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  • Writer's pictureBradley Sorte

1455 Revisited and the Challenges of Parenting Today

Introduction

As we look back at the past 50 years, we can't help but notice how much things have changed in terms of parenting, education, technology and more. Our world has changed so much that it's almost unrecognizable from what it was just 20 years ago. In this article we'll look at some statistics on various aspects of modern parenting and compare them with data from 50 years ago to see how much things have changed over time.


Lack of resources for parents today

Many parents today have found themselves in a situation where they’re overwhelmed by all the challenges of raising their children. COVID-19 school closures, work-from-home, TikTok just to name a few. Families can also add on top of that, the difficulty of finding comprehensive resources for parents that are relevant to your needs.


When I was growing up we didn’t really text or FaceTime; instead, we used snail mail and called each other when necessary. Nowadays there are so many social media platforms available through which people can discuss their relationships with one another—it makes sense why our ideas about relationships and connection have changed so much!


Statistics on mental health and children and adolescents

The statistics on mental health and children and adolescents are staggering. The following numbers are based on data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which estimates that one in five children has a diagnosable mental disorder, and many others experience symptoms.


Children with mental illness often have poor academic performance, low self-esteem and increased substance use. In addition, they may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking or drug use because these activities might be used as coping mechanisms for dealing with painful emotions or experiences.


In the past 20 years there has been an increase of nearly 50 percent in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This increase is due in part to changes made by the American Psychiatric Association's DSM5 manual; however, it also speaks to how we perceive childhood learning and development today. For example:


  • Psychodynamic family systems theory posits that parents' interactions with their children affect later relationships between those children themselves; this theory could explain why some people develop more severe forms of depression than others despite having had similar life experiences at similar ages.

  • Bowinian family systems theory proposes that "repetitive patterns play out" across generations; this theory could explain why some people develop anxiety disorders while others do not.

  • Neuroaffective relational model suggests that early attachment experiences determine how adults respond under stress later in life; this model would explain why one person gets through tough times without developing PTSD while another does not. Developmental trauma can happen when an infant's caregiver doesn't meet their needs consistently enough for healthy development over time—and so it happens again down each generation until something breaks through so badly that it requires professional help!


Statistics on how the modern parent has changed in the past 50 years

It's no secret that the modern parent has changed in the past 50 years. He or she is more involved in their kid's life, but also more stressed by it. More protective of their kids, but also more worried about them. They have less time to spend with their children and access to information about them, but they're also busier when kids need guidance—which is now a 24/7 job (thanks Facebook).


The result? A generation of parents with no playbook for the world we live in and left to fend for themselves leading to overprotection and worry. Before we get into some of the main points for today, lets look at some theory to understand how events impact our view of the world and how we respond to it.



Psychodynamic and Bowenian family systems theory

The nature of human development, as explained by psychodynamic theory and Bowenian family systems theory, is to seek attachment with others. This need for attachment is an innate human trait that drives us to find our place in the world. This can be seen with children who cry when they are separated from their parents. According to Bowlby's ideas, children have a strong need for attachment because it gives them security, comfort and protection from harm. Psychodynamic theory explains personality as a combination of temperament and character (Kernberg et al., 2016). Temperament refers to inherent behavioral tendencies such as shyness or sociability while character refers to learned behaviors such as assertiveness or compliance (Kernberg et al., 2016).


In terms of executive functioning and emotional well-being we can see how these traits develop throughout childhood into adulthood through our experiences growing up in families based on Bowenian family system theory or psychodynamic approaches (Davis & Fruzzetti, 2013).


Neuro-Affective relational model and developmental trauma statistics and facts

  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network defines developmental trauma as “the cumulative stress and adverse events experienced in childhood that are often repeated, prolonged or witnessed, usually resulting from chronic neglect or abuse, and/or from being raised in a dysfunctional family environment.” Unlike big T trauma, which most of us understand to be the result of an acute experience like sexual assault or witnessing a horrific car crash (think PTSD), developmental trauma happens over time—and it can have serious long-term effects on the brain. There's no quick fix for this kind of trauma; healing takes time and patience—and help from people who understand what you're going through (because chances are high that they've been there themselves).

  • While developmental trauma manifests itself differently in each person who experiences it due to unique circumstances like genetics and family history factors (like whether your parents were addicted to substances), there are some common traits among those affected by this condition: They tend to struggle with relationships; they may have behavioral problems; they may feel unsafe in their own homes; they may act out inappropriately when stressed out because their coping skills aren't fully developed yet; they might not trust other people easily; etcetera ad infinitum ad nauseam...

