Xin Nian Kuai Le and Happy Year of the Dog. Parenting trends are an interesting concept and I happened to think about them when I came across a horoscope for the Year of the Dog. Did you know that previous trends included giving your children beer (the Middle Ages), gin (the 1730s), morphine to help them sleep (the Victorian era), and putting them in portable cages mounted next to windows so they could get ‘fresh air’ (1930s)? Not to judge parents of the past, but seriously? Based on this, I feel I’m on a parenting-win streak every day. But, I digress.
The horoscope I came across (even though I’m not a horoscope person at all), was this:
“Many voices around the world rise to highlight the importance of the universal values of dialogue and solidarity, which are characteristic values of the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dog. Selfishness, greed and ignorance being a major source of inequalities on Earth, only a social and cultural impulse at the individual and collective level, can give a new hope to the millions of people in the world who are still suffering from neglect, indifference and the rejection from their community.”
This resonated with me because it seemed like a fairly accurate (yet hopeful) forecast in light of recent world events - not least the Rohingya crisis, #MeToo movement and (dare I say it) gun control.
You may say “okay, but what has this got to do with parenting trends?” Maybe when the world was smaller, something happening in a different country didn’t impact your thoughts on daily parenting. But now, they do. When I read about friends on Facebook advising their kids how to act in school “if you see someone with a gun,” things get real.
Looking at 2018 parenting trends it seems that global issues are very much influencing parenting, with many blogs, for example Today’s Parent, forecasting trends based on current affairs. Less consequential however, are Pinterest’s predictions which include pom pom décor, weighted blankets, less babyish nurseries, perma-forts and sprinkle showers (who knew it was a thing to ‘sprinkle’ a mom due with her second or third child with everyday necessities).
So, putting those aside, I’m happy to see some of these more impactful trends gain traction:
A move toward more feminist parenting: Based on a post-Harvey Weinstein world, Today’s Parent say “this is an enlightening opportunity to think about how we raise children to be feminist, body-confident, compassionate and respectful little humans, regardless of gender.” Reinforcing these things to my daughters certainly came to mind with the harassment scandals that continue to surface.
Longer parental leave: Scandinavia is the envy of the world giving parents up to 12 months of paid leave, and other governments are trying to keep up by increasing their maternity and paternity leave rights. Big companies in the US (Apple, Facebook, Google) are now giving paid paternity leave of up to 17 weeks, based on research that bonding with a child occurs in the first 6 weeks of their life.
Gender neutrality: Canada, America and Germany already have citizens with ‘non-binary’ birth certificates for babies born as intersex, with atypical sex anatomy or for parents who want their child legally referred to with the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their. It seems that others are following suit in some form, with countries such as India including ‘others’ under the sex category to cover transgender individuals.
Green parenting: Pinterest has predicted this to be a 2018 trend judging by the 750 percent increase in saves for ‘eco wear’ and wooden toys as a replacement for their plastic counterparts. It looks like the #zerowaste movement is catching on, with parents driven by a need to reduce pollution in order to maintain the earth’s resources for the next generation.
Keeping ahead of the name game: With the impending arrival of William and Kate’s third child, it is predicted there will be a surge in royal names ranging from Leopold and Charlotte to Eugenie and whatever name baby number three will be given. A second trend noted by the New York Times is parents creating pre-natal email accounts for their kids. Email and social media handle availability is starting to influence baby name selection, since parents want their child to have their online presence activated immediately after birth. They want to guarantee the name they choose comes with a handle not already taken.
Having read these, I’m relieved on two counts. One, that parenting seems to have come a long way from caging babies and two, that I personally don’t have to stress about naming my child Jaxson instead of Jackson to get a social media handle. I’m all for these positive trends including teaching my children about the pitfalls of ‘selfishness, greed and ignorance’ in 2018! Now I think it’s time to give myself a gin while planning my friend’s sprinkle shower with eco-friendly pom pom décor.
[Images via verandahmagazine.com.au, redtri.com, newsday.com]
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