Here’s Why We Can’t Parent The Way Our Parents Did

Typical 70s Family

I often hear parents from older generations marvel at the “tools” we younger mothers and fathers have: the battery-operated swings, the iPads, the bottle warmers, the terrifying Bumbos.

“What will they think of next?” they say. “If only I had things like that when I was a mother.”

In truth, I think my parents had it better. I’m not alone in that sentiment.

In her piece, “What Would My Mom Do (Drink Tab and Lock Us Outside)”, author Jen Hatmaker marvels at a world in which her mother would usher her and her siblings out the door and expect them to find all-day, unsupervised entertainment outdoors.

I recently heard one of my writing heroes, Dave Barry, discuss how happy his parents were because they didn’t hover over their children every waking moment. Mr. Barry said it was the Depression-era parents who did it best because they prioritized their own happiness. He said his generation – my mother’s generation – is responsible for starting the phenomenon known as helicopter parenting.

I’ll see him a helicopter parent and raise him the helicopter society that parents in my generation have come to know.

The problem isn’t that younger parents DON’T want our children to have childhoods like we did; it’s that in many ways, we CAN’T let them have those childhoods.

Why?

Because peanut butter has been outlawed. I’m told this changes as my children get older, but for now, I have to get a little more creative than the standard PB&J my mother packed for us every day. Not only am I searching for peanut butter substitutes that don’t taste like feet (looking at you, SunButter), but I’m competing with the social media barrage of picture-perfect school lunches filled with stuff my kids would never eat, like red peppers and hummus. I mean, whatever, I get it that some kids will die if they are exposed to peanut butter. My point is that my mom could shut her eyes, grab whatever her already-full hands could hold, shove it in a paper bag and send us out the door. I have to scrutinize every element to make sure it’s nut-free and pack it in an eco-friendly container because HEAVEN FORBID I would be so wasteful as to use paper bags.

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Because you can’t leave your kids in the car. I’m not talking 90-degree-weather-stranded-in-a-parking-lot kind of abandonment. I mean that I can’t run in to pay for gas and leave my kids strapped safely into a locked vehicle. If I do, some agents from Social Services will be at my home and I’ll either lose my kids or have to commit umpteen hours of community service.

Because, actually, kids aren’t allowed to be anywhere alone. Nowhere. An unsupervised brother and sister walked from their home to a nearby park in Silver Spring, Maryland, and someone called the police on the parents. The kids were 10 and 6. I was rollerblading all over my neighborhood when I was that age – and you better believe my mother wasn’t skating along behind me.

Because we are constantly reminded of the terrible things that will happen to our children. If it isn’t gun violence, it’s kidnapping, or drowning, or car accidents, or drugs, or chemicals in the food, or chemicals in diapers, or chemicals in household cleaners, or chemicals in the water. We are reminded of these things on the news, on our social media feeds and at play dates. I asked my mother how she dealt with the onslaught of worries, and she said, “We didn’t have them.” My mother’s generation had their own share of concerns, of course, but they weren’t faced with them on a daily – even hourly – basis like we are.

Because we have the Mommy Wars, and those aren’t going anywhere. My mother told me that if she thought another parent was doing something wrong, she might gossip about it one-on-one with a mommy friend. However, my generation will outright shame a “bad” parent on the news or in social media. My generation posts incessantly about how we’re doing parenting wrong when we feed our kids non-organic foods, when we don’t care about GMO, when we bottle-feed, when we breastfeed, when we co-sleep and when we sleep alone. We still have the ability to parent as we wish, but we have to face the judgment and utter vitriol in a much more open way than generations past.

My generation is taking the “it takes a village” sentiment a little too far. Unfortunately, the good intentions mean my children won’t have the freedoms I did.

I can’t parent like my grandparents, and I can’t parent like my parents. I assume that my children won’t be able to parent the way I do, either. In 2035, there will be laws against letting children run through sprinklers and restrictions on how much time they can spend in the sun.

I can only do the best I can with what I have. And right now, I have to figure out how to convince my almost-2-year-old that SunButter is delicious.

Kate Meier has two kids and zero tolerance for people who criticize parents for bullshit reasons. Go enjoy her sarcastic sense of humor at her blog, My Kind of Parenting, or here on Facebook.

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130 Comments on “Here’s Why We Can’t Parent The Way Our Parents Did”

  1. “I mean, whatever, I get it that some kids will die if they are exposed to peanut butter.” I doubt you would be so dismissive if it was your baby staring at you terrified because he can’t breathe. Stop complaining and be grateful that your heart doesn’t fill with fear every time your child attends a birthday party or eats out. May you long enjoy the fortune that many of us don’t have: having healthy children. And if some misfortune befalls your babes, may you never be met with the word, “whatever”

    1. If your child is allergic to peanuts, then by all means don’t feed him/her peanuts. But don’t expect children who aren’t allergic to go without.

      1. Even if it means another child’s life? Do you really value peanut butter that much? Some kids can’t even sit at a table where peanut products have been served without losing their ability to draw breath. Please educate yourself so you don’t cause harm to innocent children

        1. Interestingly, this comment line completely makes the authors point. Yes, we are grateful we don’t have this concern. But it IS a pain. Not on the same scale as having the allergy. But pb doesn’t require any cooling and is half the price of cheese. It’s easy. It’s cheap. Kids like it. We don’t desire to endanger your child but it wouldn’t cost other parents any time or effort to acknowledge that it’s a pain. And what about kids who won’t eat any other food? They exist too. Let’s all have some empathy here.

          1. As an Adult with a Peanut allergy who reacts to Peanut Butter being eaten within 10 feet of her (I react to it in the air), I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the pathetic picky food eaters when I am falling from my chair unable to breathe again.

            When I was a kid, adults thought nothing of giving me a PB&J sandwich. I didn’t understand why they were all trying to kill me (I didn’t react to peanut butter in the air until I was an adult). I just went hungry those days rather than vomiting, severe stomach pain, and endless diarrhea for 24 hours.