  • Developmental traumas impact children differently depending on how old they are when exposed: For example, toddlers will likely exhibit more aggressive behaviors than older children because their brains haven't developed enough yet for them to find other ways besides acting physically aggressive towards others (such as yelling at someone)

Childhood learning, development, and dopamine

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, children are more likely to be addicted to technology than drugs. In fact, 10% of children ages 8-9 years old may be addicted to video games. This is due to the fact that a majority of them are playing online multiplayer games and communicating with strangers online instead of interacting with people in real life. The data comes from a study conducted by Common Sense Media—a non-profit organization which promotes media literacy among parents and educators—that found that 69% of teens said they were online at least six hours per day (and this number has increased since then).


The neurobiology of dopamine and digital use is an important area of study, as it reveals the potential negative effects that excessive internet and video game usage can have on children's learning abilities. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals in the brain and other vital areas, is closely linked to the sensation of pleasure and reward. It is released during enjoyable activities, such as playing video games or browsing the internet. However, when these activities are overused, they can exhaust the dopaminergic system, leading to a lack of motivation and reward for other essential tasks, such as studying and achieving good grades.


According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children who spend more than two hours per day on screens have a 7.7% decrease in cognitive scores compared to children who spend less than two hours per day on screens. This suggests that excessive screen time can negatively impact children's cognitive abilities, which are essential for learning and academic success.


Moreover, the chronic overstimulation of the brain caused by excessive digital use has been linked to increased anxiety in children. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that children who spent more than seven hours per day on screens were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression compared to those who spent only one hour per day on screens. Anxiety can hinder a child's ability to focus and learn, further exacerbating the negative impact of excessive digital use on academic performance.

In addition to the cognitive and mental health effects, excessive digital use can also lead to social isolation and peer pressure.


A study from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that children who spent more time on screens were less skilled at reading human emotions and understanding social cues. This can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining friendships, which can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for children.


Furthermore, the pressure to keep up with peers on social media platforms can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. According to a survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health, 7 out of 10 teenagers believe that social media platforms exacerbate feelings of anxiety, and over 60% of respondents felt that social media platforms increased the pressure to succeed academically.


In conclusion it can not be overstated how important this aspect of brain science is for parents today. The neurobiology of dopamine and digital use highlights the potential problems that excessive internet and video game usage can create for children's learning. By exhausting their dopaminergic systems, children may struggle to find motivation and reward in essential activities like studying, leading to decreased academic performance.


Additionally, the chronic overstimulation of the brain can contribute to increased anxiety, social isolation, and peer pressure, all of which can further hinder a child's ability to learn and succeed academically. To ensure the healthy development and academic success of children, it is crucial to monitor and limit their digital use. Lets explore some specific topics here:


Social media

We've all heard the statistics: kids are spending more time on social media. It's a convenient way to connect with friends and family, but it can also be a dangerous place for our children. Sure, there are the obvious dangers—drugs, sex and hate speech—but social media users also tend to be more depressed and less satisfied with their lives than their non-internet using peers.


In this section we'll talk about how the internet and social media affects your kid's mental health and well being as well as what parents can do to help them stay safe in this digital world.


Internet addiction

The internet is a place of endless wonder, but it's also a dangerous place for children. Many kids are spending so much time on the internet that they've lost their ability to connect with others in person.


One study found that 74% of kids spend more than two hours each day on social media, and 72% say this has led them to feel lonely or depressed. Another study found that 41% of parents believe their children are addicted to the internet, while another 60% agree that this addiction is affecting their grades in school.


It's clear from these statistics that there's a problem here: if you're reading this article right now because you're concerned about your child's Internet use, then you're definitely not alone! With all this said though... what exactly can we do about it? Lets first look at the risks...


According to research conducted by the University of Maryland and published in the Journal of Pediatrics, “The average child spends 6 hours a day consuming electronic media (DVDs, music, television) and 2.5 hours a day playing computer games." In light of this data, schools have taken it upon themselves to teach kids how to use technology safely—but their efforts have been largely unsuccessful. While some schools have banned phones and other devices entirely (a move that has proved controversial), others have opted for more moderate approaches such as limiting screen time during school hours or encouraging teachers not to hand out cellphones during class time. While these policies may address certain issues related specifically with technology usage in classrooms (such as cheating), they fail at addressing larger issues surrounding technology use as a whole—namely safety concerns concerning addiction or overuse and an inability among adults themselves who are supposed role models for children when it comes down way too far behind them on important matters like these ones here!




