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Publication: Fifty & Furthermore
Are Kids Really Different?

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FIFTY & FURTHERMORE - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

"I'm Dr. Dorree Lynn, founder of FiftyandFurthermore.com. 
Growing older can be a time for creative and passionate 
living, and I will apply my years as a psychologist to help 
you with the challenges and wonders that come with this new 
life stage."

Hello and welcome to FIFTY & FURTHERMORE!

Today I will share a colleague's answer to the question, 
"Are kids really that different today?" I'd love to hear 
your thoughts on the same subject as well. If you would 
like to make a comment or ask me a question, please email 
me at the address below and as always, I will do all I can 
to provide you with the advice you seek. As I always say, 
"life is too hard to do alone - reach out!"

Dr. Dorree Lynn, Psychologist

Please send questions and comments to: email Dr. Lynn

Are Kids Really Different Than They Were When We Were Young? 
by Karen DeBord

Yes, kids are different today in many ways. Let's think 
about this. What is your ideal in life? A serene white-
picketed fence house and a family with 2 kids, a dog and 
a cat? This was created in television shows when many 
(now parents and grandparents) baby boomers were watching 
TV as kids. That family was not really the norm even then 
and now it is even further from the norm. Even seeing 
those images makes us feel nostalgic. But whose family was 
actually like the Ozzie and Harriets or Beaver Cleavers?

But what else has happened to make kids and families 
different? I bet you can guess. Kids are growing up in a 
technological world. Not only that, but they are being 
raised by multiple caregivers (leading to inconsistent 
messages) and navigating the family’s a growing economic 
bind to make ends meet in a demanding world. Communities 
are rapidly growing with new populations and neighborhoods 
aren’t as trusting, nor friendly, with everyone watching 
out for each other like in the good old days.

Today’s family has more technology and media influencing 
it than in the past. Computers are in most homes and tele-
visions are in most rooms of the home! Technology has begun 
to separate us from each other, and people are creating 
relationships online as opposed to in-person through con-
versation and relating to each other eye to eye. Kids are 
watching television and learning their values from the TV 
as opposed to their family. What does this tell us? Connect! 
Turn off the television and limit electronic games! Go out-
side together, talk together, work in the kitchen together, 
make things together, but CONNECT! 

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Secondly, there are a growing number of homes where work-
space has been set aside at home. The home and work lines 
have blurred home and family lines. In other families, both 
parents and grandparents work outside the home. So to keep 
up with schedules and appointments ranging from haircuts to 
little league, decision-making and authority is shared with 
the children. Often, dominant the parental authority 
diminishes. Children may have to remind parents and grand-
parents (who may be starting to have memory difficulty 
anyway) of their schedules, needs for school supplies, or 
other appointments. This creates more of an equal relation-
ship like between friends or partners. However many adult 
caregivers are not ready for all aspects of this type of 
relationship with their child. 

Supervision and management is more difficult in families. 
Top down management has been replaced with bottom-up 
decision-making giving way to more discussion and disagree-
ment than a simple rubber stamped authority. This style is 
prevalent in the workplace and has carried over at home.

Children have lost parental time so the time that grand-
parents spend with them is even more critical. Overworked 
parents find it hard to support their children's achieve-
ments by attending plays, ball games, band concerts or 
chaperoning field trips. Absent parents (traveling, in-
carcerated or otherwise absent) add to this lack of family 
contact time, making the roles of grandparents or other 
caring relatives that much more significant. 


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Lastly consider the growing economic bind in a material 
world. Families are economically trying to make ends meet 
and find themselves spending for today instead of saving 
for either their or their children’s future. Working is a 
must in families and many single parents struggle even with 
well-paying jobs. Grandparents are often working too, as 
retirement is increasingly not an option, so helping out 
with sick child care is out of the question. Multiple in-
comes are needed to just make ends meet. 

Kids today are in fact different than we were when we were 
young. A new technological world and new economic and social 
realities call for new ways of rearing children. Most im-
portantly, with all that is going on around them, children 
need respectable, loving adult role models to whom they can 
look up. As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and mentors, 
this is our job; and connecting with them is still the name 
of the game!

For more insight and advice from Dr. Lynn visit: 

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