I was recently at a used book sale and i picked up a few vintage cookbooks. You know those kind that schools and churches put out full of recipes that people have shared? In amongst the recipes, in the main dishes section, was a submission called “Memos From Your Child” and it is full of parenting wisdom from the 80’s.
I think that every generation remembers their childhood as a simpler time. Maybe it’s because that childhood in general is a simple time, free of worries, responsibilites, where all our needs are met. Or maybe life does get more complicated over time, maybe each generation faces obstacles that the previous didn’t…
When I think about parenting in the 80’s I can’t help but think that it was a little easier than it is now. My mom whipped up Tang and Kool-Aid, she didn’t worry about sugar, or if it was organic. Her biggest worry about screen time was if I watched too many cartoons on a Saturday morning. Nobody was judging a frozen pizza or a box of Hamberger Helper because they were the new, trendy things that everyone was cooking for dinner on a Friday night.
When I look through these vintage cookbooks they are full of Jello “salads” recipes that can be made in the microwave, and cheese whiz covered vegetables.
So were the 80’s a simpler time? I don’t know. I know that from the future looking back it seems like parenting would have been easier then. But there are things that never change no matter what generation you’re talking about.
No matter the decade moms want to keep their kids safe, they want them to be happy and healthy, they want to make sure their needs are met and that they are well adjusted, I don’t know that any time period makes those worries easier.
But what the 80’s didn’t have for parents was the internet. You couldn’t Google your kid’s symptoms to see if a trip to the Dr. was necessary. They didn’t have texting to shoot a quick message to a friend when they needed help or support. They didn’t have blogs and podcasts and social media to help encourage them and answer their questions.
What they had instead were magazines, and helpful tidbits inserted into cookbooks…
Like this one.
It may be from the 80’s but this parenting advice is pretty timeless
- Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for. I’m only testing you.
- Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It makes me feel more secure.
- Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
- Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
- Don’t make me feel my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values. (I should note here that this cookbook came from a Catholic grade school)
- Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
- Don’t be too upset when I say I hate you. It isn’t you I hate but your power to thwart me.
- Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
- Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf. (Pretty sure this one applies to husbands too!)
- Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I am not very accurate.
- Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel sadly let down when promises are broken.
- Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
- Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
- Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
- Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking.
- Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
- Don’t ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
- Don’t forget that I love experimenting. I couldn’t get on without it. So please put up with it.
- Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please do try.
- Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and love, but I don’t need to tell you, do I?
I love most of these, with the exception of a few I think they are pretty solid pieces of advice for raising kids. You can never go wrong being honest, loving, helping them through their fears, and promoting honesty.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think this advice from the 80’s is still valid today? Are these things you think about with your kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!