You Know You’re The Parent Of A Modern Child When…



Life whizzes along quite merrily, without us really noticing big changes, and then WHAM we have kids and suddenly we are forced to remember what life was like for us, compared to what life is like for them. We were sat on the train the other day with our four-year-old and she said, “When we get home, can I watch Team UmiZoomi please?” (she is very good with her pleases and thank yous, you know *mum point in the bag*). Anyway, this prompted a conversation about how lucky she is that she can watch pretty much any TV she likes, at any time. In a slightly giddy, reminiscent way, Mr P and I tried to explain to her that when we were little, there were only four TV channels and unless we recorded something we couldn’t watch it (record on a creaking VHS tape that is – ooh which reminds me, our first ever video recorder had a remote control that connected to the VHS player by a long lead. It was THE FUTURE.)

The four-year-old looked puzzled and giggled, as if Mummy and Daddy were teasing her with crazy unfathomable tales. “What did you watch when you were little?” she asked. I tried to explain the concept of Rainbow to her. She looked confused. Later that day, she asked to watch Rainbow. I found it on YouTube and do you know what? It just felt a bit empty, a bit wooden and a bit creepy. MEMORY RUINED.

So anyway – despite my rambling, the point of this post is this: Aren’t there so many things that are different now, compared to when we were kids? You know you’re the parent of a modern child when…

  • Aged 18 months, they can unlock your iPhone, pass code and all.
  • They try to press your computer screen to select something, rather than knowing how a mouse works.
  • They know more French words at four than you did at fourteen.
  • You’re out shopping and they say “Can we stop for a coffee, please Mum?”
  • You hand the phone over for them to speak to the grandparents and they can’t work out why they can’t actually see Grandad on the screen. (When we were kids, ‘video calls’ were the stuff of sci-fi comics.)
  • They say “Thanks for watching!” after playing with their Play Doh. Clearly been watching too many YouTube videos.
  • When considering primary schools, you look into how many computers the school has for the kids to use. My Primary School only had one TV (on caster wheels, in the TV room) and I’m pretty sure even the headmaster used a typewriter.
  • You hear yourself saying “If you don’t at least try the broccoli, you can’t use the iPad tomorrow.”
  • They have a ‘reading nook’ somewhere in the house. In our day, we were happy with a chair.
  • When they’re bored on a bus, they ask “Can I play a game on your phone?” – we didn’t even HAVE mobile phones 30 years ago, never mind ones that played GAMES! *mind blown*

Have I missed any? What other signs are there that you’re parenting a modern child?

Image: DTTSP



  1. November 11, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Yup exactly my two year old. Can’t believe it

    • November 11, 2014 / 9:15 pm

      I spent a long while the other day explaining to my children (and then later to my 16 year old students) how I had to wait 30mins for the cassette to load a game to my Acorn electron (and that was unless it got stuck – which it frequently did – and needed reloading)!

  2. June
    November 11, 2014 / 9:08 pm

    My 3 yr old says it’s mummy iPad, not mine in a voice so resigned it could break your heart. Unless you are me ….

  3. November 11, 2014 / 9:30 pm

    Love this post! SO true! My 3yo ALWAYS asks to go for coffee and regularly asks to go out for dinner. She even has a favourite coffee shop (Pret) and restaurant (carluccio’s) and always orders her own meal. We also often try to explain about TV channels in our day and how we just didn’t go to cafe’s as children and I don’t remember eating in an actual restaurant till I was at least 7 and that was on holiday.
    And yep, she used to touch the MacBook screen till she worked out how to use the trackpad. The iPad is ALWAYS a bribe and she sings French songs.
    Another spot-on post about parenting as always Alison!!

  4. November 11, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    When she picks up a plastic toy phone and tells me she’s “sending an email Mummy”. Remember when you could only use phones for ringing people and playing Snake?!

  5. November 11, 2014 / 10:20 pm

    Atari. Space Invaders and PacMan boggled my mind in those days. I loved it so much it had to be hidden behind the sofa to stop me begging to play 24/7. Imagine what my Mum would have done about an iPad!

  6. November 11, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    Oh yes. My two-year-old announced ‘mummy phone broken’ when she could only hear the voices rather than see her grandparents on Skype/Facetime. I still haven’t got used to the idea you can have video when you speak to someone.

    As for the record player illustration in her Mr Men book… I hardly know how to explain it to her so she’ll believe me!

  7. Eric
    November 12, 2014 / 10:56 am

    Your primary school headmaster didn’t have a typewriter, Alison. He had a dictaphone. His secretary had a typewriter. Times have changed even more than you think.

  8. November 15, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    This sums up modern parenthood to a tee. I have had all these experiences with our 3 year old. Brilliant post that I really enjoyed reading x

  9. November 16, 2014 / 7:55 am

    Oh bab. This is my life. My boy can unlock my phone. And say Easter eggs. And can’t even say his own actual name! That’s not right is it???? No. It’s not x

  10. November 16, 2014 / 9:06 pm

    N asks to ‘go for a coffee’ when we’re in town. I don’t even drink coffee!

  11. November 16, 2014 / 11:21 pm

    My three year old is constantly asking to go to the coffee shop! He loves a babyccino and biscuit a bit too much.

  12. November 17, 2014 / 6:41 pm

    I did the no ipad threat the other day…then daddy gave her it anyway *grumbles about cohesive a parenting*. It is crazy the world out children will grow up in, but then our world was a lot different to our parents so I suppose it’s just how it is. And I’ll remember never to watch Rainbow on youtube! Raggy Dolls and Supertes were my faves!

  13. November 17, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    Cute post! I’ll have to look out for some of these but I think Lux is still a bit young! xxx

  14. November 17, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Haha, this made me laugh! I hope you didn’t make G watch that Youtube Rainbow video where Zippy and George count the skins on a banana…! If you didn’t, then google (and watch alone!). I can tell mine are modern kids, because they ask me to pause the telly if they need the loo, they can work their way around an ipad despite not actually using ours that much, they LOVE to go to coffee shops and Pizza Express, and they actively ask for wanky-now- middle class foods like salmon and hummous. The closest we got to salmon as kids was Bejam fishfingers!

  15. November 22, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    Love this! so true! I also think modern children know how to pose for photos from having their photos constantly taken on smart phones “now hunny do mummy a happy, sad, excited, cute face!” x

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