            Another reason I don’t have pity for picky eaters is as an adult, my co-workers purposely tried to kill me off by eating near me foods they knew would end up triggering Anaphalyctic Shock. One of them told me that their right to eat that food was more important than my life. They did this often enough that they ruined my health and I was forced to retire at 30 years old.

          2. Miriam, I have a severely autistic child with an extremely short list of foods she can eat. She’s not being a picky eater. She is severely autistic. Should she go hungry 24/7 to ensure she never eats the one protein that don’t make her panic, then ends up within 10 feet of you? Is that what you want? I can’t stop people from smoking, even though cigarette smoke on the clothing of passers-by make it frighteningly difficult to breathe, and I wouldn’t expect others to quit smoking for my sake because other people have rights too. My daughter has a right to eat, and if you’re the one who can’t be around her, then you’re the one who needs to stay away.

            You need to acknowledge that other people with other needs exist as well, and if you can’t deal with someone else eating peanut butter, then you need to take actions to protect yourself, which may mean not going into public.

          3. I’m curious to know how Miriam shops at the grocery store – because most grocery stores have open air nut containers in the produce aisle?

            I go into anaphylaxis when I am orally exposed to certain things, but not when I breath them. I also have the same miserable gastrointestinal symptoms when I eat/ingest the allergens.

        2. I’ve literally never heard an actual incident where this happened. If you don’t eat the thing you’re allergic to, you won’t have a reaction.

          1. You must do some research. It is very frighteningly real. Luckily my daughter’s allergies are not that severe and I don’t live around a bunch of ignorant a-holes. All of the people we have encountered have been so awesome and like to keep my child alive just as much as I do.

          2. Heh. Tell that to my 5 year old who ended up with her entire face swollen so bad her eyes couldn’t open and her nose closed off. Because she *touched* a table where someone had eaten peanut butter, gotten it on their hands, and hadn’t cleaned the table afterwards. It was barely even visible, yet it caused hives on her eye lids within 3 minutes; I was with her and she never put her hands in her mouth. She now has to carry kid-sized gloves and cleaning wipes everywhere she goes to wipe down every table, in addition to carrying her Benadryl and epinephrine. Playgrounds are a nightmare; there’s a risk we’re going to end up in the ER because some parent didn’t bother to wipe their kid’s hands after they ate a PB&J sandwich. But she also has autism and desperately needs the social interaction, so I can’t just isolate her. People need to be educated and realize we’re not being difficult; we’re trying to keep our kids alive and actually let them live at the same time. And it stinks.

          3. Ummm. Another airborne reactivevfood allergy person here. Fish and shellfish. I am so sorry for your ignorance about food allergies. I am glad you have never experienced them. I even was going to defend mother Trista until she offered the advice never go in public to an adult. That was hateful. Feed your kid at home. I know autistic children have many struggles with eating and totally get the limited food choices. Be considerate of others as well. I never feed my kids “top 8” allergens in public because I know the terror of anaphylaxis as does my daughter. And yes Choctaw Chick, grocery stores are a nightmare. Fortunately my husband is able and willing to go to grocery or I shop online. Either way, grocery stores with fancy samples/cooking demos are terrifying. Do I ask them to stop for me? No. I take my business elsewhere. As I will be doing here- this is not a blog I will read again since author is so callous of maybe just ignorant of the seriousness of food allergies. I do homeschool my children to keep them safe from food allergies, but think about things they miss- summer camps/church functions/etc. because compassion is lacking in adults.

        3. Then get your sickly little fucker out of the classroom; don’t expect everyone to accommodate their insufficiency. As their mom, it’s YOUR job to keep them safe, not expect everyone else to do it for you.

          1. YOU are what is wrong with people. Earlier generations weren’t such self centered assholes.

          2. You need to stop procreating because the world needs less ignorant aholes like you who would be inconsiderate and selfish enough to cause harm to an innocent child. NOONE chooses to be THAT family or ThAT kid. Thank your lucky stars you carry on your day without carrying an Epi-pen or Without the fear of your innocent child having a life threatening emergency. Noone wants or asks for this to happen, so have some f’n compassion for those who do. And if you insist on feeding your child peanuts for economical purposes then you obviously can’t afford to have a child in the first place.

          3. I can’t believe you would call someone’s child a “sickly little f*****”. I would be ashamed if that ever came out of my mouth. A well educated person can express themselves without vulgarity and anger.

          1. From the article you linked to:”The only exception to the above is if peanut protein itself is in the air that you breathe. If a peanut allergic person breathes enough of the peanut protein in the air, the person can have a serious allergic reaction, asthma attack or anaphylaxis.”
            Rare does not mean it doesn’t exist. There have been cases of people having anaphylactic reactions on planes from the peanut particles in the air. As for the people who are angry their child might go hungry vs. the people who are afraid of dying I’m sorry but death trumps hungry and they person eating the peanuts can go elsewhere to eat. I have a coworker who is severely allergic and after I found out I was craving peanut sauce but I didn’t bring it into work because I am a compassionate human being.

          2. Martinez,
            Rare means playing the odds and not letting a tiny percentile rule all of society.

          1. Martinez, so let me see if I’m understanding you clearly, very severe anafalaxisis level peanut allergies according to the article written by a pediatric allergy specialist says ate extremely rare, so you are saying that that 1 in maybe a 1,000 person should have the right to eat where ever they please while the test should find somewhere else to eat?

      2. What I believe is an injustice if in fact that it really is against the law anyplace to send your child to school with peanut butter. Are these two issues:1 is what will be deemed illegal next, and thereafter; it’s two easy to say something is illegal, and dismiss the situation, and 2: is while I very much sympathize with those parents like myself (my son is an adult now), that have allergies to peanuts is that most people want to take the easy way out. Do you think that our children were loved any less, not too mention we had less to work with to help us should anything transpire with an allergic attack. But Im happy that we used communication to help solve our issues rather than just say just make it illegal. You may think that, that sounds insensitive but quite the contrary. You don’t understand the value in teaching your child or their classmates about his allergies and why we as friends must lookout for each other. Did they always understand probably not but it was a lesson learned and his closest friends did receive the teaching and I never once had to rush him anywhere due to that peanut allergy, we didn’t have the benefit of the epy pen in my day. I am just trying to share that all these electronic devices have taken away our in person communicative skills which has caused us to shy away from confrontation which makes it easier to just forbid something rather than speak on it. What if something deemed illegal is something that might save your child but hurt another’s, what would be the answer to that sitation? Let’s really think before reacting in all situations and most importantly let’s communicate with one another. And with regard to Facebook or any picture snapped, etc. As the old saying goes “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” Please think about that, especially the half of what you see. A picture snapped does that really tell the whole story, just be careful it could be you in the picture one day telling others, I didn’t do what it looks like. And that might be the truth.

