So much of how you parent is shaped by how you were parented. There are things you do in the same way, because you see them as correct, or wise, or because they’re the only way you know. And there are things that you deliberately do differently — because your own mom and dad messed those up, or times have changed, or your children have different needs. But either way, your own parents are the parents you know best and the departure point from which all your parenting journeys begin.
Two recent studies explore how and why parenting changes from one generation to the next. The first, from researchers at Ohio State University, looks at how often parents in the 1990s (when the data were first obtained) spanked, read to and showed affection to their children. Then those numbers were compared with how respondents were treated by their own mothers (questions were not asked about fathers) back when they were children.
The conclusions: parenting patterns are passed down from one generation to the next, but only to a point. For instance, three times as many “second generation” mothers in the study reported reading to their children daily, compared with their own mothers a generation earlier. And while only 40 percent of the previous generation of mothers said they openly “showed their child physical affection and praised them in the past week,” 60 percent of today’s fathers and 73 percent of today’s mothers said they had done so. READ MORE