you know what…

You might be right. But still, keeping our kids under the protecting glass of our motherly wings won’t protect them as much as you would think. They will get hurt even more. To learn about life they need to be able to live. To know that something hurt we need to be able to let them to fall, scratch themselves, hit their heads. We should provide them our help, we should comfort their hurt parts and souls and we should let them go, and hurt themselves again, and again, and again… until they’ll learn.

I know my kids will never have the chance to live the life I lived.

Today’s world is just different and trying to re-create for my kids the life I lived wouldn’t be a smart thing to do.

but I deeply wish for them to experience freedom and by experiencing it to learn about its limits!

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13 responses to “Our childhood and today’s challenges of raising a child…”

  1. This was a very interesting perspective to read on things. I enjoyed reading your post. I am here from Five Minute Friday. Have a great weekend.


  2. Thank you for sharing this! It’s nice to be reminded that kids aren’t nearly so fragile as we sometimes make them out to be these days.


  3. We’re not so different you and me. I grew up in a “subdivision gang” We were out ALL day until the street lights came on, and it wasn’t my father’s wrath I had to fear it was my mother’s (spatula not belt) We never came inside except to go to sleep. We made soup out of weeds, muddy water, & aquavelva. Tree forts were the norm. Skin knees, nails through the foot (my right foot) and gravel pit swimming were also the norm. But the down fall was that we were not monitored
    and I was molested by time was 7. So there was that… but on the whole my childhood was exactly what a childhood should be and this article reminds me exactly of that.

    There is a book called “Motherhood in the age of anxiety” (and it isn’t a bestseller) but I found myself nodding my head more than once. We all should slow down before we melt down. 🙂 Sorry I rambled a bit.



  4. My childhood was extremely different, unfortunately. But too long to write in a comment. I suppose I should explore it and share it soon.

    Your childhood sounds like my husband’s except there were… other things different. 🙂



  5. I loved growing up and playing with the neighborhood kids. I wonder if having everything more organized today will make our children less daring. Interesting post!


  6. Yes, it sure is different now, isn’t it?


  7. Excellent post with interesting information.


  8. […] What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world? I blogged about this question here: https://momphotographer.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/our-childhood-and-todays-challenges-of-rising-a-chil… […]


  9. My parenting style is very different than how my parents raised me.

    Just this past week my mother came to stay for 5 days with my children as I left on a trip with hubby. One of those days my mom was a chaperone for my son’s school field trip, she commented to me this was her first time ever to attend a field trip in her life.


  10. Wonderful thing about parenting is that Im in the same predicament as you. Jestem z Polski, ale mieszkam w Georgi. Zostac mamusia i zona jest najlepiej wynogradzona praca ale czasami jest ciezko. Moja rodznia tez jest w polsce, i mialam podobne dziecinstwo, oraz mam inny poglad wychowawczy. Uwielbiam twoje zdjecia i twoj paglad z kamery, naprawde lapie uczucia i pieknosc zycia.


    1. witam, Aniu. Kazdy z nas mial inne doswiadczenia, nawet jezeli wychowalismy sie w tych samych czasach. Ja nie moge do wszystkiego co “skopiowalam i przetlumaczylam” sie doslownie odniesc. Niektore rzeczy do mojego dziecinstwa nie pasuja, albo nie przezylam ich tak jak ta osoba, ktora ten tekst napisala. Jednak sadze, ze te slowa bardzo swietnie odnosza to, co chcialam przekazac.
      Dzieki za komentarz o zdjeciach!!! i nastepnym razem zostaw adres blogu (jezeli masz) z checia zagladne.


  11. Ewa,
    I can relate to so many of your childhood statements…
    We were never hanging around the house when we were kids. Ate some breakfast and then off to have fun. Swimming down at the creek in the summer with the bloodsuckers and snakes. Riding our bikes down to the lake and swimming with Out life guards. Swiping some smokes from my friends mother and trying them out. Raiding all the gardens in the neighbor hood when we got hungry. Having tomato wars at the end of the season when Grandpa planted to many.
    Having to do chores! Cutting grass, shoveling snow in winter, taking the garbage out.

    Walking to school in all weather. Dam the school never closed because it was to COLD out!!!

    I was fourteen and me and my friends decided to go back packing. My Dad dropped us off at the tracks and we went into the woods for two days. No one knew where we were!!!

    People are Paranoid today is all. I gave my children all kinds of freedom and it did not hurt them at all. They are better people because of it.

    Your Friend


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