        1. Protecting children from things that can kill them is necessary. We do it every day when we hold their hands when we cross the street, lock up poisons and sharp knives and guns and medications. Why? Because young children aren’t ready to deal with those things through “communication”. Learning how to handle a life threatening allergy takes time and maturity, just like learning how to handle poisons. The standard method of teaching that is to protect completely while young and then gradually introduce risk with supervision as they get older. This should not be a difficult concept for adults because they do this with dangerous things every single day with their own children, and yes, they do expect others to protect their children from these life threatening things. A life threatening allergy is no different for a severely allergic child, and every severely allergic child deserves that same protection until they reach an age where they are mature enough to fully understand the risks and take measures to protect themselves.

      3. You’re missing the point. If children who are allergic to peanut butter come into contact at ALL – (you’re child handled it from his lunchbox, then touched a door, then the allergic child touches the door), the allergic child could DIE.

        1. No, she isn’t. We get it, which is why we comply. We DONT send peanut butter to school. We don’t feed snacks to kids that aren’t ours unless we have express permission from their parents. We take EpiPen trainings every year. These kids are safer.

          It’s also a pain. It just is. I’m sure it’s a much bigger pain to the parents and kids who deal with the allergy. But regardless, it’s not something that people worried about 25 years ago and it’s just one more thing we as parents have to be hyper vigilant about.

          1. The allergy wasn’t prevelant years ago like it is now. I have absolutely no problem sending my kids to school without peanut butter. It’s not as important as a child! However, I do have a problem when things become “illegal”. Why can’t we set rules on our own? Educate and let parents know what the rules are for that school. Let the school take responsibility. There are WAY too many laws the government is creating. They’re starting to shove their noses where they don’t belong. Big Brother is starting to get bigger. It’s a little terrifying.

          2. Rather than just accepting that peanut allergies are getting more common in the US, we need to be questioning why this is happening. The more we are able to avoid foods we don’t like or want, the most allergies we have cropping up. Nowhere else in the world are we having people allergic or severely intolerant to foods like in the US. The less people are able to avoid foods, the fewer allergies there are. Food allergies and intolerances were almost unheard of half a century ago, when everyone at the same foods. In developing nations, food allergies are still practically unheard of. Even now, in the US, poorer kids are less likely to have allergies to things like peanut butter that is more likely to be in their households when they’re babies. We need to be looking into why this is practically epidemic in first-world countries where it’s more common to treat common foods like poison.

        2. I mean, that’s why there’s a thing such as communication. And they also make things called EpiPens. How do you go to a restaurant with these kids? Disney world? The mall? There’s peanut butter everywhere, if someone touches the toilet flush handle or door stall handle with PB three people before you enter the stall HOW DO YOU KNOW if you’re touching peanut residuals. Seriously. Take responsibility and communicate to the kids parents who’s birthday party you’re taking them to ahead of time etc. Its not our responsibility to keep the world peanut free. My kids LOVE peanut butter and peanuts actually are a decent source of protien. My kid’s allergic bee stings. I’m not going to make him stay inside… and I can’t tell someone not to have bees in their yard. But I can be careful when we’re out, and I can carry an epiPen.

          1. What we should really be looking at is why there is an allergy epidemic! Could it be that our food supply is all crap filled with pesticides and additives??

      4. David… seriously? My child can not be around peanuts period… she had her first reaction at cheer practice from simply being touch by another cheerleader after eating a peanut butter cracker.
        It’s a good thing the law doesn’t side with people like you and considering the food allergies is consider a disability they aren’t allowed to be excluded from school or school activities and no peanut butter, tree nuts or shellfish are allowed in her classroom.
        FYI she is 13 and hates peanuts hadn’t had one since she was 2 years old and suddenly became allergic…. you or anyone in your family could suddenly become allergic and I don’t believe you would still feel that way if you actually had to live this life daily.

        1. She could have been allergic all along since she might not have been able to tell you her symptoms when she was 2. Allergies don’t always start out as a severe red. They might have given her indigestion as a small child

        2. It is your job to protect your child and to teach them what they need to do too protect themselves from peanuts not mine not the school but yours. Get off your soap box and be a little tolerant for others. By the way you missed the point of the article.

      5. My only experience with a child allergic to peanut butter is my cousin. She is so allergic she can’t be in the same room with an open jar without difficulty breathing. Baby sitters who didn’t comprehend the severity give the boys PB sandwiches and the girl tuna, yet she was still gasping with each breath just from sitting next to the boys eating PB. It doesn’t have to be ingested to be life threatening. That is why it is important for other kids not to have it in schools. She spent the night in the hospital the night of an awards ceremony just before she graduated from high school because there was PB in something. Let it be someone you love whose life is on the line, then tell me it doesn’t matter if other kids have it.

        1. Also, she is 24 years old now and has had this allergy her entire life, so it isn’t that “these allergies didn’t exist years ago.”

      6. What an incredibly uniformed response. Somewhat like my kid can smoke but yours don’t. Peanuts and peanut oils gets everywhere. My daughter has a skin allergy but some kids can have a far more severe response and possibly die if they are even near it. So sure give your kid a PB sandwich cause if it kills the kid next to them that’s there problem.

