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Parenting

The Perils of Childhood – What’s Changed?

Today, you aren’t even allowed to leave the hospital without staff checking to make sure a car seat is properly installed in your vehicle. I was sent home in my mother’s arms, and honestly, she probably wasn’t wearing a seat belt. 

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

The perils of childhood have changed. The safety of my kids has always been my top priority. As moms, we do the best we can with the information that we have. Of course, that information changes with every generation. What we thought we knew ten years ago is vastly different from what we “know” now. Still, I wonder at what point is too much, even in the efforts to keep our children safe.

Car seats didn’t always exist.

When I was little, I would sit in the back seat, no seat belt, and hold onto my little sister as she lay flat in the back seat, not secured by anything but my hand. Now, car seats are legally required and involve heavy safety standards, including being rear-facing until at least two in many states. Each car seat comes with an expiration date, and some experts recommend that children should be rear-facing until age four. That is a far cry with how I grew up and somehow survived. Today, you aren’t even allowed to leave the hospital without staff checking to make sure a car seat is properly installed in your vehicle. I was sent home in my mother’s arms, and honestly, even she probably wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

There were no diet rules for pregnancy.

My mom smoked while pregnant. She had a drink now and then, too. And she consumed coffee by the gallon – sweetened with saccharin no less. Now, you can’t even have a deli sandwich (meats have nitrates) without someone having a hemorrhage. No fish, no uncooked meats, and not even soda or too much coffee are allowed in a pregnant woman’s diet. New information is certainly helpful, but some of the restrictions seem ridiculous when listeria outbreaks are rampant in vegetables these days.

Kids ate whatever was served.

I distinctly remember eating pop-tarts covered in butter for breakfast, along with other wildly unhealthy choices. Gravy, sour cream, full fat everything. All. the. time. Now, there is an entire army of moms insisting that anything with GMOs or artificial flavors is detrimental to your child. There’s a whole generation of kids being raised on tofu and almond milk. It’s not even milk! It’s not even almond! It’s just white water.

Honestly, even if your kids were raised eating organic lentil bean soup with steamed tofu and my kids eat dinosaur nuggets, they both probably ate dirt and boogers. I don’t recommend smoking during pregnancy, or alcohol, but if your kid eats the occasional hotdog, they’ll probably survive.

What are considered the perils of childhood, such as unsecured car seats and processed foods, would have been laughed at when I was a child. Am I grateful that I was able to secure my own children in safe seats in a moving vehicle? Definitely. But rather than get myself in knots over what my kids eat, I have simply tried to raise healthy and safe kids, who understand moderation and learn balance.

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