7 Outdated Rules Our Parents Followed That Will Leave Us Feeling Confused Today

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Around two to three decades ago, our parents had no access to the internet, or to an endless supply of parenting books to ensure that they were doing a good job. They just had each other and their own life experiences. So, everything they taught us stemmed from what they had learned along the way. Although this was helpful in some regard, it also limited them as parents because they were not exposed to different perspectives and ways of life. Therefore, children were raised intuitively, which looks very different from the way we raise kids now. Our parents did their best with what they knew and had, but there are still rules that they followed rigidly that may puzzle us today.

Here are 7 outdated rules our parents followed that leave us confused in today’s day and age:

1. Being Skinny Is A Bad Thing

Being Skinny Is A Bad Thing

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Remember when you’d go to a family event or visit your grandma and everyone would remark on how skinny you were? Yeah, that wasn’t seen as a good thing. In fact, children who always finished their meals and looked more plump were praised whereas those who were picky eaters or just looked thin had a hard time. This is because our parents believed that being plump meant that the child was healthy and being skinny could lead to nutritional and health problems.

2. A College Education As An Indicator Of Status

College Education As An Indicator Of Status

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Our parents had the preconceived notion that the only way to get a job was to go to college. And it is true to some extent. However, academic success does not always indicate success in career and life. Most jobs nowadays are based on experience. You might have had the same viewpoint and now work in a field that has nothing to do with your college diploma. However, employers are far more interested in the practical skills and knowledge their employees have, than their academic qualifications.

3. Classes Are Good For Kids

Classes Are Good For Kids

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We now understand that it isn’t quantity but quality that matters. But this wasn’t the case for our parents. They believed that more classes meant that their kids would do better in school. This is not necessarily true as a very tight schedule can tire kids out and being exhausted makes learning much harder. It’s in your best interest to slow things down and let your child decide if they need additional assistance. Give them time and space to discover their talents and interests.

4. Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

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Our parents might have been careful with how they spent their money but in this day and age, being mindful isn’t enough. Kids are expensive and with the cost of living constantly on the rise, being financially stable has never been more important. Money may not buy happiness but it can make life more harmonious and there is no denying that. So make sure to make financially sound investments and teach your kids how to budget from an early age.

5. Older Kids Are Responsible For The Young Ones

Older Kids Are Responsible For The Young Ones

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The next time you complain about babysitting your siblings, here’s something to keep in mind. When our parents were younger, they had no choice but to look after the younger kids. It was expected of them. Parents had to work, so the older kids had to sacrifice their time, hobbies and social lives in order to look after their little siblings. This often extended to taking care of them when they were ill, cooking them meals when their parents were out and putting them to bed. Sometimes doing the duties of the parent can get exhausting for kids who grow up not wanting children of their own.

6. Women Are Housewives Whereas Men Are The Breadwinners

Women Are Housewives Whereas

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Here’s an ancient rule that just needs to be ruled out. Thankfully we’ve had several discussions about gender assigned roles in society and know better than to result in this way of thinking. But not so long ago, this was the norm. And in some cultures, it still is. But because of activism and protests, women now run successful businesses and join the workforce if she pleases. This also means that there are husbands who are the primary caregivers and decide to stay at home with the kids. More power to them both!

7. You Can’t Have A Child If You Don’t Have A Husband

Have A Child If You Don’t Have A Husband

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Thankfully this is another rule that we have done away with. We see single moms everywhere and don’t bat an eyelid but this was taboo a decade or two ago. Very often, having or adopting a child without a father is an informed decision made by the mother. This goes both ways, the number of single fathers has increased as well. We’re glad that we live in a society where you don’t have to be married or have a partner in order to have a child!

A lot of things have changed in a short period of time so be patient with your parents when they try to lecture you. Their intentions are good. So, what rule caught you completely off guard? Let us know in the comments section!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.