      7. If only it were that simple… ANY food alert (or intolerance) usually means that an ENTIRE class, on an entire school population can’t have the aklergen. One kid with a peanut allergy = 360 other kids, 61 teachers + various staff don’t come into contact with peanuts and ANY OTHER TREE NUT because, otherwise th hat child’s tuition will go to a school/center that “cares” and wouldn’t dare expose little Jimmy to some thing that might KILL HIM. we had Epi pens for 25% of the population, yet twould cases of whooping cough were in a class and NO ONE told us until A WEEK after they weren’t contagious any more, they simply didn’t come to school for a few days. Basically, whatever makes the parent happy/comfortable is what we did. 🙁

    2. I don’t think she’s complaining…. but I digress. “whatever” is not dismissive. It is saying, she gets that but it’s not her point. Her point is that there are a million things different than it was 30 years ago. And it will be different again in 30 years. Don’t be so defensive and off put. It’s a blog.

    3. As a person with a deadly allergy, I agree with the article. These parents have to change their normal routines for the few who have allergies. Sometimes it’s a huge imposition sometimes it’s not. But as a parent of a child with the allergy maybe you should be a little more considerate of the fact that these people are changing their regular routines just for your precious little one. Be a little considerate. Because honestly, it is quite a bit to ask for from people. And being sanctimonious isn’t the best way to win people over to helping you out!

      1. Thanks for your polite and thoughtful comment. We have become a society where the needs of the few, outweigh the needs of the many. I am in my 60’s and growing up, I can’t remember a single student having a food allergy so severe that the school had to ban the substance in the school. If there were students with food allergies, we the public never heard of it. If it truly is becoming such an epidemic, then maybe we need to find out what the heck is happening.

    4. Her intention does not seem to be dismissive.
      “My point is that my mom could shut her eyes, grab whatever her already-full hands could hold, shove it in a paper bag and send us out the door.”
      I think her point is, it’s not easy these days to make snacks. A lot was acceptable in the past to feed your kids. We can often feel shame in these times if we are not packing the right amount of fruit and/or veggies in our kids’ lunches.

      If she was dismissive she wouldn’t scrutinize the food. We scrutinize the lunches we pack because we don’t want to harm a child. We’ve inherited a world of food sensitivities likely because of a lot of pesticides which has altered us (just a theory) which means, as a result, it’s hard to find food to feed our kids. My kid can’t eat nuts or oranges in his lunch.

      Nobody is really to blame (except potentially the generations before us who put chemicals in everything and our bodies are screaming for clean food because ingesting so much chemicals and processed foods is unsustainable) for food allergies existing in the world. They’re just really abundant now, and literally our parents just had to smear on pb&j. That consists of opening a bag of bread and a couple jars. The only dish involved is a knife. Everything went in the garbage after, too. Guilt free. I’m not – and I don’t think the author’s intent – saying that it’s a bad thing we have to be so conscious. We don’t have the luxuries of being as detached as the last two-three generations were. Do we want them? Well, I would love to open a jar of something and put it on some sort of bread like substances and feel like I could say my kids would love it, and wouldn’t put another child’s health in danger, and it wasn’t processed. And, yes, I’d love to not do the work to make that jarred substance a reality. And I’d love it if it didn’t cost a fortune.

      1. Oh, give me a break! Are the peanut allergists of the world somehow given special privileges? Like not even showing a PB&J sanwich on television? Gee, that’s swell!
        ..
        Now, I’m very, very allergic to grass pollen. So allergic that for awhile I had to wear a half gas-mask just to leave the house. Would it be TOO unreasonable if I asked – no demanded – that all of the parks & fields of the earth be asphalted? I don’t even want to see a picture of picnic on television. That just might trigger me!
        ..
        (Geez. Why do you think there are prescription drugs out there? I can’t make the world stop mowing their lawns. You must adopt your life to live with your allergy; you CANNOT expect the world to change their lives just because of your handicap! So, go back to your PB&J sanwiches and your lawn mowers!)

    5. What a load of garbage. Those with peanut butter allergies have become so entitled as to think that everyone should go without because their precious has a deadly allergy. Don’t get me wrong – anaphylactic reactions are terrifying and deadly.
      But – I’m as deadly allergic to shellfish as kids are to peanut butter. Do I tell all my friends and everyone I work with that they’re forbidden?
      Nope. I carry an epi-pen, wear a medic alert bracelet and make sure those close to me are in the know. I don’t eat at Red Lobster ever and avoid Asian restaurants like the plague.
      Big deal.
      Yup, I could die easily. Almost have. But I don’t rake those eat shellfish near me over the coals, I don’t expect exceptions for me and I don’t go in to a restaurant blaring about allergies. Never.
      Why? Because I wasn’t raised in the entitlement-minded generation that little kids are being raised in now and didn’t raise my kids that way either. They know they’re loved to death, but they had part-time jobs to pay for things they wanted (as opposed to needed) when they were growing up and I hope they do the same with their kids. They knew there were consequences for bad behaviour, not hugs and kisses and blaming teachers. They had to apologize to the teachers for horrible behaviour when they had bad days.
      And you know what? They’re good kids. Perfect? I wish. YOU wish. Perfection doesn’t exist.
      But don’t visit your entitlement-minded selves on this next generation. They have enough to deal with as it is. I’m glad I’m not raising kids in this generation. There wouldn’t be an iPad or computer in the house.
      …and some idiot would call CPS for that, I’m sure.

      1. I am really sorry about your allergy. But you make a good point. You CHOOSE not to enter an Asian restaurant. Kids can’t choose to avoid school. Plus, shellfish isn’t too common in elementary schools, while peanut butter is. No matter how you look at it, a kids right to life outweighs another kids right to a PB&J. To call them “entitled” is just trying disguise your own lack of empathy and care for others.

        1. I stay away from most restaurants in summer because they sell lobster. I’m on the East Coast in Canada, and it’s everywhere.

          I do take personal responsibility, but I wonder, is peanut butter really that important for kids to eat? it’s mostly added sugar, and horrible for them! Very bad choice for a nutritious lunch.

      2. Lord have mercy. What maked kids “entitled” by their parents not wanting them to die from their allergy? Also, you are an afdult and can make choices about what you choose to be aorund. Kids don’t have that choice, and young kids can’t make those choices at all. My grandson, who has a deadly soy allergy, will eat things given to him. period. Soy is no hidden in foods that I do not know what we will do when he starts school. ( not to mention, soy and shellfish allergies are not the same as peanut allergies. Peanut allergies, more than any other food allergy can be deadly with airborn or touched exposure.