Innocence lost

The average age of sexual firsts is going down, which means that kids are learning about sex and drug use at younger ages. The statistics are shocking:

  • A study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that more than half of all teens have been exposed to pornography by age 14.

  • Eighty-three percent of high school students reported having had sex, with one in four getting pregnant before graduating from high school.

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly 45 percent of 12th graders used alcohol within the past month; 31 percent smoked marijuana; 22 percent took prescription drugs without a doctor's order; and 7 percent used cocaine or crack cocaine (a decrease from previous years).


Child safety - A New Frontier

  • The internet has made it much easier for predators to target their victims, and the internet is now a part of most kids' lives.

  • Parents are more aware of the dangers than ever before and take steps to protect their children from online predators like monitoring their online activity and educating them about staying safe online.

  • Kids are more aware of the dangers than ever before, but they still feel like they can't talk about it with their parents because those parents don't want them talking about sex at all—so they feel alone in the world without anyone who understands what they're going through or how scary this stuff can be sometimes!


Role of modern parent

Modern parenting is a challenging job. It requires a lot of time and energy, and it's important to be aware of your children's activities. Some parents might think that it would be easier if they could just go back in time and do things differently but pining for a bygone era just shifts responsibility from the parent to the cruel world. However, there are things that can help parents be more attuned to the new challenges in their children's lives. We must first remember that your child is not you and doesn't have the same values or views as you do; therefore, it is important to respond to them in the way that is most appropriate for your child (and now how you would have or were parented) They need a balance of space and respect their choices so they can make mistakes from time to time, make them when it doesn't really matter (childhood), and learn not only are mistakes not the end of the world but they will help them grow tolerance for adversity!

It's also worth noting that while we can't change our own time period, we can learn from those who came before us—but maybe not always where you'd expect...hence the title referencing 1455 AD, the yeah Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press. The 21st Century Guttenberg Printing Press will be elaborated on in a future post, but much like how the rules of the old world were rendered obsolete by this new invention nearly 600 years ago we are seeing the same thing happen today.


Looking forward to the future for our kids

Looking forward to the future for our kids is like looking at a foggy mirror. We can see the outlines of what’s to come, but there are so many variables that we can’t tell how much it will change. The future is uncertain because economics, climate, politics and technology all pose variable that make the future hard to predict. It’s digital because we live in an increasingly connected world where everything (including us) has an IP address or barcode associated with it so that it can be tracked and quantified by whoever wants to know its location in real time. The Internet-of-things means every object around us will be able to communicate with each other over wireless networks as well as interact directly without human intervention by using speech recognition technologies like Siri; Alexa; Cortana; Google Assistant etcetera and that's just today. 15 years ago no-one had an iPhone and none of these problems were nearly as acute. 7 years before that I went off to college, back then maybe 1 in 5 College Students had a cell phone and ubiquitous Wi-Fi and cellular data was still far off.


It's also social because social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger have become pervasive tools for interpersonal communication which allow people from different parts of the world (and even continents) communicating despite physical distance through text messages or voice calls using internet connections provided by cellular service providers such as AT&T or Verizon Wireless. This marriage of all technological aspects of our world and society means that abstinence is not the key, a luddite will find themselves woefully ill equipped for the realities of the modern world. Hence we must teach our kids to handle unlimited access to information responsibly. I like to use the metaphor of electricity, information is like electricity: absolutely unmatched in its power to enable the growth and creation of thigs...but dangerous if not respected.


About this Site

This site is about the effects of the modern world on parents, parenting and how it affects their kids development. It uses my education background in psychology, business, and law as well as experience as a family therapist, healthcare CEO, father, and techo-futurist. My mission is to help parents support their kids through these times of uncertainty. I believe that there are some things we can do as parents to prepare our kids for this new world order where technology plays such an important role in our lives. And while I have painted an uncertain picture of the future for our kids, there is an enormous opportunity if we challenge our availability bias and instead look at the time to come objectively and respond to our loved ones proactively. We will cover all of the topics above in much greater detail and many more.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but he does offer some tools that I have found helpful over my career as a professional working with families and children as the former CEO of a large health system, and most importantly as a dad who wants the best for my kids.


Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed our romp through the past and future with kids. It’s been a wild ride, but we have some parting thoughts to leave you with before we depart. In closing, may we say: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity" let’s get to work making "Lucky" kids.

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