Parenting in the modern age

My name is Carli and I yell at my children.  If you’ve ever gotten lost down the rabbit hole of articles that shame particular parenting methods or websites that focus on endless hours of crafting and baking with children – you could be forgiven for thinking that yelling is now a capital offence.

I do not like yelling.  There are nights when my husband has to cajole me down from the “I am a bad mother” cliff and reassure me it’s okay.  That other parents fail too.  I repeat the words “what are you teaching your children by yelling?” inside my head over and over again.  It’s a broken record of “Mother’s Greatest Guilt Hits” in there.  Intellectually I know the answer but there are times, usually on a Friday evening, when I can’t even remember the question.

Adding to the guilt is this modern age of parenting where everything we do and say is scrutinized.  According to child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg we are raising a “marshmallow generation” – where children are wrapped in cotton wool or “growing up in the shadow of lawyers”.

Don’t leave your children in the car to pay for petrol because someone might steal your car.  Don’t let them walk up to a milkbar alone.  “No need to go to the park son, I will build one in the backyard!”  I’m not suggesting some of these things aren’t valid but what are we so afraid of?  And when did we stop checking in on each other and start complaining about it on websites or worse – to authorities?

I want my children to grow up to be independent, yes I would like to keep them safe but I also want them to learn to trust their own instincts.  I’m trying to do it with minimum yelling but occasionally I fail.  But don’t we all?


Do you think we are raising a marshmallow generation?



  1. Fiona Arthur says

    Thankyou! You’ve articulated what I’ve been unable to. The leaving kids in cars and reporting parents especially has had me questioning what the world is coming to! I’m sick of feeling guilty every day…

  2. says

    I’m am almost yelling at my kids from the time they wake up till they go to bed. They have a break when they go to school but when they are back it’s constantly “have you done your homework” ” clean your room” “stop hitting your sister” etc etc.
    They are in a way being cottoned by the fact that they can’t go outside in to the neighbourhood and be kids like we used to do.

  3. says

    Yep I yell but it hurts my heart the most. Water off a ducks back for them. It’s totally useless, yet I keep doing it and making myself sick over it. As for your question – yes I think we are. I think I’m overprotective in some ways and the opposite in others. Hoping it balances out in the end.

    My kids are older than yours. One thing which I think helps a lot is having a structure (and boy, how much do I hate structure) and consequences and following up on them. Easy enough in writing, a little harder in practise.

  4. says

    I can’t look my neighbours in the eye, because I think they must be judging me for all the yelling that goes on in this house. They are both parents to older children on either side, so they’ve probably been there and done that, but I still wonder what they must think. My husband says our house is the loudest on the street, but my children seem completely oblivious to my rantings. I must add that the yelling is balanced with a whole lot of love and sacrifice.

    Yes, we are raising a marshmallow generation, and my kids are very fortunate to be able to play on our cul-de-sac with other kids, and I encourage it.

    • says

      I am that house too Shelly. I’ve said to my neighbour “oh you must hear the yelling” and she just pretends she doesn’t. I dread what they think sometimes!

  5. Deb_BrightandPrecious says

    Well said, Carli. I’ll echo what I said in a comment on your previous post: the pressures of modern parenting are unnatural. No wonder we yell! Let’s create a society that values mothers and supports them – then maybe then we can feel less guilty about yelling. I struggle all the time with my yelling (last year I wrote a post called Shout Shout Let it All Out – very Tears for Fears, yes?!) – and I think I’ve even changed a bit since then (I was full of guilt about it). I’m not saying it’s right, in fact I believe in being a gentle peaceful parent, but what do we do about the small problem of reality not matching the ideals?

  6. Cherie says

    Carli, my god, this is perfect.

    I hate the marshmallow thing & yet, I stand there on that cliff with you every Friday night, all thanks to having read far too much information about everything I’m apparently doing wrong.

    One say I filled my car with petrol, & Max was asleep so I moved it forward & quickly went in to pay. ON MY OWN. When I came out, a much older woman was standing there writing down my registration details & claiming that what I had just done was a reportable offence.

    I was … STUNNED. And I just burst into tears.

    People can be so … shit really.

    • says

      Oh Cherie I am so sorry that happened to you! I have done that before and I don’t actually think it is illegal in Vic as long as the time lapsed is not considered “unreasonable”. According to the article I linked to 1 in 6 child neglect cases are substantiated and there are now issues with courts being overloaded with these types of incidents. It’s taking time away from the serious cases and really, why be an ars$hole? Just hang by the car and wait for the mother! God I could go on and on….

  7. Lily Mae says

    I don’t really read parenting things any more because I am sick of feeling so inadequate. From not cooking fresh food for absolutely every meal to not toilet training my kid from birth .. not that I have anything against anyone else’s methods I just find a lot of the stuff out there completely unhelpful.
    So, for now, I’m not really reading that stuff and making things up as I go. My kid is pretty healthy, happy, very much loved and that’s all that really matters.

    Lily Mae

  8. says

    I’m a loudmouth Shaz in every other aspect of my life, why not my mothering too? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those hardout bogan, tough love mothers but I definitely ain’t wrapping my kids in cotton wool either ;) I yell. Alot. I sometimes swear too. Ok, I swear a fair bit. Not even in anger all the time either! But do you know why I refuse I feel guilty? Because I am doing my best and isn’t that all we can do? Fab post Carli! x

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