        BYW, I agree with those who think we need to clean up our act environmentally. We did not have many food allergy folks 50 years ago.

    6. The point wasn’t really about the peanuts, the point was that what used to be a standard, no thought required lunch isn’t available as an option any more. She’s not passing judgement on the reason, just pointing out that she is required to be more careful and creative for”whatever” reason.

      1. Responding to callous nature of the peanut butter food allergy comment. Hot topic and while not the point of your article- you need to show compassion by respecting that rule in you child’s school- the minute they get home from school they can have peanut butter. It’s one meal a day. Article would have been spot on if you had not called out food allergies as your ignorance is astounding. Parents like you are the reason I homeschool my kids- they cannot be safe in school with food allergies. Kids and adults die when exposed if help is not available right away. Some allergies are airborne if severe. (Peanut butter, seafood/fish/shellfish…. cheese balls or powdered cheese on junk food- touch a kid with a dairy allergy…. possible anaphylaxis.)

    7. Oh Jesus, she was writing a clever piece and fully acknowledged the severity. You are part of what she is talking about with the Mommy Wars.

  2. I really wish you weren’t so casual about the food allergies. It’s heart-breaking to have my kid at a birthday party watch other kids enjoy cake and ice cream when he can’t have either, due to allergies. I’m glad you don’t have to deal with food allergies on top of the normal parenting stresses, but it’s not like those of us who do chose to give our kids allergies.

    1. Me, too. If she thinks it’s difficult to pack a lunch for her kid with no allergies, try packing one for a kid who has allergies. It is infinitely more difficult.

    2. My kids have allergies to tree nuts and gluten and I don’t expect others to cater to them. I take treats for them and have talked to them about why they can’t eat the cake and ice cream. Does it suck? Sure, but it’s something they will have to deal with all the time as they grow up and they need to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them.

      1. It isn’t a matter of “catering” to other kids. Peanut allergies can be deadly if the child so much as smells the peanuts. My kids don’t have peanut allergies, but you can bet I will “cater” to other kids if their life is in danger because I wanted to pack a PB&J. I choose the child over a PB&J!

      2. Why can’t they have ice cream, if it’s a non-nut flavor? Is it the “processed in a facility where nuts may have been” line on some packaging? I didn’t realize so many kids are so deadly allergic to everything these days…

        1. Turns out kids are more allergic to things these days and it is getting worse. It has to be due to some envoronmental cause. WE have not been vigilent with how our food id grown and what chemicals we allow our kids to be exposed to daily.

          My grandson has celiac ( as do I), AND he is allergic to soy, milk, and eggs. He will never be able to have the cake and ice cream. We will train him to cope and avoid his allergens. BUT woe tot he person who gives him his allergen. WOE to the person who willfully allows my grandson to die because they were selfish and cared about their own tempory needs and convenience that his life.

          THAT is the point of those of us who want folks to take our children’s lives seriously, even though it now is inconvenient for them too. I get that it’s inconvenient; but dang. We are talking about the LIVES of children here.

    3. Try being “that” child. You know the one who brings her own cupcake baked by her mother to ensure that she could take part in the party. And they pray it doesn’t get mixed up with the other food. Or now you are “that” the adult who can’t/ won’t eat over at someone’s house or party because your allergies have gotten worse over time. Or you don’t do potlucks because of cross contamination because people don’t put spoons back in the proper dish. Allergies have been around for years/ decades, it is just now that more people are aware of it and are willing to make a big deal about it.

      1. Yes. I have that kid and I am that adult. There are laws in workplaces that qualify severe food allergies as a disability and refer to it as similar to not having a wheelchair ramp if you have an employee with a wheelchair. I don’t go to red lobster and demand to be safe, or have a job there (seafood/shellfish can be airborne) but in a regular workplace, there are laws to protect me from dying on the job! A little compassion goes a long way.

    4. There are many food allergies other than just your child’s. Should every known allergen be banned to make sure no one ever feels left out? Or should we be teaching our kids how to handle their own issues? I’m allergic to cantaloupe of all things, which is common in summer spreads. I’ve got a host of medical conditions. It’s MY responsibility to take care of my own medical needs, and MY responsibility to understand that I can’t expect everyone else in the world to cater to my needs. If I can’t eat something at a party, then I can’t. If there’s something that could make me sick, the I need to respect the rights of others and skip that event rather than be that person who demands everything be changed for me. The world shouldn’t be expected to cater to your son every step in his life. The world can’t. In addition to common allergens, there are less common ones. What makes a person with a common allergen more worthy of having their allergens banned than someone with a less common one?

      By the way, I have a disabled child who is only able to eat a few foods without having a panic attack. It’s not her being picky. She’s not in control of her panics. The only protein she’ll eat is peanut butter. If she doesn’t eat, she has to be tube-fed. I don’t care if your kid is allergic to peanut butter and could get sick at a playground if she’s there after she had some peanut butter. My child is getting fed what she’ll eat. She needs to look after her own needs, and your child needs to look after his own.

      1. You’re a pathetic human being.
        You don’t care about about child getting sick? You mean you don’t care about my child dying?
        Well you’re lucky you are not in the same playground as I am because I would gladly toss your damm gross PB sandwich in the trash! You know why? Because I DON’T CARE about your child not being fed and having panic attacks!
        Isn’t that a lovely thing to hear from a fellow mother?
        Google EMPATHY and try to teach yourself a little of it. It will make you a better human being.

        1. And this is the real problem of the world. Each individual feels their problems are more important then their own. It is quite ironic for you to demand some empathy while showing none for others at the same time.

          If your child is allergic to PB, but her child can only eat PB, neither of you are in the wrong or being terrible looking out for your child. She is not a bad or unsympathetic mother for packing PB to take to a park when all her kid will eat is PB.

          True empathy, true tolerance would be both parties doing their best to be mindful of the others plight. The mom whose kid eats PB, maybe she would clean off her kids hands after she ate before she played. The mom whose kid is deathly allergic to PB – she should always have an epi-pen with her for emergencies, and if she sees some one eating PB and it makes her nervous enough – she can find another play ground if her childs allergy is that serious.

