“We turned out fine”

“We did xyz when we were kids, and we turned out fine.”

I hate this argument.

If we’re making a strictly alive-vs.-dead argument, the people who died aren’t here to argue the other side. Seat belts, car seats, bike helmets immediately come to mind.

As a health argument, young people now have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, so that’s not working out.

On an emotional level, people who make this argument tend to lack self-awareness or introspection and don’t realize how not fine they are. My favorite was when an alcoholic argued that his parents’ parenting was something to emulate because he turned out fine.

In some cases, the world is just different. There are more cars on roads now. People are in more of a hurry. People are more distracted while driving. Many passenger vehicles are taller, heavier, and more lethal. Foods are grown with large amounts of toxic-to-us chemicals on and in them. Water carries heavy metals. Plastics have poisoned the water, the soil, animals (food) when it eats the plastic, plants (food) once they’re cultivated, foods when they’re cooked. Mattresses are full of chemicals that restrict breathing. The internet exists. Social media exists. Smart phones exist.

It’s possible to say, “I’m going to do this differently than my parents did” without saying that your parents were bad parents, if that’s where you’re stuck. (And, if you’re watching the grandkids grow up, your kids raising their kids differently isn’t an affront to your parenting.)

We know more now about child development. We know more about how our bodies and brains work. Nutrition facts on packaging didn’t even exist until the 90s.

It’s a disservice to kids to fall back on “It was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for you.

We know better. Do better.


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