          Every one should just practice tolerance and kindness. You don’t know the story behind the people you meet. Stop being so quick to judge.

        2. Most of the comments on here are proving the author’s point. Quit criticizing the authors peanut butter joke, it was a light-hearted statement. Stop being so damn judgmental. No one wants your kids to die, she was just explaining how in this day and age as opposed to the past, parents have to adhere to many more rules and regulations.

        3. I mean, that’s why there’s a thing such as communication. And they also make things called EpiPens. How do you go to a restaurant with these kids? Disney world? The mall? There’s peanut butter everywhere, if someone touches the toilet flush handle or door stall handle with PB three people before you enter the stall HOW DO YOU KNOW if you’re touching peanut residuals. Seriously. Take responsibility and communicate to the kids parents who’s birthday party you’re taking them to ahead of time etc. Its not our responsibility to keep the world peanut free. My kids LOVE peanut butter and peanuts actually are a decent source of protein. My kid’s allergic bee stings. I’m not going to make him stay inside… and I can’t tell someone not to have bees in their yard. Or tell them not to play at the playground…
          But I can be careful when we’re out, and I can carry an epiPen. Same with Peanuts. It can happen, carry and epiPen.

          1. Epi pens are kept in the school office or nurses office. Severe anaphalaxis kills people who can’t get to their Epi pens soon enough. Also, since we live in a nation that doesn’t care about the life and death and sufffering of others, we have many who can’t afford needed Epi pens.

            Also, 5 and 6 year old kis will often eat what is given to them . AND many people will tell someone their allergen isn’t in something they serve and it actually is.

    1. People who are allergic to peanuts are allergic to a protein in peanuts, not the pesticides other crap in the peanut butter. Organic peanut butter can kill them just as easily as regular.

    2. Get over yourself. My daughter has a peanut allergy. I’m smart enough, however, to know that there is no such thing as a genetically modified peanut. I really wish there were, as they are working on one that doesn’t have the PEANUT protein that triggers the allergy.

      Organic agriculture uses pesticides. Lots of them, often more toxic ones and in higher doses and more frequent applications than conventional agriculture. Just because a pesticide is derived from “natural” sources (what makes it okay in organic growing) doesn’t mean it’s harmless or safe.

    3. YES YES YES!! Thank you! You have to ask “why?” Why are there so many more people with allergies or or food problems? Because it’s all gmo ! So much food isn’t natural that it is mind boggling.

      1. PROTEIN causes the reaction not anything GMO… protein will always be in a peanut. You could grow your own with no extra anything and a child will still be allergic. Just common sense..

    4. That won’t help. If you’re actually dealing with a REAL Allergy, rather than a parental preference, organic PB is more dangerous.

  3. let me add: You can’t let your kids out to play all day with the other kids in the neighborhood…because there are no other kids outside.

  4. All you people ranting about a minor comment on peanut butter seem to have missed the whole point of the article. I for one agree completely with the article. Life has become much more restrictive for children and I think this will do them more harm than good in the long term.

    1. Ironically, the people wanting peanut butter banned are helping prove the point. All the extra restrictions today are supposedly to keep kids safe, but all these restrictions are doing is preventing kids from learning to take care of themselves, and that includes learning to deal with their own allergies. Easier to advocate for peanuts to be banned than to teach kids how to deal with their own allergies. Easier to disallow kids from going outside than to teach then what to do if they see a stranger (ironically again, the people most likely to kidnap kids are people they know, not strangers).

  5. Everyone jumping on the ONE thing – peanut butter – proves her entire point. She wasn’t dismissing allergies. She was simply making a point that between all the people, like you, who grab hold of the one minor thing and blow it up (the generation that judges, as she said) and the nanny state America is becoming, one would struggle to parent the same as our parents.

    Great job proving her right. *SMH*

  6. Sadly, I think there’s a good reason we have to deal with SOME of these things. In our parent’s times there was not as much to worry about. Food wasn’t full of as many chemicals (and linked to so many scary things). Just compare the health of the US to Europe (or another place that is more restrictive in food chemicals used). The other aspect of this entry mentions the parental control that is sweeping areas of this nation. Parents aren’t allowed their own opinions anymore. In some areas people have become so prideful that they feel their way of thinking is the only way of thinking. Therefore, they feel completely justified in placing other parents under complete control. We are losing our free nation because of a few very loud and prideful people who have no respect for the opinions of others. I don’t always agree with the liberal perspective but I still respect them and would never in my dreams feel that MY way of thinking should be pushed upon them.

  7. You forgot carseats!!! Do you remember riding across country sprawled out in the back of a station wagon watching the clouds roll by? It was great! Of course you could also drive without seeing any other cars forever. And mom would be in the front seat, holding the baby…

    1. Cars used to be built like tanks, and weren’t able to go 120MPH. If we were to go back in time right now to 1985, I’d have no problem riding in the flatbed of a pickup truck with my daughter. But since we’re in 2017 where cars are built cheaper and much, much, much faster, we need carseat laws. This is a law that evolved with technology.

    2. Now car seats have expiration dates on them and you are supposed to destroy them so that they can’t be used after that date. Ludicrous! No wonder we are in the special snowflake era!

      1. What does a carseat expiration date have to do with being a snowflake? Plastic degrades over time, especially when exposed to temperature extremes. Think of those cheap plastic lawn chairs and how they crack after a few seasons? Same thing.

  8. Just read the article and found it really interesting. Another thing I find intriguing and if someone could help to explain is precisely concerning allergies. We are from Portugal and moved to the United States a year and a half ago. My kids are now 6 and 8 years old and are now acostumed to the restrictions at school concerning nuts and dairy. Back in Portugal they were in a school with at least 150 other children and we didn’t know of anyone with allergies. As for myself I only know 2 people there with allergies (fish and seafood). Is there a known reason for so many allergies in kids in the United States? Really interested in the subject. I understand “both” sides, I watch carefully what my kids take to school and also am in the school PTA in the hospitality committee responsible for all the food for school functions and we have a reserved table for allergy friendly snacks. As a side note, curiously, I started making fruit cups for events, other than sweet treats and the kids loved it 🙂 All of them 🙂

    1. I read an article not long ago that talked about how our own modern medicine has caused a lot of the problems we have with health, deformities, and allergies. Things are passed down from parents to children. With the medical science we have today many more people survive birth and grow to be adults. In times passed it was common for sickness to take a child at birth or at a very young age which would prevent them from becoming adults and passing their genes to the next generation. Not so much now. If that is the case then we have basically weakened ourselves through our own breakthroughs that allow our children to live and grow. Kinda crappy way to look at it. The crushing sadness of losing a child to something we can now prevent vs. weaker humans in the future. Don’t know if I agree with the article or not but it’s another viewpoint.

      1. That is exactly it…”Not so much now. If that is the case then we have basically weakened ourselves through our own breakthroughs that allow our children to live and grow.”

        I’ve stated for years that we have evolved to the point of devolution….evidenced right in front of your eyes every day !!

      2. UM…they have modern medicine in Portugal too. In fact they have better medical care that covers more people than we do. THAT may be part of the problem. I also think that environmental pollutioin in our food, water, and air is the problem. I have auto-immune disease. I didn’t until I was an adult then developed three of them. I had no medical care for 20 of my adult years and it has gotten worse. I was flaring when pregnant with my daughter. This coorelated with the expansion of GMO crops and the area I lived having more industrial chemicals. My daughter has an autoimmune disorder and my grandson has Celiac, and allergies to milk, eggs, and soy. The soy allergy has nearly killed him twice.

  9. I tell you what. You have the allergic kid, spend hundreds on epipens and allergist visits, not to mention the terror when the school calls. I’ll assume the onerous burden of finding an alternative to a PB&J for lunch. Fair trade?

  10. I feel it’s worth pointing out that many of those most adamant about constant child supervision were the ones who were mistreated or molested because they weren’t supervised when they were children. It happened back then too, and those who went through it are terrified of anyone experiencing the same fate.
    I don’t think children need constant guarding, and feel the whole issue has been blown out of proportion, but it’s a little sobering to realize that that would not have happened to me if I had been constantly guarded.

    1. Absolutely! I had a situation happen when I was 8 the adults were upstairs when it happened. I am ferociously overprotective and so is my husband (who I confided in). I never want them to live with what I had to. If that makes me overprotective or a helicopter mama or snowflake; I am fine with that. It’s hard to judge the choice of any parents without walking a mile in their shoes.

  11. Wow, I don’t know what’s the better read. The story or the comments. Bit of an uproar about penut butter. Putting my 2c in, I had an allergic reaction to mince meat.. yep 30 years of being fine than all the sudden, anaphylaxis. So with some fine testing, I had an allergic reaction to the excessive amount of sulphur dioxide, which is used to keep the meat looking red and fresh.. I do have epi pens now, which cost me $6.90 for the two.

  12. Can you please edit the article to remove the food allergy line? Then maybe we could get some decent discussion instead of all comments based on peanut butter.

  13. I read the article and agree that things are different now than they were for my parents. What I don’t really understand is why we feel that we can’t change things. Why is it that we feel we can’t raise our children like our parents used to? I think that sometimes we make up these “reasons” to justify the way we parent. We have the society that we have today in part because we helped create it. We need to stop spending our time finding reasons for why things are the way they are and and more time making things the way we’d like.

    So, to the author I say, just parent the way your parents did if that’s what you think is better. I appreciate the article and agree that things were “better” when I was a kid. You didn’t have to write and article to get anyone’s approval.

      1. I am a CPS worker. ( I am not evil or stupid btw) I know every state is different, but in my state we never remove kids for these reasons. Now, the 5 year old wondering the neighborrhood, begging for food, while mom is passed out? Yes, sometimes. ( We actually try to work with people before kids are removed to see if we can fix problems.) I have investigated cases where people let the kids walk down road or through the forest to “mawmaws” house and reassured the caregivers that they could continue to allow that. No problem. Then there is the mother who allows her kid to “free range” at the child sex-offenders house for hours on end. We tell those mothers that it’s not a good idea. Basically, my point is that we really don’t remove kids for what people say we do. Parents, theit lawyers, etc. can do public stories on anything they want and we can’t correct them due to confidentiality. I have had grandparents tell me that I removed a kid for something silly ( that their chid told them was why I removed the kids) and I couldn’t tell them that it was really because of the meth lab in the basement. In general, people don’t have children removed by CPS due to a one time incident either, unless it is terrible ( like raping a child or cracking their skull in a violent act.) In most cases, ya’ll can relax. CPS may get called to your home, but they usually won’t be opening a case, and/ or removeing a child.

  14. The point of the food allergy is not to disparage those who have it, or to say that we should be without compassion and caution for those with food allergies.

    The point is to say that the world we live in is a very different world than we did and an insanely different world than our parents did. We cannot and are not permitted to parent in the way our parents did.

  15. Food mainstreaming gone awry! Is this true in all schools?? No PB? Maybe you need to home school your kids til they can be responsible enough to care for their own health problems. Maybe a pump like the diabetics use to control your allergy issue?? The adult that let her own health go down the shitter because of her co-workers eating habits?? Come on! Were you forced to eat with them? Get another job! Work from home! This shit has gone too far!

  16. I don’t believe the author was complaining about kids with allergies. But comparing preparing food for school with how her parent did. It IS a big difference. It IS a pain to look for food without specific allergens. The point is the previous generation was able to be much more carefree.
    I am an allergy mom and I wish parents could come together and be able to agree searchingfor safe foods for school is a pain. The author was still doing what she has to for school safety. The whole article is on the casual side.

    The comments are harsher than needed.

    I wish I had the option to parent without hovering and asking a zillion questions etc. it’s nerve wrecking. I wish I could just send the kids outside and drink Tab.

  17. The part that upsets me the most is playing outside. I loved playing outside as a kid and most of all recess. I’ve life long friends that began on the playground.
    But now if a school sends kids out to recess in anything not between 60-78 degrees. Parents call and complain about how unsafe it is

  18. This whole comment thread demonstrates the point of the article. MY child can’t have peanuts, gluten, lemons, whatever…..becomes so neither can yours! That’s the problem. Find ways to protect your own child. So the school is peanut free, but the kid might go to an ice cream shop that serves peanut butter ice cream and die. We are witnessing the death of responsibility. And we wonder why college students can’t tolerate opposing views….no tolerance for ng but your own issues. Sad!

  19. My husband is allergic (anaphylaxis) to all nuts. He was born in the 70s. He learned how to survive in a world with nuts. He has never owned nor carried an epi-pen. I am a paramedic. I struggled when we first dated with his approach to his allergy. But basically, he had to learn as a kid how not to die. And so he has survived. As a parent today, I want my kids to be safe, but more so I want them to know how to survive when it isn’t safe.

    What’s that comedian’s name that does the allergy bit? CK Lewis I think. It’s funny and dark but it rings true.

  20. When i was 23 “they” told me I had an allergy, creating something just shy of anaphylaxis. I was restricted to eating a very limited list of foods including nothing more than Pasta, rice, apples, pears and chicken. NOTHING ELSE. I went through high school for the next 12 months, with everyone else eating all their normal foods.
    Did I complain about that? Even as a 12 year old I did not. I was taught that there were foods that were bad for me, and I didn’t like feeling the way I did, so I didn’t look to eat anything else.
    Turned out years later it had nothing to do with food, but I never complained. I went to parties, out for dinner etc while I was on that very restrictive.
    diet. NEVER COMPLAINING
    Ironically, now I am allergic to CAFFEINE of all things. Have you tried to avoid caffeine in our daily lives? Again, no complaints, I just pay more for the decaf products, suck it up when there is no decaf available at most places, and don’t eat the them. Two of my children also have caffeine allergies. Please just teach your child about what they can and can’t do, where they can and can’t go, and believe they will be ok with life. After all, what’s the point of living if you can’t live ?

  21. They(scientists ) have done much reasearch into nut allergies, and find children’s allergies can resulyt from a protective mom restricting her own diet while pregnant, not introducing children early to food, and now they are doing tests where children who are allergic are slowly introduced to thier allergy culpret and actually are reversed. Very promising.

    Now I know some who claim child is allergic have never had proper testing done, and reaction is possibly from another source. also many out grow childhood allergies. Then there are those who have true allergies and are life threatening.

    There is so much paranoid attitudes today. We grew up and no one in an entire school had a nut allergy. Persoonally I really believe it is often aditives etc in the food now that have caused this. When I read some contents on packages I am amazed we are not all dead.

    Also note peanuts aree legumes not nuts.

    1. Yeah, no “allergy parents” will accept that peanuts are legumes, which is why the line “my child is allergic to peanuts and ALL tree nuts” is now the norm. #SMDH. The most recent medical info is that we SHOULD expose young children to peanuts/peanut butter to help build their immune system. I shared this with a class full of parents. The look of disgust was palpable. I had one comment of, “but that’s from a British University, that’s got nothing to do with my child, what do they know anyway” ::sigh::

  22. No one is going to tell me or my family what we can or can not eat OR where we can eat it. Maybe all these so called allergies are natures way of thinning the herd.

    1. My kids witnessed a toddler going into anaphylactic shock at a playground.
      It took all of a second, and was caused by another kid eating a snack while playing (crumbs, residue, whatever)
      They voluntarily refuse to eat allergens in public, especially around children. Even if they don’t know if there’s anyone who needs to avoid exposure.
      Anaphylaxis is SCARY. The rules protect the allergic child’s classmates almost as much as the kid who is allergic.

  23. “….siblings out the door and expect them to find all-day, unsupervised entertainment outdoors.” Growing up in San Diego- La Mesa, we’d get a free map at the gas station and plot a bike route to the beach. 30 miles on a sting ray. As long as I was home for dinner. I was 10 and it was 1968. Thats a thing of the past.

  24. Every one is bitching about my child this my child that well if my child cant bring peanut butter to school because of your child then your child shouldnt be able to attend school without the proper vaccinations that may be a harmful to my child

  25. “My generation is taking the “it takes a village” sentiment a little too far. ”

    The village mentality was never supposed to be about criticism or holding parents to higher standards. It’s about supporting parents and kids wherever they are, so kids know there are adults around if they need them (and that there are adults around watching out for them even if their parents aren’t right there…adults who will let word get back to their parents if there’s any misbehavior and will step in if there seems to be need for an adult’s input.)
    Parent shaming is NOT being a village. It’s just bullying, and leads parents who are struggling to feel more isolated. And even if they do reach out, they are less likely to get the help they need if they’re met with judgement and what they *should* have done.
    You can have different parenting styles and priorities but still support the kids and their household values, even if you disagree.

  26. Notes from Australia
    1. Thankfully we have Vegemite, and NO ONE is allergic to delicious Vegemite!
    2. We already have laws about sprinklers and sun exposure.

  27. My kids are two and four, and I let them play in our front yard only intermittently supervised. Nobody has said anything, and we live in Maryland, not that far from Silver Spring.

    At my kids’ school, they have a separate table for kids with food allergies. It seems to work out OK. When I was a kid, Nobody had anaphylactic allergies. I only knew one kid with a peanut allergy. I was the weird one, with all of my food allergies, but I learned to cope. I haven’t died yet.

    All of this hovering is terrible for our kids. If they don’t experience failure, how will they ever learn to overcome it? How will they learn resilience? If you fix all of their problems for them, they will never learn to be self-sufficient. As a society, we listen far too much to those rare scary events, and become paranoid. Stranger danger is bullshit. Not that kids were never kidnapped or molested, it’s just no where near as frequent as Facebook and FOXNews would have you believe. Also, people act like the worst thing that could ever happen to you is to get molested. It happened to me, and it did have an effect, but I am not a “victim”and my life is not ruined. Instead, I learned which people are trustworthy vs those who aren’t, and how to tell the difference. I learned to trust my gut.

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